Change On The Feather: Michael Cargill Interview
Ebanman had a chance to speak with the man who stood up against the Democratic Party in Texas in his fight for Gun Rights, Violence, and LGBT Equality. As a former candidate who ran for a seat as mayor and congress under the democratic party, he has pushed and spoke out tremendously for many blacks and people of other races. We wanted to hear his perspective on what happened, why he was unable to acquire a set on either cabinet, and where he is now.
EB: I understand you were once a Democrat, and changed your party affiliation to Republican. What prompted the change?
Cargill: The Democrats’ stance on the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is important to me, because with it, you can protect everything else.
EB: So, you were concerned about legislation related to gun control?
Cargill: Absolutely. Gun control started because of a program called “No Guns for Negroes”. It is inherently racist. It all started in an attempt to remove guns from blacks. It goes back to the Jim Crow era to remove guns from freed slaves and to prevent them from owning firearms.
EB: Lost seat as Democrat? What seat? Travis county constable lost in runoff.
Cargill: I was running for Travis country constable, and that went into a runoff election, and I lost in the run off.
EB: Are you planning on running for office again in the future?
Cargill: I have no plans currently. I think I can do a lot more work where I am right now. I’m a lot more effective in the position I am in now.
EB: Aside from the Second, Amendment advocacy for which you are so well known, what are your stances on other political issues that might surprise people?
Cargill: I’m also an ordained minister, so I also do weddings. My great grandfather was a minister as well. But when it comes to firearms, I believe that with this I can protect all of my other rights so long as I can own firearms.
EB: I noticed on your website, that your gun store utilizes solar panels, and that you encourage businesses to use renewables. What are the benefits to using renewables?
Cargill: Absolutely. Not only are we a gun store, but we support protecting the environment as
well. I mean, oh my goodness, if this nation was serious about renewable energy, everyone would have solar panels. We wouldn’t need the power companies and our vehicles would be powered by electricity
from the sun. I mean, here I am in Texas it’s 112 degrees today, the sun is shining strong. There’s no need for me to be using electricity from the grid, when I could be using energy from the sun.
EB: Why do you think so many businesses have been slow to make the transition to renewable energy sources?
Cargill: Because it’s so expensive. It was expensive for us to power our sign using solar panels; and it would cost even more to power our building. It’s the initial upfront cost that discourages businesses, even though you save money down the road.
EB: I understand you are strong Second Amendment advocate, in addition to running a successful gun store. Why do you value and what are some of the problems politicians have when attempting to enact legislation related to it?
Cargill: Well, I think that we have enough laws on the books as it is right now. We have background checks, and we should be enforcing those more effectively. You have to be careful because if you get too into trying to regulate and control, you start affecting the rights of private people and private transactions. The government shouldn’t be involved in affecting private interactions. We already have laws on the books, but we need to actually prosecute people who violate existing gun laws. Right now you have people who walk into a gun store to buy guns, who lie on the paperwork to get that firearm; and the government doesn’t prosecute people who lie on the forms. government doesn’t prosecute people who lie on the forms. If those people were actually prosecuted, there would be a lot less of these people on the street.
EB: So you see it more as a matter of enforcing the existing laws, and making those existing laws more effective?
Cargill: Absolutely. Parents Self-Defense Incident that was on the News in Atlanta
EB: I saw that the issue of self-defense affected you especially personally over the weekend, when someone attempted to break into your parents home, and your stepfather shot the intruder as he was climbing through the window. Would you care to elaborate on what happened?
Cargill: On Friday morning, a person was avid on getting into my parents’ home. We’re learning now that it may have been as many as four people; but they were intent on getting inside the home. They tried the patio, but couldn’t get in that way. So, they went to my parents’ shed, took out a ladder from the shed, and then proceeded to climb through the window of my parents’ master bathroom on the second floor. One person was coming through the window into my parents’ bathroom, attached to their bedroom. My stepfather heard the noise and went to the bathroom to investigate. When he got to the bathroom, my stepfather saw a person climbing through the window; and he stopped [him].
EB: There was some confusion here on the news. When I heard the story on the
radio, they made it sound as though they had broken in through the roof.
