Richard Gardiner, 26, a member of the legal staff of the National Rifle Association, this week announced his candidacy for the Arlington County Board seat.

Gardiner said he will run in the November election as an independent with the endorsement of Virginia's Libertarian Party. Founded in 1971, the Libertarian party claims about 10,000 dues-paying members nationwide. As stated in its 1976 platform, the party believes that most government intervention is wrong and that "the only proper function of government is the protection of the individual from force and fraud."

Gardiner will face Joseph N. Pelton, who was endorsed by the Arlington Democratic Party and the Arlingtonians for a Better County and Stephen H. Detwiler, who was endorsed by the Arlington Republican party.

"The Republicans and Democrats don't seem to do anything different so we felt we'd give it a try," Gardiner said.

"Basically, the issues in the county are ones of money," said Gardiner, who said he supports the general approach of California's "Proposition 13." The proposal adopted recently by California voters will roll back property tax payments in that state to 1 percent of the assessed value of property in 1975.

"There are services, like trash collection, that could easily be turned over to the public sector. Libraries and parks can be just as easily run by the private sector. I'd like to change the presumption that government has to do it," he said.

Gardiner said he also favors encouraging people to send their children to private schools rather than the county's public schools. He also opposes prosecution for victimless crimes such as the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Calling the use of eminent domain by the county "government-promoted theft," Gardiner said he favors "freezing the situation and letting local neighborhoods decide what they want to do" about economic and commercial redevelopment.

Gardiner said he has been gathering signatures on behalf of his bid for the past six weeks and that his candidacy is unrelated to the board's recent debate on gun control.

"I hope that my job (at the NRA) won't be taken as a main issue. Certainly gun control is not a big issue (in Arlington).I hope people won't take the approach that someone from the NRA is running for the County Board."

Gardiner, who lives at 4990 Columbia Pike, graduated from Union College in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He will graduate this summer from the International School of Law in Arlington.