May 11, 2011
Ladd Everitt, (202) 701-7171,  
Washington, DC-Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced today via Twitter and Facebook that he will be a Republican Party candidate for president in the 2012 elections. While the media has scrutinized many aspects of Gingrich €™s political background and advocacy, one area that has been chronically ignored is his radical position on the Second Amendment.

Gingrich has been a featured speaker at the past two national conventions of the National Rifle Association (NRA). There he has been called on to provide the intellectual imprimatur for the organization €™s beliefs about the Constitution. Specifically, Gingrich has affirmed-repeatedly-the NRA position that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals-divorced from any type of service in a state-directed Militia-to take violent action against our government when they believe it has become €œtyrannical. €

In their amicus brief in the landmark Second Amendment case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the NRA dismissed with €œthe argument that the Framers were contemplating only empowering the [states €™] Militia as a check on the national government, € arguing instead that €œthe Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny. €

Gingrich picked up on these points in his  speech  before the 2011 NRA Convention in Pittsburgh, stating:

The right to bear arms is not about hunting. It €™s not about target practice. The right to bear arms is a political right designed to safeguard freedom so that no government can take away from you the rights that God has given you and it was written by people who had spent their lifetime fighting the greatest empire in the world and they knew that if they had not had the right to bear arms they would have been enslaved and they did not want us to be enslaved and that is why they guaranteed us the right to protect ourselves. It is a political right of the deepest importance to the survival of freedom in America.

He even seemed to embrace radical   €œsovereign citizen € ideology, stating, €œWe are the only country in human history which says you personally-every single person in this room -God has given each one of you personally rights which make you sovereign. You as a citizen are sovereign. You loan power to the government. The government does not loan power to you. €

At his  speech  before the 2010 NRA Convention in Charlotte, Gingrich suggested that federal laws governing gun ownership (including laws in the District of Columbia) are a legitimate pretext for violent revolution:

The Founding Fathers were very wise and experienced people. After all, [they] had risen to rebellion out of desperation because they had seen a tyrannical, imperialist government using its judges and its bureaucracy with its corrupt politicians and so they knew what was possible and they had studied this, and they knew what had happened in the English Civil War, and they understood the danger of tyranny. And so they said to themselves, well if we €™re going to tell you in writing you have the right to free speech, and we €™re going to tell you in writing you have the right to religion, how are we going to give you the people the power to enforce that? And they said you as a citizen have the right to bear arms and the government has no business trying to stop you as long as you €™re a legal and law-abiding citizen from being able to protect yourself. Anybody who €™s going to be historically honest has to admit the people we €™re describing understood the right to bear arms because they routinely carried arms. These were tough people in a tough time in a tough country doing tough things and the idea that they would allow some D.C. city government or some Washington federal bureaucrat to get between them and their Constitutional rights, they would have said in Jefferson €™s terms was the legitimate justification for a political revolution in every generation which was what Jefferson thought was inevitable to clean out the corruption, the arrogance, and the obsolescence that government would invariably have.

As the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) has stated in the past, such insurrectionist ideology is fundamentally anti-democratic-a philosophy of €œmight makes right € where €œone person, one vote € becomes €œone gun, one vote. € It is not only diametrically opposed to the basic American principle of political equality, but also a continuing threat to the safety of America €™s elected officials and public servants, as CSGV €™s €œInsurrectionism Timeline € makes clear.

The  Coalition to Stop Gun Violence  seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.

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