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Josh Horwitz
Joshua Horwitz, J.D., is Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Mr. Horwitz is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his law degree from the George Washington University. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the co-author of a book, Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea, that was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2009. Mr. Horwitz has spent nearly two decades working on gun violence prevention issues.

Entries by Josh Horwitz

Texas House Lawmakers Push the Panic Button

(218) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 10:14 AM

Permissive Texas gun policies are giving armed insurrectionists leeway to openly intimidate elected officials

Yesterday, legislators in the Texas House of Representatives approved new security measures to protect themselves. Members can now install panic buttons in their offices at taxpayer expense.

They took this step less than 24 hours after the events in this video, which was the impetus for the change.

I was deeply disturbed watching this encounter between open carry activists and Texas state House Representative Poncho Nevárez, a Latino legislator who was named the Freshman Democrat of the Year by his Texas House of Representatives colleagues during the 83rd Texas Legislature in 2013.

Keep in mind when you watch the video that Texas allows individuals with a concealed handgun permit to bring loaded firearms into the State Capitol.

Also keep in mind that Nevárez's children and in-laws were in the office at the time.

You'll hear Nevárez direct his staff to call Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers at the 1:00 mark.

Finally, you might recall that Open Carry Texas/Open Carry Tarrant County member Veronica Dunnachie is facing capital murder charges after shooting and killing her estranged husband and his 20 year-old daughter on December 10th of last year.

Violence here is no longer theoretical, and weak Texas gun laws are giving it every chance to happen.

The backdrop to the video is a rally that occurred at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday in favor of H.B. 195. The bill would remove the requirement that Texas residents obtain a permit before openly carrying loaded handguns in the state (concealed carry of handguns does require a permit). Under such a law, individuals would have carte blanche to openly carry weapons in public without undergoing any screening for criminal and mental health history, and without having to demonstrate any proficiency with firearms. Representative Nevárez has made it clear he does not support H.B. 195.

The rally was conducted by open carry group Lone Star Gun Rights (LSGR). Also present was Open Carry Texas leader C.J. Grisham, who believes in doing away with all regulation of firearms and wants crime guns untraceable; and Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins, whose car was recently totaled by a drunk driver minutes after he led an armed protest against police officers for their deployment of a DWI (traffic safety) checkpoint.

Tuesday's rally also featured Come and Take It members manufacturing 3D-printed firearms on location at the Capitol, without the federal license required to manufacture firearms. They used a machine called the Ghost Runner, which was invented by insurrectionist Texas law student Cody Wilson.

It was Kory Watkins who filmed the confrontation with Nevárez. In the room with him were activists Jacob Cordova, AKA Ben Franklin, who later posted on Facebook, "silly representatives forgot who they work for"; Kevin Kester, Molly Pitcher; Tom Jefferson; Sam Mance; and LSGR leader Martin Cohn.

C.J. Grisham says he was initially at the meeting but "had to leave in disgust" once his fellow open carry activists initiated "intimidating and aggressive" behavior--an interesting comment from a man who has been convicted for provoking a confrontation with law enforcement. Grisham is the founder of the modern Open Carry movement in Texas, remember. This is his Frankenstein and even he can't control it.

Nevárez showed real courage in his interaction with the armed, radical activists. "I'm loath to throw somebody out," he said later. "I've never had to do that, ever, and I hope I never have to do that again. It's not a good way to talk about things. It's not my way." He recounted that one individual in the group "reeked" of marijuana and admitted he was "unnerved" by his knowledge that most of the people he was dealing with were probably armed.

No elected official in our great country should ever be put in such a position. There is only one purpose to the behavior you see on this video: to intimidate legislators into compliance and prevent what would otherwise be open, democratic debates about policy.

The belief of some individuals that their guns override our laws is not a new one. We've seen it in America before, most notably during Shays' Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion. And it is certainly not an idea that our Founders took kindly to. It was the leading general of our Revolutionary War, President George Washington, who rode out at the head of 13,000 state militiamen to put down the Whiskey Rebels, for example. My organization, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has been keeping a running timeline of threats and actual acts of insurrectionary violence since 2008. The uprising at the Bundy ranch is just the tip of the iceberg, I can assure you.

Texas legislators will now have to consider whether they want to approve legislation that would give activists like the ones they saw on Tuesday the ability to openly carry loaded handguns on their streets without permits, background checks or training. If they are even remotely concerned about self-preservation, they might also consider legislation to keep guns out of the Texas State Capitol, their new panic buttons notwithstanding.

We typically associate destabilized societies where might makes right with Third World countries. Armed thuggery might be the way they make policy in some places around the world, but not here in this great country. Such coercion is completely antithetical to our Constitution and the American way of...

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"Gun People" Making Bad Bets, and Lives are the Cost

(414) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 7:26 AM

"When I hold you in my arms and I feel my finger on your trigger, I know no one can do me no harm." - The Beatles, "Happiness is a Warm Gun"

Over the holiday break, the gun-related death of a woman in an Idaho Walmart captured the nation's attention...

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The Racial Double Standard on Gun Violence

(1232) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 9:07 AM

One week ago, in an op-ed for the far right wing website World Net Daily, National Rifle Association (NRA) Board Member Ted Nugent commented on the violence that has made national headlines in Ferguson, Missouri, and stated, "The overwhelming majority of violent crime across America is conducted by...

