Politics vs. Reality: Iron Sharpening Iron ~ or Not

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Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The Second Amendment is crystal clear.

There’s nothing ambiguous or convoluted about it, and it hasn’t been re-written or redefined by “the gun lobby” in recent years, as our opponents like to suggest. Writers going all the way back to the founding have supported our interpretation that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” means what it says and is enforceable against the states as a fundamental right.

I think we can all agree on this, so where’s the problem?

Just because we agree on the basics, doesn’t mean we all agree on the details. Some will loudly proclaim that the right to arms is absolute and limitless. They advocate for no limits whatsoever on any sort of armament whatsoever, from machine guns to missiles, to nukes. If it’s an armament, they say, then it’s covered by the Second Amendment. Others draw a line at typical, man-portable arms commonly found in an Infantry squad, while others draw a wavering line at the typical arms of an average, individual Infantry soldier, sometimes excluding “crew-served” weapons systems or man-portable missiles.

It used to be pretty common to run into “gunnies” who would argue against civilian possession of any full-auto or other NFA items, and some who would defend laws against those “ugly, black guns.” Thankfully most of those folks have now realized their error, but there are still folks who see themselves as on our side, who draw lines and/or limits that you and I would strongly disagree with.

That doesn’t make them evil. It just makes them wrong, misinformed, ignorant, or even possibly, more thoughtful and better educated than you and me. We can’t rule out that possibility until we’ve thoroughly studied their position and their rationale for holding that position. Then there’s the Supreme Court’s tortured definition of the right applying only to arms that are “in common use” among the populace while failing to account for future innovations and the decades of restrictions that kept certain arms and accessories out of “common use.”

Beyond the debate over how far, or not, the Second Amendment extends, there are debates within the community over whether certain, specific policy proposals are justifiable under the Second Amendment, or whether the “obvious good” (as some people see things) of certain policies might outweigh the constraints of the amendment. Then there’s the issue of incrementalism. Some among us will argue that repealing or reforming a portion of a bad law, is still supporting the erroneous foundation the law was originally based upon. For example, under this argument, support for legislation to remove suppressors from the NFA and treat them as firearms under the GCA, would be a traitorous compromise, because, they say, it is unconstitutional to regulate suppressors at all. This sort of “principled opposition” represents a minority, but it’s enough to throw a monkey wrench into efforts to undo restrictions piece-by-piece, the way most of those restrictions came about.

The point is, there are a wide variety of beliefs and opinions among, even very dedicated Second Amendment advocates, and disagreements are unavoidable.

The critical question though, is how do we handle those disagreements?

It’s a question of how we treat each other as we try to advance our rights agenda. Anyone who’s read much of my writing, knows that I’m not shy about calling out colleagues in the rights movement when they say or do something that I consider to be wrong or counterproductive. I’ve famously gotten into public disputes with several groups and prominent individuals for advocating in favor of various policies, or espousing certain positions that I think harm the movement. I’m particularly known for public criticism of NRA “leaders” for taking unprincipled positions. But you’ll never see me calling these folks traitors or suggesting that they are evil.

Unless a person – or group – goes fully over to the “dark side,” publicly advocating for oppressive gun control laws, as a few former lobbyists and industry executives have done over the years, then we’re generally dealing with a strategic or philosophical difference, not a total betrayal. Labeling a rights advocate as a charlatan or a traitor, is a big deal, and should only be done in an extreme circumstance. In most cases, a strong objection to their position and a call for them to explain or retract their statement or position, is what’s appropriate.

Going beyond that – assigning motives, questioning their character, etc. – is counterproductive, and should be avoided, especially by people who have a platform and are respected within the movement.

Creating unnecessary divisions and animosity in our own ranks benefits no one except the opposition. Again, I’m not talking about having public disagreements over policy, strategy, or tactics. What I’m talking about is personal attacks that paint fellow rights advocates as traitors, evil, and the enemy, based on what are often relatively minor policy disagreements, dividing our ranks and reducing our effectiveness.

My father often referred to leading the rights movement as an exercise akin to herding cats. It’s a demonstrable fact that GunVoters are an independent-minded bunch, and most of our folks see the Second Amendment and the fight for rights in clear, unequivocal terms. They also tend to have their own ideas as to how to fight and win the battles. The problem is that those clear, unequivocal terms and thoughtful ideas on how to fight and win, often deviate from the clear, unequivocal terms and thoughtful ideas held by the guy standing next to them in the trenches, much less the “generals” tasked with devising official strategy and mobilizing the troops.

In our army, almost everyone is sure they have “the answer,” and they are just as sure that anyone who disagrees with them is either misguided, ill-informed, or a mole secretly fighting for the other side. This dynamic can be powerful, but it is also destructive.

Let’s not fall into the “cancel culture” habits of our opponents. Let’s listen to each other, sharpen one another, and work toward our common goals without rancor and condemnation. Let’s do our best to educate and elect the best politicians, and replace those who fall short – but only with someone better, never simply handing a seat to true enemies, on the basis that the other guy wasn’t a good enough friend.

Together we can restore and protect our rights. I urge you to be cautious and judicious in your words and actions regarding allies and potential allies. Burning bridges is much easier than building them, and rebuilding a burned bridge is one of the hardest things to do. So let’s move forward together, respecting (and debating) our differences, working toward our common goals, and always focusing on the big picture.

