Guns and Freedom in Arizona
TRNN visits a gun store in Tucson
OSCAR LEON, TRNN: On the aftermath of the Tucson shootings, I still had Sheriff Dupnik’s declarations in mind.
CLARENCE DUPNIK, SHERIFF, PIMA COUNTY, AZ: It’s my feeling that his personality is the type that is susceptible to this kind of behavior. It doesn’t surprise me that people from the right would be upset that people like myself and maybe people from the left and a whole lot of other people in America feel as I do, that the anger that’s purposely generated by people who make a living off of it serves one particular party better than the others. And it wouldn’t surprise me if it continues at least through 2012.
LEON: So when I heard there was a movement to recall the sheriff, I drove to Tucson. In the Black Weapons Armory, I found some of the sheriff’s apposers. However, they did not allow me to film the petition to depose the sheriff or the people who sign it. I end up talking to the shop owner and a guns / martial arts instructor to figure out their perspective on gun laws, the Second Amendment, and the shooting.
JEFFREY PRATHER, WEAPONS & MARTIAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR: As far as Dupnik, Sheriff Dupnik is concerned, he–as a former law enforcement official myself, I thought he acted very unprofessionably and irresponsibly, because he had no facts to back up what he said whatsoever. And a good defense attorney–and I’ve been to trial with a lot of cases–is going to bring his remarks up in court and say that the prosecution is prejudicial because of that attitude. He is in effect profiling anybody who is conservative, pro-gun, Republican. And I foresee a lot of problems for him in future court cases and inside his own department, with promotions and hiring and equal opportunity lawsuits where I see officers coming forward and saying, well, you didn’t give me a promotion because I was a conservative and I was on this Facebook or this blog or something. I think Sheriff Dupnik should pay a lot more attention to law enforcement and a lot less to publicity.
LEON: Have there been any kind of modifications to the procedures you have to do in order to sell a gun?
TOM ROMPEL, BLACK WEAPONS ARMORY OWNER: No, none whatsoever. The requirements are that if you want to purchase a handgun, you must be an Arizona resident. Assuming you’re an Arizona resident, you would then fill out a one-page federal form. It’s called a 4473. Once you have that completed, we copy your example, your driver’s license with your current address. We call in to ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] or FBI for a background check, which takes about two or three minutes. Assuming that you are clear, they give us the proceed. Then we can proceed with the transaction and you can take your firearm, your handgun out right away. Well, the Second Amendment–our founding fathers, when they drafted the Constitution of the United States, put the Second Amendment in there. Second Amendment deals with the right of a US citizen to keep and bear arms. Now, they did that to prevent a tyrannical government. So they believed that a government should fear their people, the people should not fear the government. And that is the brilliance–one of the things our founding fathers did. And that is actually the culture of what it is to be a US citizen.
PRATHER: Second Amendment’s right there in our pocket Constitution: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". And what that means is that the average citizen is allowed to defend themselves against tyranny of oppressive government, against criminals, against domestic or foreign terrorists. Well, Arizona has always been a bastion of Second Amendment freedom. And if you’re paying attention to American politics right now, Arizona is the epicenter of individual rights and states rights, where we are opposing big government, big government restrictions, and emphasizing individual and states rights, including gun rights, because if you aren’t free–. The reason we’re free is not because we talk about it. The reason is is because we’re armed and able to defend it. And since the history of the beginning of the United States our founding fathers defended themselves with firearms. In fact, the Continental Army fought against the British before there was even a country founded. Early native Americans defended their freedom with firearms. Early African Americans defended their freedom with firearms. And that’s just a fact of life is if you want to be free, you have to be willing to fight for it, and the weapon of the age is the firearm.
ROMPEL: Government has no business controlling guns. The only reason they want to control it is so they can control the populace. You can look around the globe. Where citizens are unarmed, you–Venezuela, someone not far from your own native country, is a great example where the citizenry has been disarmed, and now you have a dictator in South America. Of course, he calls himself a president. I’m talking about Hugo Chavez. So the government does not have a right to control the firearms. There is no proposal on the floor that I have heard of at this point to control the firearms. If anyone tries that, there is going to be fierce opposition in Washington on the congressional floor. Well, there is–on the form itself, if you have been hospitalized or had been evaluated for mental problems, then you’re prohibited from purchasing a firearm. I think our gun laws are fine the way they are. It’d be nice for our government to focus on other issues, like illegal immigration. And our government needs to enforce the laws that are on the book and not worry about an issue like Second Amendment. Well, we have some very unique issues. We’re a border state. The majority of the drug trafficking is coming right through just south of here. We know for a fact our border is porous. We’re being overrun. And our federal government is not doing anything. They’re looking the other way.
PRATHER: Well, again, the Second Amendment starts off by saying "a well regulated militia", and the reason for that at the time was because when the United States of America was being founded, there really was no United States Army yet. There was a Continental Army, and George Washington was leading the Continental Army, but in local areas they were militias. Militia took on a dirty word under the Clinton administration, and there is kind of a connotation of big-bellied, camouflaged, cut-off sleeves, backwoods types. But actually the history of America is founded on militias, local communities, local citizen patriots defending themselves from the British with their firearms. And, again, that’s what happened on that Saturday is you could say that those folks were an unorganized militia. They came together right there for the event, and all those people worked together–you know, retired colonel Bill Badgers arm-barring the guy down, 61-year-old Patricia [inaudible] [Maisch] grabbing his magazine, Joe Zamudio drawing his weapon and then holstering it, Daniel Hernandez keeping pressure on Congresswoman Giffords’ head wound. Certainly, if he had not done that, she probably wouldn’t be making the miraculous progress. But everybody worked together immediately as a citizen militia. And it was an armed militia. Joe Zamudio was armed. He just didn’t need to shoot. So the concept of militia has been badmouthed. And now we normally call them state national guards, as in the Arizona National Guard. But I believe, if I’m not mistaken, there is still an Arizona law on the books that every adult male from age 18, I think, to 42, maybe, is in the Arizona militia and it can still be called up. And, again, the best kind of government is local government. Nobody knows how to govern themselves best than local people. This whole big-government concept that people in Washington or people in the UN can best know what’s best for us in different places is absurd. And militia shouldn’t be a dirty word at all.
LEON: For The Real News, this is Oscar Leon.
End of Transcript
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.