The Washington Times published two news stories December 30 in which America's Founding Fathers would have seen as a disturbing pattern.
The paper reported that the pace of military-grade shipments to police stations has accelerated in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri riots and that Maryland State Police have been targeting out-of-state handgun owners on highways for technical violations of state gun control laws.
The Times noted that the federal Law Enforcement Support Office sent nearly 4,000 automatic weapons to local police agencies in just the last three months:
The 3,879 rifles the Pentagon shipped was an astronomical increase over the dozen rifles shipped during the same three-month period in 2013, with several police agencies taking delivery of hundreds of rifles soon after the Ferguson riots.
Armored vehicles, which drew particular scrutiny in the riots in Ferguson and other cities, were less popular in the aftermath. The Pentagon shipped just 11 mine-resistant vehicles, or MRAPs, from Aug. 15 through Nov. 14, compared to nearly 180 in the same time period a year earlier.
One of the recipients of the federal government largesse was the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which received 415 M-16 automatic rifles, more than one for every one of their 256 officers. “They all work in pretty remote locations out of their homes, so that’s why they would each be outfitted with a rifle,” a spokesman for the Michigan DNR told the Washington Times, adding that the weapons would be able to fire only on semi-automatic once modified.
So much for the leftist slogan that one does not need an “assault weapon” to go hunting.
The concept of a militarized police force coupled with disarmed citizens flies in the face of the attitude of the Founding Fathers, who advocated the reverse: a disarmed government and a heavily armed citizenry. The 1780 Massachusetts state constitution, written by President John Adams, states in Article XVII:
The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence [sic]. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.
Meanwhile, the Maryland State Police have been targeting legal out-of-state gun owners for disarmament. “My wife’s hysterical, shaking and crying,” Florida resident John Filippidis told the Washington Times, after having his car searched on a speeding stop. Filippidis noted that his family was made to stand out in the cold winter weather for 90 minutes, and police officers called him a “liar” for truthfully saying that his legal firearm was at his Florida home. Maryland's strict citizen gun control laws don't recognize out-of-state permits and have unnecessarily technical storage regulations almost guaranteeing out-of-state non-compliance. Filippidis stated,
I don’t have a criminal record. I own a business. I’m a family man, and I tried to explain that to [the officer]. But he had a bad attitude; didn’t want to hear my story. He just wanted to find that gun and take me away from my family. That was his goal, but he couldn’t do it, because I didn’t have a gun, like I told him.
A spokesman for the Maryland State Police didn't deny targeting out-of-state concealed carry permit holders, and asserted that the procedure was perfectly legal.
The Maryland State Declaration of Rights, adopted in 1867, echoes the Massachusetts Constitution by strongly supporting a state citizen militia and calling a standing army “dangerous to liberty.”
Photo: AP Images