Bob Barr

Firearms manufacturers usually find themselves playing defense. Following virtually every highly publicized incident involving a multiple shooting, manufactures often are among the first round of scapegoats flogged by the mainstream media and gun-control politicians. Indeed, were it not for the 2005 law that protects gun manufactures from frivolous lawsuits by victims of gun crimes, many would be out of business.

Thankfully, at least some firearms manufacturers now are going on the offensive; returning fire in New York’s escalating war against Second Amendment rights in the Empire State.

In a post on its Facebook page, for example, Olympic Arms, Inc., a company headquartered in Washington state but which markets its products, including the AR-15 rifle, nationwide, outlined a new sales policy for New York. The company declared: “the State of New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity or employee of such an entity -- will no longer be served as customers.” The company has put its customers on notice this new policy will remain in effect until New York repeals its draconian gun regulations passed as a knee-jerk reaction to the December mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Olympic Arms is one of a growing number of gun manufactures responding to increasingly burdensome gun restrictions, by applying the same standards to government customers as governments are applying to private citizens. “If the leaders of the State of New York are willing to limit the right of the free and law abiding citizens of New York to arm themselves as they see fit under the Rights enumerate to all citizens of the United State through the Second Amendment,” writes Olympic Arms, “we feel as though the legislators and government entities within the State of New York should have to abide by the same restrictions.”

This long-overdue “line in the sand” drawn by firearms manufacturers against gun-control advocates in government, rests on the premise that we have reached a pivotal moment in American history for Second Amendment rights. Opponents of the Second Amendment, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York City’s Michael Bloomberg, are -- as they have in the past -- taking full political advantage of the latest mass shooting. Sensing they can use the Newtown shooting as a way to regain gun-control ground lost in the past two decades, they and others on their team are laying the groundwork for perhaps the most serious attack on Second Amendment rights ever.

More important than the actual economic impact of moves like Olympic Arms’, however, is the symbolism of the “reverse boycott,” and the message it sends to government officials at the national, state and local levels who believe themselves emboldened to run roughshod over the people’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.

For example, in South Carolina -- the state that led the nullification fight against tyrannical federal tariffs back in 1832 -- State Senator Tom Davis is helping lead a modern “nullification” movement. Davis tells The State newspaper, “[f]or the first time I can remember in recent history ... [states are] actually stepping up (and) challenging the exercise of power by the federal government.”

The backlash against Big Government is an encouraging sign of a growing resistance to the mission creep of federal power. For far too long the American public and business sector have kept their silence as civil liberties have been whittled away by statutory and regulatory measures. Even if private businesses like Olympic Arms, and state officials like Davis, ultimately are not successful in every fight, their actions will at least help to slow down the spread of this toxic mindset that deems the Constitution irrelevant in today’s society.

Their stand may encourage leaders in Washington to begin taking more meaningful action at killing harmful bills before they become laws. Remaining on the sidelines in this battle is no longer an option for freedom loving Americans. The chips are down, and the opponents of the Second Amendment are going all in. For the rest of us, offering encouragement to companies like Olympic Arms that are willing to stand up to the Big Government forces arrayed against them, is a vital service in the never-ending fight to preserve individual liberty against government control.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.