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 politicianor
political philosophyis made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.
Make no mistake: all politicianseven those ostensibly
on the side of guns and gun ownershiphate 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 politicianor political
philosophycan 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 cashfor any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun,
anythingwithout 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 attitudetoward your ownership and use of weaponsconveys 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 defendthe highest law of the land, the Bill of Rightsdo 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 evillike "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 politicianor political philosophyis
really made of.
He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there
who shouldn't have a gunbut 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 schoolor the military? Isn't it an essentially European notion,
anywayPrussian, maybeand certainly not what America was supposed to be
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 manand you're notwhat 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 handor the other partyshould 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
Makes voting simpler, doesn't it? You don't have to study
every issuehealth care, international tradeall 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?
Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the
authorprovided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and
appropriate credit given.
This essay and many others are also in my book Lever Action: