Zoltan Bathory (yes, Quorthon fans, that’s his actual name) is not shy when it comes to his opinions. Unlike many people in show business, he is not afraid of saying what he thinks, even if those thoughts run the risk of getting him some occasional (un)deserved flak. As a person closely connected with the American Armed Forces and with martial arts, he has some very strong views in regards to the right to self defense and, of course, gun ownership.

So, having covered all of our musical topics in the first part of our interview, Zoltan, a card-carrying member of the NRA, and who once even considered acting as one of their spokesman, and I dove into the often misunderstood, and always controversial, Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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MB: You have been very outspoken in your views regarding gun ownership. Considering the type of rhetoric that often comes from the pro-gun side, do you think that there’s a threat of the government taking away the guns?
Z:
There are 400 million guns on the streets; it’s not economically feasible to collect them and the billions of rounds of ammo. You just can’t! There are just not enough people or facilities.
Even if people were to give up their guns (which they won’t); what do you do with them? How do you dispose them? This is a pipe dream. Anybody that comes into the gun debate cannot simply start with the fictitious idea of just getting rid of the guns.  Why start with something that is logistically impossible?  Something that would be possible is education about guns.

MB: I get the idea of people owning guns, as a way to defend themselves, although I understand that the motivation behind the 2nd Amendment is not hunting deer but hunting tyrants.
Z:
Yes.  The second amendment makes all the other ones possible. But let’s extend this; it’s not just about the rights that are given to you by a piece of paper.
When your life is in actual danger, you don’t care about any paper; you will just defend your life no matter what it takes. It’s about defending yourself and your family. You should be able to do that.
Some people say that owning a gun is uncivilized and brute, but we can look at that issue from a completely different perspective; maybe gun ownership actually made us more civilized, since guns act as equalizers. All of a sudden a physically superior person cannot simply abuse a weaker one, since the gun will act as a deterrent.

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MB: Right, unless the big guy has a gun.
Z:
Right [laughs] but the idea is that a firearm takes away the physical advantage, even of multiple attackers.
A gun is the last line of dignity; the gun allows you to say “No, you cannot do whatever you want with me… because I’ll go down in a fucking blaze of fire!” [Laughs] Nobody can just come to your house and do whatever he wants to you or your family.

 MB: What about assault rifles?
Z:
People talk about “assault rifles” as if they had been strictly invented to “assault” somebody, as if you couldn’t use them to defend yourself. A rifle has no agenda of its own, so calling them “assault rifles” is misleading and just  a way in which the media play with words.

MB: An often debated issue is that of magazine capacity. Despite having said that I support gun ownership, and regardless of whether the constitution is to be seen as a “living document”, I think that we can both agree that the Founding Fathers didn’t have in mind a gun with a 30-bullet magazine.
Z:
True, but it’s about equalizing the force. Since they obviously couldn’t predict what we were going to have in the future, the interpretation ends up being about what the motivation was behind this amendment.

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MB: Still, you do agree that if you want to have an M16 or an AK-47 it’s not because you’re planning to go hunting, right?
Z:
What we have to do is look at law enforcement. What do they have? The police have AR-15 rifles, handguns and shotguns. They have that because they, the professionals in this field, decided that this is the weaponry that is adequate to deal with the criminals. If they concluded that this is the equipment required to deal with crime today, then I want to have the same.
If the arsenal of the people who can violate your rights has expanded, then you have to be able to acquire an equal force to deal with that. This will always be about balance.

MB: Since you mentioned education; do you think that there should be a limitation on the 2nd Amendment that would require people to learn how to operate a gun properly before they can get it?
Z:
I have a different opinion on this issue than a lot of gun owners. In my opinion, and I know that it could be extremely unpopular with some of my fellow NRA members, yes, you should pass a course, and, yes, all guns should be registered.
The gun owner’s fear is that if the government knows who has guns then they will be able to come and collect them. However, and as I said before, that would simply be an unfeasible task. They simply don’t have the infrastructure to do that.
Having said that, however, if all guns have to be registered, then the Second Amendment should truly be unfuckwithable. Of course, I probably don’t need a fully automatic weapon, a bazooka or a tank [Laughs] you have to draw a line, since things can get a little extreme. I think that this plan, despite probably being an unpopular idea, could solve some of the issues. Registration would also make it easier to track weapons if they are stolen.

MB: Well, we do know that the majority of guns that are used in crimes were, at some point, purchased legally.
Z:
If every gun has to be registered, and you’re caught with a gun that isn’t registered, then you’ll be committing an offense; it’s as simple as that.
My point, however, is that you wouldn’t need an unregistered gun IF you CAN own ANY gun legally, something that would only work if the 2nd amendment stays etched in stone.

