On December 3rd, Esquire magazine released an op-ed written by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Batemen in the US Army. In it LTC Batemen, a man who has risen to some of the higher levels of military command, called for a modification to gun rights in America topped off with the statement “We will pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers”, a firm ascertain from a uniformed service member sworn to uphold the Constitution. Under the proposals LTC Batemen offers, not only would owning anything other than a black powder, single-shot rifle be banned, but also a tax increase starting at 400% on ammunition would further restrict those desiring gun ownership. This is somewhat disconcerting as it reflects an increasing attitude by senior US military leaders that are decidedly against the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment.
In his article, LTC Batemen outlines a series of proposals that should be added to the current legislation on gun control following his personal outrage at a shooting incident related to the Auburn Iron Bowl game;
1. The only guns permitted will be the following:
- Smoothbore or Rifled muzzle-loading black powder muskets. No 7-11 in history has ever been held up with one of these.
- Double-barrel breech-loading shotguns. Hunting with these is valid.
- Bolt-action rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than five rounds. Like I said, hunting is valid. But if you cannot bring down a defenseless deer in under five rounds, then you have no fking reason to be holding a killing tool in the first place.
2. We will pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers. That is because I am willing to wait until you die, hopefully of natural causes. Guns, except for the three approved categories, cannot be inherited. When you die your weapons must be turned into the local police department, which will then destroy them. (Weapons of historical significance will be de-milled, but may be preserved.)
3. Police departments are no longer allowed to sell or auction weapons used in crimes after the cases have been closed. (That will piss off some cops, since they really need this money. But you know what they need more? Less violence and death. By continuing the process of weapon recirculation, they are only making their jobs — or the jobs of some other cops — harder.)
4. We will submit a new tax on ammunition. In the first two years it will be 400 percent of the current retail cost of that type of ammunition. (Exemptions for the ammo used by the approved weapons.) Thereafter it will increase by 20 percent per year.
5. We will initiate a nationwide “buy-back” program, effective immediately, with the payouts coming from the DoD budget. This buy-back program will start purchasing weapons at 200 percent of their face value the first year, 150 percent the second year, 100 percent the third year. Thereafter there will be a 10 year pause, at which point the guns can be sold to the government at 10 percent of their value for the next 50 years.
6. The major gun manufactures of the United States, less those who create weapons for the federal government and the armed forces, will be bought out by the United States of America, for our own damned good. (LTC Batemen 2013)
The part that makes this view so disconcerting is that LTC Batemen isn’t the first senior leader in the US military to express such anti-gun views. Indeed in 2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jim Garrow claimed a top military veteran’s “litmus test” by the Obama Administration for new military leaders was whether or not they would “obey an order to fire on U.S. citizens”. (Watson 2013).
Even retired General Stanley McCrystal stated in an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe,
“We’ve got to take a serious look—I understand everyone’s desire to have whatever [guns] they want—but we’ve got to protect our children, we’ve got to protect our police, we’ve got to protect our population. Serious action is necessary. Sometimes we talk about very limited actions [of gun control] on the edges and I just don’t think that’s enough.” (Timm 2013)
Mr. McCrystal was a former senior leader to various Special Operation units and the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan. He was later dismissed by President Obama following a 2010 Rolling Stones article; quoted as being critical of the Obama Administration, and its Afghan policies. Senior officers even retired ones, often hold significant sway in the gun control debate and their views are heralded as insight to the military leadership.
Now obviously this issue explores what is inherently a sensitive, and often very emotional issue to Americans who take their 2nd Amendment rights seriously. But this isn’t just the hysteria of various groups or individuals looking to sway sheep into forms of action for or against gun control. The ongoing “purge” of senior military leaders that disagree with the Administration on any range of issues such as, gun control, sequestration, same-sex soldiers, and more has been evident for some time. (Carter 2013) (Investor’s Business Daily 2013) It’s difficult to ascertain the extent of these dismissals, be it political differences, disciplinary, or something more as often the efforts to “transform” the military are seldom covered by large news agencies as it is contradictory to glorifying Obama’s agenda.
This only leaves one important question: why?
The answer is open to speculation. Some see the “transition” of senior military leadership as an effort to make the military into a model that is far more likely to enact unconstitutional orders should the need arise where military action is required here in the United States against its own citizens. Others see the dismissals as merely a way of cutting the budget while making it easier to pass specific progressive ideologies for the military, such as homosexuality, same sex-marriage, and defense spending. But however you want to interpret the actions; fact of the matter is those that are rapidly remaining in control of the military are leaders who are either apt to keep their mouths shut despite their personal reservations, or deeply ascribe to the ideology that Obama desires.
This does not mean that all those in uniform share these views. Indeed from my own personal observations and experience many serving in the military are very pro-gun, conservative, and Constitutionalist members. Many service members are in fact members of Oath Keepers. But for whatever the percentage, there will be those that are the opposite as well and will do what is ordered based on a variety of personal and professional reasons. And if its one thing the military and gun control advocates are quick to hope people forget is the 1970 Kent State shooting where the Ohio National Guard was deployed to suppress anti-war demonstrations and opened fire against unarmed civilian protesters throwing rocks. And even with all this, the usage of the military on gun control pales in comparison to the militarization of police forces nation-wide since 9-11 (to be explored later in another article). The more citizens are willing to let their 2nd Amendment rights slip away, the more people remain indifferent, the easier it will be to transform the military and indeed America into a world that was radically different than what the Founding Father’s envisioned.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Carter, Sara. Blaze Sources: Obama Purging Military Commanders. October 23, 2013. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/23/military-sources-obama-administration-purging-commanders/ (accessed December 7, 2013).
Investor’s Business Daily. Obama’s Military Coup Purges 197 Officers In Five Years. October 29, 2013. http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102913-677116-197-military-officers-purged-by-obama.htm (accessed December 3, 2013).
LTC Batemen, Robert. It’s Time to Talk ABout Guns and the Supreme Court. December 3, 2013. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/bateman-on-guns-120313?src=soc_fcbks (accessed December 7, 2013).
Timm, Jane. Gen. McChrystal: Assault rifles are for battlefields, not schools. MSNBC. January 8, 2013. http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/gen (accessed December 7, 2013).
Watson, Joseph. Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: Obama Asks Military Leaders If They Will “Fire On US Citizens”. January 22, 2013. http://www.infowars.com/nobel-peace-prize-nominee-obama-asks-military-leaders-if-they-will-fire-on-us-citizens/ (accessed December 7, 2013).