Republican Congressman and NRA board member Don Young re- affirms his pledge to indicted right-wing militia leader Schaeffer Cox
Right wing militia leader Schaeffer Cox was arrested on March 10, 2011 for plotting to kill state police and a federal judge, and for possession of illegal weapons. He pled not guilty and has a trial date set for mid-May.
Coming two years into the Obama presidency, you may be stifling a yawn right about now. The story of the right-wing nut job has, admittedly, lost a bit of its novelty. What makes this story interesting, however, is the fact that a United States Congressman, Alaskan Republican Don Young, has unabashedly allied himself with Schaeffer Cox.
On April 13, 2009, Schaeffer Cox orchestrated a gathering of gun-rights extremists at an Alaska Denny’s. Young, Alaska’s long-time at-large United States Representative, was in attendance and an active participant. Cox produced the following video:
As you can see, Congressman Young encouraged the assembled extremists to ignore federal law as it pertains to gun registration and, alarmingly, signed a “Declaration” that Schaeffer Cox had drafted, the text of which reads:
Let it be known that we, the people of Alaska, stand in recognition of the true principle that whenever a government abandons the purpose for which we have created it and even becomes hostile towards that which it was once a defender of, it is no longer a fit steward of the political power that is inherent in the people and lent to this government with strict conditions. These conditions are clearly defined in the United States Constitution and understood by the common man.
Furthermore, to the extent that our government violates these conditions, they nullify their own authority, at which point it is our right and duty, not as subjects but as sovereign Americans, to entrust this power to new stewards who will not depart from the laws we have given them.
This being the case, let it be known that should our government seek to further tax, restrict or register firearms or otherwise impose on the right that shall not be infringed, thus impairing our ability to exercise the God-given right to self-defense which precedes all human legislation and is superior to it, that the duty of us good and faithful people will not be to obey them but to alter or abolish them and institute new government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to us shall seem most likely to effect our safety and happiness.
A few weeks ago, after Cox was arrested, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence discovered the Cox/Young video and the Cox-authored “Declaration” that Representative Young signed. Emphasizing the call to “abolish” the federal government if the United States acted to “further tax, restrict or register firearms”, CSGV insists that Representative Young’s commitment to the “Declaration” conflicts with his oath of office, which reads,
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
CSGV launched a petition drive that called upon Representative Young to re-affirm his oath.
I decided it was worth checking into, so I decided to ask Young point-blank if his two oaths conflicted. On March 31, I staked out his Washington DC office until I was able to catch him in the hallway. I explained that I was there to discuss the Schaeffer Cox “Declaration”. Young was gracious, and invited me into his office. He called on his press aide, who was asked to record the interview and provide the Congressman with a copy of the Cox “Declaration”. I promised the Congressman I wouldn’t reproduce any of our conversation that occurred before his aide got her recorder running.
The following is a recording of our exchange, and a transcript:
TRANSCRIPT OF STARK INTERVIEW WITH REP. YOUNG
STARK: There’s this group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, that’s asked you to re-affirm your oath of office. What they’ve taken from the letter is the part where they call for the abolition of the American government if new taxes or other gun control measures were passed by the government.
YOUNG: And if they take my gun, I would not say this is the nation that I represent. To me, the Second Amendment is the key to all the other amendments, and that’s what I stand for, and if they don’t understand that, that’s their problem. And they keep insisting that no one should be armed but the police.
STARK: Well I understand that this…
YOUNG: Don’t argue with me. And I’m saying “No.” An armed civilian militia, an armed civilian, is a deterrent for a government that does not in fact represent the people, if that was to occur. I’m a gun owner as you can see, and a gun user, and I’ve been that way since I was six years old and I was taught by my father that it is really very important that you have a right to defend your home against all intruders, and that’s what I said.
STARK: What I was going to say was that you signed the Declaration in April of 2009. Now that must have been a pretty heady times for a lot of people. Barack Obama had just taken office. I think a lot of people were concerned about movements towards increased gun control. As it happens, exactly the opposite has occurred. He’s opened up National Parks to guns…
YOUNG: He did that because Congress insisted upon it.
STARK: Well, it was a Democratic Congress when it happened.
YOUNG: No, no, no. The Congress insisted upon it and if they didn’t do that, then they’d have been in serious trouble.
STARK: And again, I’d agree with the same point you just made that the Assault Weapons Ban lapsed because Congress didn’t have the political weight to keep it going. Or at least gun control advocates in Congress didn’t have the political weight to keep it going. But the idea is that the Declaration actually says that if you take measures to pass stricter gun control laws—and I would count a ban on assault weapons or a tax on ammunition—you call for the abolition of the American government. Now that sounds like it conflict with the oath of office which says you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
YOUNG: The Constitution says we have a right to bear arms.
STARK: Taxing ammunition isn’t taking…
YOUNG: They’re penalizing someone that has the right to have ammunition and adding impunity damage to it and that’s nonsense. [Inaudible]
STARK: So you would call for the abolition of the United States government if there was an ammunition tax?
YOUNG: If they were to propose something like that [inaudible] arms and taxing ammunition—and by the way ammunition is taxed already, but it goes through the conservation, they just wouldn’t tax it to a point where you can’t purchase it.
STARK: Right, it was a confiscatory tax that made it impossible to purchase I think everyone would see through that and people would say that that’s taking arms away.
YOUNG: Now you’ve got to remember something. You Liberals, you guys never give up. You don’t want free enterprise and [inaudible] government. You want to have the government control everybody. That’s what the health bill was about. That’s what any of this legislation that’s come under the Obama administration. And you Liberals, very frankly, have been pushing this agenda for the past 55 years.
STARK: Well, we think there’s common sense gun control measures that can be taken. Terrorists can’t fly but they can buy guns in this country. People can go out and buy hollow point bullets that kill cops.
YOUNG: Go on, go on, I’ve had enough of you. You just want to argue.
STARK: Listen, you were great for the time that you did give me. Thanks very much. I’m sorry that it ended up angrying you in the end.
Clearly, Representative Young is not backing down an inch, notwithstanding Cox’s run-in with the law. Even when pressed on the point about “taxes” on ammunition being a cause for overthrowing the United States government, Young digs in. The recording and transcript speak for themselves, so I will leave it to others to decide if the Congressman’s emphasis on the primacy of the 2nd Amendment is defensible.