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MB: This ownership would extend to Assault Rifles?
Z:
From a technical point of view, the bans on assault rifles are ridiculous, since what they consider an “assault rifle” is not very different from a hunting rifle, other than aesthetically .

MB: You’ll have to forgive my ignorance on this, but doesn’t the hunting rifle stop after you press the trigger while, for instance, an AR-15 will continue shooting?
Z:
No, that’s what media sensationalism is trying to make you believe; The AR-15 is a semi-auto. Legally I cannot own a fully automatic weapon unless I have a dealer’s license. 1)Although it is highly regulated and limited, it is still possible for a private citizen to own a fully automatic weapon, as long as certain requirements are met. Also, an argument can be made that these strict regulations have been beneficial The highly demonized AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon, just like a hunting rifle. One press of the trigger, one bullet, that’s it; no blazing automatic fire.

MB: To clarify, what’s the difference between semi-automatic and automatic?
Z:
Automatic fire is where the gun shoots as long as you are pressing the trigger. In the case of a semi auto, on the other hand, when you press the trigger it fires only one bullet, but the gun chambers another round ready to be fired. Here the argument ends up being about magazine capacity, but that’s ridiculous, since you can change a magazine in a few seconds anyway.
As a sign of how misguided and twisted the debate is, consider this: they attack the AR-15 which is a .556 caliber, much smaller than a 9mm pistol, and much smaller than a 45.  If you get shot with an AR-15 rifle, and the bullet doesn’t go to your head or your heart, you will live; I would have to shoot you multiple times, deliberately trying to kill you.

MB: I’m pretty sure that if you’re shooting at someone you’re probably trying to kill him.
Z:  
Not necessarily and, in any case, my point is that the AR15 is demonized while my handgun can cause far more damage.

MB: Regardless, if I have a revolver, 6 bullets, I get 6 times to shoot you in the right place, while if I’m shooting an AR-15 I’ll get 30 chances.
Z:
When somebody is attacking you, the adrenaline is pumping; and your aim starts to suck. You may need all 30 rounds to stop the offender or, especially, multiple offenders. If I shoot you once with my AR-15 you will get the memo, but you will probably survive. You really need to do something stupid (like keep coming at me) for me to keep shooting at you. But in essence I have more chances to stop you and I also have a way to be more measured with the punishment.

MB: The whole issue of measurement, however, is arguable. You are trained to properly operate guns; an inexperienced person, on the other hand, carrying an AR-15 would just keep shooting until you stop moving.
Z:  
That’s one of the arguments they pose; “why would you need a 30 round magazine?” Well, exactly for what you just pointed out.  Even an experienced shooter can miss 6 out of 6 times in those circumstances. The mind state of an offender is very different from the victim’s. The offender gets ready, calculates, carries extra ammo, and attacks you with the element of surprise. You probably (scared and in shock) will reach for your primary weapon, and if that was a revolver with only 6 rounds you are maybe shit out of luck. It’s unlikely that you just happened to have more bullets in your pocket. If you grabbed your AR-15 you have 30 chances. But 30:1 survival ratio is much better than 6:1!
Because of the psychology and the disadvantage of being the one who is attacked, you would want the most capabilities from your primary defensive weapon.

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MB: Let’s get back to the topic of education. In order to be allowed to drive a car you need to learn how to drive. Should there be mandatory classes in order to be allowed to own a gun?
Z:
There are some…In order to get a concealed-carry permit you need to take a 5-hour course, and have to pass a written and an actual shooting test. 

MB: Come on, you’ve done military training. Do you honestly think 5 hours is enough to learn how to properly and safely handle a gun?
Z:
It’s better than nothing!
You and I are talking about very logical issues, but out there the argument is very illogical and irrational. Of course there should be gun education; however, if you purchased a gun and you don’t go to the range to practice with it, then it’s your problem that you can’t use it when you need to.

MB: Why do you think there is a big opposition to registration?
Z:
There is some paranoia, with people wondering why their government should know what they have, since they think that then the government will be able to come and take them. There’s also the fear as to whether the government would be able to keep this information confidential.

MB: Come on! The US Government is excellent at keeping documents secret and preventing leaks!
Z:
[Laughs]

MB: I believe in gun ownership as a right, following the Jefferson idea of “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty”. Still, I was talking with a friend and he quickly, and rightfully, pointed out “You do know the government has drones, right?” The point is that if the government wants to take you out, it will.
Z:
It’s almost ridiculous to think something like that could happen in the US today; I mean, it’s true that it has happened in history where governments have turned against their own people on a massive scale, but it won’t happen today, not that way. Can you order the US Army to fire at American Citizens in large numbers?  Somehow I don’t think that could happen, I don’t think they would carry out that order.