Cargill: No. What happened was, the way the house is set up, you have a roof over the second
floor, and a lower roof below on the first floor where they had set up the ladder. Once my dad
stopped him and fired that shot, he fell from the ladder back onto the first floor roof.
EB: Did you teach your parents self-defense shooting?
Cargill: Absolutely. I believe in making sure that everyone in my family has a plan, in case
something was to happen. God forbid something ever happens. You never wish for anything to happen, but you need to have a plan to be able to protect yourself in case it does. I wanted to make sure
my parents had what they needed to protect themselves. My parents had a security system, security cameras, and a designated safe room in the event something were to happen inside the home,
as well as firearms in case someone were to get into the home. I taught my parents how to shoot, self-defense, and also home defense.
EB: Are your parents doing okay? I assume they’re still a little shook up.
Cargill: Absolutely. The last thing anyone ever wants to do is to take some else’s life. They did everything they could to try and keep people from getting into that house. Who would have
guessed that someone would climb onto the second floor, and try to come in through a window on the second floor? This person was very determined to get into the house.
EB: In the wake of the recent mass shootings, Democrats have tried to push for legislation prohibiting the sale of firearms to people on terror watch lists, but these were voted down in Congress. What is your opinion on pieces of legislation like these? Are there any merits or inherent weaknesses?
Cargill: Sure. What concerns me is when you ask how do you get on that terror watch list, no one can tell you. When you ask people how do you get off the terror watch list, no one can tell you. That means there’s a secret list that you can be put on, and you can be prohibited from ever owning a firearm; and I think that is unacceptable.
EB: Do you think there is a reasonable compromise to be found between the objectives of Democrats and Republicans in regards to gun rights?
Cargill: It’s a matter of us needing to enforce the laws that are already on the books. If we have a person on a list, and a we know that person is a terrorist, why aren’t they already in jail?
EB: The relationship between black communities and the police seems to have come under a lot of publicity of late. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how to best ease the tension.
Cargill: Yeah. The thing that concerns me about that was the incident in Minnesota with Philando Castile. This guy was legally carrying a firearm, and was shot and killed in his vehicle. The other [incident] that concerned me, and scared me, was the incident with the therapist who was lying on the ground, on his back, [and] with his hands in the air. And, the officer shot him, with his patient sitting there holding a toy.
EB: That being said, we do actually have a problem with certain law enforcement officials. They need to get back to conflict resolution and not try to escalate situations. They need
to be thinking through situations rather than being so quick to go for the gun and start shooting.
There’s no reason a person should get shot in their vehicle for informing an officer that they
are legally carrying a gun. And, there is no reason a person lying on their back should be shot.
There’s no justification for that.
What hurt me the most was that less than twenty four hours later, the police officers’ organization comes out and says, “Well actually, the officer was trying to shoot the autistic guy instead.“ Like that’s better, ya know? That’s not better.
And, we know that’s a lie. Also because, look at what happened. When they did shoot him, they went over and handcuffed him, rolled him onto his side where he was bleeding, and left him on the ground. So, if he wasn’t the one they were trying to shoot, why did they handcuff him and leave him on the ground? That’s what I think, because I have common sense.
There is a mentality that is out there, and we have to weed it out, where officers are overly
aggressive. We have to get officers back to using conflict resolution to deal with certain situations. There are many cases out there where a person should have got shot. I’ll be first person to say it. But, there are many situations out there where you won’t have a single police organization come out and admit a shooting wasn’t justified. And, that is a problem. They didn’t say anything about the one in Florida or the one in Minnesota. “That’s a bad shooting and that officer should be prosecuted.” That’s what people are upset about. The police can’t even say the words, “That was a bad shooting.” That is a problem.
EB: What are some common misconceptions people have regarding firearms?
Cargill: When it comes to misconceptions about firearms, the misconception is that the gun goes off by itself. Guns do not go off by themselves. That trigger happy pull will cause the gun to go off. Someone standing around with their finger on the trigger will cause the gun to go off. A gun is a tool. A person can use a knife to stab people. Or, a person can jump in a truck and run over hundreds of people like we saw last week. A gun is tool that crazy people sometimes use to kill other people.
