Political Animal


January 15, 2013 9:34 AM Armies of One

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t plan to harp on this perpetually, but since most MSM treatments of the issue don’t seem to grasp the point that many of those defending their “Second Amendment rights” are actually asserting their own right of violent revolution, I’ll note some examples now and then.

A Kentucky sheriff is getting a lot of notoriety today for saying he won’t enforce any new gun laws that he considers unconstitutional.

Asked whether such a stance makes him more a judge than a law-enforcement official, Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman said he has “a team of attorneys to step up with me if necessary to be sure the Second Amendment is upheld.”
“I consider this a moral obligation,” he said.
Peyman, who has been sheriff of Jackson County for two years and is a member of the National Rifle Association, is garnering national attention and support from gun rights advocates for saying Saturday, “My office will not comply with any federal actions which violate the United States Constitution or the Kentucky Constitution which I swore to uphold.”

It seems Peyman will not only defy laws he and his legal posse considers unconstitutional, but laws that might someday lead to laws that might be unconstitutional, again according to Justice Peyman:

Asked what he thinks about doing away with AK-47s, Peyman said, “If they pull them off the market, what will they pull off next?”

I suppose you could make the same floodgates argument about the very existence of his own job, since nobody’s gun rights would be threatened if there were no law enforcement officers available to enforce gun laws. But whatever.

Some gun defenders are a bit more direct than Peyman in asserting their right to unilaterally choose which laws to obey or defy, and a bit more active in seeking remedies. Here’s the birther legal activist Larry Klayman writing at Birther Central, World News Daily:

Obama’s threats to use executive orders to remove or curtail our right to bear arms constitutes the final straw. It is in effect a declaration of war against the American people and our way of life.
For our Founding Fathers bequeathed to us the right to bear arms primarily to protect us, should the need ever arise, against a tyrannical government. Their primary motive was not to allow us to defend ourselves against random criminals and madmen like Adam Lanza, however useful guns would have been and are in this regard….
The irony today, as it was in 1776, is that that these miscalculations by our rulers will in the end serve to be their own undoing and result in our liberation from their evil clutches. Let us pray that Obama and Biden and the likes of Pelosi and Reid are so stupid as to carry through with their threats, so that the masses will finally be provoked to rise up as they did in colonial times.

Clear enough for you? It is for me.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • terraformer on January 15, 2013 9:42 AM:

    I suspect Mr. Peyman is more of an attention whore than someone who is so, so interested in defending 2nd Amendment rights.

  • Peter C on January 15, 2013 9:45 AM:

    A combination of ignorance, delusion, and lethal force ... what could go wrong?

    It seems to me that we need more checks on the power of sherrifs. Peyman, Arpaio - these guys need to be disempowered. We're supposed to have a system of checks and balances. The legislature MAKES the laws. The judiciary INTERPRETS the laws. The administrative IMPLEMENTS AND ENFORCES the laws. Each branch is separate and distinct.

  • PS on January 15, 2013 10:00 AM:

    Have these guys never heard of the Whiskey Rebellion? That is the founding fathers example they should be looking at rather than 1776.

  • c u n d gulag on January 15, 2013 10:00 AM:

    The 2nd Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights, because, at that time, the US didn't have, or want, a standing Army - and the first lines of defense, in case of attack by an enemy force, were going to be organized and 'well-regulated' state militia's, until a new army could be formed.

    And running around, waving your guns, and screaming "TYRANNY!" at the mere mention of the government trying to minimize the amount of mass-murders by limiting access to semi-automatics and large magazines, doesn't make you "patriots," doofuses - it makes you "traitors!"

    Not patriots - TRAITORS!!!

  • JMG on January 15, 2013 10:01 AM:

    It appears Mr. Klayman and this dimwit Sheriff are advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Isn't that a crime. How about arrest and trial? Give these idiots something to REALLY be paranoid about.

  • SteveT on January 15, 2013 10:13 AM:

    Why is it that for conservatives only the Second Amendment is absolute?

