L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 65, February 15, 2000
State of Disunion
Bet I Can Sell Out Faster Than You
by David Roberson
Special to TLE
So far, the year 2000 hasn't been so great for gun owners. We're
still absorbing that news that some smaller gun companies are going
out of business rather than deal with the increasingly hostile
regulatory and judicial environment facing them. More distressing is
the word that some highly respected companies like Browning and SIG
are getting out of the American handgun market entirely.
But surely what's worst is the fact that other gun companies,
including one of the most revered names in the firearms world, are
actively collaborating with those whose total animosity toward
firearms and gun owners is well documented. We have Donald Zilkha,
head of Colt, and his family members actively contributing money to
Charles Schumer, one of the most virulently anti-gun senators in
Washington. We have Bill Ruger, founder of the gun company bearing
his name (and who a few years ago distinguished himself by speaking
in favor of the Brady Bill and magazine-capacity restrictions),
telling Ruger distributors that they can't sell guns to dealers who
will sell those guns at gun shows. And we have a nebulous group of
gunmakers working to cut some kind of deal with federal officials to
try to immunize themselves from lawsuits brought by forces eager to
destroy the gun industry through judiciary means after they couldn't
do so legislatively.
Of course, producers of any goods should be free to curtail their
product lines as they see fit, to curry political favor as they wish,
and to use their contacts in ways that will help their position in
the marketplace. But sadly, despite the long histories of some of
these companies, they apparently have failed to learn one of the most
fundamental lessons of dealing with tyrants and demagogues:
Appeasement doesn't work. Even a look at just the past few years
reveals one unassailable truth about anti-gun forces – they always
want more and stricter regulations. And so they pass a law here this
year, another one there next year, moving incrementally toward their
long-range goal of a society where only police and the military can
legally have guns. You know, something like Cambodia under Pol Pot.
So it was with interest that I saw the January 20 headlines
announcing that the talks between gun industry representatives and
federal officials had been broken off by the gun companies, allegedly
because of bad-faith intervention by the White House. (Imagine that.)
Maybe it's true. But I have the unsettling feeling that the problem
could also be that certain participants got in a fight over who could
grant the most concessions. Picture if you will this exchange between
Ruger and Zilkha:
"Discontinue most of your handguns, eh, Iran-boy? Well, I'll tell my
dealers they can't sell at gun shows."
"I quake with fear, oh engineering genius who hasn't designed
anything in 30 years. I'll buy HK and stop selling their guns in this
"So what, towelhead? I'll testify before Congress again, only this
time I'll tell them that all semiauto pistols are assault weapons and
should be banned."
"It troubles me not a whit, you washed-up old geezer. We sell
single-action revolvers, too. We'll ask our master --er, our elected
representative, Chuck 'Satan' Schumer, to declare that long-range
rifles like the Number One and Model 77 are baby-killing sniper
tools, and we'll recommend that Congress ban them, too."
"I know about your revolvers, you tablecloth-wearing bastard.
Remember, I make them for you -- at least all the ones that aren't
made for you in Italy and sold through your custom shop. I think I'll
take a bold stand against handgun proliferation and volunteer to stop
making guns for other companies like Colt."
"May locusts infest your hairy ears! We shall voluntarily stop
selling all guns to civilians, and we will condemn any other
manufacturers who don't follow suit. Try selling your worthless
little Mini-14 to any military units outside of France."
"Fine with me. Remind me, now, how many years in a row has Fabrique
Nationale outbid you for U.S. government rifle contracts? And we
still have shotguns, something your company hasn't been able to make
-- or find anyone to make for you -- since the early 1970s."
"Thanks for reminding me, oh witless one. Since everyone knows that a
shotgun and a hacksaw blade mean you're five minutes away from an NFA
device, we shall advocate that shotguns be banned and confiscated
from owners immediately."
"Big deal. My company will recommend that all guns be banned, and
that violators get life in prison! I like making golf clubs better
"By Allah, we will demand that every American gun owner have his
right hand hacked off! I'm moving back to the free country of Iran
David Roberson is a writer living in Lincoln County, N.C.
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