Tar Heel Libertarian - December 2023

Volume 3, Issue 15 | December 2023

“The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.” ― Jay Leno

In this issue…




From the Chair

I will keep my message short this month, because our accomplishments speak for themselves, and anything I say I am worried might only take away from what we have achieved. 

First of all, Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and joyful tidings of peace to everyone, no matter what or how you celebrate, we wish you well. We are the party of peace, but that does not make us the party of weakness, and it certainly does not make us passive. We proved how dedicated we are on Friday when filing closed, and I am so proud of everyone, I really can't say it enough. Rob has written a deep article reflecting on the meaning of the holidays and how embracing peace and non-aggression is actually an act of rebellion.

Speaking of rebellion, we have our convention theme, "Cheers to Rebellion!" If you haven't registered yet, I don't know what you're waiting for, but all the details are included below, including our keynote speaker, who we are really excited will be hosting the gala and after.

The whole newsletter this month is worth checking out, even more than normal, with a bunch of good articles, lots of information about what has happened, what comes next, and how you can help, and a few different places where you can find the perfect gift for that picky Libertarian in your life.

Everyone likes receiving gifts, and I am no exception. But the gift that you all have given me this year is one for which I will never be able to truly say thank you enough, never repay, never fully acknowledge or address. You have given the gift of sacrifice, of your time and your money, of moments with family and friends that you spent instead working on helping build and advance the party, of sleepless nights and painful next days at work. I see how much you have sacrificed, and it is a gift I do not take lightly. I promise, I will do all I can to make it worthwhile.

Mostly though, you have given the gift of your friendship, your compassion, and your commitment to Liberty. This is something that is beyond value, and it is why I am confident that we are going to win. 

-Ryan Brown, LPNC Chair

It's Time to Win Some Elections

Buckle up, the 2024 Campaigns have Begun

When the 2024 filing window closed at noon on Friday, December 15, the LPNC had an incredible 46 candidates file for 44 races. In total, we will have candidates running in four Council of State races, four federal congressional races, 13 NC Senate races, 16 NC House races, and seven local municipal races. We also currently have ten candidates to consider for our presidential preference poll (the nominee is chosen at national convention).

While some candidates have been campaigning for a while now, most will begin to ramp things up in the next few weeks. Libertarians can mark their calendars for the primary day vote on March 5, when Mike Ross and Shannon Bray will see who made the better case to NC voters for the governor candidacy, and House District 44 voters will select either Christina Aragues or Angel Yaklin to be their candidate. Primaries are relatively uncommon for the LPNC, especially two in one year, but this just marks one example of a growing surge of excitement that is translating into action.

Political and Policy Director, and Lieutenant Governor candidate, Dee Watson agreed with this sentiment. "First and foremost, thank you to all our amazing candidates who filed. They are giving voters in NC the only real choice for freedom in the state. It is impossible to quantify the personal investments our candidates have made so far, but the total amount they spent on their filing fees surpasses the state party's budget on operational items. They donate their time and treasure and do it to give voters a true freedom option. I am in awe of them.

"This year I really concentrated on helping candidates across the state file for office. In the 2022 election cycle I was on the Wake EC and worked with the great Brad Hessel and watched how he recruited and placed candidates. In the 2022 first filing there were 19 candidates from Wake and only 11 from the 99 other counties. After I became the LPNC Pollical & Policy Director, I really wanted to expand the Wake apparatus for candidate recruitment to the rest of the state. This year, as always, Wake did an amazing job. They ran more state legislature candidates than the Republicans.

"But the story this time is that a lot of counties are stepping up. This year, the other 99 counties ran 32 candidates, nearly tripling the prior year's total! Wake still sets the standard, and I haven’t managed to approach their success, but this huge improvement is encouraging, and show Liberty spreading across the state. I want to give a special shoutout to Cumberland and Durham counties who worked to recruit candidates and now have similar candidate/registered Libertarians numbers as Wake County.

"There are two people who went above and beyond. Ryan Brown, the state chair, created the website for the candidates, helped me organize the board of elections download, and found the candidates in non-partisan races. He is an incredible asset to the LPNC, and he does so much for candidates for which I am so grateful. Christina Aragues, our Candidate's Coordinator, has an unmatched passion for Liberty candidates. She brings much needed insight and energy to the team in a way that no one else does.

