On Concealed Carry and the NRA
by L. Neil Smith
Many individuals have asked me where I stand on the issue of
concealed carry permits -- and whether the Libertarian Second
Amendment Caucus which I founded several years ago is likely to join
in political coalitions with other organizations that concern
themselves with Second Amendment issues.
I've put off writing about these matters before now, because it
isn't easy, knowing that you're likely to alienate good friends and
allies by insisting that they face hard truths. But the press of
current events -- the increasingly obvious reluctance of the new
Republican majority in Congress to make good on their promises to
the gun owners who elected them, along with an insane eagerness on
the part of nominally pro-gun organizations like the National Rifle
Association to accept utter defeat on the eve of total victory -- make
it impossible to put it off any longer.
As Robert A. Heinlein once observed, "The human race divides
politically into those who want people to be controlled and those
who have no such desire." To take it a step further, there are
natural-born Tories in life, who only feel comfortable when they're
groveling to some kind of authority, and there are individuals who
won't grovel, no matter what it costs them.
This nation, America, was created by the latter sort, while the
former ran away to Canada where, for the next eleven generations or
so, they could comfortably grovel to kings, queens, and socialist
bureaucrats. And just as some Canadians have since learned better
than their Tory predecessors -- we'll be hearing more and more from
them in the near future -- many descendants of those first Americans
have become the very thing their ancestors fought so hard against.
Those who beg permission from the government to exercise a
right they already possess are not free men and women. They're
Tories; they're grovelers. They'd beg permission from the
government to breathe, if they were told it was required of them. If
they were told it was required of them, they'd beg permission from
the government, even to grovel.
A license -- government permission -- to carry a concealed
weapon is nothing but the latest kind of gun control, the latest
kind of groveling. There's no way to euphemize it; there's no way
to excuse it. It isn't necessary: nobody needs the government's
permission to carry a weapon, concealed or otherwise. And it's
illegal under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
for government, at any level, to require it. That's right, it's
illegal; and it's a primary goal of the Libertarian Second Amendment
Caucus to jail those in government, elected or otherwise, who
obstruct the Bill of Rights in any way.
It's also dangerous: it converts a fundamental human right
into a privilege which the government may see fit to deny to anyone,
for any reason, at any time is wishes. How anyone could be aware of
history for the last hundred years -- especially the last fifty -- and
not acknowledge this basic truth is beyond understanding.
From their public words and actions, it's clear that those who
presently control the National Rifle Association -- I don't mean the
duly-elected Board of Directors -- are Tories and grovelers, no
matter what they claim to the contrary. Just listen to what they
say if you doubt it, or read their literature. Half of it is
devoted to demonstrating to their masters in the government just
what excellent Tories and grovelers they are. Notice, too, the way
that some of them claim lately to be "tough" -- but how they
invariably reserve their toughness for individuals ostensibly on
their own side who happen to disagree with them, rather than for
real enemies of individual liberty and the Second Amendment.
Now those who presently control the National Rifle Association
want uniform laws from state to state regulating the way Americans
will be allowed to carry weapons. To get them, once again they're
"wheeling and dealing" in Congress -- with my rights as the stake -- a
fool's game they always lose because they're such embarrassingly
clumsy amateurs, playing against the pros. Instead, they should
simply demand the immediate fulfillment of Republican promises to
repeal unconstitutional gun laws which could never have been passed
without the cheerful assistance of the likes of "Brady Bill-Bob"
Dole and Newt "Suspend the Bill of Rights" Gingrich.
As one who's fought the battle of the Second Amendment for more
than 30 years -- all the while watching in unbelieving disgust as
the National Rifle Association bargained away my rights through bad
tactics, worse strategy, an utter lack of moral principle, and an
overpowering urge to grovel to authority -- I challenge those who
presently control the National Rifle Association to deny or affirm a
principle put forward by the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus as
the Atlanta Declaration:
Every man, woman, and responsible child has an unalienable individual,
civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and carry, openly
or concealed, any weapon -- rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything
-- any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.
If those who presently control the National Rifle Association
cannot affirm this principle, then they are enemies of individual
liberty who should resign immediately and leave the field forever to
those Americans who can manage to remember what their country and
its Constitution are all about.
If, on the other hand, they affirm it -- and publicly abandon
their advocacy of anything less than stringent and uncompromising
enforcement of the Bill of Rights (along with their disgraceful
eagerness to accept excuses and "clever" strategies from Republicans
instead of decisive and effective action) -- I'll be happy to advise
the many friends of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus to join
with the National Rifle Association in a coalition to advance the
cause of individual liberty.
Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the
author -- provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and
appropriate credit given.
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