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs, and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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Autsin Miller III

In my opinion the hypocrisy of the “Gun debate” is this, a moral person does not need a law to be moral and an immoral person isn’t going to be restrained by a law so either way, it’s ineffective except for punishment purposes. There IS a value to punishment under appropriate circumstances, those where a moral imperative has been violated, however that isn’t where these “Common Sense” laws are focused and that’s because the real agenda by the left is to restrict guns to those who do their bidding.


it is to control moral people make an illegal rule for them to follow because they follow rules

Autsin Miller III

I agree with you completely


Sometimes, following the rules is decidedly not moral.



“Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by, … , morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, … , Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”


you are correct about legislating morality, and you cannot legislate behavior either.
the debate is over an inanimate object that can do nothing without human interaction, this is what i don’t understand. why blame the object not the person? there is a political differentiation also, progressives don’t want to blame their supporters and most conservatives want to control theirs.


It appears that Jeff is advocating occupying the “gray area” between right and wrong as being the way to go when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. That is nothing less than recommending political correctness in order to spare the feelings of people who are wrong so that they might change their minds at some point in the future. The sign over the door to the Marine Corps Sniper School says, “Compromise is Failure”, and that is a hard fact. You can compromise on methodology, but never on principle, which is exactly what it looks like Jeff is advocating now… Read more »


Downvoters love Bloomberg.

Arkansas Rob

Careful there, Jeff. You still sound like Harold.


“Can’t we all just get along?” isn’t just a Rodney King whine. It’s the cry of every “prag”. Big Tent foolishness ensured Lucky (La)Pierre’s coup in ’97. Grover Norquist is a powerful ‘Libertarian’ posing as a Republican. Priority: Mass migration, yielding the theft-destruction of the USA. Worked with grabber & fellow invasionista Bloomberg, fundraised for grabbers who backed their agenda while ‘serving’ on NRA’s board. In short, a traitor. Knox fought to keep ‘Grover’ on NRA’s board. “Norquist endorsed Bob Dold who ‘supports restricting gun purchase & possession.’…later won an award from the Council Against Gun Violence.” https://www.ammoland.com/2016/02/vote-yes-on-the-recall-of-grover-norquist-from-nra-board They should’ve… Read more »


Downvoters are Oathbreakers who love Bloomberg!


Thank you Jeff, I hope we hear more from you down the line.
I would love to see #RepealTheNFA happen in full at the federal level, with #ConstitutionalCarry enacted in all states and territories, in my lifetime. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, so the long slog of two-steps-forward/one-step-back with patient and productive arguments among ALL citizens along the way is expected, even cherished at times.


The argument centers on premises. False premises dominate our political discourse. The vase majority of our citizens do not even know they are citizens of a Constitutional Republic with a LIMITED Federal government deferring most critical issues to the many states. So here is your action item of the day: Go to the Patriot Academy, do the Biblical Citizenship course and learn what the real premises and foundational ideals of the American Republic were intended to be at the start and how they have been lost over the many decades. https://www.patriotacademy.com/ Just a note. I have a graduate degree in… Read more »


Probably wouldn’t do any good, because the Citizen in Chief already has his version of the Second Amendment memorized, but it wouldn’t hurt anything to let him know that our version doesn’t even mention the word “cannon.”


Thank you for the link. “We need a reset” type of talk makes me wary, since we’ve heard about The Great Reset. And it seems our Founders were more about the principles of The Enlightenment and the histories of tyrannical governments than Christianity, which is still a leap of faith not verifiable and accountable by its nature.


The constitution is the law of the land very simple. The only issue is career criminals convicted felons having access to guns I believe never never no matter what program they completed for rehabilitation. Illegals in our country with guns out you go after you serve 20 years on the chain gang in the desert in wool clothing, then you can go home. I do not believe you can cure a child molster givin the chance another time a crime will be committed. Cold blooded killer rapist murderer carjacker anyone who used a firearm while committing felony NO gun for… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by john

swearing on a stack of bibles does not make you accountable , only you being moral can do so



Wild Bill

Perjury convictions are, also, quite persuasive,


Please come back and edit your comment. You copied-pasted a huge chunk of your thoughts. We got it the first time.
Also, the taking-away of a man’s freedoms is the punishment. Chain-gangs, unhealthy clothing do not help in the moral standing of our judicial system.

And we’ll return your rights of association and movement, but not your right to self-defense with the most efficient means you deem fit? Sounds infringy to me (i.e. keep ’em locked up longer if they’re so dangerous)


the privately owned cannon of the 16 and 1700s were not what you would call man portable , a new howitzer is. A tank is self propelled so land ship with deck gun…

Last edited 1 year ago by swmft

Fire a few neurons before hitting send.


And a Lars rocket would come in pretty helpful to a couple sailing their private boat in coastal waters against pirates. Yes this is a real issue.


I think a Phalanx CIWS would be a better choice


Does the right to bare arms include some Tomahawk missiles ? Because with the current corrupt administration in charge we will all need them to defend ourselves from the Biden administration and thier communist agendas . Hell as long as they are shipping arms to Ukraine we could use some also to stop Brandon in his tracks from destroying America .


The NFA came about as a way to fight organized crime or the Mafia back in1934, the purpose was to create a law so they could arrest crime family members caught with machineguns, short barreled riffles and sawed off or short barreled shotguns, since they where having a hard time arresting them for their other crimes. Crime investigation has gotten so much better with more scientific measures that basically they didn’t have in th1920’s and 30’s. These laws effectively are not needed and could be repealed with no increased public safety issues. Criminals still get and use machineguns SBRs and… Read more »


Mindless censorship is no bueno.

Last edited 1 year ago by Russn8r

I can’t decide what is right and what is wrong


And he betrayed his own “cats”.