"We obviously have lots of work to do, getting people to file is just the first step. Next, we plan to get candidates on our web page, help them with social media, get them connected in MatterMost and introduce them to the rest of the Libertarians in NC."

There are a number of intriguing candidates and races this election cycle. Steve Feldman is a first-time candidate running for U.S. Congressional District 10. While he will be competing with some recognizable names in NC politics, they will have to focus on the primary first, giving him the opportunity to make his case to the unaffiliated voters who now dominate NC registrations. Steve plans to run a campaign based on aggressive civility and a commitment to principle. "I became a Libertarian because our ideals resonate with me. I think the electorate is ready for a breath of fresh air to replace the stale politics of polarization that set people against each other. I’m confident that, like us, our opponents truly want what’s best for people, and I refuse to demonize them as we debate what policies will best achieve that. I greatly appreciate the support of our state party and the enthusiasm and guidance they’ve given me in this quest," Steve told the Tar Heel.

Another race worth watching at the federal level is U.S. Congressional District 3, where Gheorghe Cormos is the Libertarian candidate. Gheorghe, who previously ran for Town of Cape Carteret Commissioner, will go head-to-head with Republican Greg Murphy, as the Democrats did not field a candidate in that race. Murphy has skeletons in his closet, even by politician standards. He has a voting history that aligns with support for big government and more regulation. He is chair, vice-chair, or member on eight state legislative committees, including the ABC Committee, completely intertwined with a political machine his party claims to want to restrain. He also has a series of controversies in his past, including a tweet (which he later deleted) implying that woman could not be raped because they actually want it. He also raised significant objection to Davidson College removing a requirement that its president and trustees generally be Christians.

The Tar Heel will profile all our candidates in the coming months, and will also provide details on how you can support campaigns, attend events, volunteer, and vote. Additionally, information on all the candidates will be posted to the LPNC website over the next couple weeks, and updated throughout the year. We will include websites, social media, videos, and much more. We will be contacting all the candidates over the next week to help you get started with the resources available from the state party.

Cheers to Rebellion!

Convention is right around the corner

Join us in Clemmons the weekend of February 16th-18th for the 2024 LPNC Convention. Everyone wants to live their own life their own way, for their own needs, and according to their own values. It's time we push back against the ever-encroaching imposition of the state in our lives. Come celebrate with us, and raise a glass to freedom.

We'll be meeting at the Village Inn Hotel and Event Center for a weekend of business, enlightening speakers, and fun! Tickets include all convention activities, plus a catered Gala on Saturday. We will also have a Friday evening reception from 7pm-11pm.

Michael Gibson announced as keynote speaker

The LPNC is excited to announce that Michael Gibson will be the keynote speaker for this year's annual state convention. Gibson is the co-founder of the venture capital fund 1517, which is devoted to backing dropouts and people who never stepped foot on a college campus. Before his academic apostasy, he was working towards a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Oxford. He has written on innovation and technology for MIT’s Technology Review, National Review, the Atlantic, and City Journal. Gibson is the author of the book Paper Belt on Fire: How Renegade Investors Sparked a Revolt Against the University (reviewed in the April 2023 Tar Heel). He was also the featured guest on Season 3 Episode 4 of Liberty iNC.


Christmas as an Act of Defiance

by: Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director

In just over a week, many of us in the LPNC, around our state, in the U.S., and across the globe will come together in any one of a beautifully diverse set of traditions for the single most celebrated holiday in the world, marking the day we observe and celebrate the birth of a child some two millennia ago.

Suspend for a moment, if you will, all considerations of the religious aspect of Christmas, and ignore historical accuracy questions about Jesus' birth date and adopted pagan holiday dates. Instead, examine the actual story of the birth of Jesus, the message he brought, how the state at the time responded to it, and how those lessons remained true throughout history and still apply today.

Simply as a result of being born, before he was a day old, Jesus faced mortal danger from King Herod, who, responding to a prophecy, decided he would rather kill a baby than chance the emergence of someone who could challenge his power. In early chapters of both Luke and Matthew, the wise men of the nativity story, who met Herod on the way to Bethlehem while following a star, take a different route home after seeing the baby Jesus so they could avoid Herod as they learned of his plans to kill the baby. But, as we know all too well, one recalcitrant collaborator is was not enough to deter the state, driven by its insatiable hunger for power. Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt to protect their newborn, which so enraged Herod at his inability to kill this infant that... well, this is how Mathew tells it:

Matthew 2:16-18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

The CIA or KGB assassinating political opponents is just the latest version of a tactic that dates back to biblical times. Of course, Herod didn’t have Epstein's client list or similar leverage more appropriate to the time, and so he failed to kill Jesus and eventually died himself, leaving Jesus to grow up and become the protagonist in the most influential tale in known human history.