EB: What are some common misconceptions people have regarding their sale?
Cargill: When it comes to their sale, there is a misconception about the “gun show loophole.”
There are no loopholes. I am a gun dealer. If I’m selling a gun at a show, I have to do a background check on that person. If I do not do a background check, I’m committing a felony. A private person can sell a [gun] to another person; they can do that sale anywhere.
EB: I read that demand for your products was so high that you business was essentially forced to start selling online. Have you noticed a change in the demand for guns over the past few years?
Cargill: Yeah. What happened was we had customers calling because of my Bitcoin policy, because you can use Bitcoin to purchase firearms. So, we started selling guns on our website. It did so well that we started a separate gun sales website altogether. We have a totally separate gun webpage where a person can actually purchase firearms from us online. So, a person can buy firearms from us on our website. Now, when a person goes through our website to purchase a firearm, they [are] either going to pick up that firearm inside our store, where we’re going to do a background check. Or, we’re going to ship that firearm to a gun store, where that gun store will then perform the background check.
EB: Are there advantages and disadvantages of using Bitcoin?
Cargill: As far as purchasing a firearm, there really is not. It’s just the idea of using a crypto
currency to purchase a firearm.
EB: How long have you been running your radio show?
Cargill: Over two years.
EB: When did you first learn to shoot?
Cargill: When I went into the military. I went into the military at eighteen years old. I went into the military in 1987, and got out in 1999. That’s when I first learned gun safety, and about firearms. I still at that time did not have a personal firearm.
EB: What are the most important aspects of gun safety for people new to firearms?
Cargill: When I went into the military… at eighteen years old… in 1987 and got out in 1999, that’s when I first learned gun safety and about firearms. I still, at that time, did not have a personal firearm.
EB: I understand that you are a gay man in a party that is often portrayed as not exactly being sympathetic to gay rights. In your experience, has being gay affected your political aspirations? Has anything changed since you switched your political affiliation?
Cargill: No. No party is going to be perfect. There are a lot of racists in the Democratic party and there are a lot of racists in the Republican party. The fact that we’re living in different cities through out this nation, and the fact that we’re having the police problems that we’re having are problems through out the nations are problems within government. No specific party is a perfect party. No one can look towards me and wonder “why is he in the Republican party?” when you can look at the cities that are having these police issues and see that the mayor or the governor are Democrats. You city counsil members are Democrats, your police chiefs are Democratic.
EB: I take it that you don’t stand for legislation like that proposed in North Carolina which directly prohibits the passage of non-discrimination legislation at the local level?
Cargill: Absolutely not. That’s when you have to stand up and fight. I stand up and fight for issues that matter to me. Campus Carry just passed today here in Texas, on the anniversary of the University of Texas at Austin shooting.
EB: Do you see room for the political parties to grow in regards to LGBT rights?
Cargill: Absolutely. If you listened to Hillary Clinton a few years ago, she’d be singing a
different tune than what she’s saying today.
EB: What is your experience with LGBT activism?
Cargill: Once a year, I will donate a gun to raise money for HIV and AIDS testing and… to finding a cure. I also support local organizations here in Austin, called Pink to Schools, where I’ve given away free gun training classes to help members of the LGBT community learn gun safety and be able to protect themselves.
EB: How long have you been with your partner, Bernardo?
Cargill: Nineteen years. We’ve lived in the same house for over fifteen years, that we built from the ground.
EB: Any plans on marriage?
Cargill: Working on it. But, you know we ruin our numbers when we do that. [Laughs.] We’ve been together for nineteen years, but then we’ll have to say, “We’ve only been married for six months.” But, I am, of course, in favor of gay marriage.
EB: I saw that you play trumpet, tuba, trombone in addition to being a paratrooper, a music
instructor in the United States armed forces. Are you still playing music?
Cargill: No! I haven’t picked up an instrument in so long, it’s embarrassing. I was in the Army
band. I was an instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music where I taught the music for the
Mr. Cargill, I think people like yourself are the future of the Republican party. It was a
pleasure talking with you; and I sincerely thank you so much for your time.