    Conservatives consider the First Amendment and Tenth Amendment ("powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution . . . are reserved to the States") to be SITUATIONAL -- you have those rights as long as you don't use them to do something conservatives don't like.

    The Fourth (unreasonable search and seizure), Fifth (due process), Sixth (speedy trial, right to counsel) Seventh (right to civil trial by jury) and Eighth (ban on cruel and unusual punishment) Amendments are considered by conservatives to be MERELY ADVISORY.

  • FlipYrWhig on January 15, 2013 10:17 AM:

    Isn't it funny how many conservative pundits, like Klayman here, affect this throwback, puffed-up rhetorical style? It's like a 19th-century play crossed with the animatronic Hall of Presidents.

  • jjm on January 15, 2013 10:33 AM:

    I thought that advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government was a severely punishable offense? I remember a few anarchists and communists pursued under this law.

  • toowearyforoutrage on January 15, 2013 10:39 AM:

    "shall not be abridged, except for high capacity magazines, ad specific models of assault rifles."

    Somehow I seem to remember the 2nd amendment being more concise.

    The sheriff is right and we wouldn't want him enforcing laws that prohibit newspapers from criticizing elected officials or shutting down mosques.

    Knock it off, (fellow) liberals. ALL TEN bill of rights amendments need to be supported until they are changed. I am well aware that conservatives disparage all 9 of the others. That doesn't mean we're allowed to be a LITTLE inconsistent just cuz they really have no use for most of the document. Do we set our bar on what THEY do?

    If we can't get the 2nd amendment to allow abridgement, we'll want to consult with the NRA for their proposals to stop the gun violence they claim they hate as much as we do.

    They tell us to tighten the background check database.
    So let's do that. REALLY well. Let's stop giving them the fall-back play of "enforce existing laws". They're right, to a degree. Let's do precisely that.

    When the next massacre happens, we demand that the NRA come up with something else.

    Keep it up until they accidentally find something that works. (Maybe even something we're proposing NOW but they consider wildly radical because we haven't taken the interim steps yet.)

    This is NOT the pendulum swinging our way folks and thinking that it has is a colossal mistake. We WON'T win a single legislative battle AND we'll lose Midwest and Western congress members. Has anyone noticed how QUIET the GOP is right now. That's the sound of them handing us a lot of rope.

    We're bringing knives to this fight.
    Butter knives, I suspect.

  • Josef K on January 15, 2013 10:40 AM:

    Camp X-Ray down in Guantanamo Bay is still open, isn't it? And I believe the President's Oath of Office requires he protect the Constitution (and by extension, the government) from "all enemies, foreign and domestic."

    Just curious.

  • biggerbox on January 15, 2013 10:41 AM:

    As a New Englander with ancestors who were in early battles of the Revolutionary War, I really wish these jerkwads would learn some damn history.

    They insult my family with their ridiculous understanding of what was happening in 1776, and comparing their selfish ignorance with what people were fighting for back then.

  • John Robert BEHRMAN on January 15, 2013 11:24 AM:

    Yes, articulation of "gun rights" are the very seeds of secession and rebellion. Not surprisingly, they are an anglophile legal theory cultivated and propagated by the Supreme Court. That is the branch of our government that never for a single day believed in universal suffrage coupled with a uniform military obligation.

    That (in italics) is the very definition of a well-regulated militia. (Not a "draft". A draft is the failure-mode of a long-term hire military.)

    As such, what Federalists and Republicans argued about and semi-agreed to -- the Second and Third Amendments as well as constitutional prohibition on privileges, immunities, and titles of nobility -- fundamentally distinguish "Whig Tyranny" or a Libertarian Utopia from "a republican, if you can keep it." Only we didn't. The Supreme Court elevated property rights over every egalitarian principle of repubican government and works every day to subvert democracy.

    A militia is not a posse. Those are both Latin words, but the former is Swiss-Roman tradition and the latter is English feudal law.

    In any case, some of us in the South wallow in classical literature and history. We know where semi-learned malarky on the Supreme Court comes from and exactly what all it entails.

    But, let's get this straight: The dangerous fissures in our economic, polity, and society generally stem not from the eleven or so diverse "nations" described by Colin Woodard, including the Greater Appalachia gun-cult.

    No, cultural diversity if fine. It necessitates neither another civil war nor a police state established and propagated by Federalists on the Supreme Court with their federal fondness for private bounty hunters, contingent-fee tort and bond lawyers, bill collectors, and privateers relabeled "private military contratctors".

    Those ignorant people willing to fight for their imported dragoon pistols are among the least wealthy, educated, and powerful people in our country -- the "white niggers, actually." These are little people that conservative and liberal members of the Anglo-American overclass pander to or disdain from their wine & "cheesy grits" bars or think-tanks, well, during elections.

    The white niggers may join the NRA or GOA or the the truthers, birthers, preppers, or just snake-handling cults. But, they do not typically join country clubs or live off of monopoly rents and concession-tending fees from the government-owned, contractor-operated defense-plants, arms import and export concessions, or financial institutions that feed off of them and nearly all of us.

    The white and black niggers alike are typically not endowed or tenured.

    So, they do not fund the NSSF in Sandy Hook Connecticut.

    Oh, their pensions may well have been squandered by "institutional investors", "hedge funds", and the piratical financial syndicates built to launder money for drugs, arms, and slave traffic, but they are sadly ignorant of who those people are and how our political elites shelter them.

    They see socialists everywhere but never met one anywhere in their international travels (in a C-130) or at seminars in the sands where they are sent to protect the Anglo-American petroleum marketing concessions.

    They do not contribute billions to our professional office-seekers, office-squatters, and all their courtiers. They have never heard of Carlyle, Cerebrus (the mythic dog or the secretive hedge fund), and they do not enjoy the obsequious protection and deference of the Hold Harmless Democrats from CT, MA, and DE, where the wholesale arms and retail gun lobbies converge and operate discreetly above and behind the law.

    Still, Greater Appalachia grew and prospered, relative to itself, over the course of the Great, World, and Cold War. They became at least a lower middle-class voting block by paying the price of entrance in the actual blood of real battles, not what pass for

  • John Robert BEHRMAN on January 15, 2013 11:32 AM:

    Still, Greater Appalachia grew and prospered, relative to itself, over the course of the Great, World, and Cold War. They became at least a lower middle-class voting block by paying the price of entrance in the actual blood of real battles, not what pass for "fights" and end as "deals" in Washington.

    So did, the "black" Irish and former slaves in the Union Army. But, Robert Gould Shaw and Robert E. Lee became the icons of elite America.

    Benjamin Grierson was exiled and Nathan Bedford Forrest escaped prosecution for the murderous insurrection he fostered in an era of post-Reconstruction bi-partisanship.

    The fact is we have the gun culture one should expect of a declining middle-class pitied but abandoned by liberal and conservative draft-dodgers, objectors of convenience and chicken hawks who never saw a grad-school classmate shredded by gunfire or shrapnel and who certainly did not expect anything like Sandy Hook to happen in precious commuter communities on the Boston-New York-Washington line.

    Yes, the gun-cult we have is seditious and unpatriotic. But, it is not nearly so much so as the everyday parasitism of our comfortable and complacent elites, especially the political operatives who will isolate the low-rent NRA and GOA but embrace the NSSF, the agro-military pork barrel, and financial privateers they are handmaidens of.

    Watch what the Washington elite are selling and who they are selling it to in Stafford, Texas.


  • james on January 15, 2013 11:47 AM:

    I was going to say something, but after reading John Robert BEHRMAN's post, I'm too scared to exercise my First Amendment rights since some Second Amendment fundamentalist will probably try to track me down and shoot me for disagreeing with them. I mean, isn't terrorizing the rest of us with their guns their primary goal?