You need be neither Christian nor even religious to appreciate the gospels. Jesus lived by a code that sounds strangely familiar. Don’t hurt people (Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.), don’t take people’s stuff (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy), and don’t initiate violence (Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.). We even have an idea of how he might have viewed the Fed, when he overturned the money changers’ tables and called them a den of thieves for making money their religion.

In fact, Jesus specifically called out the abuses of power inherent to the state, and instead advocated for lives of service as an act of resistance. Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. This must not be so with you. Instead, whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your servant."

We all know how the story ends, of course, when the state had reached a point where it could no longer tolerate the threat to its power posed by the existence of someone who had the audacity to promote peace and harmony over violence and coercion. To put an end to Jesus' revolution of love, the state paid 30 silver pieces in blood money to Judas Iscariot, the first of so many Judas Iscariots who have killed innocent people on behalf of the state since. Even facing death, Jesus was defiant in his refusal to acknowledge the false charges he faced, and the state was forced to spread a little (very) old fashioned misinformation, stirring up the people to call for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus to ensure the assassination they desired.

There are any number of other examples of Jesus committing great acts of revolutionary defiance by simply being peaceful, but I am not here to give a lesson on the Bible (nor am I qualified to do so). Instead, I want to fast forward about 1850 years and ponder, for a moment, if the state would tolerate the return of Jesus any better than it did his first stint on earth. In other words, have we learned anything? Fortunately, someone far smarter than I makes a solid case. In The Grand Inquisitor, a standalone chapter (and arguably the greatest single piece of literature in history) in the novel The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky wrestles with this problem in a profound way.

Two of the titular brothers are talking, and one has composed a prose poem imagining the return of Jesus during the fifteenth century, at the peak of the Inquisition. Accused heretics, condemned for even being suspected of challenging the state's proclaimed orthodoxy, are burned in droves daily. Amidst this, Jesus simply appears, in Spain, walking among the actual ashes of the bodies. People are immediately drawn to him, as he radiates peace and love. A blind man is given sight, sick are healed, and pain is no more for the crowd around him.

The people, broken and conditioned to a state of fear and subservience, flock and rejoice. By his presence alone, Jesus gives them freedom, the first time they have experienced freedom, and they revel in the joy it brings. His very existence is an act of resistance, founded in love, even as he does nothing but walk among the crowd, except when he says two words, “Talitha cumi,” which is Aramaic for “Little girl, I say to you, arise,” and brings a little girl back from the dead (This is the same thing he says in Mark 5:41 when he brings Jairus’s daughter back from the dead.).

Drawn out by the commotion, the Grand Cardinal Inquisitor comes with his guards, and the people fall instantly and instinctively back into their fearful obedience, begging for the blessing of the highest official in the state. As the state does to those who worship it, as long as they are useful, he blesses the re-subservient crowd and has Jesus arrested and placed in a solitary jail cell, which he enters alone. At first, the Inquisitor questions if it really is Jesus, but quickly turns to berating him. He is furious that Jesus would dare return and threaten what he calls the "freedom" that the world has been granted through obedience and fear, built carefully over fifteen centuries. He says to Jesus:

"For fifteen hundred years we have been at pains over this freedom, but now it is finished, and well finished. You do not believe that it is well finished? You look at me meekly and do not deign even to be indignant with me. Know, then, that now, precisely now, these people are more certain than ever before that they are completely free, and at the same time they themselves have brought us their freedom and obediently laid it at our feet."

The Grand Inquisitor continues his rant, admonishing Jesus for his actions described in the Bible passage where the Devil tempts Jesus three times in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13). The Inquisitor is furious that Jesus did not accept the Devil’s offers, as mankind would never have suffered what the Inquisitor sees as the unbearable burden of freedom, and would thus have been happy. He tells Jesus how they, the elites of the world, have worked for centuries to undo the choice Jesus made, working diligently to take away humanity's freedom and instead give the happiness of obedience.

