Chronicle of Gun Rights War Should be Required Reading for Second Amendment Supporters
If you pay much attention to gun writers, the name Knox should be familiar to you. Likewise, if you pay much attention to the history of the battle for our rights protected by the Second Amendment, the name should also be familiar. Readers of Shotgun News have almost certainly come across regular columns by Jeff and Chris Knox. If you don’t read SGN, you may have seen The Knox Update online, perused Chris or Jeff‘s blogs or followed their work with Second Amendment organizations like The Firearms Coalition. The brothers even recently shared a by-line in USA Today who, unsurprisingly, given the publication’s anti-rights position, filed it under “Opposing View.”
Many, however, may not be aware that the Knox brothers are carrying on the tradition of their forebear. Some might not be familiar with the writings of Chris and Jeff’s father, Neal , whom the gun rights community lost in 2005. After his tenure in the Texas National Guard and some other freelance writing gigs, Neal Knox began selling some of his articles to industry publications like Guns & Ammo and Guns before founding his own publication, Gun Week. Later in his writing career, Neal would also serve as editor for Handloader Magazine and Rifle Magazine.
Neal Knox’s work in the world of firearms wasn’t confined to covering them for glossy (or otherwise) publications, however. A hard-nose supporter of the founding fathers’ ideal that the Second Amendment merely protected an inborn right possessed by all humans, he did more than his fair share to protect that right and spread the word about it. Knox had a lengthy history with the NRA, including a number of years on the NRA board and as Executive Directory of the Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). After being ousted from the NRA camp for refusing to compromise on gun control measures (a division which lives on among the ranks of the board and members to this day), he founded the Firearms Coalition.
While I did not have the pleasure of meeting the elder Knox, I have run into Chris on several occasions at SHOT Shows and have had a few brief online exchanges with both him and Jeff. Chris was kind enough to provide me with a copy of his book, Neal Knox: The Gun Rights War – a collection of his father’s material that span the late 1960’s through his recent passing. Since first cracking the spine of the book, I was immediately drawn into the writings.
George Santayana once opined that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This phrase has rung true throughout history and holds no less firm in the arena of battle for our Second Amendment rights. Reading The Gun Rights War (GRW), evokes a range of feelings – part amusement, part disappointment, part disgust and part something else. If the dateline were stripped from these articles, many of them could have been current events coverage. It was heartening to see the effort that went in to combating now-on-the-books gun control measures while they were still in the works… and disheartening to recognize many of the mistakes that lead to the enactment of those measures being repeated today.
GRW is divided into several parts, grouped not necessarily by date but rather by theme. Sections include writing that highlights Neal’s background and principles, depictions of “the culture war” as it pertains to firearms, the political tenor and how it has changed through the years. Another section entitled “Dark Passages” chronicles several tragic events, what led up to them and the resulting anti-gun backlash that we still see reflected today in the wake of similar events.
If there was a Gun Rights 101 course, Neal Knox: The Gun Rights War, subtitled “Dispatches From the Front Lines 1966 through 2000,” would no doubt be listed as required reading on the syllabus. In the absence of such a class, anyone interested in learning the history behind our current gun control environment, the unchanging anti-gunners’ playbook and the tactics for combating new legislation will almost certainly appreciate this title. The Gun Rights War can be found on Amazon and autographed copies are available at http://www.thegunrightswar.com/grw/.