The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere

The other day while I was enjoying breakfast Buddy came into Clyde’s, still in uniform. he sat at my table and asked Rita for gravy and biscuits with coffee. A sheriff’s deputy, Buddy lives and works in an adjacent county, but Clyde’s is the closest place to his end-of-a-shift bed.

I shared my paper with him and went back to my coffee.

As Rita was placing his plate on the table, Buddy asked me what I thought of the President’s ideas of simply using an executive order to round up all the guns.

“I’m a LEO, yet at my house there are many other guns. Hunting guns, target rifles and pistols, and a few chosen especially for home defense.

“My sheriff has told us he will not issue such an order, and I’m happy about that. But he doesn’t know if he can legally stop the Virginia State Police or the National Guard if they receive such orders. What do you plan to do Bunkie?”

“Here in Henry County, I have no doubt our Sheriff has given zero thought to this. I’ve been told thinking gets easier the more you do it. I’m guessing he still has a real hard time with it.

“Weapon and ammunition confiscation has been tried here once before, you know? You’ve heard or read that poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere?

“That’s what he was riding to warn the nearby towns, not that “the British are coming,” They already knew that.

“He was riding to tell them the time had come, Buddy. Hide the guns and ammo. That’s what the British were actually coming for. Gun and ammo confiscation.

For a fascinating read, check out Mr. Revere’s personal account of the night.

“That didn’t work out so well. For the British.

“Long ago I sold all my guns that could tie me to their pedigree. Sold them legally to real firearms dealers. Kept the ones I had bought in private sales from people who knew I would never use them in a manner that puts their name in jeopardy.

“An unarmed citizen is a controllable citizen. Just ask the Beilski Brothers. Or their descendants in New York.

Tell me Buddy, and think about this before you answer. Do you carry that department issued Glock to protect me? Or Clyde over there? Or Rita, wherever she and that hot coffee is? Or is it first of all for yourself?”

Buddy took a long sip of coffee, before answering. “I have to admit it’s for my own protection, though you know I wouldn’t hesitate to use it to protect all of you.”

I slid my jacket open and said, “Same here old friend. Same here.”

@altonfoley | Facebook | Alton’s posts | E-mail me

  • MD Russ

    Great post, Alton. Fortunately, I doubt that even Barack the First would be foolish enough to try to abrogate the Second Amendment by executive fiat. There is an old saying in the military, “never give an order that you know will not be obeyed.” I cannot speak for the law enforcement community, but I can tell you this about our military with certainty: if Obama ordered the confiscation of weapons and ammunition by the military he would have a mutiny on his hands long before the Supreme Court could clear its collective throats. And I say that without meaning any disparagement or threats. Military officers take an oath to the Constitution and not to the President. And they are well-schooled on what to do if they are given an unlawful or unconstitutional order.

    BTW, I liked your use of the musket illustration. Lately I have heard some gun-grabbers claim that the Second Amendment was ratified when black powder muskets were the military weapon of the day. Therefore, goes their pinheaded reasoning, the Second Amendment today should apply only to black powder, muzzle loaded weapons. My response is that I agree whole-heartedly, as long as they agree that the First Amendment Freedom of the Press only applies to newspapers and not to TV, radio, or the Internet. That puts them in the “hummm” mode.

  • Carl Kilo

    Good story Alton. Asking the question all law abiding gun owners are asking. On a side note the Department of Homeland Security just purchased a huge amout of ammo. Read into that what you will. My bet is it will turn ugly.

    • MD Russ


      Would you provide us a link to the report that DHS has purchased an unusual amount of ammunition?

    • Riiiiiiiight. When you say “Asking the question all law abiding gun owners are asking.”, you aren’t speaking for me.

  • Scout

    Where does all this Chicken Little stuff about the “President’s idea of simply using an executive order to round up all the guns . . ” come from? I guess it’s kind of like going to a horror film – it’s sort of fun to get all scared about something as long as it’s pure fantasy. I worry, however, that some weak-minded folks might actually believe it.

    • MD Russ


      Suppose that the President issued an executive order banning SLG (scary looking guns), something that VP Biden has publicly speculated that he might do. Exactly what would be the Constitutional difference between that and banning all firearms by executive order?

    • It comes from his own mouth…

  • Susan G

    How do we keep Sideshow Bob and his looney toon brethren at bay? A grand bargain in the Virginia Senate? Ooooh.

  • Scout

    I may just not be as well informed as others here, but the only things I’ve heard discussed as being achievable through executive order clearly are achievable through executive order. Specifically (for example), I’ve seen floated the idea that DOJ would be required to give higher enforcement priority to prosecuting falsification of background check information. No one (perhaps excepting falsifiers) has any problem with that, and no one doubts that it could be achieved through executive order. I am not in the least worried about de facto amendment of the Constitution through EOs. That would last about thirty minutes, and no one in the Administration has even suggested it. I think there’s a lot of hyperventilation going on in certain circles.

    But it’s a helluva lot more fun to imagine storm troopers kicking down doors all over the country to take away every one of every patriots shootin’ irons. Kind of gets the juices flowing.

    • MD Russ


      Your first sentence says it all. Falsifying background check information is already against the law. The DOJ does not need an executive order to enforce the law.

  • Scout

    Perhaps not, MD, but they have assigned very little resources to prosecuting false statements on background check submissions. An EO would require them to up the emphasis on that kind of violation. This is the sort of thing I’ve heard come out of the Biden Task Force discussion as possibly addressable through executive orders. The post made it sound like two serious people seriously discussed the idea that a President could issue an EO that would confiscate weapons. It may have been intended as satire, but, if so, the satirical element was well disguised. They might as well have been seriously discussing the threat of milkmaids from Mars coming and confiscating all our dairy cattle.

    The trouble with this kind of post in the context of a serious policy issue, particularly on a site that trends toward the Republican”Conservative” side of current issues, is that everyone thinks conservative Republicans are loonies. We deserve better.

    • MD Russ

      Scout, how do you know that “they” have assigned very little resources? And who are “they?” The FBI, ATF, state and local authorities? And if falsified information on background checks is such a problem, they why do “they” spend so much time and effort tracking straw purchases?

  • Scout

    MD – the data are pretty clear that enforcement against background check misinformation isn’t getting much attention. Tens of thousands of applications are rejected for false information or omissions, only two or three dozen were prosecuted in the last year for which data are available. It surely can’t be controversial that the President would order DOJ to elevate the priorities on this.

    • MD Russ


      When a background check is rejected for omissions, then a firearm sales is blocked. But there is a world of difference between an application with omissions and one with false information. Can you cite a reliable source for your assertion that “tens of thousands of applications are rejected (by your inference) for false information but only two or three dozen were prosecuted.”

      Get real. You are adding two plus two and concluding that the answer is 413.

  • Scout

    MD – I think the numbers are fairly commonly available and are not disputed. The background check rejection numbers for the last full year of data were somewhere close to 80,000 and the prosecutions (nationwide) for false information were less than 50. Obviously, not every one of the rejections is worth prosecuting, but the disparity of the numbers is exactly what I was speaking of. I don’t think even the NRA disputes that the government needs to be more aggressive about pursuing false background check information. To submit it is a felony. There also needs to be follow-up. Frequently, when someone is kicked out on a background check, they go into the private sales market. Data then confirm that many of those immediate post-rejection sales end up with a weapon involved in a crime.

    I guess I find it peculiar that this is an area about which your are skeptical. I thought it was one of those glaring problems that virtually no one disagreed with on any side of the gun debate.

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