Weld Writes Op-Ed to Reaffirm Gun Rights Supporters
Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld has received intense scrutiny from libertarians this election cycle. This is in large part because he only recently joined the Libertarian Party, after decades as a Republican. In addition, while governor of Massachusetts, he sometimes supported “liberal” or “moderate” policy positions which do not precisely line up with libertarianism.
Though Weld insists that he has always been a libertarian and studied such philosophy deeply during his time in law school, many remain skeptical. One of the major policy issues which dogs his claim of libertarianism is his stance on gun control. During his time as Massachusetts governor, he at one time supported a gun control measure. Additionally, he has made questionable statements about gun rights since receiving the Libertarian vice presidential nomination.
Just prior to the Libertarian National Convention, Weld created a press release explaining himself.
However, the complaints arose again recently when the former governor asserted that a five-shot rifle could become a “weapon of mass destruction” and that “the problem of handguns is probably even worse than the AR-15.” Now, Weld seems intent on explaining himself a second time, as now even the Trump-backing NRA has gone on the attack against him.
As noted by The Libertarian Republic, Weld’s stance on guns is extremely commonplace among those conservative politicians who came of age in the 1960s and governed in the 1990s. That is not to excuse any lacking in libertarian orthodoxy, but it does serve to explain from where Weld comes ideologically. The same could be said regarding his support for an individual mandate in healthcare, as this was supported by conservatives like The Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich in the 1990s.
Nonetheless, Weld’s attempts to appeal to Libertarians and reaffirm their faith is admirable. He is in no way a perfect libertarian, but his fiscally responsible and socially inclusive record should be welcome in the party.