Hollis Wayne Fincher, R.I.P. (Photo credit: Militia of Washington County)
U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Hollis Wayne Fincher, 73 of Fayetteville, passed away on Monday, September 16, 2019, at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, AR,” the Madison County Funeral Service obituary announced. “He loved his God and his Country. He loved to go Colorado elk hunting. He enjoyed making guns, knives, bows, and cannons. He loved life.”
He did make guns, and because of that, the government stole a significant portion of Fincher’s life from him. Instead of obeying their “shall not be infringed” mandate, those in power will crush anyone claiming his birthright to keep and bear arms in an unapproved manner.
Because he exercised his right to keep and bear arms, the government sentenced Wayne Fincher to “6 1/2 years in federal prison for possessing banned weapons, including machine guns and a sawed-off shotgun.” When Fincher’s wife died a year before his scheduled release, he was denied a furlough to attend her funeral.
This will be a new story to most of you, but it’s one that began in early November 2006, when Fincher was arrested by “[t]eams of special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), assisted by other federal, state and local law enforcement officers.” The arrest followed “an eight-month investigation relating to the unlawful manufacture, possession and transfer of machine guns…conducted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Department of Justice initiative that combines federal state and local resources to combat violent gun crime.”
Fincher did have some guns, as was his right under any fair reading of Founding intent, but he certainly wasn’t violent. As an aside, that’s one of the main reasons why some of us have long been against federal programs like “Project Exile” that criminalize gun possession rather than gun abuses, and argued against NRA joining hands with the Brady Campaign to laud and promote such edicts.
Back to Fincher’s story, how he got on ATF’s radar began years before his arrest. He was a member of the Militia of Washington County, a group of patriotic armed Americans who had tried, for years, too keep authorities, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, informed, exercising their right to petition for peaceful redress. The pleaded for recognition of supposedly Constitutionally-guaranteed rights through a declaratory document presenting their arguments:
“The Silver Bullet” The Militia of Washington County, Arkansas Presents: A Public Notice of Discovery, Findings, and Facts Constituting A Cause of Action, Cause, Case, And Claims: A Formal Rebuttal to the Validity of the National Firearms Act of 1934.
In response, they were completely ignored by public servants criminally derelict in their duty to honor their oaths of office, and by the media, who they had pleaded with to take notice.
Fincher’s trials and travails were documented extensively at the time by my The War on Guns blog, the United States vs. Fincher blog and a few others, but disappointingly received very little attention from most other “gun bloggers.” A sentiment I saw more than once was that some found it more in their “pragmatic” political interests to ignore him — and that’s putting it nicely.
So why did Fincher get caught up in a battle he had no chance of winning? Perhaps this character assessment from one of his friends is about as close as we will get to understanding:
“Though Wayne is well-versed in the Second Amendment, he does not understand much of the workings of the legal world. He is not at all familiar with the Federal Court system and its processes. Moreover, Wayne is very straightforward and does not really understand those who are not. He has a difficult time conceiving that the people he deals with would be fundamentally dishonest with him (this is why he never ran the Confidential Informant off, even when warned about the man by his nephew and wife). Thus, he does not understand how his statements can be twisted to mean something entirely different than what he meant and stated.”
Some will no doubt still side with the “pragmatists” and criticize, if not outright condemn Fincher’s actions. Just to be consistent though, they should also be prepared to take sides against “I will not comply” activists who refuse to obey magazine bans in states like Connecticut. They should repudiate Thoreau’s classic “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” and advocate that Rosa Parks should have stayed at the back of the bus. And importantly, when Dianne Feinstein says, “Turn ‘em all in, Mr. and Mrs. America,” and Beto’s “Hell yes!” confiscation teams show up, it will be on them to…how did NRA put it?
“Bill did what any honest, law-abiding American would do…he turned in his SKS Sporter to the police.”
Wayne Fincher had a different line in the sand than most of us, and as I said at the time:
If I thought getting arrested to make a Second Amendment claim was a winning strategy, I’d arrange it myself. You’ll notice I haven’t.
That’s because I can’t help but note how fractured the “gun community” is, and how little support the boat-rockers can expect. If every one of us did what Fincher did, there would be no more gun control laws in this country. Because we will not stand up en masse, any one of us who does will be cut down.
Think what you will of Wayne Fincher. I choose to remember him with admiration for his principles and his courage. I will mourn the man and take a measure of comfort that our paths in life crossed.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.