Gun Fight!

Last week, there was a big demonstration in the capital of Virginia, concerning the sweeping restrictions on firearms that the Democratic legislature is proposing.

I understand the urge to do something, and showing that there are lots of people willing to come out on a chilly January morning to demonstrate may seem like a good idea.  Demonstrations such as these, however, are at best rear-guard actions in a political fight that is going to be lost if we don’t win the cultural fight, and at worst they can make things much worse.

The Democratic legislation is not doing this because they are tyrants who are willing to overrule the will of the people just to restrict firearms for a couple of years before they all lose office and the Republicans reverse it all. They’re doing it because they think it will be popular. They think this because gun restrictions are popular with their base; I know, because most of my friends are the Democrats’  base, and they support gun control because they think it will make them safer, or because they want to rebuke the right-wing social politics of much of the Second Amendment community’s more vocal elements.  Democratic politicians favor gun control because their base demands it.

We are going to lose if we don’t engage that base to shut off that demand.  The GOP already cannot win in fair elections throughout much of the US; it’s only voter suppression and gerrymandering that’s keeping them in power in some areas.  It’s only a matter of time before that stops working, and more and more states look like Virginia.  Calm engagement of legislators can slow gun control somewhat, but eventually demand from the base will overrule even that.  Before that happens, we need to help convince the Democratic base that gun control isn’t what will make them safer; that what will is an attack on the root causes of violence: social justice concerns like systemic inequality, economic insecurity, inadequacy of healthcare, and the like.  Social justice is not a particularly hard sell.

That’s the real fight.  It’s not going to be won with III% or Gadsden flags.  It’s not going to be won by carrying an AR-15 into Starbuck’s. It’s not going to be won by shutting folks down for calling a magazine a “clip.”  It’s not going to be won through intimidation.  

It’s going to be won by doing the opposite.  By showing people that gun owners aren’t scary.  By demonstrating, when you can, that your values and theirs are not that far apart.  By showing (if it’s true,) that you support many of the same social justice issues they do.  Basically, by engaging them as you would want to be engaged by someone who thought you were wrong about something.  Try some of the techniques presented by Sarah Cade and Jon Hauptman in Guns Guide To Liberals.  Just remember — the way we win this is to shut off demand for gun control, and the only way we do that is to change minds.

So, get out there.  Talk to your anti-gun friends.  Take ’em shooting, see if you can get ’em hooked.  Your friendships, and your rights, will be much stronger for it.

2 Responses to “Gun Fight!”

  1. Beryle Dewie Victoir Says:

    Ich habe es genossen, Ihren Artikel zu lesen. Beryle Dewie Victoir

  2. Phillip Says:

    Danke sehr! Sie sollten kein Spam hier stellen.

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