Hillary Clinton

Libertarians With Guns (Otherwise Known as "Libertarians")


MANCHESTER, NH—Oh, the joys of not being in Iowa right now. With no candidates turfing this state today, I got to spend the morning with about 20 members and friends of the Free State Project, the effort to move at least 20,000 libertarians into New Hampshire to mold the state into a Rothbardian garden of Eden. At 8:30 we met in a hotel lobby, and at 8:45 we piled into a school bus ("Nothing says liberty like a school bus!") and puttered off to the Manchester Firing Range. On the way out of the hotel the bus passed by the Straight Talk Express, a reminder that John McCain's buoyed campaign will be taking over the hotel when the Free Staters leave.

I sort of expected everyone to have some skills with firearms, but the group was bisected: Half the crowd was inexperienced, half the crowd brought their own guns or other equipment. Management tried to sooth the novices, explaining the kick they could expect from the different weapons: "The glock kick is like pattycake with a small, strong child." One FSer brought homemade .45 shells for his Lincoln 11, which wasn't working as smoothly as it used to. "This group is half people who want to learn to shoot and half people who are kind enough to teach them," said Free Stater Jon Maltz.

I had planned to interview the Free Staters in between shots (BLAM! BLAM! "It wasn't until I read Human Action that I really understood the economic system." BLAM! BLAM!) but we had industrial strength headgear and restrictions on filming the events. So I did most of my talking on the bus to and from the event and milling around. Bill Alleman, who blogs and posts videos under the name NHBikerBill, laughed about the Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton ads that trumpet their work for average schlubs ("He saved my daugher! She unclogged my toilet!") and argued that only Paul's got truly excited supporters.

"Nobody wants to vote for Romney or those other guys, but there are these voters who vote out of habit: Oh, there's an election, I'd better decide. Why should those votes count as much as votes for Ron Paul?" Bill shook his head. "You listen to him and you say 'This is how it should be, goddamn it!'

NEXT: At reason.tv: Gillespie vs. O'Reilly

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Firearms are uniters, not dividers.

  2. “Nobody wants to vote for Romney or those other guys, but there are these voters who vote out of habit: Oh, there’s an election, I’d better decide.”

    That reminds me of sporting events where they have some computerized race on the Jumbotron (or, in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, et al., actual races with people in costumes). I’ve been at Bulls games where people cheer louder for the Dunkin Donuts race than the actual game–and not just this year, when the race is often genuinely more interesting than the Bulls. I think this year’s election is sort of the same thing… Most voters aren’t actually excited about the candidate, they just picked somebody early on and want to have the satisfaction of having backed the winner.

  3. BLAM! BLAM! “It wasn’t until I read Human Action that I really understood the economic system.” BLAM! BLAM!

    Good to know that the Free Staters (whom I will try to visit this Sunday) read von Mises and Rothbard. Go Free State Project! Go Ron Paul!

  4. God Bless the Free State Project, Ron Paul, gun rights, and the US Constitution.

  5. RON PAUL!! w00t! Check out his online grassroot index number at the SIPP index!!


  6. I don’t know if I’d want to teach a group of novices about shooting handguns. Rifles, maybe.

  7. sage:

    Something tells me that being outside at a New Hampshire rifle range in January probably isn’t a popular activity.

  8. Dave Weigel-

    Did you do any shooting?

  9. I have never owned a firearm and the most experience I have is on an M16 from when I was in the Air Force. What is the best gun for a beginner?

  10. PIRS,

    Are you talking handguns or rifles?

    I just traded my .45 for a .357. I like it because you can shoot the cheaper .38 special out of it. And if you want grizzly loads you can put high velocity rounds in it. Plus since it’s a revolver it can stay loaded and be reliable.

  11. Ali: pretty good interview, especially on the foreign policy points. We spend billions propping up an unpopular foreign dictator and we are resented. Whuddathunkit!

    Btw, did you see the transcript where Rush Limbaugh (of all people) tiptoes around saying there is only one “Reagan conservative” in the race? That could be a surprise. I hope Dr. Paul wins big and gets some big name supporters out of their closets.

  12. Sage, I am talking handguns. I want one for self-defense, not hunting. Thanks.

  13. PIR: go to Wal-Mart and get a Ruger 10/22 and a brick of .22 ammo. I think they cost $150 or so nowadays, and the ammo should be like $8 for 550 rounds.

  14. Oh, never mind my last comment.

    If you want a handgun, go to the gunstore and ask to handle them until you find one that feels right in your hand. You might look at Springfield XDs or Glocks. You also can’t go wrong with a nice S&W or Ruger revolver.