MB: Then again, something along those lines has happened in the US. Ruby Ridge and Waco being two big cases. The government demonstrated that even if the people have guns they’d still be willing to kill everyone. Sometimes government actions fuel the paranoia.
Z:
Yes, of course there are unfortunate incidents; Waco, for instance, was a series of tragic misunderstandings with a lethal outcome, and a dozen “could have – should have” factors where both parties made fatal mistakes.

MB: You seem to be a bit different from other pro-gun people, in the sense that the “anti tyranny” part of the discourse seems absent. You seem to see them mostly as a tool to protect yourself from crime­.
Z:
 Well; Is it possible that the government would ever turn its own army on us? Not today,but you never know what’s coming down the line in the future, so it’s imperative that we don’t allow the erosion of the rights that can put a break on that oppression.
While the more reasonable scenarios for the need of gun ownership are self-defense and protection in case of natural catastrophes, it is also true that a large number of armed citizens are definitely undesirable for any government
For the government to actually turn on its people you’d need a slow process of erosion of these rights. It would take them decades to be able to disarm and put the entire population into a vulnerable position. The argument is generally moot since disarming America is impossible and, motherfucker, Americans are known to shoot back! [laughs]

MB: [Laughs]But it has happened. People were shocked in the States when Waco and Ruby Ridge happened; especially in the case of Ruby Ridge, where a court determined that the killing of police officers constituted self-defense.
Z:
Waco was ridiculous too.

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MB: True, but in the case of Ruby Ridge even a court considered that the government actions were tantamount to criminal. The problem,  and I’m not saying that this is necessarily the case with the US right now, is that once a government abuses power it just becomes easier to do it.
Z:
The 2nd amendment and gun ownership are partially the reason why we can even go to court and argue about things like these. In a country where the military, the police and the state are one, where you have no guns as the last line of defense, this wouldn’t have been even a discussion.

MB: As a member of the NRA, do you encounter people who are too much in the extreme?
Z:
Every crowd has a couple of idiots. One violent football fan doesn’t make all the others hooligans. I hear ridiculous arguments on both ends. On the anti-gun side it’s often glaringly obvious that, from a technical point of view, they don’t even know what they’re talking about; on the gun owners’ side there are also ridiculous arguments that don’t help the case at all. Still, regardless of the extremes that we can find on both sides, I’m sure that there is a common ground where all of us could agree.
The problem is that what we see right now are just some guys who have no fucking idea, like Piers Morgan-

MB: And Alex Jones!
Z:
Exactly!  The two extremes…

MB: Two people and yet less than one brain.
Z:
The discussion focuses on the extremes, the guy giving all the wrong reasons why you should have a gun, and then another who has no idea of what the fuck he’s talking about fighting with him! If you start talking with the smarter guys who are on both sides of the issue, however, there is an agreement that can be reached.

MB: But they’re not entertaining! They don’t make good TV. If you wanna debate gun control you have to bring a guy who says that vaccines cause autism to argue for the guns, and the guy responsible for Susan Boyle and tabloids on the other.
Z:
 Yep, That’s it!  There are extremes on both sides, and they’re somewhat entertaining. Many of the “gun control” issues are just for viewer grab or some electoral bullshit that some candidates need to ride on to get into office.

MB: I’ve taken up a lot of your time; are you sure you want to continue?
Z:
Definitely; I enjoy the conversation; you’re well educated and know all of these things, even though you come from a different place. You’re a lawyer, you know about Waco, the issues, etc., it’s rare to see that, especially here in Europe so it’s nice to get a different view.

MB: I find it problematic when people don’t know about things like Waco, especially in the US. Fuck, men, women and children were burned alive.
Z:
Yeah. There’s a very good documentary about it.

MB: Janet Reno was a fucking war criminal.
Z:
  It was insane, just like what happened with Richard Jewell.

MB: How do you feel your views are perceived by others?
Z:
I don’t really get to talk a lot about them, especially here in Europe, because it’s a foreign topic here. It’s a thankless topic anyway; because everything you say can be picked apart and reinterpreted in a way you didn’t actually mean it – and political correctness is the new tyranny. You can barely say anything of substance because somewhere somehow there is a micro religion that will feel offended. I can’t say that unicorns are stupid without getting a demand for an apology from some fucking unicorn defense group. Anyway, but yes – the rest of the world have a hard time to understand why Americans are sticking to their guns.