  • boatboy_srq on January 15, 2013 12:51 PM:

    I suppose you could make the same floodgates argument about the very existence of his own job, since nobody’s gun rights would be threatened if there were no law enforcement officers available to enforce gun laws.

    Actually, for many jurisdictions (if not all), there would be no need for law enforcement at all if all the citizenry were armed. Citizens' arrests would supplant those by police, for example. The trouble there is Due Process: Miranda would be instantly shredded, and the incidence of false arrests would skyrocket, because the average citizen has no Earthly idea of all the provisions in the applicable legal code - coupled with convictions that "there must be a law against _____" which would drive otherwise good people to haul in countless "criminals" for actions that aren't necessarily crimes.

    @CUND: You should read the corresponding entry in the Articles of Confederation. MUCH more explicit - and much stricter in application.

  • bushwahd on January 15, 2013 12:59 PM:

    Peyman sounds like a drone target to me.
    After all, what good are drones if we don’t use them?
    He’ll soon find, like the Afghans, that a .223 is no match for Hellfire from above.

  • PTate in MN on January 15, 2013 1:12 PM:

    Army of one is exactly right. So let's play this out. 70% of Americans think that the security of the nation is being threatened by gun violence because our militias right now are anything but well-regulated. 70% believe that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is not infringed if people are screened before buying weapons and certain kinds of guns are prohibited. Okay, let's say that against odds Obama and the Democrats address gun violence by increasing background checks, limiting sales at gun shows and reinstating the assault weapons ban. These lunatics--Alex Jones, Denny Peyman, James Yeager--feel the need to defend themselves against federal tyranny. It is 1776 again, baby! They fantasize that jack-booted soldiers--Nazis or Communists or British redcoats--march into their homes to confiscate their gun collection. They play the hero and gun down the soldiers and then the credits roll. But that isn't going to happen.

    So what are they going to do?

    Level 1 response: They threaten, grandstand and refuse to enforce the law. This is basically the situation right now. They may lose their jobs. They may lose their conceal and carry permits. It will end up in the courts.

    Level 2 response: They arm themselves. They march in public. They claim they have the right to wave their weapons around without restraint. Maybe they shoot stuff as a demonstration of just how tough they are. How many people are likely to support this behavior? Fewer than support the level 1 response.

    Level 3 response: Oppressed beyond endurance by the threat to their liberty, they justify the need to kill someone. Who are they going to shoot? Someone innocent and unarmed? A soldier? A police officer? How many people are likely to support this behavior? Will their actions be regarded as murder or heroism?

    Level 4 response: Let's say they pull a Timothy McVeigh. They plot and plan in secret, they get their explosives and blow up a federal building. Do they really delude themselves that they will get public support for their act of terrorism against the government?

    Frankly, most Americans like orderly civil society and a functioning government. They don't find the federal government to be tyrannical. Annoying sometimes, but hardly justifying armed rebellion. 1776? Ha! The reaction to armed rebellion will be anger. These self-styled patriots will be regarded as criminals and thugs. Their behavior suggests that they know this. They need to be so crazy threatening now because that is their only way to prevent action to reduce gun violence is intimidation. The only weapon they really have is our fear of them.

  • toowearyforoutrage on January 15, 2013 2:43 PM:

    "70% believe that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is not infringed if people are screened before buying weapons and certain kinds of guns are prohibited."

    It's funyy. I typically expect conservatives to expect us to interpret constitutional rights by what the majority believes.

    e.g. gay marriage.

    Is sedition illegal? I know treason is. That could be a good conversation. Where's the line drawn? SHOULD treason be illegal? Our founding fathers seemed to express a right of teh people to overthrow governments. Is there a method of overthrow that is NOT treasonous even if it fails? (Elections don't count.)

