The (Not So) Lunatic Fringe
Nathan Thornburgh | July 10, 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, the background checks, the ATF callbacks and information requests.
But just because he obeys the rules doesn’t mean he likes them. Parshall is dissatisfied with a lot of what government does. He hates our gun laws. Hates the war in Iraq. He doesn’t use drugs, but he sees the fight against them as another government power grab. Growing up as a Mormon in Salt Lake City, Parshall was a Barry Goldwater Republican. Now he’s the kind of voter who should scare the GOP most–and he’s not alone.