  15. What is the best gun for a beginner?

    To develop good skills with either a pistol or rifle, I would say start with a .22, because (a) it will teach everything you need to know (b) the ammo is really cheap – you can get a lot of practice in and (c)you won’t develop a flinch, the bane of every shooter.

    A .22 won’t stop anything much bigger than a squirrel, so if you want something for hunting or home defense, that’s a different kettle of fish, with as many opinions as shooters. Personally, I use a full-capacity ParaOrdnance .45 for a handgun, and have a variety of hunting arms depending on what I’m after. I’m not especially recoil-sensitive, so I tend to “overgun” compared to what I really “need.”

  16. All these guns scare the sheet out of me. I’m not for the proliferation of firearms all over the country.
    But it is FAR better than proliferating needless war which kills millions of innocent civilians (children and women) all done just to line the pockets of the already filthy rich few running the military industrial complex.
    SO, please vote for Ron Paul.
    No one comes close to being a qualified leader of this great country.

  17. PIRS, I would suggest buying a cheap .38 special revolver. The gun is cheap, the .38 ammo is relatively cheap, and then you could practice with it and get a feel for it. Meanwhile, since you are at the range anyway, you can strike up conversations with other shooters and try their guns. That way you can sample a bunch and decide if you want something else or actually dig the revolver.

    If you are thinking of carrying, you could get a Smith and Wesson Airlite in .357. This would also shoot .38, and they are crazy lightweight which really helps for carrying. It does make them less pleasant to practice with, though, and they are moderately expensive.

    Not Kimber expensive at over $1000, but still $600-700. The cheap .38 could probably be gotten used for under $200.

  18. I liked my automatic OK (it was a Ruger), but I was disappointed in what kind of damage the .45 round does. I would shoot blocks of aluminum and they would barely make a mark. But the +P .357 rounds would make a big dent in a twelve inch sawblade.

    If you’re looking for something you can conceal carry make sure it’s something that won’t stick out from your hip when your shirt covers it. People get nervous when they see a bulge on your side when you walk into the 7-11.

  19. PIRS:

    If you’re carrying concealed make sure to get something that goes well with your climate. A full-size 1911 might not be too bad during the fall and winter, but you are not going to want to lug that thing under a jacket during the summer. Living in a place with hot summers, something like a Kel-Tec PF-9 or a similarly sized sub-compact works well.

    For home defense, get a shotgun.

  20. PIRS, where do you happen to be located? On the remote chance you are in the DFW area, I would be happy to meet you at a range and let you try my pistols out. I agree with others, it all depends on personal preference, so there’s no substitute for going to the range and trying them out.

  21. Thanks to everyone who gave sugestions.

  22. Plant Immigration . . .

    Some other nifty advantages of the .38 revolver are:

    1.Lots of high quality ex-service guns available from when departments switched to autos.

    2..38 special ammo is inexpensive and has low recoil.

    3.And best of all, a revolver enables you to load only 5 bullets into the chamber, making it easy to spot and become aware of a flinch, if you have one. As a beginning shooter it’s important to learn to shoot without any flinch.

  23. Bingo and Bret, I live in Florida aprox. an hour south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast. Normally, I would say we don’t have much of a winter here but it actually froze last night.

  24. .357 revolver is an excellent self-defense choice for a novice. No slide to jam and, as the previous commenter mentioned, you can shoot .38 special out of it for target practice.

  25. Certainly makes me want to be over there 🙁

  26. I love the title. Me too

  27. Sig-Saur P229. It shoots both .357 and .40, though mine never has and never will shoot a .357.
    .40 sufficient put down power with minimumal kick. Unlike the .38, you won’t doubt it.
    Never go into a gun fight with anything less then .40 cal. A good old adage.

  28. Tally another vote for the .357 revolver.
    1. revolvers are much simpler to load, check, and clear.
    2. the .357 will chamber .38, making it cheaper and less scary (read – recoil and noise) to learn on.
    3. .357 +P rounds will stop pretty much anything.

    I prefer a heavier gun and round. .44 mag is too much, but my Smith and Wesson .357 with the 6″ barrel is plenty heavy to deaden recoil, get good accuracy up to 30 meters or so – and let’s face it – is intimidating as hell.

    I like going to the range (LA area) where everyone is firing their cute little 9 mm Glocks – “pip”,”pip”,”pip” all over the silly human silouette targets and I draw up with full mag loads and go “BRAP!”, “BRAP!”, “BRAP!” all in the 10 ring.

