B-A-N-G ---> Scientology attacks Right to Gun Ownership

28 Jun 2001


In early 1995, I became interested in the Constitutional First Amendment aspect of Scientology's attack on the internet through their attempt to curtail free speech by cancelling this newsgroup. By mid February 1995, Scientology attacked the Fourth Amendment prohibitions on unreasonable search and seizure and continued that attack into August 1995, when Arnie Lerma was raided. The Scientology attacks on free speech continue right up until today, as we can all see here on ARS.

The Scientology organization has now tried to have the Salvation Army come after my Constitutional rights to gun ownership. Salvation Army Correctional Services spoke to me yesterday and told me that if I did not register all of my guns by the end of the day yesterday, she would have a warrant issued for my arrest. I informed her that in New Hampshire, my state of residence, there is no such thing as "registering" guns unless one is talking about a "license to carry a concealed weapon."

On the very first day of my probation, I notified the Salvation Army about my gun ownership. I was told by Donna Muniz, Probation Officer, that there was no problem since Penick's withheld adjudication had nothing to do with firearms. Furthermore, since I lived 1,500 miles away in New Hampshire, there was no issue, she said. Now, four and a half months later, Scientology is trying to have my guns confiscated. This is pure harassment. Yesterday the Salvation Army Correctional Services informed me that they now wish to charge me with a probation violation because I own guns, despite their prior waiver of the probation requirement in this respect. The woman I spoke to admitted that Scientology has pressured them on this point. I told her they were welcome to charge me with a probation violation and have an arrest warrant issued. I told her I would be more than happy to return to Florida for arrest and appear before any Pinellas County Judge they could dredge up.

Just yesterday, I received the latest NRA magazine, incidentally called Freedom, that contained the following letter dated May 17, 2001 from John Ashcroft, Attorney General to the NRA:

"Thank you for your letter of April 10, 2001, regarding my views on the Second Amendment. While I cannot comment on any pending litigation, let me state unequivocally my view that the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms.

"While some have argued that the Second Amendment guarantees only a "collective" right of the States to maintain militias, I believe the Amendment's plain meaning and original intent prove otherwise. Like the First and Fourth Amendments, the Second Amendment protects the rights of "the people," which the Supreme Court has noted is a term of art that should be interpreted consistently throughout the Bill of Rights. United States v Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265 (1990) (plurality opinion). Just as the First and Fourth Amendment secure individual rights of speech and security respectively; the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. This view of the text comports with the all but unanimous understanding of the Founding Fathers. See, e.g., Federalist No. 46 (Madison); Federalist No. 29 (Hamilton); see also, Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1764 ("No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."); George Mason at Virginia's U.S. Constitution ratification convention 1788 ("I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people ... To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.").

"This is not a novel position. In early decisions, the United States Supreme Court routinely indicated that the right protected by the Second Amendment applied to individuals. See, e.g, Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 276 (1892); ,Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535,538 (1893); Robertson v. Baldwin,165 U.S. 275, 281-82 (1897); Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U.S. 581, 597 (19oo). Justice Story embraced the same view in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution. See (3) J. Story, Cornrnentaries on the Constitution ~1890, p. 746 (1833). It is the view that was adopted by United States Attorney General Homer Cummings before Congress in testifying about the constitutionality of the first federal gun control statute, the National Firearms Act of 1934. See The National Firearms Act of 1934: Hearings on HR. 9066 Before the House Comm. on Ways and Means, 73rd Cong. 6,13,19 (1934). As recently as 1986, the United States Congress and President Ronald Reagan explicitly adopted this view in the Firearms Owners' Protection Act. See Pub. L. No. 99-308, ~1(b) (1986). Significantly, the individual rights view is embraced by the preponderance of legal scholarship on the subject, which, I note, includes articles by academics on both ends of the political spectrum. See, e.g., William Van Alstyne, The Second Amendtnent and the Personal Right to Arms, 43 Duke L.J. 1236 (1994); Akhil Reed Amar, The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, 101 Yale L.J. 1193 (1992); Sanford Levinson, 7 The Embarrasssing Second Amendment, 99 Yale L.J. 637 (1989); Don Kates, Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment, 82 Mich. L. Rev 204 (1983).

"In light of this vast body of evidence, I believe it is clear that the Constitution protects the private ownership of firearms for lawful purposes. As I was reminded during my confirmation hearing, some hold a different view and would, in effect, read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution. I must respectfully disagree with this view, for when I was sworn as Attorney General of the United States, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That responsibility applies to all parts of the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

"Thank you for your interest in this matter.

"John Ashcroft, Attorney General"

On Sunday, April 19, 1998 in a speech at the Cult Information Service Annual Conference on the subject of "Battling Scientology's Attack on Free Speech", I made the following statement:

"A little known fact in our society is that we have no rights under our constitution unless we will stand up and affirmatively assert them. This is a price that all cults and litigious entities like Scientology force us to pay in our society because they are so willing to strip their members and critics alike of as many of our rights as we will cede them."

What I was saying then and now even more strongly is that the USA is the least free society in the Western democratic world. No other society can so systematically allow a criminal organization like scientology to strip away each and every right we are willing to cede them. I will cede them nothing.

On this gun issue, I wonder whether scientology was planning on some "activities" at my house in New Hampshire after I was disarmed by their manipulation of the court system.

They may try but I won't let them get away with it.

Bob Minton


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