Beating the “Divide and Conquer” Tactic

With Solidarity Among Gun Owners

by John Glatthar

We should occasionally take time to reflect upon and appreciate the wisdom of our founding fathers. Among the wisest of the founders was Ben Franklin. In the Continental Congress just before signing of the Declaration of Independence, 1776, Franklin opined that, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” While he was referring to the necessity of solidarity and organized resistance among the colonists to the British, he was also expressing a warning. The American Revolution would not have been successful without those who were willing to sacrifice, as they put it, “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” In those troubling times, solidarity of spirit and purpose was on display at its absolute finest.

Today, defenders of the Second Amendment are in a daily political battle against sinister forces whose aim is to repeal the 2nd Amendment and to disarm the citizens. Make no mistake – their end goal is to fully disarm the people of this country. They use deceptive and devious tactics to achieve their goals. Let’s look at a tactic that they can (and do) employ in order to make headway in their unholy quest for citizen disarmament – using gun owners’ self-centered mindset against them.

I do not wish to imply here that gun owners are selfish; I am referring to the natural human inclination to focus on what is of interest to oneself, while dismissing or ignoring the interests of others. Many gun owners (me included) tend to develop a relatively narrow set of interests in the world of guns and shooting sports.

Seldom found is the gun owner who owns and uses all the following diverse firearms: small concealable handguns for CCW, large bore rifles for hunting dangerous, big game, Class 3 submachine guns for full auto shoots, precision rifles for bench rest shooting, “race guns” for competition in IPSC and IDPA matches, collectible WW1 and WW2 battle rifles for historic interest, antique or replica black powder firearms, and costly, elegant shotguns for shooting upland game birds, or for trap and skeet events. Among American gun owners, there may be such a person who owns all of the above-described firearms, but that would be extraordinary person.

I have no interest, for example, in ever acquiring a $50,000 Purdey shotgun. While I appreciate their beauty and craftsmanship, these gorgeous guns would have limited usefulness for my home protection purposes. The grim-looking, black Remington 870 pump shotgun is what I have chosen for that purpose. Could a $50,000 “work-of-art” shotgun be used for self-defense? Yes, but that is not the primary purpose for which people buy those firearms.

Now, here is a question to ponder – if the gun grabbers created a fictional and arbitrary category called “non-sporting shotguns” and then tried to ban those particular shotguns because they have no “sporting purpose” by their cunning definition, would the owners of high end shotguns join me in my fight to keep my black plastic stock shotgun?  Or would they say, “I don’t care about those ugly things. The ban won’t affect me, for they will never come after MY beautiful sporting shotgun.” The problem with this attitude is that many are unaware that the gun grabbers aren’t looking to ban any particular gun and then rest on their laurels. They never stop. They want to ban all guns. No gun is safe or exempt. By vilifying certain guns, or creating fictional categories of guns, they can garner support to ban them. Label them “Saturday Night Specials,” “Assault Weapons,” “Non-Sporting Shotguns,” “Weapons of War,” Death Machines,” etcetera, and you make it easier to sell the next gun control scheme to low information voters.

The gun grabbers’ steady march toward civilian disarmament spares no one. Nothing is sacred or off the table. All guns are in their sights. The sooner you acknowledge this, the better, for it would a huge mistake to assume that you will be allowed to keep your gun, simply because it does not fall into a prohibited category today. What about tomorrow? It is a safe bet that legislation has already been drafted to “fix loopholes” in yesterday’s anti-gun legislation. In other words, your precious gun that you assumed was untouchable is but a loophole waiting to be addressed in the future.

“Divide and conquer” is an age old tactic. The gun grabbers are counting on individual factions of gun owners to remain quiet while a particular category of gun (that they do not own or have interest in) is banned. A good example is the ugly outcome of the 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. In a nutshell, the legislation sought to undo some of the onerous restriction of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Simultaneously, however it added a ban on the importation or manufacture of Class 3 fully automatic firearms (already restricted since NFA 1934) for civilian consumption. One step forward and one step back. Where was the outrage and voices of gun owners who didn’t own machine guns on that day? Where was the champion of gun rights, the NRA, on that day? Sadly, the bill actually passed with the NRA’s blessing. The divide and conquer tactic worked.

How do we stop from being divided, conquered, and disarmed? Very simply, we must act in solidarity as a fraternity of gun owners, and fight to stop any and all assaults on our invaluable right to keep and bear arms, whether or not we own the type of gun that is being vilified and targeted for a ban.

German Pastor Martin Niemoller made a now-famous, sobering comment during one of his sermons:

When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not speak out; As I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I did not speak out;I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; As I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; As I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.


We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”                                                       –Ben Franklin


At Semper Firearms Training we encourage you to buy a gun, get trained in how to use it, get a Nevada CCW permit, and continue your firearms training as part of a defensive lifestyle.


Image Courtesy of Oleg Volk