L. Neil Smith's

Number 1, October 1995

NRA Treachery in Pennsylvania

By L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         I didn't want to do this.
         As many of my online friends have become aware, I've been taking a break from the unending "mortal combat" of the internet, to finish Bretta Martyn, a sequel to my 1989 novel Henry Martyn, that I'm currently writing under contract to TOR Books. This is a matter of attending to my career (which I'd pretty much neglected over the past year or so) and of feeding my family. It was my sincere intention to avoid making or replying to any political posts until the book was finished.
         But now, news has reached me that the National Rifle Association -- of which, year after year, I've been an increasingly disgusted and embarrassed Life Member ever since 1973 -- has been caught redhanded pimping for illegal and immoral legislation to register long guns in Pennsylvania. Legislation that's also supported by Handgun Control, Incorporated.
         How very interesting.
         And how very consistent with my writings, late last year and early this, about the character of NRA leadership. Let me tell you, a great deal of highly emotional criticism was leveled at me for that. I'm sure you saw some of it. To those of you who did the leveling: up yours. As usual, I was right and you were wrong. And as far as I'm concerned (as far as anybody with the least shred of decency or sanity must be concerned) this blatantly corrupt and morally repulsive act on the part of the NRA leadership vindicates and justifies every word I wrote.
         It makes me feel more than a little guilty that I wasn't severe enough.
         Believe me, I'll correct that in the future.
         Being offline as I am at present, I've seen little discussion of this matter, aside from the bald fact itself, some expressions of well-justified anger on the part of gun owners -- betrayed by the NRA once again -- and the slimy maunderings of the same eat-anything NRA apologists who got us where we are today, about the necessity for compromise.
         The eternal necessity for compromise.
         In an era of Republican domination of Congress, don't you find this revealing and significant? I sure as hell do. And given the ethically questionable (if not downright incestuous) relationship between the NRA and the GOP, it also tends to vindicate and justify everything I ever said about Republicans, doesn't it? So much for a repeal of the Brady Bill or the blatantly illegal rifle and magazine law.
         So much for Newt Gingrich and his comrades and their phony revolution.
         And so much for the "new" leaders of the NRA who were going to be so much better than the old gang. How many times have we heard that before?
         The estimable Ernest Hancock of SAFE (Second Amendment is For Everyone: safe@indirect.com) and Miguel Cartero of the Gun Owners' Liberation Front (GOLF: golf@indirect.com) have been arguing publicly -- and courageously, even if they're wrong -- for a long time that the NRA is actually a gun control fifth column that needs to be utterly destroyed, as badly as HCI, before we'll ever see the Second Amendment enforced again.
         As hard as it may be for my regular readers to believe, I've been reluctant to agree with them -- although I knew the NRA's perfidious history pretty well. I knew the way, for example, that they tried to sell out owners of magnum revolvers back in the 1930s for the sake of keeping machineguns from being banned. I understood perfectly the way an organization might be subverted and altered in order to get those pesky dissidents together, under control, so they could eventually be dealt with by the New Deal or the New Frontier or the New World Order.
         No, I don't believe in conspiracies.
         I do believe that there's an enemy culture out there, bent on the destruction of our culture. Just turn on the TV to see it. And I'm more prepared at this particularly ignominious moment to believe Ernie and Miguel and to accept their analysis of the NRA than ever before.
         In my essay, "Am I the NRA?" -- posted widely on the internet and distributed in printed form at the annual NRA convention in Phoenix -- I asked, if I had to do it all over again, would I join the NRA, and what could the NRA do to persuade me? For asking such questions I was vilified.
         It seems to me now that a more appropriate question would be, why should I remain in the NRA? Why shouldn't I -- along with millions of other gun owners whom the leadership have daggered in the back once again -- pick the most public setting we can, invite the media, and burn our membership cards for the benefit of TV cameras and reporters droolingly eager, as always, to willfully misunderstand what's going on?
         I want an answer, Neal.
         I want an answer, Tanya.
         I want an answer right now, Wayne.
         If I don't get one that satisfies me -- and you'd better check out the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus Statement of Principles before you even begin to try -- then I'll be certain that the NRA is an enemy organization which is distinguishable from HCI only by the vileness of its treachery.
         And so will everybody else within the metaphorical sound of my voice.

L. Neil Smith is the Prometheus Award-winning author of nineteen books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures and Pallas. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

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