With Friends Like These ...

by L. Neil Smith

         As anybody concerned with firearms issues is all too well aware, from his first Presidential campaign, when he held up that tiny, stainless .22 revolver in disdain and disgust, to his import ban on semiautomatic weaponss, REPUBLICAN George Bush repeatedly betrayed the interests of the gun owners who helped put him in office.
         It's highly probable, given the number of single-issue voters involved (some 3-5 million) that this miserable performance cost him the election -- or at least contributed heavily to his well- deserved loss. But has the "Grand Old Party" learned anything from its experience? Is it paying any attention to the facts? Judge for yourself:
         Sarah Brady, principal advocate of gun control in America, and her sideshow-exhibition husband still call themselves "conservative Republicans".
         National Review editor and Republican television personality William F. Buckley has endorsed the passage of the Brady Bill (just like Ronald Reagan, although he later had the sense to withdraw his endorsement).
         Republican writer/theorist George F. Will called for repeal of the Second Amendment months before NBC News ex-president Michael Gartner did.
         Every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Bill Clinton's nomination to U.S. Attorney General of the notorious Florida anti-gun prosecutor Janet Reno, following which, every Republican in the Senate voted to approve the nomination, as well.
         And recently on Face The Nation, Jack Kemp, Great White Hope of conservative Republican, advocated an immediate, universal ban on semiautomatics.
         It should be obvious to anyone what's happening here. Unable to cope intellectually with the quirky results of a three-way race, anxious to follow the example of a man they mistakenly believe won the election (in fact, Bill Clinton was handed the Presidency by Ross Perot), the Republican leadership have decided to "move to the center" -- and they're doing it by dumping the constituencies they consider "marginal".
         How does it feel to be considered marginal?
         How does it feel to be dumped?
         Is there anyone with any brains, integrity, or courage left in the Republican Party?
         More important, how long must we go on licking the Republican boot that's kicking us?
         In times like these, it's well to remember that Wyatt Earp, the first advocate of gun control, was a Republican. And it's enough to make you wish the battle of the O.K. Corral had turned out differently.
         The question is: is it enough to make you shift your support to another political party, a tiny one which, nonetheless from its inception, has viewed your freedom to own and carry weapons as an absolute natural, human, civil, and Constitutional right? One which would repeal every gun law in the country, abolish the BATF, and put the elected and appointed officials who have violated your rights -- and continue to try violating them now -- in jail where they belong?
         Believe me I don't suggest this frivolously. Although I've been a Libertarian most of my life, my mom and dad were Republican and my first political efforts were expended for Florida's George Holly (1962) and Barry Goldwater (1964). But the "Grand Old Party" has deserted Barry (they criticize him for being "too Libertarian") just as it's deserted you.
         Given this trend, which started well before the election, who can maintain that gun owners would have been better off under Bush? Only the same dimwits and appeasers who believe an instant police- state background check somehow -- mysteriously -- infringes on your inalienable Second Amendment liberties less than something like the Brady Bill.
         Libertarians oppose both waiting periods and background checks -- or any prerequisite for exercising rights that are supposed to be guaranteed.
         This is more than just inter-party bickering, it's a matter of survival. Look at the list again -- these are only the ones I know about. Think about George Bush, Sarah Brady, Bill Buckley, Ronald Reagan, George Will, and Jack Kemp -- people to whom you've given your love and loyalty in the past. People now cynically crumpling you up, throwing you away because you're no longer "politically correct".
         Then write or call The Libertarian Party, Department LSAC, 1528 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20003, (202) 543-1988.

L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn and Lever Action. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

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