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Schwartz takes issue with local article on gun rights

Thursday, February 14, 2013
posted by Guest Column

Linked here is a story by Ken Stone of the Rancho Bernardo Patch, regarding a presentation on gun rights by Michael Schwartz at Monday’s Republican Party of San Diego monthly meeting. Below is Schwartz’ response.

Ken,

I can’t thank you enough for covering my talk at the San Diego County Republican Party Central Committee! San Diegans need to know the extremism being proposed in Sacramento that will have unreasonable consequences to current and future firearm ownership.

I do have a number of concerns with your article.

1. I do not represent the National Rifle Association. I am a paying member and do a lot of volunteer work for the NRA, but I do not speak for any group or organization.

2. I am baffled with your opinion of the racial make-up of the room and why that is important to you. It certainly isn’t applicable to the story. This was especially concerning on a night when the San Diego County Republican Party endorsed three people’s campaign for public office: a woman of Laotian descent, a woman of Sikh descent, and a man of Hispanic descent. When I asked you about this observation during our phone call, you said you wanted to “add some color” and “couldn’t imagine the middle-aged people in the room serving in a militia”, but would not address the part of your comment that pointed out their skin color. I don’t see skin tone as being relevant to the service of your country and take offense to such a dismissive, marginalizing statement regarding the fantastic people in attendance that night. The laws being proposed severely limiting all gun ownership in California do not affect one “color” of people, but rather negatively affect all Californians equally. We are all in this together.

3. The section where you went into detail regarding Sen. Marty Block and his proposed bill had nothing to do with my speech. I did not mention his bill at all. In my speech, I did specifically list each regulation I was there to talk about:

  • Outlawing of hollow point defensive ammunition, possession of more than 500 rounds of ammunition, all semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, guns with magazines that hold over 6 bullets, and bullet buttons.
  • As well as legally requiring the registration of all guns owned, background checks in order to buy any ammunition, a new tax on all ammunition sales, liability insurance purchased by all gun owners, and criminalizing storing a gun in your home without a trigger lock installed.

All of the regulations I spoke to are far more severe and intrusive than the bill you chose to write about that Sen. Block has proposed. I cannot explain why you would pick a proposal I did not talk about to detail in your article rather than focus on the ones I did specifically list. The proposals I spoke about which will fundamentally change gun ownership for every Californian.

4. The most concerning part of your writing is how you presented my point. You misquoted me. I asked the audience to become a part of “THE well regulated militia” by getting more education on the safe handling of firearms. Civilian Americans are by definition “the militia” and by becoming more educated they fulfill the “well regulated” responsibility. I did not call for them to become a part of “A militia” which changes the meaning completely. I said that the Second Amendment is a very “patriotic right.” When it was written, part of the purpose was so the leadership at the federal and state level could call on civilians to defend from foreign invaders and if there is a need for civilians to defend their country, it doesn’t matter who is Democrat or Republican because we are all together Americans. I pointed out that the type of firearm used when called to serve in an organized militia today would be something similar to the type of rifles Sacramento leadership is trying to ban and if there is a debate regarding the need for such access to these arms, that there is a process for changing the Constitution that does not involve state legislatures gutting its meaning permanently.

Perhaps part of the problem is that you saw me as a professional NRA spokesperson rather than the concerned San Diego resident that I am. Sometimes this allows a writer to more easily attack speakers. I thank you for taking my call this morning and offering me the opportunity to respond to your article. Thank you again for writing the story and exercising your First Amendment right, but would ask that in the future you strive harder for accuracy and impartiality when reporting on our Second Amendment right.

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2 Responses to “Schwartz takes issue with local article on gun rights”

  1. Michael,
    I happened to be at the same meeting (in a futile hope of seeing Rick Perry), and would have also described you as an NRA activist, because that is factual and pertinent to your speech. I don’t see any way around that.

    However, the reporter’s gratuitous racial observation was simply out of place at a non-racial event. It looks like not-so-subtle editorializing for the reporter’s own political beliefs, which he states, to his credit.

    This is especially true since the party endorsed three candidates of minority backgrounds, as you said. There was also extensive discussion of the need for racial inclusiveness. Mentioning the crowd’s racial composition in that context would have been pertinent. But none of those facts got into the story.

    No matter what one’s political beliefs are, that kind of selective reporting is inappropriate in an article that putatively has no partisan purpose.

  2. Michael A. Schwartz says:

    Thank you Bradley. Next time we’re in the same room together, come over and say hello!

    He wrote “Michael Schwartz of the National Rifle Association” which makes it sound like I speak for NRA or on their behalf.

    The worst part was how Stone changed the meaning of what I said 100%. One main purpose was to show a way to talk about the intent and meaning of the Second Amendment so that those unfamiliar could relate and feel a sense of pride in their country. Although, as many point out, it is for the defense of the people from a tyrannical government, it is also so the people can competently and effectively serve as protection for their government.

    But…due to his personal opinions, he chose to make it look like I was calling for Republicans in San Diego County to grab a gun and join a militia. Like…now.

    He couldn’t have done a much worse job and could not have been more wrong about me. I look forward to getting to know Mr. Stone and help him have a much better understanding of Americans and America. Especially NRA members.

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