MB: I think that might be a consequence of reliance on the State. American nations were born out of revolutions, while Western European nations have, for the most part (not counting their many internal struggles) existed from time immemorial. The idea of fighting against the state is a bit unknown, and hence gun ownership is not as ingrained in their minds..
Z:
If you look at the statistics, the countries with the most strict gun laws… well, look at America; Chicago has the toughest gun control laws in the country, and yet has the worst crime stats in the country by far. Gun control just didn’t work. Countries with the toughest gun control tend to have the highest rape occurrence. Coincidence? 2)This is inaccurate; among the OECD countries the United States shows more rapes per capita than other developed nations, such as Germany, with much stricter gun laws

MB: Statistics can be analyzed in whatever way benefits you…
Z:
I know! That’s what I just did [laughs]

MB: [Laughs] Exactly; in the UK, for instance, they brag about the low rate of gun-related offenses; ignoring that the rest of violent crime has actually gone up. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that guns do represent a danger in a home where people are not trained to operate them or where the owner is careless as to where he keeps it.
Z:
If you look at gun accidents, more kids probably hurt themselves with skateboards. They represent a very low number compared to the rest of accidents. 3)This is statistically correct, as the data seems to show that having a swimming pool at home is much more dangerous for a kid than having a gun But yes the parent is responsible for properly storing that gun. Stupidity is hard to cure, so I think the solution will be a high tech method, like fingerprint activated trigger guards that can give you fast access to your weapon when needed, but prevent unauthorized use.

MB: In the end it goes down to what we discussed, education. I know that mandatory education could be used by the state to, in effect, limit access to guns, but there has to be a way to force people to learn how to use a weapon before they are allowed to have it.
Z:
I can see that being a reasonable solution.

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 MB: What I can see, as a lawyer, that can be raised against mandatory education is the fact that gun ownership is a constitutional right. A strict reading of the 2nd Amendment would not allow any such conditions to be imposed, because rights can’t be conditioned by the state; then again, that’s the same reading that allows blind people to buy guns in some states.
Z:
It ends up being about common sense!

MB: Exactly; It ends up being a discussion along the lines of “I’m fairly certain that when the Founding Fathers drafted the 2nd Amendment they had people who were able to look at what they were shooting”, and the right to have “a well-organized militia of non-blind people.” 4)I swear to fucking God I’m not making this up: Not only is this true, some morons are actually saying that blind people should be allowed to own guns (because ‘Merica). Yes, people who can’t see shit
Z:
[Laughs] It’s common sense, that’s the thing.

MB: Zoltan; you’ve gone above and beyond the line of duty on this interview. Thank you very much for taking all of this time. Any final words?
My opinion on these gun laws may confuse some people if they ever saw me talking about Eastern philosophy… but the two actually don’t conflict;  not for me at least.
In temperament and philosophy I’m probably closest to a Buddhist monk so, of course, in that light if I think about what a gun really is I see a crude ridiculous device that was designed to end lives. “What kind of brute creature cannot see what an abomination this life ending machinery is?”….Unfortunately, a world without violence, aggression, injustice, oppression and abuse is just a utopian dream; That’s’ not where we live, not right now. A mental and spiritual global evolution has to happen before we can even consider giving up our defenses.
Yes, meditation and philosophy are the tools to liberate my mind…  but my weapons and a fuckload of ammo are the tools to defend the temple that is my body!

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  • Deryk Hagey

    Just one more reason to love FFDP

  • Fred meyer

    thanks J Excellent Interview Zoltan you have a lot of common sense thanks for sharing.

  • Joe Gabbard

    well played, Mr. Bathory. another well-versed argument against the misconception that metal fans are ignorant, and uneducated. 5FDP rocks!

  • Michael Edgerly

    I read this all the way through and enjoyed this interview. I agree with Zoltan on just about everything. However I do not agree with registration, Govt. has no business trying to regulate or confiscate my ability to defend myself, my family or this country……….
    I love FFDP, have every CD and they are all loaded in my truck………… I listen to them every single day…..I think Zoltan is a well educated man, spiritually, morally and he is definately someone I would love to have a beer with………. Keep kicking ass brother!!!!

  • Greger Johansson

    see you in Stockholm 8mars BANDITROCKAWARDS.

  • me ohmy

    the author is a moron.. FFDP has a new fan..

  • David W. White

    Are you a natural born idiot or did you have to take a test. In Germany, under Hitler, all Jews were made to register their guns. Later the government knew who to go to for weapons. Our government, on its present course, will do the same to us. Beware America, or “We the People” will in up in Stalags.

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    What exactly do you accomplish by registering guns? Please explain.