Fear of the federal governments interference with Second Amendment rights and suspicion that elected officials are ignoring the will of the people have provoked a resurgence of self-described patriots across the country who say they are preparing to defend themselves and their rights.
Organizations tracking the movement say the number of groups has risen dramatically in the past six years.
Theres a very unreasonable, ridiculously crazy attack on the Second Amendment and people that own guns, said Cope Reynolds, a member of the White Mountain Militia in Show Low, Ariz. If everything were not protected by the Second Amendment, the government would have the opportunity, if they so desired, to go unchecked with impunity and do whatever they want to do.
Americans who have a tradition with guns, such as those who hunt for sport or game, believe the same. They might not belong to a militia or survival outfit, but they are just as concerned about gun rights. They dont wear the tradition on their sleeve, but they keep it alive by practicing their hobby and by handing down the love of guns and sport to their children.
Then there are the real activists.
Reynolds is the operations manager of Shots Ranch, a tactical shooting range and survival training facility in Kingman, Ariz. He considers this type of training to be necessary preparation for a time in America he sees as inevitable.
We want people to be able to provide for themselves in a world where we might not be able to just run down to Wal-Mart at any time, Reynolds said. We think that at some point in America were probably going to experience those times and a lot of us think its not going to be far away.
For individuals like Reynolds, the Second Amendment is an important check on the government and is needed to protect the Constitution.
Its the beauty and the danger of Americas Constitution, said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Second Amendment expert. Its great generalities are so vague that anyone can interpret them in light of their own experience and their own interests. And indeed, the Second Amendment is one of the most confusing textual provisions of the Constitution.
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes like self-defense.
Follow this link:
'Patriots' are ready to defend their right to keep guns