Americans like to think that theirs is the greatest country in the world. And there was indeed a time when one could have made a fairly good case for that. But in looking at America today, it’s difficult to discern ways in which it could be called better than other developed nations. Most people incarcerated? Highest number of immigrants? Worst wealth distribution among advanced nations? (Granted, China has us beaten there, although the US is still near the bottom of the list.) The US leads in all of those areas.
One of the few manners in which America positively excels in the world today, however, is in guaranteeing — in most parts of the country, that is — the sanctity of the right of its people to keep and bear arms. Virtually no other nation extends its ordinary citizens the same level of freedom when it comes to weapons that America does; in the West, only Switzerland and Czechia have comparable rights in this area. Some other nations, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, possessed similar gun freedoms at one time, but lost them in recent years after authoritarian political factions exploited mass shooting tragedies in order to deprive their law-abiding citizens of their rights.
For the last half-century, similar groups have attempted to achieve the same result in the United States. You can be certain that our elites aren’t happy about the fact that Americans still possess this freedom. After all, as Mao understood, “power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” and the fact of tens of millions of mostly white Americans owning and knowing how to use firearms is a wildcard that keeps the establishment’s power in check. It’s one of the few genuine ways in which Americans can exercise freedom today — you know, apart from choosing between a dozen brands of ketchup at the supermarket.
The only reason the gun-grabbers haven’t succeeded — yet — is because of the willingness of American gun owners to step up and organize in defense of their rights, through the National Rifle Association and other groups. Indeed, the pro-gun movement has become so large and well-funded as a result of ordinary Americans’ initiatives since the 1970s that it has become an integral force in our political process. Republicans have known for decades — and some Democrats in rural areas are mindful of this as well — that it’s political suicide to go against the gun lobby. That’s real grassroots political action bearing fruit, friends. Imagine what could be achieved in other areas using similar tactics.
I’ve had some people on the Dissident Right tell me that the issue of gun rights is a fixation of the conservative movement and that we have other priorities. While I agree that gun rights should not become our primary concern, I nevertheless do think that it’s important for us as well. First of all, it’s part of our heritage. The right of the members of the community to keep and bear arms is a concept which has a long history in Western civilization. Indeed, prior to the twentieth century, when Western governments came to be expected to continuously maintain large militaries and to provide universal security for their citizens through the police and other agencies, private citizens owning weapons was seen as an essential part of the social fabric, since such people could be called up to defend their homes, their communities, or even their nation when an emergency arose and the agents of law enforcement were far away. This is in fact what the term “well-regulated Militia” actually means in the Second Amendment. (I was intrigued to learn that, in medieval Iceland, it was in fact illegal for a man to be unarmed at any time.)
But most importantly, whatever you think about individualism and the concept of “rights,” the fact remains that, in this age and given the direction things are heading in, it’s better for people like us to be armed than unarmed. Losing the Second Amendment gives us nothing. Having the Second Amendment isn’t everything, but it gives us a greater range of possible actions. For example, many Europeans I’ve spoken with or read about have talked of an impending civil war if Europe’s mass immigration problems and other radical liberal policies are not addressed. My response is always, what are Europeans going to fight with? If you look at Western Europe today, it’s the immigrants who are armed, not the indigenous peoples. Most of them have never even held a weapon in their lives. Thus, if an actual war were to break out, the outcome likely wouldn’t be a good one for Europeans.
This is one of the few advantages Americans still retain, and it’s one of the few truly Right-wing causes that still possesses vitality rather than merely symbolic value in our current climate of radical neoliberalism.
David Pringle is one white American who understands this. Pringle, a US Army veteran, is the General Manager of DE Guns gun shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has taken the lead in protests against new gun restrictions that are being proposed in the Nebraska legislature. How he stands out, however, is in that Pringle has a long history of involvement with white advocacy, having been the Membership Coordinator for the National Alliance during the early 2000s, and he has also been publicly associated with David Duke. The mainstream media, naturally, has chosen to focus on this rather than on the substance of Pringle’s arguments.
The controversial legislation consists of two bills. The first, LB-816, proposes that Nebraskans who wish to purchase a semi-automatic rifle or a shotgun should first have to apply for a permit. Nebraska, like most states, presently allows anyone with valid ID who has no criminal convictions or documented mental health issues to acquire a long gun (i.e., rifles and shotguns) without a permit, only a background check. This new requirement would also extend to gun shows, where at present private citizens can buy and sell long guns to each other without a permit or background check. Additionally, the law would increase the waiting period both for the background checks and the “cooling-off period” for anyone wishing to purchase a handgun. Legislators who back the law claim that its intent is to reduce suicide risk.
