Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Seventeen years ago today

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2018

Seventeen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Virtually all of today’s college students, and even recent grads, didn’t see what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They didn’t watch, in shock and disbelief, as the second plane crashed into the South Tower. They didn’t feel their hearts rising into their throats and a chill run down their spines as people jumped from 80+ stories up to avoid burning alive. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on United Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!” They may have seen some brief video or images, but they didn’t live it. And I suspect that their parents and teachers, in many cases, didn’t spend much time on this topic.

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them. If you know such a person, share your memories from that day. Show them this post and other information about what happened and why. Maybe watch United 93 with them.


Seventeen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Finally! Pat Bowlen nominated to HOF

Posted by Richard on August 23, 2018

If you’ve paid the slightest attention to sports news today, you already know that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has been nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It took long enough. Bowlen stepped down as CEO and turned the team over to a trust four years ago due to his Alzheimer’s disease.

Bowlen is often described as “a Canadian businessman,” but he’s actually an American businessman, born in Wisconsin, with degrees in business and law from the University of Oklahoma. He just happened to make tons of money in Canada, first as a lawyer and then in real estate, oil, and mining. But my impression (admittedly, from a distance with limited information) is that nothing meant more to him than the Broncos. He was certainly an actively involved owner on a day-to-day basis who had great relationships with his coaches and players. Check out the second and third videos embedded in the CBS Denver story linked above.

Current President/CEO Joe Ellis and former player Steve Atwater (who should also be in the HOF) delivered the news to Bowlen, who reportedly smiled when told of the nomination. That’s good. I’m glad he’s still aware enough to derive some pleasure from hearing the news.

Ten owners have preceded Bowlen into the HOF, and only three or four of those can hold a candle to Bowlen’s record of contributions to the league and accomplishments as a team owner. The record of the Broncos under his leadership speaks for itself: more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons; best winning percentage of any NFL team, and second-best of any professional sports franchise (I believe the best is the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team, and — surprise! — Pat Bowlen owns that too).

Bowlen’s work on numerous ownership committees makes him arguably more responsible than anyone else for NFL football’s tremendous TV success and ascendancy to being America’s favorite sport. Are you one of the umpteen millions who enjoy Sunday Night Football, perennially the highest-rated show on TV by a large margin? Thank Pat Bowlen; it was his idea.

The actual vote on the nominees takes place February 2nd (the day after the Super Bowl), and the induction ceremony will be next August. All the experts I’ve heard say he’s a slam-dunk, that the vote will be basically a formality. I certainly hope so. And I hope when that happens, he’s still able to understand that he’s received that well-deserved honor.

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Fatally stupid

Posted by Richard on August 16, 2018

From The Daily Wire:

A young American couple who took a year-long bike trip around the world, believing that evil was a make-believe concept, took a fatal route in Tajikistan near the Afghan border, where alleged ISIS terrorists stabbed them to death.

Alleged? ISIS, which claimed responsibility, released a video showing the five men pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu al Baghdadi.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, 29, quit their jobs last year in order to make their trip. Austin was a vegan who worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Geoghegan, a vegetarian who worked in the Georgetown University admissions office.

Check out the picture of the couple accompanying the article. They look exactly as you’d expect such people to look. Young, idealistic, and clueless. All about rainbows and unicorns, at least figuratively.

I know, I sound cold, heartless, and cynical. Really, I’m not. I have great sympathy for their families and friends, and I’m saddened that they died such a horrible death. But ideas have consequences, and their delusional beliefs led to their demise. May others learn from that.

While in Morocco, Austin wrote:

… Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.

On July 29, the five ISIS men rammed their car into Austin, Geoghegan, and two other Western cyclists, hopped out, and stabbed all four to death. Thus providing Austin for one brief moment with a greater revelation.

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Guess who’s meddling in US politics now

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2018

An investigation by the Daily Caller News Foundation reveals that Iranian nationals are posing as anti-immigrant Americans as part of a campaign to defeat the repeal of per-country caps on the number of employment-based green cards (permanent resident visas) issued to mostly H1B visa holders:

Iranian nationals are impersonating Americans online to demonize Indian immigrants as part of a lobbying campaign against proposed legislation in the House of Representatives, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

Using Twitter usernames that read like foreign stereotypes of American names, they tweet obsessively at reporters and high-profile political figures about the threats they say Indian immigrants pose to America.

H.R. 392 enjoyed broad bipartisan support and has been incorporated into the Homeland Security appropriations bill as an amendment. Contrary to what many of the fake Americans’ tweets claim, it doesn’t increase either the number of H1B visas or the number of green cards issued. It simply eliminates the per-country limits on the latter.

