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by Michael Mitchell

Gun rights advocates are often criticized for being “one issue” voters - as if, in a blind rush to preserve their guns, they unilaterally ignore the other pressing issues of the day. Thus, these critics dismiss gun owners as being narrow-minded kooks who would elect Adolf Hitler to the White House if he promised to let them keep their guns. (Not that he would, of course; Hitler was a great facilitator of crime by victim disarmament.)

Now, right up front, I will acknowledge that I would probably be classified as a one-issue voter. The preservation of the right to keep and bear arms is more important to my choice of candidate than any other consideration. However, it’s worth examining exactly what kind of person you elect when you support a candidate who defends your gun rights.

A very famous man once wrote: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Most Americans (I hope) will recognize these timeless words from the Declaration of Independence. However, how many people remember what follows? 

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” 

What does that line mean? It means, first, that the purpose of government - the reason the people allow it to exist at all - is to preserve the rights of the people. And, second, it means, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, 

“The people of the US are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts.” 

Flatly stated, folks, we’re the bosses of our own government - rightfully so - and the main reason we send our representatives to Congress is to preserve our rights.

So, what does all of this have to do with being a one-issue voter? It’s really very straightforward: The position a politician takes on the gun issue is a direct indicator of two characteristics of that candidate: his devotion to his sacred duty to protect his constituent’s rights, and his attitude towards his relative position in the grand scheme of things.

That’s a very important point, so I will restate it: The position a representative takes on the gun issue is a barometer of his attitude towards you and your rights. Why?

A candidate who advocates restrictions on private firearms ownership demonstrates his fundamental mistrust of his constituents - he feels the very people who sent him to office cannot be trusted to manage firearms without government scrutiny (or at all). Why? What’s he doing that would make him afraid to trust his own employers? Certainly, if he’s discharging his duties in office in a responsible, respectable manner, there’s no need to fear an armed populace. (And don’t give me any foolishness about the people being “irresponsible” with their guns. Compare 80,000,000 lawful gun owners with 18,000 gun-related homicides and accidents in a year, and you quickly find out that gun owners are very responsible people indeed.) That’s issue #1.

Issue #2 has to do with the candidate’s duty to protect your rights. If he is willing to restrict or prohibit the exercise of your right to keep and bear arms, what other parts of the Constitution will he jettison as they become inconvenient? Witness the warrantless door-to-door searches of public housing, initiated by HUD officials hostile to civilian gun ownership, with the blessing of the Clinton administration - a direct violation of the 4th Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Where is the sacred, sworn duty to uphold and defend the Constitution?

Finally, why does such a candidate consider his life worthy to be protected by armed bodyguards, while you cannot enjoy the same protection? This fact alone indicates that a candidate advocating civilian disarmament considers himself to be above his constituents - he thinks he’s more valuable, more important than you are. Remember, folks, we the people are the “rightful masters” of Congress. Since when is a servant entitled to privileges and protections forbidden to the master?

In short, you can tell an awful lot about a politician’s attitude by how he votes on the gun issue. Candidates who support civilian firearm ownership are more likely to trust their constituents, more likely to discharge their sworn duty to defend the Constitution reliably, and more likely to recognize that they are the servants of the people, not our masters. By contrast, candidates in favor of restricting firearms ownership are perfectly willing to place themselves above their constituents, to mistrust their employers, and to jettison other, inconvenient portions of the Constitution when it meets their purposes.

Civilian gun ownership is an issue which serves as a telling barometer of a candidate’s attitude towards his constituents and his sworn duties. How does your representative measure up?

Copyright 2000 Michael A. Mitchell. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article in its entirety, including this copyright notice. Mike writes for; read some of his other work at You can contact Mike at


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