"And if it is a mystery, then we, too, had the right to preach mystery and to teach them that it is not the free choice of the heart that matters, and not love, but the mystery, which they must blindly obey, even setting aside their own conscience. And so we did. We corrected your deed and based it on miracle, mystery, and authority. And mankind rejoiced that they were once more led like sheep, and that at last such a terrible gift, which had brought them so much suffering, had been taken from their hearts."

The Inquisitor tells Jesus the work is not yet complete, but it will be. He promises Jesus that eventually all of humankind, save the elite few rulers, will know the happiness only possible in the absence of freedom, and the elites shall suffer the great burden of freedom as they rule over everyone else.

"With us everyone will be happy, and they will no longer rebel or destroy each other, as in your freedom, everywhere. Oh, we shall convince them that they will only become free when they resign their freedom to us, and submit to us."

I encourage you to read it yourself and see how it ends, but we know how it ends in real life. Malcolm X was not assassinated until he started preaching peace and unity. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have suffered unimaginably not for any harm they did to anyone else, but for exposing the crimes of the state, crimes which the government codified and even extended just recently. Malala Yousafzai was nearly assassinated for seeking the freedom of education. LSD and psilocybin were proven highly effective for treating alcoholism in the 1950s until they were associated with Timothy Leary and counterculture, which threatened the state, and thus made so illegal that even research was forbidden. People present at the capital on January 6 have received prison sentences that are many times longer than the sentences given to child rapists, because of the willingness to defy the state they represent, reckless though they may have been. Even journalists there in that capacity have been found guilty, like North Carolina’s own Stephen Horn.

Of course, as influential as some of those people are, none of them redefined human history for the last two millennia. Again, completely separate from the religious implications, the joy associated with Christmas and the birth of a child is because of the freedom that child represents. It is the pure and profound freedom, inherent and gifted to every human on the planet, from which our natural rights are derived. And it is a freedom that does not ask permission, which is something the state – whether it manifests as a religious tyrant, a military tyrant, an elected tyrant, or any other authoritarian tyrant – cannot abide.

The choice we have, the real choice, is whether we will submit to the tyranny and accept the reprisals of a state terrified of a free people, or if we will live freely and accept the consequences as the state inevitably asserts its monopoly on violence and tries to regain control and obedience. I know what I choose. Merry Christmas. Be Free.

Remember to Check Out Our Store

Check out the latest LPNC merch for gifts and stocking stuffers

The LPNC store has it all, from clothes and hats, to buttons and stickers, tumblers, mugs, glasses, and more. Stop in and grab something!

Freedom, Personality, and Diversity in North Carolina

by Joshua D. Glawson
LPNC Strategic Communications Adviser

One of the nicest parts of driving around the United States is getting to experience different views of diverse terrain. From the serene Outer Banks of North Carolina to the golden sands of California, the memorable panoramic aesthetics are worth the drive. 

Along with differences in landscape, there are diverse cultural differences that include tasty and exotic cuisine, music, fashion, language, and norms. Experiencing a wide array of civilizations within the U.S. can enrich a person’s happiness and life trajectory, while it can also teach how to interact with a variety of personalities and effectively deal with cultural differences. 

North Carolina has some common cultural traits that are blatantly visible to domestic and foreign migrants flocking to the state. The positive traits found in North Carolina include family-orientedness, classical education, Carolina BBQ, Appalachian Bluegrass, and a communally shared sense of unique accomplishments that help set North Carolina apart and above the other states in the region. Some of the more common negative traits found in North Carolina include a pseudo-attachment to freedom, cantankerous and imperious personalities, and an ongoing embrace of nativism. 

This article will highlight these negative traits to help the North Carolina Liberty Movement avoid and overcome these potential downfalls. Just as most North Carolinians are proud of the uniqueness that encompasses the state, the North Carolina Libertarian Party should also actively work toward setting itself apart from and above the common masses. 


Although North Carolina has a rich history of celebrating freedom, there is frequently more lip service than actionable measures taken. For starters, there is serious speculation that North Carolina was not the “First In Freedom” as the state so often likes to claim. According to the Cato Institute’s State Freedom Index, North Carolina has dropped in overall freedom rankings from 20/50 to 24/50. 