    Say what you will about compensating for “shortcomings”, but it is FUN…

  29. Bingo- I agree. I am very hopefuly about IA and NH. Hopefully 3rd or higher in IA and 2nd and higher in NH. We’ll see.

    OMG, whatchma call him, the guy on CNN who keeps talking about immigration (Dobbs!) just said an excellent word about RP on the Rep side and Obama on the Dem side.

  30. Bingo- I never listen to Rush, btw. Do you have a link to the transcript?

  31. Ali, I never listen to him either hahaha, but apparently he was referencing a 1964 Goldwater speech today and bitching about the lack of principles in the GOP as well. Here‘s a transcript of him talking about a true Reagan-style conservative

  32. I used to have an EAA Windicator .38 revolver like this one (only a 3 or 4 inch barrel as I recall):


    I think I paid about $150 about ten years ago(brand new from FFL holder, not a store)

    Notice the longer grip – a lot of revolvers have these tiny grips that only extend half way down your palm and feel like your gonna drop it at any time. Its only safe was a hard double action trigger pull, but it had an external hammer you could cock back with your thumb which made for a much lighter trigger for more accuracy or target shooting. I thought it was pretty nice – for the money. Fun to shoot, simple, reliable, accurate for what it is, cheap ammo, easy to clean.

    Alas, another one I regret letting go of. But it is easily replaced, unlike the Chinese SKS paratrooper (D trigger group) with thumb hole stock and detachable AK mag that I sold to a guy for less than half of what they go for now. Don’t sell your cool guns!

    If you are buying for self-defense, you don’t want to be holding a gun that makes you look like Rambo (or some crazy Libertarian) when the cops show up.

    (bout time we have a cool thread going. I was getting the shakes)

  33. PIRS
    My suggestion would be either a Glock or a Springfield XD

    For the following reasons:
    No external safeties to remember
    Extreme reliability
    comfortable and easy to shoot well.

    and I think the .40 is the best round to go with, it has good qualities of both the 9mm and the .45

  34. Lots of Rush bashing, but his show can be very informative and entertaining.

    Much more entertaining than the Daily show, information wise please. Rush kicks ass.

    Yeah when his shows suck then they really suck, but then you just switch to music.

  35. I would shoot blocks of aluminum and they would barely make a mark. But the +P .357 rounds would make a big dent in a twelve inch sawblade.

    I dug a chunk of lead out of my leg once, as a result of shooting at 1/4″ aluminum plate with a 10/22. Thought a horsefly had bit me at the time, but a few days later while sitting on the can I took a closer look and decided a sterilized needle was in order. Be careful shooting at metal, and this is why we wear eye protection, kids.

    Sig-Sauer P229. It shoots both .357 and .40, though mine never has and never will shoot a .357.

    He means 357 SIG, not .357 Magnum. The former is an attempt to replicate the latter in an auto (rather than a rimmed revolver) cartridge. Shooting .40 and 357 SIG in an auto requires a barrel change (and sometimes a magazine change as well). Shooting .38 Special in a .357 Magnum revolver doesn’t require changing anything. And 357 SIG ammo is damned expensive.

    Never go into a gun fight with anything less then .40 cal. A good old adage.

    I bought a Beretta 21A at a show on Saturday. I was thinking when I waited in line, what if I was having a nice latte with my life partner at the San Francisco zoo cafe, Tatiana comes leaping over the bushes, and all I’ve got is this Noisy Cricket? After some cogitating, I decided it was plenty good as a tiger gun:

    1. Shoot partner in leg.
    2. Run.

    (I generally carry an HK P2000 V2 .40 when I’m not with a slow runner.)

  36. Nice coverage, David. There are still lots of Americans who haven’t heard of the Free State Project (www.FreeStateProject.org) who will love the concept once they look into it.

  37. Good thing it was an indoor range.

    I got to hang out briefly with David Weigel tonight at Murphy’s Taproom. I think he was a bit overdressed. 🙂

  38. I’m pretty happy with Glock reliability and simplicity. For the newbie, I’d say it’s worth trying first. See if you can find a range where you can try one out.

    You also have to choose between calibers. I’m a .45ACP fan. In a Glock, that frame gets a little large in .45ACP, but they have several different models, some with slimmer frames. In 9mm, the model 17 and 19 are fine choices. I started with .40 S&W, but took a liking to .45ACP because fast and slow feels nice in my hand, and also have 9mm for plinking (cheap 9mm ammo.)

  39. “Lincoln 11” !? Haha! It must have been too loud on the firing line (a good thing), I think that’s supposed to be “1911” (nineteen-eleven). I did have some trouble with one of mine, and I did bring home-made ammo. It was a good day.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.