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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

America's Twisted Gun Culture Claims One of Washington College's Best and Brightest

(125) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 9:20 AM

On Saturday afternoon, a crisis at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland came to a tragic end when student Jacob Marberger was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Five days prior, the school had taken the unusual step of closing down until the end of the...

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The Price of 'Normalizing' Open Carry

(360) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 9:48 AM

Those who advocate the Open Carry of firearms in public have been telling us for some time that their goal is to "normalize" this behavior. On October 31, we learned the price of treating such threatening and dangerous behavior as normal, and it might have been three human lives.


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The NRA Goes Full Insurrectionist

(1080) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 9:23 AM

The National Rifle Association (NRA) staff headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia is generally a tightly-controlled, secretive lot. While NRA board members like Ted Nugent, Ken Blackwell and Charles Cotton are prone to rant and go off-message, one usually gets the sense that such behavior is curtailed at the staff and executive...

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The Charleston Victims Weren't 'Asking for It'

(103) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 9:57 AM

In response to sexual violence, we too often hear the hateful and self-serving phrase "they were asking for it." Now, in the wake of mass shootings, gun apologists have taken to publicly and loudly importing this shameful, victim-blaming tactic.

After the gruesome massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston...

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A Gun Violence Restraining Order Could Have Stopped Dallas PD Gunman

(45) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 9:56 AM

Texas has been the scene of a tremendous amount of gun-related turmoil as of late, but Saturday's lone wolf attack on the Dallas Police Department headquarters still stands out as a particularly scary incident.

As is the case with every horrific incident of gun violence in this country, we...

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Baltimore and Grants Pass: A Tale of Two Uprisings

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 8:01 AM

Provocateurs flocked to the scene, hoping to provoke a bloody confrontation. Armed protestors descended on the government office, claiming injustice and demanding accountability for the government's actions. Having already received innumerous death threats via telephone, government leaders elected to close the office to protect the safety of employees and visitors...

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20 Years After OKC Bombing, NRA Has Mainstreamed McVeigh's Insurrectionist Idea in Conservative Movement

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 1:22 PM

Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh's act of domestic terrorism killed 168 people and injured nearly 700 others. Many of the victims were children, who were in a daycare center in the...

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Texas Open-Carry Movement Turning to Terrorism

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2015 | 8:40 AM

Merriam Webster definition of "terrorism": The use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.

I've been blogging here at The Huffington Post for quite some time about the threat of insurrectionism in the pro-gun movement. Typically,...

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Texas House Lawmakers Push the Panic Button

(0) 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

(0) 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

(0) 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

(0) 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

(57) 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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