Nugent Electrifies Gun-Rights Backers
By Bradley Vasoli
Spring had arrived in earnest, the sun shone brightly and the sky was clear as sportsmen rode up the verdant woods to practice shooting and archery last Saturday. The Commonwealth Foundation's Live Free PA event couldn't have come happened on a better weekend.
That's not just because of the weather. The men and women who arrived at the Eltonsville Sportsmen's Association came to celebrate their right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. The Commonwealth Foundation began planning the event about a year ago, but it happened to land on a date just a few weeks after Gov. Ed Rendell, D, began a new push for more gun control.
After target practice around midday, rock songwriter and guitarist Ted Nugent spoke to the Live Free participants, as he pushed back against recent calls for greater restrictions on gun rights. Consistent with his reputation, he was articulate and upbeat.
"Your life is a precious gift from God," he said. "You deserve, and I believe we have a duty to protect and defend it."
Recent high-profile crimes, particularly police shootings in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have boosted the case for gun control in the eyes of some public officials. Mr. Nugent asked Americans to consider how firearms be more part of the solution than the problem.
He said jurisdictions in the United States with looser gun laws have lower crime rates than those that don't. His assertion is backed by some prominent researchers, such as the University of Maryland's John Lott. Mr. Nugent urged citizens to consider the good that gun ownership has done many crime victims.
"Anti-gunners side with rapists," the musician and sportsman told his audience. "Either you like the rapists shot, or you like the rapists raping."
He also said the push to limit gun purchases in cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh ignores the experience of other cities. Chicago, he noted, has enacted gun control to become an essentially "gun-free zone," but has nonetheless seen crime rates skyrocket.
"Ed Rendell sees the dead bodies and wants more of this," Mr. Nugent said. "I'm a different species. I don't like increased innocent death. I like decreased innocent death."
Mr. Rendell has won the support of police unions and other law-enforcement organizations for his the anti-gun case, but Mr. Nugent said he would have less success if he sought the backing of rank-and-file officers.
"In the vast majority of the instances," he said, the anti-gun officers are "bureaucrats and desk jockeys."
He has some firsthand knowledge of law enforcement, having served as a deputy sheriff in Michigan and a deputy constable in Texas.
After rousing the fervor of several dozen gun-rights supporters, he gave them a demonstration of his archery skills, refined by decades of practice. He landed several arrows perfectly on three targets shaped like a turkey, a deer and a bear.
It was a unique setting for a Commonwealth Foundation event. The organization spends most of its time defending Pennsylvanians' economic liberties. But the think tank's president, Matthew Brouillette, said "the other freedoms that we've got under attack" deserve attention as well.
"We don't need a nanny state to tell us how to live," he said. "We're free Americans and should be treated as such by our government."
Source: TheBulletin.us, Philadelphia's Family Newspaper