An admitted liberal gun nut shooting sports enthusiast realizes that gun control is a losing hand for the Democrats, but can’t figure out why.
When it comes to gun violence, though, the conversation often stops at the tool, because it is more comfortable to blame it than to examine ourselves.
The temptation at times like these is to “do something” about guns. Australia and Britain passed tougher gun laws after mass shootings, and haven’t suffered another since. I would respectfully submit that Australia and Britain are full of Australians and Britons, not Americans.
The harm we’ve done by messing with law-abiding Americans’ guns is significant. In 2010, I drove 11,000 miles around the United States talking to gun guys (for a book, to be published in the spring, that grew out of an article I wrote for this magazine), and I met many working guys, including plumbers, parks workers, nurses—natural Democrats in any other age—who wouldn’t listen to anything the Democratic party has to say because of its institutional hostility to guns. I’d argue that we’ve sacrificed generations of progress on health care, women’s and workers’ rights, and climate change by reflexively returning, at times like these, to an ill-informed call to ban firearms, and we haven’t gotten anything tangible in return. Aside from what it does to the progressive agenda, needlessly vilifying guns—and by extension, their owners—adds to the rancor that has us so politically frozen and culturally inflamed. Enough.
The thing is, by arming yourself and becoming your own first responder, you are divorcing yourself from the progressive agenda. You don’t need big government to bath you and dress you and tell you what to eat. By defending your life and the lives of your loved ones, you accept the idea that there might not be an armed state-approved representative (i.e. cop) around when you need one, thus defeating the idea of big government in the first place. As Stephen Kruiser once said, “Firearms are the gateway drug to freedom.”
It’s not that the progressives don’t want to ignore gun control, it’s that they can’t, because allowing people to arm themselves puts their entire worldview into question, and no one likes to stare into that abyss.
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July 27th, 2012 by exurbankevin