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Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:12 AM

The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights

I'll just leave this here.


I am not talking about guns but gun rights. This is not about whether anybody likes or dislikes guns, and certainly nobody should fetishize them. It is unfortunate that, as with many debates in this country, the gun-rights debate is cast in the media as a clash between two extremely silly camps – those who fetishize guns positively, and those who fetishize them negatively. For there to be a serious political debate, both of these attitudes really have to be recognized, and dropped, by those who inhabit them. I don’t own a gun. I’m not defending my gun. I’m defending my right.

I think there should be fewer guns. I think we should have a more pacific society, one in which violence isn’t as alluring as apple pie, and we don’t have street parties to celebrate assassinations. I definitely think that the cultural representation of armed violence as a quick, effective, and attractive solution for all kinds of personal and social problems, which is ubiquitous in America, is ridiculous and pernicious. The answer to that is to do a lot of determined political and cultural work, not to pass a law and call in the armed police, the courts, and the penal system to enforce it on people who have done nothing wrong.

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Reply The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights (Original post)
TalkingDog Feb 2013 OP
geckosfeet Feb 2013 #1
tech3149 Feb 2013 #2
geckosfeet Feb 2013 #3

Response to TalkingDog (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:39 AM

1. Good points TalkingDog.

Point 1 - polarization of views

This serves to divide community, particularly the liberal community. Or maybe it's just my perspective as liberal gun owner. Derision, name calling, nonsense argument, uninformed hyperbole and shunning - we experience it all from the open minded left.

Point 2- Violence as a social norm

Keep watching television people. What do you see in the news? Crazy cop killing cop in LA. I don't watch TV but I see it all over DU so I don't have to. Not to mention the serialization of violence - how many 24 fans do/did we have here? And how long has this country been at war? Don't blame an inanimate object for social and cultural meme's.

Point 3 - Laws/regulation/reform

I firmly believe that vigorously prosecuting gun criminals and criminal gun behavior will be far more effective than putting tighter and tighter regulatory clamps on people who have done nothing wrong. Politicians are raking it in by making feel good do nothing proposals to appease the recent anti-gun hysteria. There are things that can be done to curb violence. They are hard to do. Politicians know it so they grab the low hanging fruit. And people feel good that something is being done.

The question of gun rights is a political question, in the broad sense that it touches on the distribution of power in a polity. Thus, although it incorporates all these perfectly legitimate “sub-political” activities, it is not fundamentally about hunting, or collecting, or target practice; it is about empowering the citizen relative to the state. Denying the importance of, or even refusing to understand, this fundamental point of the Second Amendment right, and sneering at people who do, symptomizes a politics of paternalist statism – not (actually the opposite of) a politics of revolutionary liberation.

I’ll pause right here. For me, and for most supporters of gun rights, however inartfully they may put it, this is the core issue. To have an honest discussion of what’s at stake when we talk about “gun rights,” “gun control,” etc., everyone has to know, and acknowledge, his/her position on this fundamental political principle. Do you hold that the right to possess firearms is a fundamental political right?

If you do, then you are ascribing it a strong positive value, you will be predisposed to favor its extension to all citizens, you will consider whatever “regulations” you think are necessary (because some might be) with the greatest circumspection (because those “regulations” are limitations on a right, and rights, though never as absolute as we may like, are to be cherished), you will never seek, overtly or surreptitiously, to eliminate that right entirely – and your discourse will reflect all of that. If you understand gun ownership as a political right, then, for you, if there weren’t a second amendment, there should be.

If, on the other hand, you do not hold that the right to possess firearms is a fundamental political right, if you think it is some kind of luxury or peculiarity or special prerogative, then, of course, you really won’t give a damn about how restricted that non-right is, or whether it is ignored or eliminated altogether. If you reject, or don’t understand, gun ownership as a political right, then you probably think the Second Amendment should never have been.

The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights

Point 4 - fewer guns = more peaceful society

I think this is an unproven assertion. It would certainly be a society with fewer guns. Not sure how much more peaceful it would be. As mentioned - we have a national and cultural fascination with violence. Should we take away knives and pitchforks as well? Wait - lets take away the military. That is probably the mightiest symbol of violence that has ever existed.

I think I will stop right here. The piece you linked to is a good read, a bit long winded but interesting and fairly neutral although it may claim to be a 'left argument for gun rights'.

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Response to geckosfeet (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:05 PM

2. This is a topic that I avoid like the plague just as Israel/Palestine

There is pretty much no winning argument, no matter how well reasoned, for either viewpoint.
We as part of this nation are a violent culture and we have been from the beginning. There can be no doubt that we have worshiped violent response to disputes in every form of public media.
That won't change any time soon. All the guns out there also won't just go away.
My problem is that the presence of lethal weapons with people that can't manage their emotional response can turn a minor dispute into a lethal situation.
I haven't had problems with controlling my emotions for quite some time but that doesn't mean I don't have my triggers. Having a lethal weapon at my disposal when I have more rage than reason would probably lead to a situation that would bring me endless grief. I don't wish that on anyone.

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Response to tech3149 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 01:08 PM

3. Good point. Living in a country with a short fuse for wars and violence does not help.

It permeates the culture and the countries politics. People see that and learn from it just like children learn from their parents.

Politicians need to set an example.

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