Clint Eastwood should insist that his “Dirty Harry” movies be edited to remove all references to his famous .44 magnum. The words “Me and Smith and Wesson” have been eternally tainted by the gun-maker’s capitulation to the bureaucrats Harry Calahan was always fighting.
Breaking ranks with other gun manufacturers fighting to maintain their freedom and independence, Smith and Wesson agreed last week to several of the government’s “gun control” measures. As a reward, several government authorities, including the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the mayors of Atlanta, Detroit, and Miami, instructed their law enforcement officials to buy their weapons only from Smith and Wesson creating a virtual government monopoly. Smith and Wesson is now the firearms equivalent of an HMO.
Smith and Wesson has compromised the integrity and independence of both business and gun-owners. It has compromised with less excuse than that of the tobacco companies which had no effective lobby and were the victims of more pervasive propaganda.
Consider all the support the gun-makers could present in their defense:
The blame attributed to gun makers for violence in America is spurious and politically motivated. (Wayne LaPierre, executive Vice President of the NRA, is entirely correct in his recent charges against President Clinton); There is ample evidence of the self-defense value of gun ownership; With the NRA, there is a large, politically active group of individuals who support the right to gun ownership; Most importantly of all, owning a gun is a right protected by the Constitution. Capitulating with all these favorable circumstances is either craven cowardice or unforgivable shortsightedness. Hope to protect the Second Amendment lies with the other gun-makers and the NRA, who will hopefully stand firm against the gun control lobby.
According to Jeff Reh, general counsel at Beretta USA, individual gun owners “will see this agreement as a betrayal of their Second Amendment rights and a capitulation to the Clinton Administration gun control agenda.” They will be right.
As for those who think Smith and Wesson’s action is a case of capitalism at work–a business acting in its own self-interest–remember the fate of doctors who sold themselves into slavery under Lyndon Johnson. Allowing the government to regulate one aspect of your business is to expose it to total control–which is what the health care profession now faces. This is not capitalism; it is fascism.