  • CharlieM on January 15, 2013 2:59 PM:

    "The irony today, as it was in 1776, is that that these miscalculations by our rulers will in the end serve to be their own undoing and result in our liberation from their evil clutches"

    So Bubba and his buddies are going to grab their Bushmasters and open a can of whup ass on the US Govt (with it's cruise missiles, tanks, drones, BlackHawks, Smart Artillery, Hellfires, etc.)?

    These people aren't crazy. They're brain damaged.

    Seriously brain damaged.

  • Richard W. Crews on January 15, 2013 5:08 PM:

    I think the anti-government 2nd Amendment justifications are nonsense. Antiquated nonsense. Fudgin” Branch Dividian Waconess. See how it ends. There ain't a wacko “patriot” in suburbia that has a wife who will live through the toilet not working, much less all dreams held in 401-Ks and equities when your checking account is closed . You think there's someone to shoot at? Tip the couch over in front of the picture window and … ? March on ??? You and what army?:

    Get real? They will drone your posterior while you're sneaking over to the neighbors for a bucket of water while everything you ever planned on dissolves and the world never even notices.

    You tell me what the Federal Government of the United States Of America has to do that will ever get an organized group of NOT-CRAZY people ( I've been to Tea Party big events) to act in an armed manner.
    Then, after you finally stretch out all logic and history, whatever you put up, I will measure against school massacres.

    I propose that semi-auto pistols be illegal. No ammo magazines over 6 rounds - if you can't take that deer down with 6, give it up.

  • Richard W. Crews on January 15, 2013 5:12 PM:

    make gun sales, not possession, illegal
    We should go way beyond ALL gun sales having background checks; assigning liability to every gun, saddling every owner with that until the gun is terminated by being turned into authorities for destruction. So, sales become risky, as you don’t sell the liability – it sticks with you, making you responsible for letting that gun go. Improperly secured stolen guns retain responsibility.
    We should make EVERY sale of semi-auto guns illegal. This will shut down the churning market. It will immediately reduce the value of every semi-auto in existence to near zero. Since I don’t believe pasty-white young gameBOYS have good links to an underground gun market, they will not be able to find many guns.
    Ammo clips should have limited capacity. Make a free, anonymous exchange, then criminalize the large clips.
    I bet we can identify misfits through their efforts to find theses guns – since they start as misfits within a secure society and try to delve into the hastily created underground. Should be easy pickings for the ATF narks. Heck, I bet criminal gun sellers would turn in (anonymously) most of their encounters with these losers!
    Gun ownership is still legal, but their circulation is ended.

  • PTate in MN on January 15, 2013 7:00 PM:

    toowearyforoutrage: "Our founding fathers seemed to express a right of teh people to overthrow governments. Is there a method of overthrow that is NOT treasonous even if it fails?"

    You raise good points. Is sedition illegal? Should treason be illegal? I don't think the Founding Fathers WERE guaranteeing the rights of the people to overthrow the US government. I think that's just Republican revision of history to suit their gun fetish. But I rushed to wikipedia for the following, Article 3 of the Constitution:

    "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

    Sedition is more complicated. Today, the most action seems to be under the seditious conspiracy, of which wiki tells me:

    "Seditious conspiracy (18 U.S.C §2384) is a crime under United States law. It is stated as follows:

    "If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."

    "For a seditious conspiracy charge to be effected, a crime need only be planned, it need not be actually attempted."

    So, yes, sedition (or seditious conspiracy) is illegal. I guess that Peyman might be in some big trouble if he decides that he is the best judge of which laws of the land he will enforce.

  • Attorney Online on January 16, 2013 4:28 AM:

    You are one of the best authors of legal articles I read during last year. Would you please write something to the section of legal articles on Attorney Online. There is also an Attorney Directory where lawyers can submit for free their contacts. I hope to gather there all best US lawyers.

  • Califlander on January 16, 2013 11:53 AM:

    Note that Larry Klayman does not "pray" for the President and others to come to their senses (by his lights) and abandon gun control. Instead, he prays for them to persist in a course of action he believes will cause an uprising in which many, many Americans would be killed.