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The past week was certainly a learning opportunity for those of us in the Atlanta area. Winter Storm Leon was unreal. I see many internet commenters asking how 2 inches of snow could possibly shut down a major city for so long and while I don’t have a good answer for that question, I would like to share some of the lessons we learned.


So many were caught unprepared and suffered through the cold night. On the other hand, preppers were instantly vindicated in the eyes of their friends and family. Many a spouse began suddenly thanking their wife or husband for insisting on keeping supplies in the car for “just in case.” Blankets, coats, food and water made the night so much more bearable. Even with these common preparations, though, one oft-forgotten issue slowly came to the forefront. How’s a lady to go to the bathroom while gridlocked on the interstate or highway? Of all the problems that arose from the gridlock, the bathroom issue was the single most discussed problem I heard mentioned on the radio or on social media. The utter misery and humiliation this caused countless people convinced me to procure a means of addressing the situation. I will soon be adding a urinal to my emergency kit.


Supplies people wish they had: blankets, warm clothes to walk in (snow boots, hat, mittens, coat, etc…), food (and not just a snack bar or two; some people were stuck for 22 hours or more), water, a way to modestly go to the bathroom without uncovering in the frigid cold, toilet paper, a battery charger for their cell phone, a list of phone numbers for when the cell phone died, flashlights, pillows, hand warmers, items for other occupants in the car (children or pets), a change of clothes, etc…


The car itself needs preparation: a full gas tank, good tires, good wiper blades, an ice scraper, an empty gas can, de-icing washer fluid, sand or kitty litter, shovel, etc…

Plan ahead: Map out alternate routes (but keep in mind once the highways are gridlocked, the side streets shut down too), discuss options and plans with loved ones  ahead of time to best determine your course of action and once the situation arises keep loved ones informed of your progress.

Stay Home!!!

UnknownIf at all possible, stay home and off the roads. Georgia as a state has proven itself incapable of dealing with snow storms and Atlanta drivers met all the expectations their reputation demanded. Of course, when it’s a regular occurrence for a fender-bender on one side of the highway to cause traffic on the entire highway to back up, what else should we anticipate when an unusual weather event occurs. Learning how to drive in winter conditions would certainly help us next time (applying the brakes right as you hit that patch of ice is really not a good idea). For Atlanta drivers though, simply learning how to drive safely on a clear day would be a step in the right direction. The combination of crazy drivers, horrific rush hour and ice all combined to give us #SnowJam2014. The only part of that equation I can personally change is to not be one of the crazy drivers. Just stay home. I hope schools and inside-the-perimeter employers will be more lenient when the next storm comes around. Cutting down on the massive number of vehicles on the road would tremendously assist in reducing the gridlock.

Join Together

Rebecca-WattersPeople opened up their homes to strangers. Some packed up food and water and walked it out to the gridlocked interstates. Stores re-opened to give the stranded drivers a warm place to stay and a bathroom. Untold numbers of people reached out to help their “neighbor” in the greatest showing of Southern Hospitality I have ever seen. Reading the stories of compassion and kindness reveals the heart of God moving upon so many people to help their fellow man. It was truly touching to see.

Lessons To Be Learned

There are many other lessons to be learned from an event such as this, but these are the ones that I gleaned from the whole mess. I certainly hope the city and state have learned their own lessons from this snafu. More than the government learning its lessons, I truly hope the Atlanta populace has learned not to rely on government to do the right thing but will prepare themselves for such a weather event next time it comes through. Only time will tell, but I pray there will not be a repeat of this past week.


Other Resources: Electric 12v Blanket Travel John-absorbent pouch Little John urinal Lady J adapter for Little John urinal



So you’ve looked at the statistics. You’ve read the testimonies of survivors. You’ve dug up your state laws. You may have hinted around or just bluntly asked your church leadership. You may or may not have included your spouse in on your decision. I trust you also turned to the Bible and sought God for His direction and counsel. (Since it’s His house, that would seem the respectful thing to do.) Finally, after all that soul-searching, you’ve decided. If you decided not to carry in church, then nothing really changes for you. Aside from a new mental awareness of your situation, your habits are unchanged. However, if you decided to carry, then there are practical concerns you need to take into consideration. While concealment can be difficult enough with daily carry, there are specific challenges that are unique to church attendance. 