Additionally, as many North Carolinians are well aware, the state authorities continue to micro-dictate almost every act of freedom, including the Alcoholic Beverage Control system (ABC), exorbitant barriers to entry for a wide range of careers and industries, and Certificate of Need regulations which effectively prevent healthy competition and service regarding healthcare provisions. It is as though the North Carolina state slogan “First In Freedom” is in direct conflict with the North Carolina state motto “Esse Quam Videri” (i.e. “To Be Rather Than To Seem”). 


One common characteristic found in North Carolinians is a pugnacious personality that exalts derision and then calls upon the strong arm of the state to enforce their will upon others. This disdainful attitude is intensified towards those viewed as social pariahs of the state, which typically hyperfocuses non-natives. 

One place these behaviors are witnessed is on highways. In North Carolina, it is the norm to be in the left lane of a two-lane road going well under the speed limit - although there are people behind trying to get around and the lane is clear ahead. They speed up when trying to pass, and utilize the slower right lane to their advantage of not allowing others to pass although they are going under the speed limit itself. It is as though ensuring that others are not allowed to move freely, and enforcement of laws by the common citizen, are the higher values for many North Carolinians. Then, when accidents occur, they often cry to the state for protection for themselves and the punishment of others, as they wait in the middle of the road for the police to arrive causing further traffic and frustration. 


North Carolina has been notoriously cynical and critical of perceived outsiders since the state’s early beginnings. This has been seen through laws of the past that included anti-Black laws, anti-Catholic laws, policies and laws against civil liberties, anti-Hispanic sentiments, hostility toward those from India, and the general disdain for those who do not speak English. These approaches, among many others, have created an environment that is unwelcoming to foreign and domestic immigrants moving to the state. Tactics such as these facilitate a static economic environment that is not conducive to variety, change, improvement, or flourishing. Furthermore, it instills a sense of heteronomous authority as opposed to autonomous individuality. Such approaches can have detrimental effects on the populous and the state itself. 

If the Libertarian Party of North Carolina wishes to make ground toward achieving greater liberty in the state of North Carolina, we have some work to do. We must work together to resist adhering to false narratives of liberty, and live our individual lives that reflect the non-aggression principle in every facet of life while encouraging tolerance and welcoming diversity.

Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)

Help Wanted

The LPNC is seeking passionate and dedicated volunteers to join our team and play pivotal roles in advancing the cause of liberty across North Carolina. Currently, we have exciting opportunities for individuals interested in serving as "Assistant Treasurer" and "Assistant Secretary." Job description.

As our Assistant Treasurer, you will be instrumental in supporting the financial operations of the LPNC, ensuring transparency and accountability in our financial management. If you have a keen eye for detail and a commitment to fiscal responsibility, we encourage you to explore this essential role.

Likewise, our Assistant Secretary position offers a chance to contribute to the smooth functioning of the LPNC by assisting in record-keeping, meeting minutes, and organizational documentation. If you have strong organizational skills and a passion for detail-oriented tasks, this role might be a perfect fit for you.

To learn more about these positions and other exciting volunteer opportunities, please visit our staff page at https://www.lpnc.org/staff. Your involvement can make a significant impact on the success of the LPNC, and we welcome individuals with diverse skills and backgrounds to join us in championing liberty in North Carolina.

Take the next step in your commitment to liberty by becoming a vital part of the LPNC team. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

If you are interested in filling one of these positions, please email why you would be a good fit to Ryan Brown at [email protected].

Candidate Spotlight

by Shannon Bray
Candidate for the LPNC Governor Nomination

I believe the vast majority of North Carolinians are fed up with the juvenile performance art politics that many establishment party candidates engage in. I intend to address the issues that concern and affect our fellow citizens the most—the economy, education, healthcare, and electoral reform—in a civil and positive manner, without insulting my opponents (or their supporters).

The Economy. The way that individuals and businesses participate in our economy is strongly directed by taxation and regulation. To create the jobs and businesses of tomorrow, we must cut back on over-regulation and minimize taxation to encourage an innovative economic climate today.

Education. Giving students, families, and teachers greater choice is the best path to building successful lives, developing better learning environments, strengthening communities, and preparing North Carolina for the challenges ahead.

Healthcare. Healthcare options are a critical aspect of everyone’s life. To promote a healthcare system that achieves better outcomes, reaches more people, and makes care more affordable we must avoid government overreach.  

