Why Guns?

by L. Neil Smith

Over the past 30 years, Iíve been paid to write almost two million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, Iíve thought about the issue a lot, and it has always determined the way I vote.
People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single-issue thinker, and a single-issue voter, but it isnít true. What Iíve chosen, in a world where thereís never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician--or political philosophy--is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.
Make no mistake: All politicians--even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership--hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because because itís an X-ray machine. Itís a Vulcan mind-meld. Itís the ultimate test to which any politician--or political philosophy--can be put.
If a politician isnít perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash--for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything--without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isnít your friend no matter what he tells you.
If he isnít genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybodyís permission, heís a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.
What his attitude--toward your ownership and use of weapons--conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesnít trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him? If he doesnít want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?
If he makes excuses about obeying a law heís sworn to uphold and defend--the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights--do you want to entrust him with anything?
If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil--like "Constitutionalist"--when you insist that he account for himself, hasnít he betrayed his oath, isnít he unfit to hold office, and doesnít he really belong in jail?
Sure, these are all leading questions. Theyíre the questions that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician--or political philosophy--is really made of.
He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldnít have a gun--but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didnít you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school--or the military? Isnít it an essentially European notion, anyway--Prussian, maybe--and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?
And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them? Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is about you, and it has been, all along.
Try it yourself: If a politician wonít trust you, why should you trust him? If heís a man--and youíre not--what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If "he" happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that sheís eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesnít want you to have?
On the other hand--or the other party--should you believe anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group trade agreement after another with other countries?
Makes voting simpler, doesnít it? You donít have to study every issue--health care, international trade--all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.
And thatís why Iím accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.
But it isnít true, is it?

From the "Webley Page" http://webley.zq.com/lneil/
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of Bretta Martyn, The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, and Pallas. He is also an NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus.

© 1998 L. Neil Smith