Concealment Challenges at Church
  1. hug-in-churchHugs: Some churches have huggers, others do not. Personally, I love hugs. I think they are a wonderful thing. However, hugs are also one of the best ways to unobtrusively frisk someone. And while I have a hard time imagining Grandma Betty is trying to frisk anyone, the results can be the same. She feels your firearm and says, loudly, “what’s this?” Suddenly, you’re made. Now you’ve got to talk your way out of it. I personally pass it off as a “personal health device.” However, this whole awkward situation can generally be avoid by keeping your arms low and close to your body, causing the other person to reach up and around your arms to hug you, thus shielding your firearm under your arms. *This technique does not necessarily work if you are carrying somewhere other than where your arms will shield.
  2. Attire: Depending on the church you go to, clothes conducive to conceal carrying may or may not blend in. Suits are great for hiding firearms, however skinny jeans and T-shirts are not (and yes, I have been in a church where the common dress for 12 to 30 year olds, of both genders, was skinny jeans and T-shirts). Of course, you can always be fearless and dress whichever way you like but suddenly dressing in a suit when you’ve worn jeans for years may get a few raised eyebrows. An additional challenge for women are the flimsiness of dressy clothes. We women, often find it far more difficult to carry in dressy clothes than our everyday clothes, unless our holster is independent of our clothing.
  3. worshipHand raising: If you go to a hand raising church, make sure you raise your hands in front of the mirror before you go off in that cute little outfit. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised by how high my shirt will raise just by lifting my arms. And you do not want to inadvertently show off your new S&W 642 while you worship Jesus. You never know who’s eyes are open… You may just hear, “Mommy, look!!! Ms. Smith’s got a gun!!”
  4. Bowing: As a minimum, bowing will cause a small-of-back, behind-the-hip, or possibly even on-the-hip carry gun to print. Depending on how far you lean over, the cover garment may also completely slip off of the gun. Additionally, an appendix-carried weapon will be rather distracting and discomforting at that point. A carry method somewhere off the waist would probably be the more preferred method if bowing is a regular occurrence for you.
  5. praying_man_at_altarKneeling: Depending on the position, kneeling is great way to reveal ankle and/or back holsters. If you expect to over, the cover garment may completely slip off of the gun. An appendix-carried weapon will also be rather distracting at that point. A carry method somewhere off the waist would probably be the more preferred method if bowing is a regular occurrence for you.  
  6. Prostrating: Laying on the ground on your stomach will not be very comfortable if you are carrying anywhere on your front,  your cover garments will probably print badly if you carry on your back, and an ankle carry could easily be revealed. Pocket or shoulder carry may be the only options available to address this situation.
  7. Blues_Brothers_2000_14884_MediumDancing: My or my, how do you get a hard, heavy, metal object to bounce, jump and move with your body instead of away and to the floor? Pocket carry may work. A holster designed for joggers would probably go a long way to keeping the gun on your person instead of on your toes. A good shoulder holster would keep the firearm in place, but I imagine it wouldn’t feel too good to have that banging into your ribs. I have never tried dancing while carrying so I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking a belly band would probably be the only way to go.
  8. Falling out/Slain in the Spirit: There are a couple of concerns with this one: 1. The firearm being in a painful place once it is between you and the floor. 2. it needs to be so deeply concealed that nobody will see it even when you are not conscious enough to keep your cover garments aligned. Bodies can end up in some very unusual positions and the last thing on their mind at that moment is keeping covered. 3. the ushers/catchers getting caught up in it as the lower you to the ground. A belly band with the firearm in the appendix carry position might be the best answer for this one.
  9. religious-revival-meeting-TULSACatching: If you are an usher and part of your job includes catching people, then I would recommend against a large gun carried in an appendix or shoulder holster. The back of a person’s head does not make a very spiritual sound when it connects with the butt of a gun (or worse, the hammer). You could probably get away with it if you carried on your hip or just behind, but remember the remainder of the congregation is typically behind the prayer line. They may all get a real good look at your Colt 1911 if you are not careful.
  10. abdresbisonnistrekkerut_file_81742__t2Leading the Service: If you are going to be front and center for any duration of time, and you want to keep it a secret that you are carrying, may I recommend pocket carry, the flash-bang holster, or a holster shirt… something for deep-concealment? Because every eye will be on you at some point and humans, being humans, their attention will be looking for something to wander off on. An intriguing bulge on your hip will be just the thing their attention was looking for. I can hear it now… “Hmm, lets forget about this true and powerful Word I need to hear and lets focus in on this lump under his coat. Has he gained weight? Nope. The lump is only on one side. Hmmm. Cell phone? Nah, he never has his cell phone on…”
What are your challenges?

in_church    OR0

Depending on the church you go to, none or all of the above may apply to you. There may be some other challenge you struggle with at your church. I developed this list based on my past experiences in my churches. Some of the churches I’ve attended would have been quite easy to carry in. Hardly more difficult than daily carry. Others would have been extremely difficult to adequately conceal carry in (if I had not been too young to own a firearm at the time). I’d love to hear feedback from everybody on this topic. What have you found that works? What doesn’t work well? Any other situations you can think of?

