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Gun Owners of America Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for over 30 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their Second Amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.
GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington, D.C. and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA’s work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.
Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC’s Today Show, CBS’ Good Morning America, CNN’s Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox’s Hannity and Colmes and many others. He has debated Congressman James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.
He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.
Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
GOA With the current attack on personal gun ownership and the Second Amendment, the radical Left has twisted the phrase “assault weapon” to try and take guns away from law-abiding Americans.
Real assault rifles are used by modern infantrymen and are capable of firing in a fully-automatic mode. Yes, they are currently available to citizens — but one must submit to a federal background check (which can take months), be photographed and fingerprinted, pay a tax of $200, and get a sign-off from the local chief of police or sheriff. Moreover, because of their limited supply, machineguns run in the thousands of dollars to purchase.
The semi-automatic “assault weapons” are NOT machineguns. They don’t fire like machineguns, and they are functionally no different than many pistols or shotguns which have been available to civilian markets for over a century and which can fire in a semi-automatic mode. So, why the fuss over simple cosmetics when it doesn’t matter one whit to the internal function of the rifle?
This is why Americans must begin changing the terminology we use to our favor. So-called “assault weapons” are not designed to assault anyone — they are “defense weapons” for Americans to defend our families, our country and our Constitution. In colonial times, the “defense weapon” of the day was a musket, and our forefathers used muskets and canons to fight the British to secure our freedom.
Today, the modern analog of the colonial musket is the AR-15 style rifles that have the ability to use standard-capacity magazines for self-defense. God forbid we have to use our “defense weapons.” But, as the old saying goes, “better to have it, and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
Victims of tyranny — from the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, to the victims of Joseph Stalin and Idi Amin — have all wished they were armed. We should not join their ranks of victimhood.
Why would Americans give up the right to have the best possible defense weapon we can have to protect our home, family, state and nation from criminals of ALL kinds?
So, when anyone tries to turn the conversation toward “assault weapons,” turn it back to “defense weapons” and, as the line goes, “stick to your guns.”
Tim Macy is the Vice Chairman of Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 300,000 members.