To be clear, these people aren’t living in Iran and doing the bidding of the Mullahs. They’re Iranians who’ve fled from the Mullahs and are living in the US under non-permanent visas. Their greatest fear, I’m sure, is being forced to return to Iran. They’re desperate to not have their already slim chances at gaining the security of permanent residence status further eroded. So I’m quite sympathetic to their concerns.

But their tactic of ginning up anti-immigrant sentiment and encouraging the false belief that this legislation will lead to countless Indians taking “all the jobs of the US citizens” is deplorable.

Before I retired as a technical writer, I worked with a number of H1B visa holders from around the world, some of whom were lucky enough to eventually obtain green cards. They were, to a man and woman, highly skilled, valuable professionals in software engineering and related fields. On net, they didn’t “take Americans’ jobs”; they created far, far more jobs than they “took” by helping to develop new products and services (including innovative, patentable new technologies) that greatly improved video conferencing and collaboration, distance learning, etc. They were exactly the kind of people we should want to become Americans. The US would become wealthier (and create countless new good jobs) if it allowed more such people to come here. And to stay.

Probably the only thing I’ve ever agreed with Thomas Friedman about is his suggestion for an immigration compromise: build a high wall with wide gates. In other words, make it harder to come here illegally, but easier to come here legally.

Perhaps that would assuage the fears of these Iranians by making them feel less like they’re playing a zero-sum game rigged against them. Which they are.

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Another “do as I say, not as I do” Democrat

Posted by Richard on August 13, 2018

Episode #13,496 of Not The Onion:

She ran on responsible gun regulation, now she’s accused of killing her campaign treasurer

ATLANTA – A former Georgia Congressional candidate has been charged with murder after her former campaign treasurer was found dead inside her apartment.

Kellie Collins, of Thomason, turned herself into the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office just as authorities in Aiken County, South Carolina found the body of Curtis Cain, Collins’ former campaign treasurer.

Investigators said Cain did not show up for work on Tuesday, so deputies went to his home to check on him. That’s when they found him dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

In 2017, Collins ran as a Democrat against incumbent Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican, for Georgia’s 10th District. She ultimately dropped out of the race, citing personal reasons.

During the race, she touted her support for responsible gun regulation to protect the community.

The typical gun banner wants to disarm you and me because we lack impulse control and might in a moment of rage shoot someone. That’s called projection.

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Training kids to be school shooters

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2018

It started out as a sad, but not terribly important, news story. Authorities raided a squalid “compound” in New Mexico, just south of the Colorado border last Friday looking for a young boy kidnapped by his father. They found 11 children, ages 1 to 15, malnourished and living in terrible conditions. They arrested three women, believed to be the children’s mothers, and two men. And they found the body of a child, most likely Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, the boy they were searching for and the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, one of the men arrested. Sad, but still not terribly important.

Then came news making it much more important. According to prosecutors, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was training some of the children to commit mass shootings at schools. That link is to the story aired on Next on 9News. Mind you, I like Kyle Clark and Next on 9News, a refreshingly different and generally thoughtful and fair-minded local newscast. But in that clip, they go out of their way to reassure us that an outburst of “Allahu akbar” in the courtroom could be totally innocuous and no different than a Baptist shouting “praise the Lord.” Nonsense.

Siraj Wahhaj is the son of an infamous imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, of the radical Masjid At-Taqwa mosque. The elder Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a “character witness” for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious “blind sheik” convicted of plotting terrorist attacks in the US.

Shouting “Allahu akbar” was innocuous, my ass. It was the war cry of a radical Islamist who won’t rest until every infidel converts, submits, or dies.

I guess we should have expected that radical Islamists would target our schools as a way of terrorizing us. Schools were one of their targets of choice in Israel until the Israelis ensured that every school had armed guards. Do you have kids in school? Have any of the staff at that school undergone FASTER training?

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Sarah Hoyt: Heinlein vs. Handmaid’s Tale

Posted by Richard on August 1, 2018

Have you read Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100? It’s part of his future history series (which you should read in its entirety, and which is, IMHO, the ne plus ultra of the science fiction genre). I haven’t read it in about 40 years (although I’ve reread some of his other future history stories since then). After reading Sarah Hoyt’s column contrasting it and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I think I’ll reread it. And I’ll continue to not read Atwood’s book and to not watch the Hulu series based on it (easy enough, since I don’t subscribe to Hulu and don’t intend to).

Hoyt’s column is impossible to excerpt in a way that does justice to it, so you just have to read the whole thing. But here’s the opening as a teaser:

I’ve been waiting for someone to accuse me of hypocrisy for liking Heinlein’s Revolt in 2100 (“If this goes on…”) and hating Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Mind you, I’m a libertarian which means being accused of hypocrisy is my bread and butter, and if it doesn’t happen at least twice a day I start feeling a little off.

