If you give people the freedom to have rope, on occasion someone will hang themselves with it, that is just the way the world works.
After a few years of racial violence, protesting that many consider rioting and parts of American cities being set ablaze in the runup to the big 2020 election, the Left may be rethinking its attitude towards guns… well at least for the moment while they need them. An interesting look at the rise of “Socialist” gun ownership in America by RT poses the interesting question – if the “pro-gun lobby is the (exclusive) domain of right-wing, conservative Republicans in America”? The answer to this lies not so much in the guns themselves (as almost all issues involving firearms) but the overall world view of those who hold them dearly or fear even the thought of them.
The big stereotypes are true but the population is very diverse.
If we look at those advocating for and against gun rights from the standpoint of politicians and more importantly ideological pundits, then yes, without doubt the Right has complete ownership of “guns” with some on the Left trying to placate voters by saying that the bans will be not as bad as they think or being openly anti self-defense in the hopes of playing to their base. However, when it comes to the actual populace things are not so simple.
Image: If we trust flawed emotional human beings with guns in uniform, why don’t we trust our flawed emotional neighbors to have them?
According to Statista roughly two-thirds of Republicans live in a household with a gun while a third of Democrats and Independent respondents do the same. This is very telling, as gun rights are considered a core issue for the Republicans yet one in three does not have a gun in their home at all. Yes, guns can be very expensive but this is probably not due to being a cost issue. Conversely the Democrats are always on the war for total disarmament and yet one third of them are sleeping with a gun right somewhere within their four walls. When it comes to average Americans the situation is much more grey than the talking heads on TV would like us to believe. This resembles the whole “swing-state” phenomenon where places like my native Ohio can be wooed to either side with the right campaign algorithm.
So if there is a rise in interest amongst Socialists (i.e. those who vote Democrat and/or disagree with the hardcore Capitalist attitudes of the Right, or are outright Marxists) towards firearm ownership then it is most certainly not out of the blue. RT’s piece was written by a foreigner which is probably why the author’s perceptions were that no true American Socialist would ever own a gun. If you look at America from a Media standpoint this is true, but from the ground this is just false.
Is there an argument for guns from the Left?
The interview between RT and the “Socialist Rifle Association” did shed some light on the often ignored arguments for Left Wing gun ownership. In short and not surprisingly arguments all boil down to statements of equality.
If guns are heavily regulated and expensive then they will remain only in the hands of the wealthy. Essentially, we have the choice between a world where only the rich are armed or one where everyone is armed. This is completely true as the 1% never seem to have a problem getting armed security and a pleasant life for themselves no matter where they are.
Image: The elite will always be armed no matter what laws are passed for the commoners.
Shifting from wealth to race, it is true that the armed have power and the disarmed simply do not. So, if one feels that certain ethnic minorities are inherently subjugated by some evil system then it would be only logical to give them a means to power that can be acquired for a couple hundred bucks, i.e. within the means of 99% of the American population.
Furthermore, it is very logical that this SRA group sees the source of gun violence as being rooted in need. Generally, in nations where poverty is low, be they “Socialist” or not, gun owning or not, there is generally less crime. The quantity of available firearms is not a factor at all.
Although it may seem strange on the surface, at least the Socialist Rifle Association has a coherent system of apologetics for its beliefs which is far more than what many other political movements have or will ever achieve. It is the classic idea of empowering the working/repressed class but on an individual level.
But this type of organization is rare because there still is a bit of a paradox about Socialism and weapons. Generally the more the state is in charge of taking care of people the less it wants competition or for individuals to take action. Today’s China and Euro-Socialism demand that no matter what happens you should do nothing and call the police. Your kids are their problem. Your life is their problem. Don’t get in the man’s way. If one is to believe in guns and Socialism then one simply cannot advocate for the typically strict “monopoly on violence” found in the hands of the government in these types of systems. This is some sort of attempt to build a thinking man’s Socialism and not the nanny-state type. Nannies always take away sharp objects as those in her care are obviously likely to poke their eye out.
Mass shootings are scary but ultimately do not matter to American survival.
Although this RT article was unusually in depth, any piece written about guns by a Brit had to go into the topic of mass shootings. They simply cannot resist. These shootings may affect a mass of people in one instance but are not mass occurrence across America. Even if we remove all motivations from the picture the worst estimate of gun violence in America is 11,000 deaths in a country of 330+ million people. Americans aren’t even close to being remotely near enough deaths from guns for it to matter for the destiny of the nation.
Mass shootings make for great fodder for 24 hour news channels but ultimately they have zero effect on America’s stability. In fact, the United States should only hope to have domestic terrorism become its number one problem, which would spell the dawn of a Utopian era of existence. But this isn’t just America, human beings may have a violent nature but given piles of guns even the most violent places on Earth have not gone extinct of humans. We simply do not kill that many of our ingroup.
If you give people the freedom to have rope, on occasion someone will hang themselves with it, that is just the way the world works, but the idea of a “rope-free” world where only the government and the elite have said rope and the power to hang us, is flawed reasoning and the SRA would probably agree.
Is there an ideological monopoly on pro firearm ownership? – No.
Has the Right had a total monopoly on this issue up until present? – No.
Can Socialists aka the Left make coherent arguments for gun ownership – Yes.
Is it logically coherent to advocate for gun rights and a system with a pillar of the state having a monopoly on violence? – No.