L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 69, April 15, 2000
Taking the Mag Pledge
by L. Neil Smith
Special to TLE
I'm sitting here at my kitchen table looking at three semiauto pistol magazines manufactured by a company I happen to respect and admire.
I can't say the same thing for the magazines, however. Through no fault of the company in question, they've been rendered "politically correct", mutilated in a crude and unconstitutional attempt to limit their capacity to no more than 10 cartridges apiece. The sides of the rectangular steel tubing have been saw-cut laterally about an inch and a quarter from the floorplate, leaving only a deeply depressed dimple fore and aft that allows a modified follower and its spring to pass by, but not the additional cartridges these magazines were supposed to hold.
The result of this alteration -- make that vandalism -- performed at the illegal command of a government that has long since overstepped its constitutional bounds, is a gun I don't wholly trust, dependent as it is on two tiny quarter-inch spans of sheet steel (already badly stressed by the process of making them into dimples) that could fail me the very next time I slap a magazine into the weapon, or when I shoot it (like most of my favorite guns, this one has substantial recoil), spewing unfired cartridges and magazine parts all over the neighborhood, leaving me a small, expensive iron club to defend myself with.
This, of course, is exactly what the authors of Bill Clinton's illegal ban on "ugly" guns and magazines intended. They aren't at all interested in stopping violent crime; if they were, they'd be passing out handguns like this one (with decent magazines, mind you) on every city street corner in America. They're not interested in stopping accidents; if they were, they'd quit badgering that tired old whore, the NRA, and let her get on with doing the one thing she does right, teaching people -- especially little children -- to handle firearms safely.
No, the authors of Bill Clinton's adequate magazine ban want me, and everybody like me, dead -- the sooner the better -- if not from calamitous mechanical failure, then from a 12-goblin street gang when all I've got is 10 rounds in the magazine and one more in the chamber. California's legislature -- not one member of which would have lasted five minutes at the Nuremburg tribunals -- has even tried to make it a crime to carry a spare magazine. They want us dead because we -- and our guns -- are nothing but a noisy, unaesthetic obstacle in the way of their establishing the well-planned, well-disciplined, planetwide socialist Utopia that is the focus of all their wishes, hopes, and wetdreams.
And everybody else's nightmares.
It's worthwhile in this connection to recall that the current law was first advocated by that fine, feathered fascist William Bennett, supported by the wimpy blubberings of George Bush, rammed through by the parliamentary chicanery of Brady Bill-Bob Dole -- and that Sarah Brady is a lifelong Republican. That's just the top of a long list of lying, traitorous criminals like Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Colorado senator Wayne Allard, New Jersey governor Christie Whitman, Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter, and the spectre haunting Utah, Senator Orrin Hatch, the most evil figure in American politics. Now tell me again, who is it who's been wasting their vote all these years?
Unlike our former Republican allies, who reef their sails at the slightest indication of a change in the wind, no amount of argument, no compendium of facts, no detail of history or the law can swerve the socialists who call themselvs liberals from the course their moral and political ancestors plotted for them more than a century ago. (In the 60s, they're the morons who babbled incessantly about the Revolution; now they know it's their last shot before Alzheimer's sets in and all they can babble about is DentuCreme and Depends.) To them, human nature is plastic, something that can be squashed, kneaded, rolled out, and remolded to their liking -- as long as it isn't fortified by inflexible materials like blued steel, and polished walnut, and the Constitution.
You can't change their minds, they haven't any.
The only way to stop them is to sink their little boat.
All these nautical metaphors remind me of an old song I rewrote lightly and had my characters relive in my novel Henry Martyn. The Golden Vanity was a merchant ship, all but harmless and pursuing its own business when it found itself being overtaken by a pirate. The situation looked hopeless until a little cabin boy volunteered -- he'd been promised a pile of valuta and the captain's daughter -- to swim over and drill holes in the enemy ship with his "little brace and auger".
The plan worked perfectly. The pirate vessel sank and the Golden Vanity, her crew and cargo, were saved. Of course the captain, being a major contributor to the Republican National Committee, rewarded the heroic cabin boy by refusing to pull him back aboard and letting him drown. But the point here is that one hand, one tool, or one idea can sometimes reverse the motion of what may seem like vastly greater entities.
That's why I'm calling now on firearms companies that do business in the US and Canada to make a solemn public pledge that, once this evil, stupid law is repealed, nullified, or otherwise set aside, they'll replace every one of the mangled feed devices they've been forced to sell, with full capacity magazines, at no charge to their customers.
We're not talking about anything that will cost anybody much. The customer sends his mutant magazine in. He gets a new one back -- it's probably the same follower, spring, and floorplate outfitted with a fresh tube -- by return mail. The expense is nothing compared to the good will engendered, and can be written off as advertising, in any case. The important thing is to make the pledge right now, while it's politically incorrect to do so, not later when it's safe and therefore meaningless.
I know that the gun companies -- with a handful of disgustingly conspicuous exceptions like Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Mossberg, and Colt -- aren't responsible for this evil, stupid law. And yet, in the post-Clintonian, post-socialist era to come, there will be a new cast of characters on the firearms manufacturing front. In the past, outfits like Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Mossberg, and Colt felt they could afford to stab their civilian customers in the back because they had police and military sales to fall back on. In the future, federal and state governments under the control of Bill of Rights enforcment advocates won't do business with such companies. There may be laws forbidding transactions with corporations that aren't completely Bill of Rights compliant.
In this and any other part of the market you can point to, there have always been good companies, operated by intelligent, principled individuals, and bad companies operated by dishonorable idiots. My intention is to drive a permanent wedge between the two. From this moment forward, gun companies will identify themselves publicly as being firmly on the side of their civilian customers and the Bill of Rights, or on the side of overreaching, insatiable, voracious, brutal statism.
More importantly, this will establish in the minds of friend and foe that there is a post-Clinton, post-socialist, post-gun control era coming, that it can't be stopped, that it should be anticipated and planned for. The sooner we do that, the sooner that era will arrive.
So how about it, gun companies?
How about taking the mag pledge and telling us whose side you're on?