Libertarians: A (Not So) Lunatic Fringe

They are antiwar and pro-gun, against the income tax and in favor of legalizing drugs. But the Libertarians' freedom agenda isn't kooky — it's transforming America's political landscape

Jay Mallin / Bloomberg News / Landov

Wayne Allyn Root, left, Mike Gravel, moderator David Weigel, Bob Barr and Vern McKinley engage in a Libertarian Party debate in Washington, D.C., May 20, 2008.

With his belly hiding his belt, with his red suspenders and white beard, Glen Parshall is a dead ringer for Santa Claus, except for the snub-nosed pistol he keeps tucked in his back pocket. Parshall spends his days behind the gun cage of Bargain Pawn, in a roughneck North Las Vegas neighborhood littered with homeless encampments, Catholic charities and pawnshops. It's no Bellagio. But he is a gentle man who treats his customers with respect, whether hoodlum or homeowner. He knows everything there is to know about weapons and is a stickler for the byzantine rules of gun ownership--the waiting periods,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!