A confession of a 2000 conservative convert: I have never owned a gun and, until recently, had never been particularly animated by gun rights debates.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always favored the inalienable right to own a firearm for self defense and survival (hunting before and after Kroger) and always believed that the Second Amendment protected an individual right and not just a state collective militia right. I actually won two “turkey shoots” as a teen with borrowed rifles, but admit that I simply have not been comfortable enough with the idea of having a gun in my home. But I always cherished the right that if I ever need one, that I could go to the store and get one.

Consequently, I was very pleased with the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller that affirmed D.C. Circuit Court Judge Silberman’s tour de force on the inherent rights of We the People to self defense that pre-dates even the U.S. Constitution.

But what has really animated my conservative mind of late is the collective wisdom of the Gun Rights examiners, not only on the Second Amendment, but on all of the conservative principles I came to recognized that I cherished at the turn of the millennium that caused me to leave the Democratic Party after 18 years an activist and official in same.

Howard Nemerov, Austin (TX) Gun Rights Examiner (GRE), recently made a brilliant observation regarding personal liberties and gun rights related to the swine flu scare:

Old Media has become adept at using fear-based reporting to socially engineer people into becoming more dependent on government to save them. But once government has more power, it doesn’t deliver on this promise. The swine flu story is an excellent case in point. Old Media reports focus on swine flu and what the government is doing about it. [Nemerov cites several examples, my favorite of which follows.]

So prevalent is the fear message that New York’s CBS affiliate reported that “New Yorkers were able to breathe a breath of fresh air” when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced there were “no new confirmed cases of the swine flu.” Nevertheless, New York’s Cinco De Mayo festival was postponed due to flu fears.

The fear of people with guns seems to always be the mantra of the Drive-by media after every Columbine or Virginia Tech with the assumption if only we had more gun “control”, we could have avoided the latest Abel slain by Cain episode. Never does the media emphasize the “gun-free zones”, some even advertised with signs that are so convenient to the potentially murderous. And never does liberals acknowledge the vastly more numerous episodes of self defense that prevent criminal murders an reduce the number slaughtered when an armed law-abiding citizen is nearby when mass-killers go off.

And, of course, never do liberal politicians and celebrities eschew their own armed body guards to make us safer. It reminds one of the disconnect between the Osama bin Ladens that preach the virtues of suicide bombing yet choose delayed virgin gratification even if life is reduced to dialysis in a cave in between boot leg video distributions.

John Pierce, Minneapolis Gun Rights Examiner called out the self-contradiction of a conservative Democrat endorsing Barack Obama for the Presidency (soon after his vote empowering the left by voting to make Harry Reid the Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate):

Dear Senator Webb,

As both an honored veteran of the armed forces and one of the Senate’s most outspoken pro-gun democrats, your endorsement of the candidacy of Barack Obama carried great weight with gun-owning democrats and moderates.

After all, his voting record regarding gun-rights and the right to self-defense was abysmal and gun owners were justifiably hesitant to believe his sudden assertion that he “supported” the right to keep and bear arms.

It wasn’t until you, and other pro-gun democrats, began to speak out that the tide began to turn. And why wouldn’t it? Your voice means something to those of us who believe in the right to keep and bear arms. You have earned our trust, both by your service to our country and by your steadfast devotion to the 2nd Amendment. When you said that you trusted Barack Obama to “protect our right to keep and bear arms”, you extended the goodwill that you have earned onto him.

John is about to learn a lesson I learned many years ago concerning the outspokenness of democrats on issues and how easy it is for them to be “steadfast” when not voting in the Congress. It’s usually the drawl and that’s all that is steadfast.

John Longenecker, LA Gun Rights Examiner recently compiled a veritable cornucopia of historic quotes in which one can’t miss the inextricable links between gun rights and Liberty. My favorites:

“The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.”
— [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]
“The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting, and I know I’m not going to make very many friends saying this, but it’s about our right, all of our right to be able to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there.”
— Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, appearing before Representative Charles Schumer’s committee hearings on the assault weapons ban.

Most certainly, it is not about Duck Hunting, although certainly one had to have that inalienable right soon after Eve bit the apple. The right to bear arms is more fundamental than free speech and even more fundamental than the right to own private property as the fruit of one’s labors, which the Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution, to a man (see also Dolly Madison with respect to the Founding Mothers), considered inherently required for Man to be considered free.

Before one can hunt for ducks, one must protect oneself from those that would prevent the duck hunting or the over-taxing of tea, like the Minutemen (pictured at top with musket) did.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” –  Andrew Jackson

Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all for verification links may be accessed.