L. Neil Smith's

Number 29, June 1, 1997

"Dissonance and Dissidents"

By John Taylor

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         My American Rifleman came in the mail today, and as usual, I read it cover-to-cover as soon as I got back from the mailbox. In it I found the usual quality articles about hunting tactics and hardware, and the latest from the pens of our three chief officers.
         Maybe I'm just too sensitized, but did anybody besides me notice that every day in every way we're beginning to look less like "the world's oldest civil rights organization" and more like "the world's oldest 'gun control' organization"?
         Let me explain. Wayne LaPierre's column, "Standing Guard" [1] is devoted to "dissing" the Joseph Goebbels of the House of Representatives, Charles "The F is for Fascist" Schumer. Schumer's latest attempted rape of the Constitution is hilariously titled the "Twelve is Enough Anti-Gunrunning Act" (HR12), and amounts to no more than another version of the same old same old from the Enemies of Liberty.
         But perhaps more surprising than Schumer's sleazy attempt to gut the Bill of Rights is Wayne LaPierre's response. In Wayne's World, Schumer's bill is bad because it's unnecessary -- we already have perfectly fine gun laws on the books that need to be more strictly enforced.
         Excuse me? Do I read this right? The existing unconstitutional code is more than adequate to maintain order, and should be used to the fullest to accomplish Schumer's goals? And we're on whose side?
         To quote LaPierre, "All states -- when it comes to criminal commerce in firearms -- have the same law and it's there in black and white for anyone to read, especially Chuck Schumer who ought to be demanding that the U.S. Justice Department do its job and enforce the law. It is a law which now -- today -- could be used to arrest, try, and convict armed criminal predators who crawl our streets."
         The law LaPierre refers to is the hideous Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA '68), whose provisions have, for almost three decades, been used to infringe almost exclusively the rights of honest citizens. This act, relacing the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, imposed harsh restrictions on the sale and transfer of firearms, allowed the Federal government to determine what type of firearms you may possess, and set in place the mechanism for all current "gun control" schemes.
         GCA '68 is the Holy Grail of the anti-gunners. It is the law about which Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (a real pro-gun civil rights group) says "GCA '68 ties your hands and keeps you from carrying out your legal duty to ensure your own self-defense. GCA '68 thus undermines a pillar of U.S. law and helps criminals to kill law-abiding Americans. Hitler would be pleased." [2]
         And GCA '68 is the existing law Wayne LaPierre refers to when he says that "criminal sanctions under existing law" should be enforced.
         LaPierre cites provisions of GCA '68 that would apply to a hypothetical "gunrunner" who unlawfully buys and sells handguns. The cumulative penalties are impressive in LaPierre's scenario -- 995 years in federal prison. (Of course Wayne cheats a little by making the "gunrunner" a "multi-convicted felon; a drug user; a fugitive from justice." And his "customers" are constructed as "... also career criminals; all convicted felons; in the illegal drug trade; two are fugitives." In addition to making them a presumably unsavory lot, these conditions allow LaPierre to "pad" the firearms violation penalties with a few extra years for drug and fugitive charges -- a cheap trick.
         But perhaps more important, the entire construction is missing one vital element that seemingly applies in every crime -- the victim. None of the hypothetical charges involve a crime against a person. There are no bleeding children, no grieving widows to enlist in the cause of "gun control" -- no victims at all. Oh, well, I guess one could argue that "society" was victimized, but that position looks pretty feeble.
         No, all the gun-related penalties are for crimes that are nothing more than administrative creations of GCA '68. That's right; no one stole anything, no one violated anyone else's rights, no one initiated force of any kind against anyone else in this little scenario. These "gunrunners" simply failed to comply with the law whose model was The Nazi Weapons Law of 18 March, 1938.
         And we (we're the NRA!) seem to think that we don't need any new laws because this one will do just fine!


         Moving on, we find an essay by Tanya Metaksa later in the same issue of the "house organ", entitled "Sliding Down the Slippery Slope". In it Mrs. Metaksa (quite rightly) asserts, "We will never lose our civil liberties all at once, by dictator decree. If the day ever comes in America when we lose our guns, it will be because once we compromised our beliefs and started down the slippery slope of waiting periods, gun bans, mandatory storage laws and the like. It [sic] became easier and easier just to go along for the ride."
         Yet, earlier in the article, Mrs. Metaksa is attempting to refute the assertion of a Clinton official in the Department of Justice who stated, "The current state of federal law does not recognize that the Second Amendment protects the right of private citizens to possess firearms of any type."
         Mrs. Metaksa rebuts the official by referring to ... did you guess it? ... GCA '68! Says Metaksa about that law, "Congress affirmed the gun-owning rights of the individual citizen, stating that the law was not intended to 'place any undue or necessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to the purpose of hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, personal protection, or any other lawful activity. ...'"
         Are we so naive that we actually believe such hooey from Congress? If we believed it in 1968, haven't the events of the recent past proved that at best that intent has been subverted? Do we really look so favorably on a law whose very presence lends credibility to the Charles Schumers of this country when they propose their statist legislation?
         Don't we oppose "gun control"?


[1] Wayne LaPierre, "Standing Guard", American Hunter, June 1997, pp. 10-11 [back to text]

[2] "The War on Gun Ownership Still Goes On!", 1993, bound in: Jay Simkin and Aaron Zelman, "Gun Control" -- Gateway to Tyranny, 1993
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
2872 South Wentworth Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 769-0760
[back to text]

[3] Tanya K. Metaksa, "Sliding Down the Slippery Slope", American Hunter, June 1997, pp.44-45

Copyright (c) 1997 by John C. Taylor. The reader is encouraged to circulate this essay widely. Permission to reproduce this essay is hereby granted (and encouraged), provided its content is unaltered and this postscript is attached. Address comments to:

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         John Taylor
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