Thanks for Reading.


Does conceal carrying in church provide a level of protection and security for individuals, families and the church as a whole? Does the very act of carrying a loaded weapon into a place of worship violate the very peace that building represents?  Is it a responsibility and duty to protect family and friends or is it a sacrilegious mistrust of God’s protection? Does surrounding violence and criminal activity make obligatory the carrying of firearms? Are small churches in peaceful neighborhoods exempt from such considerations? Are members paranoid for desiring to carry in church? Are current or former Law Enforcement Officers the only ones to be allowed to carry in church? Can “regular” CCL holders be trusted to be trained well enough to not cause more harm than good when reacting to an incident in such a chaotic environment?


2012 Sikh Temple Shooting

These are some of the questions, both bluntly stated and implied, I encountered while reading up on this topic. Reading through the comments sections on numerous sites revealed most of these questions. Most people seem to have a very visceral reaction to the idea of loaded firearms in places of worship. Many recoil in horror at the very idea of violating a sacred place of peace, worship, and refuge with a tool of death. Many others emphatically state case after case of violent actions in churches, synagogues and other places of worship in the USA as an urgent and pressing demand to remove the “gun-free-zone” label off of these places. Very few comments were in the middle. Though I’m not a  psychologist, I believe people react so strongly because the act of joining together to worship our God is a deeply personal one.

For many, churches represent the one place they feel secure, loved, hopeful, and peaceful. It is their escape from the chaos around them. Their shelter in the storm. To borrow a little from the New Testament, it is a well-built, protected sheep-fold for them to come to for safety and shelter. To consider bringing weapons into the sheepfold is asking them to consider their sheep-fold as vulnerable to predators. To some, discussing the possibility a wolf might enter the fold is to dishonor their Shepherd. Preparing defenses against the wolf attack is to not have faith in God’s protection.


Atlanta 2012 Shooting

Others look at the violent attacks that have occurred in churches in the US and around the world (see the links below) and earnestly seek to defend the lives of their loved ones and church family from such horrific actions. They see a firearm as no more of a violation to the sanctity of worship than a cell phone. Both are used to bring firepower to a situation; one immediately, the other to call the cops.

201104_114_GunChurchHere in Georgia, it is currently illegal for me, and all other, non-LEO, Georgia citizens to carry in a place of worship. Many other states leave it up to local church boards, pastors or other religious leaders. Due to the wide variety of rules and regulations governing conceal carry in houses of worship, I highly recommend you research the laws for your area. Whatever your current practice is (carry in church or not), it is always good to know the laws governing something as important as concealed carry. You never know when something may change and to paraphrase, fore-learned is forearmed.

More on this topic next week…


What Others Are Saying…


A few of the Recent Church Attacks in the US

Excellent Videos of a Church Massacre Survivor (Survivor of the St. James Massacre Speaks to Virginia Citizen’s Defense League) (More from Charl van Wyk)

The Fight in Georgia to get the right to carry in churches… Georgia v Georgia 2011



For those unfamiliar with our store, Ben Autrey’s vision of a local, well-stocked, knowledgable gun store was birthed 10 years ago, this November. As it tends to happen, after birth came growth, and with growth, cramming. Sometimes it’s cramming too-big feet into too-small shoes, but in our case it was cramming product into every conceivable inch available. Realizing there was no room left in the shoe, we went looking for more room. It just so happened, there was lots of room right next door. So I am pleased to announce this vision of excellence, known as Autrey’s Armory, has escaped the too-small trappings of before and is spreading its wings in a brand new 5000 sq. foot showroom!!! Hip hip, hooray!! and all that. While it certainly is a time of excitement and anticipation, I also find myself pondering the financial security in such an investment. The ability to buy nearly anything without leaving the comfort of your couch is certainly hard to compete with. Small businesses have it rough these days (and the government sure isn’t making it any easier on them). While I am merely a humble employee of a small business, I am concerned for the brick-and-mortar shops of today. How do they compete with online stores or big box retailers? How have some thrived, like Autrey’s, while others have withered up and closed doors?  What makes a customer prefer to shop at a small business over all the other options? While I haven’t found all the answers, I believe I have found some. I simply looked at the pros and cons of each option.