Electoral Reform. We need to reduce the intrusion of partisan politics into government affairs and make government at all levels more responsive to individual citizens. The single most effective thing we can do here is to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians—who for decades have been picking their own voters—and create an independent, non-partisan commission responsible for implementing the perfectly sound principles already enshrined in our state constitution. But I would also work to achieve fairness for independent voters—who despite outnumbering both Democrats and Republicans, are barred from serving on the Boards of Elections. And I would propose to enable municipalities and counties—where currently it is possible for a candidate whom 70 percent of voters reject to be elected—to utilize Instant Runoff Voting, thus ensuring that no one is elected without a majority of votes cast.

shannonbraync | Instagram, Facebook | Linktree

County Corner

The North Carolina annual state fair is one of the LPNC's most anticipated events each year, and always brings both fun and success. This year was no different. 

Liberty iNC

Your rights, all the time. Nothing more, nothing less, no exceptions. Simple as that.

Check out Season 3, and get ready for Season 4, coming soon!

If you want to assist with the show, be a guest, suggest a guest, and have any other comments or feedback, please, reach out to [email protected].

2A Talk

First-Time Gun Buyer Guide 

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

Check this article out on Justin's site, and then put the guidance to use and make a purchase from his store, Port City Firearms. Some basic rules for a first-time firearms purchase:

Rule 1: Buy a Gun You Will Shoot

First and foremost, Rule 1 is dedicated to the idea that if you are buying your first gun, you will need to spend a lot of time training, shooting, and practicing with it. Your focus should be on that singular aspect and there are a variety of reasons why. The biggest reason to buy a gun you will actually shoot is the learning curve from "no experience shooting" to "competent enough to defend my life with this gun" is a steep one which takes thousands of trigger pulls and many range sessions. Buying the wrong gun can all but ensure you never train enough to be confident in a life-or-death scenario. Conversely, buying the right gun can send you down a path of consistent practice, eager planning and preparation for live-fire range days, and constant pursuit of better training and skills.

So what does "buy a gun you will shoot" even mean, practically? We’ll break this down in several factors. In fact, there is really only one rule, buy a gun you will shoot. The rest are in service of this concept. As we go down this list, you may imagine a list of suitable guns in your mind getting shorter and shorter. This is intentional, since many guns are unsuitable for new shooters, and should help you make a decision by narrowing the options. These metrics are used for application to most people most of the time. There are always exceptions and if you walk into a gun store with the intent of following a rule but find yourself unable to find a gun that fits you and meets all the requirements here, adjust as necessary. 

Rule 2: Make it a Handgun

There are so many reasons to purchase a handgun over a rifle or shotgun. What it all comes down to is practical use. Handguns are simpler, easier, and faster. The logistics of shooting handguns are better. Handguns can be taken to the range in one briefcase-sized bag.  Additionally, the sights on handguns are generally fixed and pre-zeroed. No need for you to spend the time, ammunition, and frustration of trying to mount and zero sights correctly when you are brand new to all this stuff. Some may laugh this off, but the first time you spend an hour of your 90-minute range trip zeroing you will realize the truth here.

Lastly, handguns provide the joy of near-instant feedback due to the ranges at which most people train with them. You can see the target immediately after you shoot it. This cannot be overstated as a value for keeping new shooters interested and engaged while training. You also do not need to wait for the line to go cold, then walk 25, 50, or 100 yards downrange to assess your shots, repair targets, or post new targets. Awaiting "line cold" periods can easily turn what should be a 30-60 minute range trip into over two hours of waiting, boredom, and wasted ammunition.

Rule 3: Stick to Calibers of .22lr, .380acp, or 9mm

Calibers .22lr, .380acp/auto, and 9mm luger (9mm NATO, 9x19) are cheap, easy to find, and available in many options. They also happen to have very manageable recoil compared to other common handgun calibers, such as .45acp and .40S&W. These three calibers are also common enough in different handgun platforms that you can still shop numerous options to find something you like. It is important to note that .22 is fairly different from .380 and 9mm, categorically. While .380 and 9mm are true self-defense calibers with respectable terminal performance (and the moderate recoil to go with it), .22 is on this list because of how great it is for new shooters to learn on. Particularly of interest is the ability of .22 to be given to timid or fearful shooters and those same shooters being able to still learn and train, without the training scars imposed by larger recoil, muzzle flash, and noise. That said, .22 is not only for the less enthusiastic shooters, it happens to be cheaper and the guns lighter than .380 and 9mm, which makes for a good intro into the realm of training. A .22 can be shot all day and the shooter's hands and wallet will both be in good shape at the end of shooting.