The left, for instance, is fond of accusing me of hypocrisy for the stuff I write, since my moral and religious standing should not allow me to do that.  Not that I have a moral or religious stand (or rather I do, but often in a different direction from every other human being).  In other words, I’m often enough accused of hypocrisy for not matching their strawman of me, so that I expect to be accused of hypocrisy at the drop of a hat.

But there are substantive reasons why “If this goes on…”/Revolt in 2100 is a worthy contribution to speculative literature, while Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tail survives only by being mercilessly inflicted on school children by their progressive elders.  And the reasons go way beyond the fact that the blinkered Atwood refuses to be considered “speculative fiction” under the impression that science fiction is bug-eyed monsters ravishing beauties. (Yeah, she said that.  No, seriously.)  They even go beyond the fact that Robert A. Heinlein could spin a tale, while Margaret Atwood has the writing skills of a bad porn writer, easily matched by any of a dozen newby erotica writers on Amazon Lending Library who at least, most of the time, manage to make their porn titillating while she only manages to make hers stultifying.

The reasons are more substantive when you get to world-building and the nature of fiction.

Like I said, RTWT.

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Comey’s big lie

Posted by Richard on July 25, 2018

A.F. Branco wondered whether Comey lied in 2016 or in 2017. The answer is “Yes, and probably plenty of other times too.”

Comey's Oath

For instance, earlier this year Comey appeared to claim that the Steele dossier wasn’t critical to getting a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page (and his “contacts,” meaning practically anyone in the Trump campaign).

Former FBI Director James Comey does not believe the infamous Steele dossier was necessary to obtain surveillance warrants against President Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser, Carter Page, Comey said Monday.

“Could there have been a FISA warrant without the Steele dossier?” PBS “News Hour” host Judy Woodruff asked Comey.

“It’s not my recollection that it was an essential part of any application,” he replied.

But note the weasely, Clintonesque wording, specifically the placement of the negative. Someone not parsing his words carefully to shade the meaning would have said, “It’s my recollection that it was not an essential part…”

Now that the Page FISA applications have been released (albeit heavily redacted), we know that the Nunes memo denounced by Democrats as full of lies was almost 100% accurate, that the Steele dossier was the first and primary evidence cited, that the FISA court was not made aware that it was paid for by Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton and the DNC, and that James Comey signed off on the assertion that the information had been verified (emphasis in original):

On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

Based on the dossier, the FBI told the FISA court it believed that Carter Page, who had been identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser, was coordinating with the Russian government in an espionage conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

This sensational allegation came from Christopher Steele, the former British spy. The FISA court was not told that the Clinton campaign was behind Steele’s work. Nor did the FBI and Justice Department inform the court that Steele’s allegations had never been verified. To the contrary, each FISA application — the original one in October 2016, and the three renewals at 90-day intervals — is labeled “VERIFIED APPLICATION” (bold caps in original). And each one makes this breathtaking representation:

The FBI has reviewed this verified application for accuracy in accordance with its April 5, 2001 procedures, which include sending a copy of the draft to the appropriate field office(s).

Consider this: The representation that the FBI’s verification procedures include sending the application to “appropriate field offices” is standard in FISA warrant applications. It is done because the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) mandates that the bureau “ensure that information appearing in a FISA application that is presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has been thoroughly vetted and confirmed.”

In each Carter Page FISA warrant application, the FBI represented that it had “reviewed this verified application for accuracy.” But did the bureau truly ensure that the information had been “thoroughly vetted and confirmed”? Remember, we are talking here about serious, traitorous allegations against an American citizen and, derivatively, an American presidential campaign.

When the FBI averred that it had verified for accuracy the application that posited these allegations, it was, at best, being hyper-technical, and thus misleading. What the bureau meant was that its application correctly stated the allegations as Steele had related them. But that is not what “verification” means. The issue is not whether Steele’s allegations were accurately described; it is whether they were accurate, period. Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court — which is what common sense and the FBI’s own manual mean by “verified”?

No, they were not.

Bottom line: We have evidence of collusion all right. There’s evidence of collusion between CIA Director George Brennan and the Russians. There’s evidence of collusion among various FBI and Justice officials to stop Trump before the election and to undermine his presidency afterward. What we don’t have is any credible evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

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The real foreign collusion scandal involves Brennan and the CIA

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2018

George Neumayr presents a scathing indictment of George Brennan and the CIA:

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

The bogus tips about Trump and the Russians came originally from Estonia, which feared that Trump would pull out of NATO, and later from British spooks who also wanted to ensure that Trump lost.

Read the whole thing, but note especially this, which is a tremendous ongoing problem:

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

This problem exists not just in the CIA, but in countless other federal agencies and departments. That’s one reason that Congress very much needs to pass the MERIT act ASAP.

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Funny footnote to Thai cave boys’ rescue

Posted by Richard on July 20, 2018

A retired Thai military officer provided Michael Yon with a funny footnote to the story of the Thai soccer team rescued from a flooded cave after two weeks. It seems that the rescuers let the boys decide who should leave the cave first.