  1. Convenience: One of the top reasons for shopping online is the convenience of simply clicking a mouse instead of getting in their car and driving somewhere.
  2. Price: Online products are typically cheaper than their retail counterparts (for multiple reasons) and the available savings are quite attractive to a lot of people.
  3. Selection: Hands down, selection online is better than in stores. There really is no way for local shops to beat the endless array of products available online.Xmas time
  4. Consumer Reviews: Reviews are a great way to approximate the experience of having the product in hand. As other people describe their interaction with the product and manufacturer, the customer is able to identify with the authors and determines if the product will work for him.
  5. Less Stress?: Some people find it less stressful to purchase items from the security of their home or office than travel out into retail stores. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I tend to agree. Other than that… meh.
  1. No Touching: You really don’t know what you are really getting when you buy online. It may be one big surprise when UPS or FedEx drops off that box.
  2. No Talking: On most sites there is little to no personal interaction. The websites that do incorporate some “live-person” interaction typically use one of the least personal means of communicating… chat.
  3. Privacy and Security: It goes without saying, shopping online puts your identify and financial accounts at risk. Effort must  be taken to secure your identity and finances.
  4. Not Supporting the Local Economy: Unless you are buying on a local store’s website, your money is not going to support your local economy. Your money may be going across the country or to other countries.


Major Retail Stores

  1. RetailselectionSelection: While not on the same level as the internet, major retailers do offer great selection.
  2. Price: Because large retailers purchase in bulk, they are often able to get items at a lower cost. This enables them to sell items at a lower cost.
  3. Product in hand: For many people the ability to physically touch and see the item they are interested in is all the reason they need to drive to a store. Most people, myself included, want to see what an item really looks like, what it feels like, etc… before investing their hard-earned money. Unless you know someone who has that very item, going to your local store is about the only way to get your hands on it before you buy it.
  4. Related Items: Many large retailers do an excellent job of marketing related items. That is why the bike helmets are typically located near the bikes.
  5. Privacy: Unless the store uses some type of facial recognition software connected to their cameras or cell phone tracking, it is normally very easy to shop anonymously. None of the employees are likely to recognize you and most of the other customers aren’t paying attention to much else but their shopping. Pay with cash and people probably won’t even remember you were there (aside from the security cameras of course).
  6. Supporting Local Economy?: To some extent shopping at the big box store supports the local economy, but it also sends  local money off to unknown locations. It does pay the salaries of local employees, state and local taxes on the property, etc… But a certain percentage of every dollar spent at the store gets sent to the pay the overseas suppliers, transport costs, import taxes, etc… and to company headquarters to pay their salary.
  1. Grocery_line_SkeletonCustomer Service: Big box retailers have the, typically well-earned, reputation of poor customer service. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but as a whole large stores simply do not have the heart that the small businesses have. Frequently, employees see so many people in one shift that everything becomes mechanical. The personal interaction and relationship is sacrificed to efficiency. Getting people in and out quickly becomes the goal. Generally, employee expertise is also limited.
  2. Long Lines: During peak seasons long lines can be exhausting. Christmas and Black Friday come to mind.
  3. Privacy: See above.
  4. Not Supporting the Local Economy: See Above

Small Businesses

  1. small_business_ownersCustomer Service: A main reason many people buy local is the customer service they experience, both in regards to buying and returning items. Small businesses typically excel at providing personal assistance as customers research, examine and purchase items. Should anything go wrong with your item, purchasing from a local store gives you a person to speak with. A face you can remember and approach for help. Many times you find the employees to be a valuable resource as you explore your item of interest. The knowledge and expertise of such people add an intrinsic value to a local shop that is not replicable online. For example, one of the gentlemen in our shop is extremely well versed in old firearms. I’ve been astounded to hear him not only identify an unknown firearm by make and model but also go on to mention where it was manufactured and what type of machine was used to manufacture it. He is truly a wealth of knowledge. Small businesses frequently have a bit more flexibility in their pricing and some may negotiate deals with customers to ensure customer satisfaction. The first example that comes to mind is our store’s policy of mounting scopes for free with the purchase of a rifle or scope. With few exceptions, customer service is paramount in small businesses.
  2. Product in hand: In small stores you normally have more time to look at items and discuss them with the employees. Employees are typically well versed and are able to point out the features and benefits of the item. Many gun stores further satisfy a customer’s curiosity by supplying a wide variety of firearms for rent. When it comes to knowing if you are comfortable with a firearm, there is no substitute for actually firing the weapon. I wish I’d learned that lesson a few years ago. I bought an XD-40 as my carry gun on I read all the reviews I could find. I researched it up and down. But I never shot it. After years of poor shooting, I finally tried out an XD-9 and quickly traded in my 40. You just never know until you try it.


    Customer or friend? … Why not both?

  3. Personal Relationship: Shopping at a local store provides an opportunity to develop personal relationships with the employees and owners. We have many regular customers that are more friends than customers.
  4. Privacy: It is much easier to protect your privacy and security when you shop at local Mom-and-Pop stores than online; especially if you pay with cash. (Unless you are buying a gun. Federal forms negate that benefit.) It is also highly unlikely to encounter the type of tracking and surveillance big box stores are now implementing at the local art supply store, boutique or coffee shop.
  5. Supporting Local Economy: Purchasing items at a local store inputs cash into a local business, enabling the owner to pay his employees, bills, vendors, utilities, buy groceries for his family, etc… directing nearly all his funds back into the local economy.
  6. Socializing: Many people simply enjoy going to the local store to look over the merchandise, talk with other customers and the person behind the counter. The trip to the store is no longer about buying ammo or a new holster, but about catching up on the latest industry news, information or gossip.
  7. use this2Finding related items: Local stores also tend to do a good job of carrying related items, thus enabling a customer to get all that he needs in one place.
  8. Short lines: lines are typically shorter and (excepting times of national gun buying panic) service is more prompt.
  1. Retail-Vertical-Price: Unfortunately, small businesses are not able to get items in bulk quantity and their prices typically reflect that. Small businesses typically have slightly higher prices than online or big box retailers. It’s just the nature of the beast.
  2. Selection: Again, simply because it is a small business, the selection in the store will not be as varied as what you can find online or at major retailers. Just look at holsters. There have got to be thousands (if not tens of thousands) of holster models. There is simply no way for a small business to carry a sample of every holster design available. It is just not going to happen. The best a store can do is carry the most popular models and special order the rest, if need be.
  3. Inconvenience: The store cannot come to you. You must leave the comfort of your home or office and travel to it.


Which Will It Be?

Overall,  it seems most people do want that face-to-face, personal interaction that is inherent in small businesses. Many are tired of the brusque efficiency of big box retailers and unsatisfied with the cold simplicity of online shopping. We are social creatures that long for pleasant, enjoyable social interactions. Having a designated place to turn to for help is also a major point for small businesses. So, while I must confess I do shop online from time to time (typically for hard-to-find items), I do believe Ben’s vision is safe in the hands of our loyal customers, new customers, and the customers yet to discover us. Why? Because, overall, for me and many others, customer service, personal interaction, and building relationships trumps cheaper prices. (Besides, one thing I’ve learned working at a gun store: just because you found it cheaper online does not mean it will be cheaper by the time you take it home.)

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. And definitely let me know if I left out anything. Thank you for reading. Stay safe.



Do US citizens have a right to defend themselves? Is it a natural, God-given, right inherent in every human being or is it a right granted to the masses by Laws and Legislators? The question of our right to self-defense has recently been playing out in the media in varying subtleties and degrees. The Zimmerman case brought a lot of attention to self-defense laws and precedent. My interest in the Zimmerman case, and my inherent aversion to any proposals that would limit my ability to defend myself or my loved-ones, induced a desire to familiarize myself with the “Right of Self-Defense.” From where does this right originate? Is it compatible with my Christian beliefs? Is it a Constitutional Right?

Christian Compatible?