Rule 4: Keep the Weight at Least 15 Ounces

This is a combination rule that considers recoil and size. Broadly speaking, a heavier gun means less recoil (unless all that weight is in the slide). When browsing, you will also notice most guns below 15 ounces are a subcompact or pocket pistol, which tend to be difficult guns to shoot, especially for new shooters. The smaller size usually indicates greater recoil and more difficult ergonomics than their larger and heavier counterparts. With a smaller size also comes less area on the gun to form a proper and stable grip. Being unable to form a proper grip easily provides an unwanted barrier to training as it makes it more difficult to train the fundamentals of shooting. This rule does not apply to .22s as the smaller round means barrels, slides, and recoil springs can all be much smaller, making them incredibly light, on average.

Rule 5: Start With a Barrel at Least 3 Inches Long

Your actual minimum should be 3.5 inches, but I put three inches because there are some good guns less than 3.5 inches in barrel length. This rule is another recoil consideration, but also factors practical accuracy. First, a longer barrel allows the powder from the cartridge to burn longer before exiting the barrel, creating less of an "explosion" at the muzzle, which is what actually causes recoil. When discussing practical accuracy, I am talking about what's called sight radius. This is the distance between the front sight and rear sight. This is not a function of the gun being objectively more accurate (although longer barrels do tend to do that as well), but of the ability for the shooter to be more accurate in his/her aim. The greater the sight radius, the more accurate you become. The longer sight radius provides some forgiveness for imperfect sight alignment.

Rule 6: Go Big on Your Grip Size

For your first gun, it is essential you find a gun big enough to be able to form a proper two-handed firing grip. While this is possible with most guns, focus on the guns that make it easy. When new to shooting, you do not want to spend your focus on how to achieve a good grip in spite of the size. Instead, just start with a gun large enough to have a grip which suits your hands. For some people, this means you can buy a pretty small gun and still be able to build that grip properly, easily, and quickly. For others, it means anything smaller than a full-sized handgun may feel small. Find what works for you and do not settle for cramped hands and floating fingers for your first gun.

Support Your Fellow Libertarians

Port City Firearms

Our very own Justin Hinckley, 2A Issues Coordinator, has opened an online store, and you don't want to miss it!

Port City Firearms and Training 


Non Crappy Crafts

Angela Humphries is a free-spirited watercolor artist who lives by the calm, colorful waters of New Bern, North Carolina. With her loose, expressive strokes, she works to impress the magic of flora and fauna onto her canvases. Her lighthearted, whimsical mark making, infused with the inspiration of her surroundings, invites admirers to walk in nature to enjoy it’s beauty and magnificence.

Angela is a member of the North Carolina Watercolor Society and enjoys working in the privacy of her small home studio. She shares more of her work in the digital realm on her greeting card creations. Her work may be discovered in New Bern, NC at the local Bank Of The Arts Gallery, as well as the Nautical Star Coffee Shop and finally her online store via Etsy.

Angela's Etsy shop


Dr. Dan's Freedom Forum Radio

"The right to own private property that cannot be arbitrarily regulated or confiscated by the government is the moral and constitutional basis for individual freedom"

Listen Live: Freedom Forum Radio 

Podcast: Freedom Forum Radio Podcast Index 


Libertarian Owned, Heritage Breed Pastured Pork

Nothing says "Freedom" like a freezer full of quality meat! Fox Knob Farm near Elkin, NC raises heritage breed pastured pork the old-fashioned way, no medications, and nothing toxic. Reserve your whole or half pork share today and select how you'd like your pork custom processed. If you haven't started building your locally-sourced food network yet, we can help get you started! Learn more at foxknobfarm.com and contact us at [email protected].



Whiskey and Wisdom Podcast

Check out New Hanover Affiliate member Tyler Yaw and his co-host Chris Kellum in their exploration of the world, its people, and its spirits. They smartly and succinctly cover a truly eclectic array of engaging topics, all while enjoying the quintessential American libation.

Discussing life's most fascinating topics over a good glass of whiskey.

Managing Editor - Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director

Staff Writer - Joshua D. Glawson, LPNC Strategic Communications Adviser

2A Editor - Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator

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  • Rob Yates
    published this page in Prior Editions 2024-01-21 16:10:26 -0500