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Confessions of a one-issue voter

Confessions of a one-issue voter
by Vin Suprynowicz

When I got so confused by the political fliers landing daily in my mailbox that I couldn't tell where either candidate for my state Assembly seat actually stood, I copied down their phone numbers and called them.

These guys are spending thousands of dollars trying to get their message to you, aren't they? Trust me, if you're a registered voter, they are not going to mind if you save them the quarter and call them.

One of Jeff Knight's volunteers called me last Thursday evening to ask if she could speak to me about Mr. Knight. I said no, I'd called him and it was him I wanted to talk to. "You called him?" asked the young lady. "Wait a minute, I'll put him on."

Young Mr. Knight won the Review-Journal's endorsement this year (there was no third-party candidate), but it was a close call. Counting against wonderfully-named incumbent Tom Collins far more than the fact he's admitted to engaging in a few barroom scrapes over the years (his response when asked to confirm or deny those rumors a few years back remains a legend at the paper: "I've whupped, and I've been whupped") is the fact that he regularly wins the endorsement of every public employees' union in the state.

Tom is a big supporter of public school "class size reduction," which sounds great except that fast-growing Nevada never has enough classrooms to actually put just 22 kids in each. So they squeeze 44 kids into each room, put one teacher at the front to teach and one at the back to grade papers, and call that an "22-to-one student-teacher ratio." A teachers union full-employment boondoggle, is what it is.

Jeff Knight made a good pitch to the editorial board in favor of privatization and smaller government. But I increasingly worry, these days, that such talk comes cheap.

I asked young Mr. Knight -- who literally went to school with Tom Collins' kids -- if he supports the Second Amendment. He said he does, though he admitted he owns no firearms and belongs to no gun-rights groups, nor even to the National Rifle Association.

Then why on earth, I asked him, did so many of his mailers feature frightening, full-color staged photographs of handguns in school lunchboxes, and accuse Tom Collins of wanting to make it legal for convicted felons to carry guns?

It turns out that's a reference to the first version of Nevada's "must-issue" concealed-carry handgun permit bill, introduced by Tom Collins years ago, which would have required Nevada sheriffs to license concealed carry of pistols without background checks. The Republicans now interpret that early version (the law which finally passed does require some background checking) as "legalizing" concealed carry by convicted felons, though I suspect it would still have been a parole violation for many.

As for felons who have finished paying their debt to society, they're allowed to go to church under the First Amendment, aren't they? They still have a right to a jury trial under the Fourth Amendment, don't they? If the Second Amendment is a right, it's a right. Why do we have to fill out any darned "permit applications," punishing the 98 percent of us who are law-abiding in a vain effort to disarm the rest?

Mr. Knight started squeaking a bit at that point, insisting it's "only the criminals, only the felons" he's concerned about. "Everyone else has a right to carry a gun." All those frightening pictures of kids with guns appeared on pre-printed, generic GOP party handouts based on focus groups that told them folks were worried about violence in the schools this year, he explained. "My only decision was whether to use them or not, and since it's a close race and I was being outspent, I had to use them." With his name and photo plastered at the top, mind you.

Tom Collins got home at 11 p.m. that evening. The reason I know is because that's when he called. I let the answering machine field the call, so he called back again at 7:30 the next morning.

What kind of politician is Tom Collins? He has streets in his district, on the far northwest edge of Las Vegas where the desert and the Indian reservation start, that have no streetlights, recalls columnist John L. Smith. When voters asked him for streetlights, Tom Collins went to work and got the county to OK them. Then Tom Collins -- a journeyman lineman by trade -- showed up and installed those streetlights in person.

You bet Mr. Collins was going to keep calling till he reached this voter.

He explained about the concealed-carry bill. I asked why we need permits at all. He agreed, but said that was the best bill he's been able to get passed so far, and a whole lot better than it used to be.

As my friend L. Neil Smith says, "How can you trust a politician who won't trust you with a gun"?

On Tuesday, I voted for Tom Collins -- a Democrat, a proud union member, a gun owner, and a life member of the NRA.

The race was supposedly too close to call. By sunrise Wednesday, Mr. Collins had roared home with 58 percent of the vote.

Next time: a tough choice in the nation's closest Senate race.


Vin Suprynowicz is one of the most articulate spokesmen serving on the front lines of the Freedom Movement we have. Vin's timely and well written articles are syndicated in newspapers all around the country, and they circulate around the world freely on the Internet and in Libertarian publications. He is the author of Send in the Waco Killers, the book that tells the details the media failed to tell in plain English. The best way to get Vin is to subscribe directly to the e-mail distribution list for his column. Send a request to vinsends-request@ezlink.com with "subscribe" in the subject line.

It is an honor to host this man's work, and we encourage you to visit his site and read his book. To read other articles by Vin on this site, click here. You can also see his full archives at these two sites:
http://www.nguworld.com/vindex
http://www.infomagic.com/liberty/vinyard.htm

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