The exclusion of left-leaning gun owners
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
It’s equally clear to both the casual outside observer and the diehard partisan that American politics are currently divided into mutually exclusive “us” and “them” camps. Both groups wait with bated breath for the other to misstep and fall. The division is no longer just ideological, it is now cultural.
Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam belongs to the Democratic team. He made waves in 2019 by advancing the Democratic signature piece of gun control; he aimed to enforce amongst many things red flag laws, monthly gun purchase maximums, and a ban on “military style” weapons and silencers. For obvious reasons, his Republican counter parts were incensed. Within days, a number of Virginia’s gun groups planned a 2nd amendment rally to protest these proposed bans and laws—soon, out of town gun groups sympathetic to the plight of Virginia’s law-abiding gun owners jumped to lend their support.
Tensions rose as the rally drew near, and it wasn’t long before alt-right and white supremacist groups began to post threats and violent intentions online. In one fell swoop, those who had the goal to protect their constitutionally guaranteed rights were painted as racists and terrorists. It was not long before liberal publications began talking about the protest as a “white supremacist pep rally” or “Charlottesville part 2.” Amongst the horrified gasps of the liberal minded and progressive inclined a phrase was repeated: “White supremacist terrorist.” Soon, anyone associated with the rally or gun ownership was branded a “gun nut” or “race warrior.” The few online posts that professed the January 20 rally to be the “first day of the boogaloo” (a term used by race warriors to denote the coming race war) had painted the whole shebang as a hate march.
On January 17, in anticipation of the rally, Donald Trump tweeted: “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia, That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!” This certainly seems true if you believe that all gun owners are white, and that no democrat supports gun ownership. Yet, when the rally came and went with no violence and few ostentatious displays of white nationalism, we instead saw numerous non-white, LGBTQ, and progressive groups present. There were young black men with AR-15s and “Black Guns Matter” shirts, there were socialist gun clubs with AK-47s, and there were members of the pro-gay “Pink Pistols” gun group with Glocks in holsters.
Why is it that these progressive gun owners have no representation in the Democratic wing? Why is it that they are often most welcome in the “arms of the enemy?” The so-called oppressor who fights for their right to defend themselves with lethal force if necessary.
It seems strange that, for all of the left’s posturing about equality, and its claimed openness, that the left would silence the voices of those who are least represented on the “other side” and most common on their own. It makes no sense to push the “Trigger Warning, Queer & Trans Gun Club” into the ranks of Trump supporters; it’s clearly illogical to label the historically black “Huey P. Newton Gun Club” as amongst rank and file white nationalist gun groupies. Even out-and-out Bernie bros with concealed carry licenses are canceled from the wider left’s narrative. Yet, that is what the liberal media does when it’s not profitable or even wise for a liberal news site to admit that many supporters of gun ownership are in fact queer or part of oft-othered communities. It’s not smart for a Democratic politician to admit to supporting gun ownership even if they previously have or in fact currently own guns themselves.
It’s apparent then, that in this quickly escalating war of rhetoric—where neither side must admit it has allies that don’t quite fit its mold—there are only outcasts and voices unheard. For many, it seems more important to follow what their political party decrees than to represent the actual diversity in the world, and it’s certainly not right to give every side its due chance and explanation.
Instead, liberals have made a pact to open their doors for votes and to close their ears against opinions. So, here we are, watching the left forsake its own history of armed opposition to tyranny—and its long history of violent revolt—for a false image as the harbingers of global peace. In renouncing its history and moving towards a new position of pacifism, progressives have elected to leave untold masses of its own supporters out in the cold. This means that it’s now up to many marginalised gun owners to choose between personal protection and the political platforms that might serve the rest of their needs. So much for a representational government.