The second, LB-58, would introduce Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) in Nebraska. A committee, which would meet without the accused’s presence, would be empowered to issue an ERPO (a so-called “red flag”) against anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence or who has a protection order against him. This would make it illegal for the citizen in question to purchase or own any firearm; law enforcement would have the right to search such individuals’ homes and seize any weapons pursuant to this restriction. Similar laws have already been passed in many other states.
Gun rights advocates have always been wary of new regulations which increase the government’s ability to deprive citizens of their Second Amendment rights. While such laws are always claimed to be in the interests of public safety and security, in practice they give the authorities much wider discretion to decide who can and cannot own guns. Opponents of the bills have pointed out that it’s already illegal to sell a firearm to someone with documented mental health issues, so how would the new law further help to prevent suicides? Likewise, the ERPO would give law enforcement a rather arbitrary method by which they could not only disarm citizens but even enter and search their homes.
A committee hearing that was open to the public was called on the issue in Nebraska’s State Capitol on February 22. Gun rights advocates mobilized in strength, and several hundred (the local media reported four hundred) people came to the Capitol to make their opposition to the bills heard. David Pringle was one of the protest’s organizers and gave a short speech to the committee calling for gun owners to handle the problem of mental health and firearms themselves, advocating the work done by a group called Walk the Talk America, a non-profit which states its goal as
. . . to raise awareness and create a change in the misunderstandings regarding mental illness and firearms by bringing together industry leaders to reduce gun violence, negligence, suicide and the trauma created by these events. Develop programs for suicide prevention, firearms negligence, trauma mitigation, and child safety. . . . Walk The Talk America funds research and development for outreach and promotion of mental health to reduce the misconceptions and prejudices that exist when it comes to mental illness and firearms. We believe we can be a catalyst for change by working with experts in the mental health industry.
Pringle’s short speech was filmed by someone in the crowd. His history of white activism was already known and had been widely publicized prior to the event; some gun advocacy groups refused to work with Pringle or to hold events at his shop when his past affiliation became known. Protesters against him had also appeared at the hearing itself. Following his speech, one of the senators asked him if he had anything to say about his prior political activism. He responded:
I know David Duke. I was the Membership Coordinator for the National Alliance. I love my race more than any other race, just like I love my family more than any other family, and my children more than any other children. I don’t hate races that aren’t my own, I don’t hate families that aren’t my own, and I don’t hate children that aren’t my own.
What happens is that I am the recipient of hate. I just was attacked by a group that had the demographics of a Klan rally [it’s interesting to note that in the video there is at least one black man among the pro-gun crowd], that came in here. There was no diversity. I am attacked like that constantly. Those kinds of attacks stop suicide prevention from coming to DE Guns, and what happened? We had a suicide. One of our customers. They would have been there that day.
This kind of toxic culture war that’s being waged against us through the media and through the antis is what divides us. My customers come from every single walk of life. We have people who, when they get their Resident Alien card and they can come to our store, they are burning up to exercise freedom, because where they lived, they didn’t have it. And they have it here.
And the reason that I testified today, that got me burning about this thing, is limiting purchases to 18-to-21-year-old Nebraskan-Americans. That’s toxic. Those men and women and people, however they identify, we can call on them to protect us and give them access to million-dollar weapons systems, and they can’t come and buy a Ruger 10/22 from me? The minute that they turn 18, they’re there to buy guns, and they’re happy about it, because they’re exercising freedom. They’re an adult. And so please don’t take that away. I make money at it, yes, but what I do is I enable and I empower people, and I sell freedom.
Pringle offered a simple yet effective defense, both of his own political activism as well as of gun rights. But the media, of course, chose only to focus on his involvement with the National Alliance. In particular, they discovered an internal message that he had sent out during his time with the Alliance in the early 2000s in which he had praised Timothy McVeigh. Since I thought that this statement was at variance with his much more moderate statement in the State Capitol, I contacted Pringle by e-mail to find out what he had to say about it, and his impressions of what has been going on more generally. When I thanked him for standing up for the Second Amendment, he responded with a quip from the Starship Troopers film: “Just doing my part.”
Regarding his old McVeigh e-mail, Pringle wrote:
No. I don’t feel like that now. Back then I was a fire breathing dragon of right-wing extremism. Too many hours spent reading Siege and Essays. Our current situation cannot be solved through that type of violence. It didn’t work then, it won’t work now. It can’t be solved by violence at all.
Homicidal fantasies and violent iterations are poison and only serve to undermine our efforts.
That reality began to sink in as I drove across the country holding meetings and meeting the NA membership as the NA membership coordinator. As I became more pragmatic this special email became a hammer to be used against me or anyone who is around me.
