Reprinted from the personal webpage of L. Neil Smith, award-winning author:
Over the past 30 years, I've 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, I've 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 isn't true. What I've chosen, in a world where there's 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 it's an X-ray machine. It's a Vulcan mind-meld. It's the ultimate test to which any politician -- or political philosophy -- can be put.
If a politician isn't 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 isn't your friend no matter what he tells you.
If he isn't 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 anybody's permission, he's 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 doesn't trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?
If he doesn't 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 he's 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, hasn't he betrayed his oath, isn't he unfit to hold office, and doesn't he really belong in jail?
Sure, these are all leading questions. They're 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 shouldn't 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? Didn't you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school -- or the military? Isn't 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 won't trust you, why should you trust him? If he's a man -- and you're 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 she's 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 doesn't 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, doesn't it? You don't 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 that's why I'm accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.
But it isn't true, is it?
At some point in my life I either read this essay but forgot that I did and just internalized the content or I came to the same place as Mr. Smith by another road. Either way, I'm in complete agreement with him.
I'll happily support a fiscal conservative that wants gun laws repealed over a fiscal tax-and-spender that wants gun laws repealed or even a redistributionist that wants gun laws repealed over a budget-slashing hoplophobe. But the lines never get drawn that way. The collectivists always end up on the gun-grabbing side.
Perhaps that's because they know that they can only steal from us for so long before we get fed up and decide to do something about it. Restricting my access to weapons might reduce the risk to his fair hide. Perhaps he should reconsider his actions that might invoke violent response rather than trying to defend against it, no?
Well, as long as the ballot boxes, jury boxes and soap boxes are still usable he's got no realistic worry. Yet the wicked flee when no man pursueth.
That he wants to remove that final option from his constituents tells a lot about what he plans to do.
What a politician thinks about me owning weapons tells me whether he believes he is a servant of the people or a master. It tells me what he thinks of me. And what I think of him is merely a reflection of that.
ANYONE who wishes to restrict my access to weapons has made himself my enemy. I didn't do anything to become his enemy, he decided that for me.
I have no interest in picking a fight with every leftist and collectivist and other -ists that infest government that say that for the greater good I must lay down my ability to defend myself and my family. I will simply attempt to have them removed from office. They will get no support from me and I will actively support their political opposition regardless of party affiliation.
I would rather deal with a one-term tyrant than an entrenched tyrant. Spare me your whining and crying about party affiliation. Until the GOP purges its ranks of hoplophobes you really don't want me as a member anyway. And while I tend to support GOP candidates because they tend to be less enthusiastic about grabbing guns, tell me again about how much they respect the 2nd amendment while leaving the 1968 GCA and 1934 NFA on the books. Or defining shooting ranges as a purely commercial enterprise, then denying the ability to build a commercial range.
Practice makes the marksman. I guess some people are uncomfortable with marksman in their midst.
I stand not with a political personage, not with a party, but with the right of self-defense, the right of self-determination and the right to be left alone.
Where do you stand?