Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances Press Conference Statement of John Michael Snyder (3/22/05)

In joining with the Patriots in this most worthy endeavor, let me assert that we are most concerned with any government initiative which could be used to undermine or even eviscerate the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms. We believe this is the linchpin of our Bill of Rights, of our whole system of civil liberties, a right without which other civil rights really could not be guaranteed.

The provisions in the Patriot Act which we question and the support for the extension of which we seek presidential reconsideration easily could be used by some executive branch governmental authority against the legitimate interests of America's scores of millions of law-abiding gun-owning citizens. Although the current Administration, with some exceptions, generally has been supportive thus far of our traditional Second Amendment rights, this is no guarantee that it or some member of it or some future Administration will manifest a similar attitude in the future. Our only guarantee would be congressional refusal now to extend these questionable provisions.

Although some individuals maintain that these provisions are necessary for successful domestic activity against terrorism, it hardly makes sense to us to take the attitude that a generality of the law-abiding citizenry must somehow be considered suspect in order to move against genuine enemies of these same law-abiding citizens.

Reports appear regularly regarding the amazingly high number of illegal aliens, including illegal aliens from known terrorist entities, who are roaming around willy-nilly throughout the United States. It seems more appropriate and reasonable to focus government attention on locating, apprehending and deporting some of these characters than creating larger and larger government entities to investigate law-abiding citizens. The legal structure to get after illegals already exists. Government officials, before acquiring authority to target law-abiding citizens, should be told by Congress and the President in no uncertain terms to use the authority they already have to do the job they should be doing.

When push comes to shove, an ultimate protection against terrorist activity well could be an armed citizenry. If law-abiding American citizens, especially airline pilots, had not been legally prevented from carrying guns on the aircraft which crashed into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, the result well may have been much different. If the political powers that be in this country really want to get after the terrorists in our midst, they should forget about promoting laws and regulations directed at our citizenry in general and instead work to solidify the vitality of our armed citizenry.

Named "dean of gun lobbyists" by The Washington Post and The New York Times as well as "a champion of the right to self-defense" by The Washington Times, Mr. Snyder is Public Affairs Director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. He also is Treasurer of the Second Amendment Foundation, Founder/Chairman of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society and author of the book GUN SAINT.

Phone (202) 326-5259