Editor’s note: WGO Director Teno Groppi spoke at the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans – Wisconsin (NCCPA-WI) rally on August 11th near the Wisconsin State Capitol. Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. was the only gun rights organization that showed up. Below is Groppi’s speech, edited only for brevity.
One thing that has always concerned me about one-issue advocacy groups is they don’t always support the rest of the constitution and bill of rights, and by their neglect, they can contradict their own stand and undermine the very issue they are advocating for. If we don’t support the concept of rights in general, we risk the specific right we are trying to preserve. While WGO is obviously specifically a gun rights group, I assure you our leadership supports the original intent of the entire constitution and Bill of Rights.
We don’t get involved in other issues as a group, but we recognize the ideals of liberty. To illustrate the concept, if Americans support the first and second amendments but not the 4th and 5th amendment rights of being secure in our persons, property, and having due process, an oppressive government can increasingly squeeze liberty out of us like a boa constrictor until we lose the specific rights were are working to keep with the first and second amendments. If we don’t support the 9th and 10th amendments the federal government can run roughshod over the states. If we don’t preserve the second amendment, we will be helpless to defend any of the rest.
As a Christian, I enjoy our first amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty. As a gun rights advocate and WGO director, I value our second amendment rights. As a liberty-loving American, I extol the rest of the freedoms delineated in the Bill of Rights including those not mentioned per the 9th and 10th amendments. I am for people’s rights to make their own choices about their own lives, even when I don’t agree with their choices. If I only supported peoples’ choices when they agreed with mine that would not be liberty.
We’ll start with the first amendment, our religious liberty and free speech. While sites like Youtube, FaceBook, Twitter and the rest have the right to censor if they want, since they are private and not government entities, that doesn’t make their censorship and leftist bias desirable. On the other hand, if they have received government subsidies at all, then they should be required to adhere to the first amendment. Youtube regularly demonetizes Mark Dice’s videos for no other reason than he is conservative. I have been suspended by Facebook at least eight times for using politically incorrect terms or opposing PC positions. No doubt you are aware of many other examples. Germaine to us, social media sites have restricted ads for and sales of guns and censored information on guns, particularly 3D printed plastic ones.
The first amendment religious liberty and the second amendment right to bear arms indeed fit together well. As the Declaration of the states, usually called the Declaration of Independence, points out, our rights do not come from government. They come from our Creator. The Bible consistently defends the right of self-defense and bearing arms. A sling, like David used to slay Goliath, was a precursor of the gun, the great equalizer — expelling projectiles at great speed. Luke 11:21 says, “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.” Common sense. Jesus recommended in Luke 22, “…he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” and His apostles responded, “Lord, behold, here are two swords.” When Jesus told His apostles to arm themselves here, it was illegal under Roman law for Jews to be armed, according to Josephus, a historian of that era, underscoring that our rights originate from our Creator, not government.
Constitutional Carry is probably WGO’s paramount issue. The founders realized how important it was to keep our gun rights fully intact. Gun control of any kind hinders the rest of us far more than it hinders criminals. Criminals will get guns any way they can. Buy them, make them, steal them, or kill for them. Gun control gives criminals a greater advantage over a society of unarmed sitting ducks. That’s why virtually all mass shootings occur in Gun Free Zones. They are Perp Safe Zones.
The purpose of the right to bear arms was not to hunt deer. It was to keep the government in check. WGO doesn’t support any compromise to our right to bear arms. The NICS instant check requires us to be considered guilty until we can prove ourselves innocent, turning Western jurisprudence backwards. The “Fix NICS” bill recently signed into law makes things even worse! It doesn’t fix anything, but it could put us in quite a fix. GOA [Gun Owners of America] showed how it is worded so ambiguously it could be interpreted to make your fingers illegal if they are capable of firing your gun too fast. I don’t want to give this, or any future administration, that kind of linguistic wiggle-room with our gun rights.
The way WGO looks at the gun rights battle is that we legally have total gun rights. We’re not going to give up any ground. Let the anti-gunners go after that. A pro-gun advocacy group has no business giving up one inch, even for so-called “reasonable” gun restrictions. There are no reasonable gun restrictions.
If a burglar broke into your house and stole $1,000, it’s your $1,000, right? If you called the police and they caught the guy and recovered your $1,000, that would be great, right? What if they kept $100 for themselves and let the thief keep $100 himself, would you feel like that was, “reasonable”? Then next week he would break in again and steal the $800 you have left, and again the police recovered it, keeping $100 more and letting the thief keep another $100, would you be glad you at least got $600 of your $1,000 back? At least until next week? That’s exactly what happens to our gun rights when pro-gun groups give in.
My admonition is for you to keep your attention on the issue. Don’t elevate a political party or advocacy group above the issue. Stick with a group when the group sticks with the stuff. If a group compromises, stick with the issue and the principles, not the group.
In closing, I don’t know whether America has gone so far under that she can’t be saved, but I do know it is absolutely impossible if we don’t try. If America falls, it’s not going to be my fault. I want to endeavor to provide for my kids and grandkids at least the same liberty I’ve been able to enjoy. Thank you for the opportunity to speak and may God have mercy on America.
WGO works for grassroots gun owners, not politicians. While many gun lobbies fight for “reasonable gun control,” WGO sets a higher standard: We oppose all gun control — regardless of the political party — and work tirelessly to restore the Second Amendment. WGO has angered many politicians who would like people to believe that they support gun rights — even when they vote against them. Click here to join
Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization. Donations made to Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. are not deductible for income tax purposes.