L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE: “Gun Control” Is Illegal

By L.Neil Smith

Before we begin this let me warn you that I am not a lawyer. My principal qualifications in the context that follows are that I know a lot about history, and I can read. I’ve also spent a lot of time on state and national platform committees, to the extent that the leaders of a famous libertarian think-tank, more concerned with how the LP might be perceived by contributors, than with truth or justice, deliberately kept me off the national platform committee one year. I spent the time more profitably, sitting in the hotel lobby with Karl Hess, talking about shotguns. He was extremely fond of the Street Sweeper.

But this essay is not about that conversation. I rather wish it were. It’s about government’s inclination to do things that it’s forbidden to do by written statutes, or to do other things it was never given the authority to do. Under federal law, silence is not consent.

Let’s start with an example. As you may know there are legislative morons in states surrounding Colorado (where I live and am writing this), and a handful of extremely stupid cops in southern Colorado, who are hysterically, insanely outraged that the good voters of this state decided to exercise their rights and to override federal law to make marijuana legal to grow, process, transport, sell, possess, and consume. My guess is that they want their very profitable prohibition back, and for everybody to turn in their weed. They even claim that the recent legal transformation was unconstitutional, because it contravenes federal law. Out here in the wild west, they didn’t have the cojones to mention the United Nations, which also opposes marijuana.

What none of these pisswits seems to understand is that there there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that allows the government to decide what plants it likes and which it doesn’t like, and to go around with machine-guns and vicious dogs, attacking individuals who disagree with them. Under U.S. law, power like that simply doesn’t exist. There was a time when even politicians realized this. They felt they had to pass a special amendment, the Eighteenth, to support the infamous Volstead Act, which was designed to keep people from having a beer.


How far would an anti-drug amendment get today?

So when the government passed drug law, they didn’t bother to observe the niceties. Which means drug prohibition is illegal, and that Coloradans have simply tidied up a contradictory portion of the law. It also means that those southern Colorado cops — the real anti-Constitutionalists, here — just want their criminal lifestyle back.

This isn’t brain science here, folks; it isn’t rocket surgery.

It appears to me that most of the messes we find ourselves in today arise initially from a government contravention (through evil or
ignorance) of the Constitution. There is not a single gun law in this country, for example, that is legal. If the Founders had wanted John Doe searched on a regular basis, or for everybody to have a secondary, government-issued name, John Doe, they would have said so in the Fourth Amendment. If they had wanted communications controlled, instead of free, they would have mentioned the FCC somewhere in the Constitution. And the idea that we would saddle ourselves with something like the BATFE would make them vomit. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been injured or died in wars that were not legally declared.

Is there a solution? I think there is, but it will require more guts, balls, spine, and brains than the current opposition seems capable of displaying, let alone exercising. It’s extremely simple. If most politicians are criminals, then most politicians should be in jail.

It means John Boehner and Mitch McConnell need to formally charge every one of those criminals, put them through the ugly, humiliating legal process, then confine them to a windowless cell for the rest of their misbegotten lives. (I’ve described my plans for renovating Alcatraz before.) Of course then, they’d have to turn themselves in.

If I were running for office, that is what I would promise. If I were still in the party platform writing business, that’s what I’d write. Before it can happen, however, the people known loosely as the “Tea Party” will have to take over the Republican Party or create their own. They’d be surprised: the weak-kneed Republican “leadership” will do anything — make any concession — to prevent splitting the vote.

We don’t have much time left, or much hope.

Somebody do something intelligent, quick!

L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith

Celebrated and award-winning author of over 30 books and countless shorter pieces, L. Neil Smith is available, at professional rates, to write articles and speeches for you or your organization, providing that our principles are compatible. Contact him at [email protected].


“Any official, appointed or elected, at any level of government, who attempts, through legislative act or other means, to nullify, evade, or avoid the provisions of the first ten amendments to this Constitution, or of the Thirteenth Amendment, shall be summarily removed from office, and, upon conviction, deprived of all pay and benefits including pension, and sentenced to imprisonment for life.”


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