Would you agree to permit adults to buy, sell, read, write, make, listen to, or watch whatever books, magazines, records, tapes, or movies they want, no matter how pornographic -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
Would you agree to tolerate Buddhists, Moslems, Taoists, Scientologists, Satanists, atheists -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
Would you agree to let women control their own reproductive process, have abortions (at their own expense) -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
Would you agree to allow people their own sexual preference, homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
Would you agree to halt the "War on Drugs", to leave others alone, even to ruin their lives with alcohol, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD, or any other substance -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
Would you agree to respect the rights of anyone, no matter their race or national origin -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
No sane human being would sacrifice the rights he personally considers precious just for the sake of imposing his own tastes or opinions on others. Yet often it seems each of us disapproves of, and wants to outlaw, some one little thing that somebody else cares about or wants.
Little things add up: with over 200,000,000 of us, split into thousands of pressure groups, all working at the same time for one kind of Prohibition or another, it's no wonder government controls ratchet tighter around our lives every day. Until now, it's been a one-way process, with everyone on every side winding up the loser -- except, of course, for politicians, bureaucrats, and lawyers.
But we can work together to reverse that process, by making a commitment to respect and defend each other's rights, no matter how much each of us may personally disapprove of any particular exercise of those rights. That doesn't mean you have to do anything bizarre or perverse yourself. I'm married, straight, don't use drugs (I'm literally an Eagle Scout) and I don't even drink. But also, I don't give a damn what my allies do with their own lives, as long as they want to be free and can help me stay that way, too.
The one limit is an obligation never to initiate force against another person -- since that's how we began losing our rights in the first place.
Would this change the way we're accustomed to thinking about freedom? No, it would make our thinking consistent, put teeth into the Bill of Rights, and limit the power of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers -- and Prohibitionists -- to control the way we live.
Which means that every man, woman, and responsible child in this country, would be free once again to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon -- rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything -- you feel is desirable for sport or self-defense, any time, any place you want, without asking anyone's permission.
The other side's counting on us to remain divided and intolerant. That's how they got us where they want us to start with.
How do you get started? Try writing the Libertarian Party, DEPARTMENT LSAC, 1528 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Washington, DC 20003. Or call their toll-free number, 1-(800)-682-1776. If you have the courage and intelligence to renew your commitment to the American tradition of individual liberty, they need to hear from you now.
I intend to keep my guns, and the rest of my rights, as well.
How about you?
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.
Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the author - provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.
Talk to me!: email@example.com
Back to L. Neil Smith's Lever Action Essays Page