The boys had no idea that millions of people around the world, and a helicopter were waiting for them. The hospital was totally prepped. A doctor told me that all 13 had their own medical staff assigned to them. Everyone had their own doctors and nurses assigned.

But they are rural boys and thought they would just pedal their bicycles home.

The boys decided that those who had the longest bicycle ride home should leave first.

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QOTD, Helsinki edition

Posted by Richard on July 17, 2018

Condemnation of Trump and the Helsinki summit has been near-universal. Media commentary has spanned the spectrum from “Trump should be removed from office by any means necessary” to “Trump should be summarily hanged for treason.” Democrats and Republicans (with the exception of Sen. Rand Paul) seem to be in bipartisan agreement that every word Trump uttered was reprehensible and deplorable, and that we must punish Russia with more sanctions at the very least, and possibly go further.

Which brings me to today’s quotes, a couple of reminders concerning bipartisanship:

We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party. Occasionally, the two parties get together to do something that’s both evil and stupid. That’s called bipartisanship.
— M. Stanton Evans

Universal, bipartisan agreement on anything is usually the first sign that something deeply unwise is about to happen, if only because there is nobody left to ask skeptical questions.
— Tucker Carlson

As for skeptical questions, a friend sent some of us a link to this Disobedient Media article about Mueller’s indictments of a dozen Russians for hacking the DNC et al. Confession: my eyes started to glaze over about a third of the way through this very dense and detailed dissection of the Russian hacking claims, and I only skimmed the rest. But if even a third of what I read is correct, Mueller’s claims regarding Guccifer 2.0 fall completely apart.

A more likely conclusion is that someone went to considerable trouble to make it look like Guccifer 2.0 was Russian government operatives. Pure speculation on my part, but I’m thinking that that someone might be CrowdStrike, hired by the DNC to look into its server breach(es) and the only organization that ever had access to the DNC servers (the FBI never did).

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QOTD, rock edition

Posted by Richard on July 14, 2018

“Same three guys, same three chords.”
— Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top

Their 50th anniversary is next year. Hard to believe.

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Smirking Strzok

Posted by Richard on July 13, 2018

Peter Strzok testified before a House committee yesterday, and the usual suspects in the media lauded him as a hero and excoriated the Republicans as doing the bidding of Putin. For example, here’s John Brennan on MSNBC (emphasis in the original):

Moments later, Barack Obama’s former CIA Director and NBC News Contributor John Brennan absurdly applauded Strzok: “Well, I’m personally glad that Peter Strzok had an opportunity to talk publicly about this so that the American people could see his professionalism as well as what I think is his integrity.”

Professionalism and integrity? He’s talking about this guy:

Strzok just oozes professionalism and integrity in that clip, doesn’t he?

That’s one of the key figures in both the Clinton email investigation and the Russian collusion investigation, folks. Looks completely objective and unbiased, doesn’t he?

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Turning cancer against itself

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2018

If we can manage to keep the Luddites who fret about “Frankenfoods” and “designer babies” at bay, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology will enable us all to live longer, healthier lives. The latest example of its potential involves modifying cancer cells so that they attack their own kind:

Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream have something of a homing instinct, able to find and return to the tumor where they originated. To capitalize on that ability, researchers engineered these roving tumor cells to secrete a protein that triggers a death switch in resident tumor cells they encounter. The cancer-fighting cancer cells also have a built-in suicide switch — so the weaponized cells self-destruct before they can start tumors of their own, the team reports in the July 11 Science Translational Medicine.

The new study isn’t the first attempt to fight cancer with cancer. Previous research has used circulating tumor cells to deliver cancer-killing viruses to noncirculating tumor cells, for example. But the new approach uses a gene-editing technology called CRISPR/Cas9 to manipulate the offensive-line cancer cells and give them more sophisticated properties, such as the ability to self-destruct once no longer needed.

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, “Faster, please!”

HT: Fark

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DOJ: AR-15s are not “weapons of war”

Posted by Richard on July 11, 2018

The Department of Justice has agreed to settle the lawsuit brought by Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation. As Billll notes:

The DOJ has thrown in the towel in a lawsuit brought by Defense Distributed which opens up a lot of doors and windows.

The settlement acknowledges that Defense Distributed has a First Amendment right to publish 3-D printer files for making firearms and related information, and DOJ agreed to pay “a significant portion” of the plaintiff’s legal fees. But perhaps most importantly, as SAF notes in their statement, it destroys a key argument of the gun control crowd:

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

In today’s climate, I’m willing to celebrate that as something of a victory. But I’m compelled to point out that a true understanding of the Second Amendment leads to the conclusion that it’s the right to possess military arms, “weapons of war,” that our founding fathers wanted to protect.

“[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”
– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28, January 10, 1788

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