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Dr. Paul's Perilous Prescription

(8) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 9:10 AM

Demilitarizing the police sounds wonderful, but what about the civilian stockpile?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was the subject of attention recently after he authored a rather sensible sounding editorial in Time magazine, entitled "We Must Demilitarize the Police." The piece focused on the excessive police response...

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In Wake of Las Vegas Killings, It's Time to Tread on Insurrectionists

(420) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 9:13 AM

On Sunday, our nation endured another gruesome tragedy when pro-gun extremist Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda allegedly ambushed two police officers -- Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31 -- in a Las Vegas pizza restaurant and shot them dead. The Millers then draped the officers' bodies...

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Is Cliven Bundy the New NRA Poster Child?

(638) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 7:53 AM

With Bunkerville crisis, NRA reaping what it has sowed through decades of insurrectionist propaganda

"There never was a government without force. What is the meaning of government? An institution to make people do their duty. A government leaving it to a man to do his duty, or not, as he...

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The Pugilistic Double Standard of the Pro-Gun Movement

(706) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 8:33 AM

They hit you? Grin and bear it. You hit them? Prepare to die.

It was National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre who famously intoned that "the guys with the guns make the rules" during the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference. I don't think I had ever fully...

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Expanding Background Checks Necessary, But Not Enough

(185) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 9:57 AM

Gun violence prevention efforts got off to a great start in 2014 when the Obama administration announced two new executive actions on January 3 that will help keep firearms out of the hands of people at an elevated risk of being a danger to themselves and/or others.

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NRA, Pro-Gun Movement, Are Major Source of TSA Animus

(22) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 8:48 AM

On Friday, airports around the nation halted operations at 9:20AM PST to observe a moment of silence in honor of Gerardo Hernandez, the 39-year-old Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer killed at the same time on November 1st by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). A public...

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What 'Guns Saves Lives Day' Tells Us About the Pro-Gun Movement

(524) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 10:04 AM

Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, hit rock bottom on Monday night when his plans to sponsor a "Guns Save Lives Day" on the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre were contested by CNN host Piers Morgan on his show "Piers...

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The Conspiracy Theory the NRA Hates

(289) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 9:51 AM

The National Rifle Association gives one the immediate impression of an organization that never met an anti-government conspiracy theory it didn't like. After all, the NRA has been recruiting members and raising money with such absurd fantasies for years: The "mass confiscation" of privately-held firearms after Hurricane Katrina,...

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How Aaron Alexis Passed a Background Check and Bought a Gun

(902) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 2:05 PM

In the wake of the September 16th Navy Yard shooting which left 13 dead, including gunman Aaron Alexis, and eight wounded, many Americans are asking, "How was Alexis able to pass a background check and purchase a gun?" Their astonishment comes from Alexis' criminal and mental health history, which is...

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The Town the Militia Took Over

(1398) Comments | Posted August 2, 2013 | 7:41 AM

"You know why there's not more residents here? The threats. That's why. Because they're afraid. They're afraid they're going to have their windows shot out." - Lifelong Gilberton resident Rose McCarthy speaking about Police Chief Mark Kessler and his supporters on July 31, 2013

National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne...

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The NRA's Perverted View of America

(1836) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 7:54 AM

"Universal access to firearms is indistinguishable from Emancipation." - Glenn Beck at the 2013 NRA Convention

Responding to the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Houston earlier this month, Connecticut's freshman Senator Chris Murphy noted, "The NRA kind of announced this weekend they're morphing into a paramilitary group,...

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Boston Seen as Roadmap for 'Second Amendment Remedies' Crowd

(616) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 10:53 AM

It made national headlines last week when 45 senators sided with the National Rifle Association and voted against a bill that would have significantly enhanced public safety in this country by requiring background checks on private sales of firearms at gun shows and other "commercial" venues. What escaped notice was...

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Time for House Democrats to Unite on Guns

(169) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 6:42 AM

Last week, Vice President Joe Biden stood before House Democrats at their annual retreat in Landsowne, Virginia and promised them that he would travel with President Obama to districts with high rates of firearm ownership to make the case for sensible gun laws. "You can go into areas where we're...

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LaPierre Reveals True Purpose Behind Assault Weapons

(2245) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 8:58 AM

Following last week's high-profile Senate Judiciary hearing in response to the tragedy at Newtown, the media paid extensive attention to National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre's flip-flop on the issue of closing the Gun Show Loophole and witness Gayle Trotter's ridiculous assertion that "guns...

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NRA Sheriff Organizing Campaign to Take Down Federal Government

(1180) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 11:20 AM

Since the gruesome mass shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, there have been major developments in the campaign to bring sanity to our nation's gun laws. On January 16, President Obama announced a historic package of comprehensive gun reform proposals during a press conference at the White House. Vice President...

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In Wake of Newtown, It's Time for America to Meet the NRA

(410) Comments | Posted January 18, 2013 | 7:00 AM

This week, America has been taken aback by the National Rifle Association's ad politicizing President Obama's daughters. With this latest episode, it's become patently obvious that unhinged attacks are the NRA leadership's calling card. As pundits cover the obstructionism and handwringing of high-profile NRA executives like

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On Eve of Election, Pro-Gunners Suggest Building IEDs for War With U.S. Government

(1712) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 6:45 AM

With Election Day upon us, it is worth remembering that voting is one of the great freedoms we enjoy as Americans, a pillar of our democracy. Our Founders fought a Revolutionary War in order to gain legislative representation. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten.

We should also never forget another...

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