It’s unfortunate that this email shapes my narrative in the controlled corporate media. They never mention the Love Your Race campaign. Or the New Orleans Protocol. Or all the peaceful, legal political activities I’ve organized, or participated in over two decades.
Obviously I am capable of violence at the highest levels. I am a US Army Infantryman, after all. I’ve been trained to kill since I was 19 years old. I train people to use firearms. I train people how to deal with the police after the worst possible circumstances. But that skill set is for making things better — not worse.
There’s an important lesson in that: Everyone who chooses to become publicly active should be careful not to let his passion or temporary lack of judgment cause him to say or do things that will result in problems that might haunt him for decades to come. Of course, in the mainstream media’s eyes, a person of the Right who commits some excess is guilty forever; no matter how much you renounce your earlier statements or actions, the establishment will always insist that those remain your real beliefs and that everything else is merely a disguise for your awful Nazi interior. This doesn’t apply to the Left, of course, where we are expected to believe that confessed former terrorists helping to launch the political career of a future President of the United States and former Maoist revolutionaries who have expressed hatred of whites and who are then appointed to Presidential cabinet posts are fine, upstanding citizens who just temporarily went astray before realizing that democracy and peace are the right way after all.
Concerning the accusations of racism against him, Pringle wrote:
I feel like the response I gave to the attacks against me during my testimony might be the best thing that I’ve ever said on the record. I am completely happy with it.
I asked him about his impressions of the Nebraska protests so far.
The vast majority of Nebraska gun owners have seen through the blatant lies told by state Senators and legacy media about my testimony, about how we do business and about the makeup of those who stood with us. The Nebraska Firearm Owners Association, the group that pulled their event from our store because of the original ANTIFA story about me and the NRA-ILA who also cancelled a similar event a year later were both incapable of stopping LB-58 the Nebraska “Red Flag” law or any of the other proposed legislation. They were busy playing lobbyist and old-style culture war politics with the gun owners of the state to be effective. That is the old way. We showed them the new way.
The idea behind the #wearethegunlobby movement is to forget about culture war when it comes to protecting universal rights. The fat cats and lobbyists failed — once again. . . .
I figured maybe 50 people [would show up at the protest] — at the most . . . Our customers deserve it. Gun owners deserve it. So coming through with the resources was a no-brainer. And, we’re better than politicians and gun rights groups because when we make a promise it’s like money in the bank. We had the credibility and the resources to make big things happen and we used it all. This was a major personal and professional risk for me and our company. We simply charged into the abyss. . . . We coordinated with local businesses who are pro 2 A. What happened on Feb 21st is a model for other businesses like ours to follow. We owe it to our customers to protect their rights when everyone who is supposed to fails.
When asked about how he planned to continue the fight, Pringle wrote:
We are teamed up with the best industry people possible to bring mental health, suicide prevention, firearms safety training and legal training to the people in our area. We need to provide all these services before the government does. We know what is needed better than they do.
We plan to push the agenda next session towards Constitutional carry and state-level preemption. In other words — we are going on the offense. . . . I have lawyers working on demand letters. One goes to the governor.
In a separate e-mail to his private list, Pringle said the response from his community has been supportive. “I can’t go anywhere since last week,” he wrote. “I can’t walk through the store because it takes an hour. Shaking hands.” The controversy over Pringle’s involvement did no harm to his cause, however, as the bills were tabled for this year, and it’s unlikely that any action will be taken to further them in the near future.
David Pringle has provided an excellent example of how people who wish to defend their people can do so in the real world: through community activism, and by never apologizing for it. Pringle’s cause today isn’t directly related to the survival of white America, but it is certainly a corollary cause, and he has taken the lead in standing up to the establishment. Such an achievement might very well lead people to take his other viewpoints more seriously as well. “This guy’s an evil neo-Nazi? His arguments make sense to me!” And moreover, by refusing to assume a contritionary attitude in response to the accusations against him, and in fact articulating his positions in a reasonable manner that is at odds with how the media is trying to depict him, Pringle shows that he has nothing to hide or to be ashamed about.
There’s certainly lessons for all activists in this.
The Worst Week Yet: June 20-26, 2021
Earth Day Special
The Man of the Twentieth Century: Remembering Ernst Jünger (March 29, 1895–February 17, 1998)
The Power of Myth: Remembering Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904–October 30, 1987)
The Trump Administration Viewed from the Right
The Congress Has No Clothes: The Capitol Occupation & Post-Trumpian Populism
Hook, Line, & Sinker: Steve Bannon & the Usual Suspects
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 285
John Morgan on Charles Krafft