The following article is a reprint of a commentary by Dr. Lech Beltowski, a spokesman for the Sporting Shooters Association Of New Zealand.  It explores the relationship between firearms owners and the political elite who all too often dismiss firearms owners as unthinking, right wing Bubba's.  Given how politicized the Firearms Act has become of late with the uncovering of the massive waste and utter uselessness of the Act, although this article deals with New Zealand it is a timely commentary on politicians and firearms owners in Canada.

Over the past 20 years, millions of words have been written to try and justify gun control, gun buy-backs, restrictions on hunting, restrictions on ownership, every word attempting to justify the promised land that eventual gun prohibition is supposed to deliver. Yet, every such move has been met with anger and increasingly organised political resistance from those who have the most to lose and therefore have the most understanding of the firearm issue. As gun owners we've all thought about the issue of firearms and firearms ownership, and increasingly it is deciding the way many of us vote at election time.

Many however write off concerned responsible gun owners as uninformed and narrow-minded simpletons, accuse us of being unduly biased single-issue people, single- issue thinkers, and by implication, simple-minded single-issue voters. This is not only insulting, it is untrue.

In fact firearms owners have, in a world where there's never enough time and energy to examine in detail all the issues that may be important, shrewdly focused on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician -- or political philosophy -- is really made of. When we vote on the gun issue, we are looking not just at the fudge but right down to the hidden cherry in the centre.

Make no mistake: almost all politicians hate the firearms issue and any determined voter who insists on bringing up the topic. The reason they hate it is because it's a political and social X-ray machine. In short, it's the ultimate test to which any politician -- or political philosophy -- can be put.

Look at it this way: If a politician isn't totally comfortable with the idea of any average law-abiding citizen walking into a gun shop and buying a firearm as a right not a privilege and with a minimum of the intrusive documentation that criminals never fill out, then he isn't your friend no matter what he tells you.

If he isn't genuinely enthusiastic about the average voter deciding to own firearms simply because he or she want to, because in a democracy that is their choice and not a bureaucrat's, then he doesn't really trust you no matter what he says.

Thus, a politician's attitude toward your ownership and use of firearms exposes - as nothing else can - his real attitude about you! And to put it at its most basic, if he doesn't trust you, then why should you ever trust him?

If anyone doesn't want you to possess the means of possibly defending your life and the lives of your loved ones, do you really want them in a position where they can control your life?

And if any elected politician makes excuses about not wanting to defend a historical and constitutional common law right he vowed to uphold and defend - can you really trust him with anything at all?

If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you with names he thinks are evil -- like "Constitutionalist" or "gun lobbyist" or "radical" or "red-neck" when you politely insist that he account for his actions and his opinions, then hasn't he in reality betrayed his oath, isn't he unfit to hold office, and shouldn't he be removed from power for the good of everyone?

All these important questions - which our media never seem to ask - are the questions that have led many ordinary voters to see the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician or political philosophy is really made of.

Politicians may of course lecture you about all the criminals and madmen out there who shouldn't have a gun - but what does that really have to do with your right to have one? This is not a new problem, it's thousands of years old. So why should ordinary law-abiding responsible and taxpaying citizens now be made to suffer for the violent criminal misdeeds of sociopaths?

Shouldn't the infantile notion of group punishment become irrelevant once you reach adulthood and become responsible for your own actions and isn't it unfair even to well-behaved and responsible children?

Why, when we have a legal system that spends millions of our dollars a week protecting the rights of career criminals because they must be presumed innocent until proven guilty do we tolerate a system that automatically presumes the law-abiding to be potential criminals? Isn't collective guilt and resetting rights to the lowest common denominator an essentially Prussian or Soviet notion anyway and certainly not what real democracy is supposed to be all about?

If indeed there are dangerous weirdos out there, shouldn't we put responsibility fairly on those who really put them there - those same career politicians who have created a dysfunctional mental health policy, a criminal-friendly "justice" system that is unjust to victims of crime and a police system that has almost completely lost sight of why it exists in the first place?

More and more firearms owners are seeing that it makes more sense to challenge and vote against those very politicians who, having dramatically increased the number of violent criminals on our streets, now want to make sure we remain passive victims with absolutely no means of protecting ourselves. Forget about dangerous criminals and madmen, the gun control issue is about controlling you, the ordinary voter. It always has been, all along.

As firearms owners we need to answer just a few simple questions on election day. If a politician won't trust you with a firearm, should you trust him with your money and with power? If he's a man - and you're not - what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women and other vulnerable or politically incorrect or inconvenient minorities? If the politician is a woman, what makes her so perverse that she's eager to render all her fellow citizens helpless and vulnerable on the unsafe streets her policies helped create? How can you believe her when she says she wants to help create a fairer and freer society yet daily works to impose more and more taxes, controls and other restrictions on the productive and law-abiding, never on criminals.

The gun issue makes voting much simpler, doesn't it? You don't have to study every issue -- health, ACC, taxation, education, social welfare, international trade, law and order, justice, defence, conservation, tourism, etc,etc. Its just too much for anyone to fully understand anyway - even for professionals like politicians and bureaucrats.

In order not to be conned by all the verbiage shot at us at election time, all we have to do is to use the political X-ray machine that the gun issue really is. It will get beyond all the empty words and reveal what politicians really think. It will tell us -AS NOTHING ELSE CAN- just how they feel about us and whether they trust us or not. And that, of course, is precisely why they hate it.

That's why, in spiteful retaliation, they accuse firearm owners, hunters, shooters and collectors of being single-issue thinkers and misled simple minded voters.

But now we all know that isn't true, don't we?

By Dr L Beltowski