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65


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 65, February 15, 2000
State of Disunion

Bet I Can Sell Out Faster Than You

by David Roberson
davidr6@ix.netcom.com

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 country."
           "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 anyway."
           "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 anyway."


David Roberson is a writer living in Lincoln County, N.C.


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