Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Extremists Using Gun Shows To Exchange Deadly Information

More and more, gun shows that most people think are merely hobbyist events for collectors to get together to trade items much like model train collectors do are becoming a recruiting grounds for political extremists to recruit new members or circulate petitions for extremist causes. In Portland, Oregon the monthly gun shows at the large Expo Center that take place have become a recruiting grounds for extremists targeting immigrants or even recruiting for White Supremacist organizations. In addition, there is evidence that off-the-books, illegal gun sales often take place in the parking lot that sometimes involves illegal weapons of very lethal power being sold.

All of this calls into question whether political groups should be banned from such events and tighter parking lot security to prevent illegal weapons sales isn't really needed.

While gun shows have long been able to gain public acceptance by most believing that only peaceful hobbyists or collectors attend such events, a large part of the appeal of these shows was to an audience who sought to avoid background checks or gun licensing rules before many states sought to crackdown on this. But a mentality that often was very suspicious towards the government continues to use these gun shows to promote extreme political opinions. Sometimes this could be especially paranoid and siege-mentality minded in nature. One organization, the Militia Of Montana had a massive display of books at the Expo Center recently that including titles like , "Weapons and Explosives Improvisation", "How To Hide Things In Public Places" and books on guerrilla warfare tactics or how to make poisons. Another table was entirely comprised of Nazi items and pictures of Adolf Hitler for sale. The John Birch Society also had a display for their extreme politics as well. For some reason it is entirely legal to inform would-be domestic terrorists how to build bombs or other illegal weapons that could kill many innocent persons through books or other instructional materials, yet the federal government prosecutors only will only target some materials of a sexual nature at random that it considers to be obscenity. Anyone sympathetic to Al Qaeda or a similar mindset would be able to find more than enough books or information at a gun show to purchase common hardware and drugstore items and build dangerous bombs. This is a serious issue.

The fact of the matter is that many extreme political organizations use gun shows not to sell guns but to indoctrinate new members with their extremist views. And it could be a lethal combination to indoctrinate some into hate or extremism and offer them all the information they need on how to build bombs or other serious weapons.

Organizers of these gun show events need to set down some rules on what is acceptable to sell or display at these shows or not. And since government often reaps the financial rewards from renting out the space for these shows, they should take a serious look at who is renting space at these events.

On the Website of the Militia Of Montana, they claim that they do not advocate breaking any laws and the items they sell are for information purposes alone. That may be indeed correct. But is that enough to stop the next Timothy McVeigh from using this explosives knowledge to cause great harm? Will it stop someone who supports the goals of Al Qaeda? Could this be an accident just waiting to happen? Some things don't make any sense at all.


At 4:38 PM, Blogger shurtleffhal said...

Mr. Hoosen shows the true nature of his progressive values. He wants to ban organizations that distribute information that he doesn't like. He also is deceptive when he cleverly links The John Birch Society to a table selling books on how to make bombs.

The John Birch Society sets up tables at numerous events including fairs, flea markets, gun shows, home school conventions and many others. We distribute such subversive literature like the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. At a recent table I manned in Downtown Boston July 4th, we asked visitors to our table to name signers of the Declaration of Independence and gave out hundreds of copies of that document. In addition, we distributed copies of The DVD "An Overview of America" which can be viewed on YouTube. At a recent convention of state legislatures in New Orleans, we distributed information against NAFTA and the proposed North American Union and gave out DVDs entitled "The Real European Union." We are generally well received by those on all sides of the political spectrum.

He must be young or have a short memory. Historically, most of the homegrown terrorists in the U.S. have been of the progressive stripe: The Black Panthers, LaRaza, the Weathermen, etc. and promoted books like "Negroes with Guns" by Robert Williams,"Seize the Time" by Bobby Seale and "The Urban Guerella" by Carlos Manighella.

Perhaps Mr. Hoosen can set up a table at a gun show and convince the attendees why progressive values like gun confiscastion are in their best interest.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Paul Hooson said...

Shurtleffhal, I fully recognize that The John Birch Society is an entirely peaceful organization. I've read a great deal of their literature, and they certainly have never ever advocated any violence or lack of civil order ever. They are hardly much more conservative than Ronald Reagan was politically.

I have no problem with The John Birch Society or any other peaceful political organization setting up a display at any general fair in which weapons are not displayed or sold.

I'm simply opposed to political organizations of any type using gun shows for promote membership. I'm concerned how a few individuals prone to extreme political views and also with a lack of self-control around weapons could use any views, even from a harmless organization such as The John Birch Society or any political organization for that matter to justify domestic terrorism or violence.

The fact of the matter is that some far right persons have carried out bank robbery, armed car robbery, murder or other acts to fund their political views and purchase weapons.

I certainly support the First Amendment to a far fuller extent than does The John Birch Society which has attacked sex education and other forms of harmless educational or commercial speech such as the unconstitutional use of obscenity legislation to regulate controversial speech, maybe you should explain that. As far as I'm concerned, any nut can write about anything that that want. I may not like it. But the Bill Of Rights gives them that right. Period.

I just simply oppose any mix of politics at gun shows. That's all. No censorship of the media like The John Birch Society has consistently supported in their literature for as long as I can recall.

I'd also like to know why does The John Birch Society feel that it is appropriate to set up a literature display at events that should be limited to hobbyists selling or trading guns. This I don't understand. I have no objections to your group setting up a display in Downtown Boston as you did. It's just that I don't believe that there should be any connection whatsoever between politics and guns. I only advocate for a possible rules change at these gun shows for what is appropriate to display or not.

Much of my education is in psychology, and I'm concerned about any paranoid schizophrenic personalities who may be motivated to commit bizarre political crimes as a result of a lethal combination of mental illness, weapons and politics.

I also certainly do not support any form of gun confiscation of any type either, except in the case of a judge ordered decree for a convicted felon, someone suffering from mental illness, known terrorists, etc. The Second Amendment clearly gives any law abiding citizen the right to own a gun for legitimate uses such as a hobby, personal protection, etc.

I remember an incident outside my old high school where some gang members were selling illegal guns to high school students in the parking lot of a McDonald's and were arrested. What business do high school students have buying guns? This is a sensible restriction as well. Only adults who have passed a background check by the police should purchase a gun. If an adult has no criminal record or record for mental health hospitalization, then there should be no problem for them to own a gun for legitimate purposes. But I believe that the Birch Society opposes this minor rule if I'm not wrong, right?

I do support your opposition to NAFTA as well as the proposed North American Union. But I just believe that all politics should be removed from gun shows. They should be the same as a model train shows or auto parts swap meets, and restricted to only merchandise or related sales. Not some political fair. That's all.

At any rate, Shurtleffhal, I'm very happy that you stopped by here and expressed your views. You're very welcome to comment any time you wish. I'm also deeply sorry if anyone here got the wrong impression that The John Birch Society is not a fully peaceful organization by not carefully reading the feature. A very good day to you, Sir.


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