L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise | The Elephant in the Parlor


By L. Neil Smith

My interest in guns and shooting began with a competitive program co-sponsored by the National Rifle Association and the Boy Scouts of America, when I was eleven years old, sixty-one years ago, in 1957, the same year the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, astonished the world. I point this out because I want readers to understand how long I’ve been thinking about this subject.

From the very beginning, I noticed a glaring inconsistency or two in various arguments made by both sides about political issues involved in gun ownership. Basically, the socialists who call themselves Democrats (there are no Democrats any more) may lie their asses off during election seasons about their devout regard for the Second Amendment, but each year when votes are no longer on the line, they abandon their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic (i.e., themselves), and become more and more blatant about their insatiable desire (1) to pass crippling Jim Crow-like regulations on the individual right to own and carry weapons, (2) to find excuses to confiscate legally-possessed guns, even (3) to repeal the Second Amendment itself and strip every American of the physical means of self-defense.

On the other side, the self-described defenders of the Second Amendment are anxious to avoid a highly-important truth: according to everything I was ever taught, according to everything the Founding Fathers wrote that I ever read, the Second Amendment was written — hostile Indians, muggers, burglars, rapists, and even national defense to one side — to defend Americans from a government eager to control and command every aspect of their lives. In a nutshell, the Second Amendment exists to protect our right to defend ourselves from our own government.

Those who doubt the practicality of that need only consult Osceola, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, the Viet Cong, the Mujaheddin, Al Qaeda and others who have made superpowers look like clowns.

Two conclusions inevitably follow, and this is the elephant in the parlor that nobody wants to talk about: first, that the entire structure of  “legal” gun ownership in America today — registration, background checks, even serial numbering weapons — is unconstitutional because it violates the clear intent of the Second Amendment. Quite frankly, what bloody good does it do to have guns, when the government knows where they all are and who has them? The socialists who call themselves Democrats all favor such unconstitutional measures because, as the primary threat to American liberty, they want to be able to round up all of our guns so we won’t be able to defend ourselves. It’s no coincidence that cities and states with the most stringent gun control have the most economic regulations and highest taxes.

Second, the authors (chiefly James Madison) of the Second Amendment meant for the general population to be equipped just as well as the Army that is likely to oppress them. Nothing else makes sense in what is supposed to be a democratic republic, ruled by the will of the people. There are presently savage arguments over semi-automatic weapons. This is garbage. The uncomfortable fact is that every law making the ownership and use of fully automatic weapons — machine guns — illegal is illegitimate and a violation of the Founding Fathers’ intentions (which is why, in 1934, they weren’t outlawed directly, merely burdened with obscene license fees). The very existence of a federal bureau of firearms (ATF) renders the Second Amendment meaningless. And the NRA and other supposedly pro-gun groups are terrified to discuss those facts.

They all need to get over their quivering cowardice, or we’ll start discussing the right to keep and bear rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

All of this is why I was deeply disappointed, when President Donald J. Trump, who has always assured us of his deep respect for the Second Amendment, recently signed a ban — by fiat — on so-called “bump-stocks” simply because they were involved in a sensational mass shooting.

Bump stocks are aftermarket accessories that simulate full-automatic fire in semi-automatic weapons. They’re of dubious value, but banning them by imperial command, or without a Constitutional amendment, is an infringement of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, no different in principle from the People’s Republic of New Jersey outlawing magazines of a disapproved capacity. The whole Congress couldn’t do it legally without amending the Constitution, let alone the President.

I like this President. I’ve gotten a lot of shit piled on my head over it. If I could speak directly to the man, I would tell him that he has taken very, very bad advice from somebody who clearly doesn’t have his best interests at heart.. Exactly how enthusiastic do you think gun people are going to be about voting for you in 2020, when you have violated  the very principle of the Second Amendment and stabbed them in the back, just like every other cheap-ass tinpot politician over the past six or seven decades?”

Another Trump supporter who disagrees with me about all this, asked me, “If they don’t vote for Trump, where else are gun people going to go?” I tried to point out that this is exactly the way Republicans have always treated gun people, and the way Democrats always treat blacks. For my part, unless I see some significant changes, and the truth is finally acknowledged between now and then, I’ll simply stay home. I won’t like it; I’ll lose even more friends than I did by voting for Trump in the first place, but I’ll do what I have to do.

The Second Amendment says what it says.

L. Neil Smith

Award-winning novelist and essayist L. Neil Smith is a retired gunsmith, Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise and the author of over thirty books. Look him up on Google, Wikipedia, and Amazon.com and watch for the forthcoming ONLY THE YOUNG DIE GOOD and ARES. He is available, at professional rates, to write columns, articles, and speeches for your organization, event, or publication, fiercely defending your rights, as he has done since the mid-1960s. His writings (and e-mail address) may also be found at L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise, at JPFO.org or at https://www.patreon.com/lneilsmith, to which you can contribute, directly. His many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may also be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essay was originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. Use it to fight the continuing war against tyranny.

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