As a Christian, the first place I turned to was the Bible. What does God say about defending yourself or your family? I first see in Genesis 9:6 that God established the value of man’s life by requiring life for life. Life is so sacred that the punishment of taking a life is to lose yours. I next see Abraham gathering a group of men to chase down his nephew’s abductors. They rescued Lot, his nephew, and all the spoil. In Exodus 22:2-3, a home-owner is declared innocent of bloodshed if he kills a thief in the uncertainty of darkness. In Esther, the Jews gathered together and fiercely defended themselves from their enemies. In Luke 22:36, Jesus tells His disciples to buy swords, purportedly for self-defense from robbers and wild beasts as they were sent out to all the lands. A little while later, Jesus also tells Peter to put his sword away. This verse, combined with the “turn the other cheek” verse, is often construed to mean Jesus is a pacifist. Seeing as how Jesus had just told his disciples to sell their garments and buy swords (which were illegal in Rome-controlled Judea), that interpretation does not seem logical. The verse is better understood to be a lesson in obedience to the will of God. There are times for us to walk in sacrificial obedience and surrender our life wholly to Him and there are times to protect this being that He created in His image. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Rom. 13:3-4), death is clearly seen as the justifiable punishment for taking life, so why would death not be justifiable in protecting life?


Where Does the Right of Self-Defense Come From?

According to Ancient Greeks, John Lock, our Founding Fathers and many others, Natural Law is “that law which corresponds to a spontaneous order in the absence of a state and which is enforced, (in absence of better methods), by individual unorganized violence…. Natural law follows from the nature of men, from the kind of animal we are. We have the right to life, liberty, and property, the right to defend ourselves against those who would rob, enslave, or kill us, because of the kind of animal we are.”1 Or in the words of Thomas Hobbes, “A Law of Nature is a Precept, or general Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved…. The first branch of which Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamental Law of Nature; which is to seek Peace, and follow it. The Second, the summe of the Right of Nature; which is, By all means we can, to defend our selves.”

John Locke, the inspiration of many of our Founding Fathers, put it this way:


“And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any further than by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases from him: because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretense be what it will, I have no reason to suppose that he, who would take away my liberty, would not when he had me in his power, take away everything else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

My Conclusion?

The right to defend one’s self and others from violence is not a right given by the State (government) nor can it lawfully be taken away by the State. The right of Self-Defense is an unalienable right endowed by our Creator. Technically, it’s not even a Constitutional Right. For if the Constitution gave us the right then making the Constitution irrelevant would also make the rights therein irrelevant. The 2nd Amendment affirms and enumerates the Right of Self-Defense as an unalienable right endowed by the Creator. The Right of Self Defense comes not from the Constitution, nor from Government, nor from Man, but from our Creator and, as such, it is irrevocable.



Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan. (New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 2004), 79, 80.

John Locke. “Book Two,” Two Treatises of Government. (New York: A Mentor Book, 1963), 320.

James Donald.

For Further Research:

I highly recommend the top 4 links. They were extremely helpful to me in my research. Divine Right of Self Defense (Mike Adams) The True Story of Gun Control WorldWide iCarry


The following is a favorite passage from Natural Law and Natural Rights by James Donald (

“A right is only a right if, as with the rights to life, liberty, and property, you can rightfully use necessary and sufficient force to defend yourself against those who interfere with your exercise of that right. A right is no right at all if it is granted to you by the benevolence of your masters.

“The state commands and spends ever more wealth, intrudes into our lives in ways that are ever more intimate and detailed, exercises ever greater power, backed by ever more severe punishments, often for deeds that it only declared illegal a few years ago, while at the same time the states capacity to coerce, to collect taxes, and to generate legitimacy continues to decline at an ever accelerating rate. Ever fewer people listen to political speeches, or feel identification with the winning party. People are less inclined to imagine that voting can make any difference, less inclined to believe that legislation or courts possess moral authority. Both trends are driven by simple and powerful forces that are easy to understand. Numerous books, both serious (public choice theory) and humorous, and even a television series (“Yes Minister”) have explained these forces and why they are unstoppable. These two trends will inevitably collide in the not very distant future, are already beginning to collide. The states every increasing use of lawless coercion will collide, is already colliding, with its ever decreasing capacity to coerce.

“This collision will recreate, over several decades, a situation where there is plurality of force. Free societies have only arisen where there is plurality of force. Of course plurality of force does not guarantee a free society. It merely makes it possible. Social collapse is also possible. During the coming crisis we must keep our eyes fixed on the simple ancient truths of natural rights and natural law. We must discriminate between those who use force lawfully and those who use force unlawfully, and must act accordingly, we must discriminate between those who deal honorably and those who deal dishonorably, and must act accordingly. If we do that then we will have a functioning civil society.

“The Greeks, in their war with the Persians, demonstrated that the true unity that comes from common adherence to the rule of law is more powerful than the appearance of unity that comes from common submission to centralized authority.”