As the results of the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses come in, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. The consternation and glee expressed over this by the establishments and voters of both major parties has been discussed at great length in the media and needn’t concern us here. What I do find interesting from the perspective of gun rights are the aspects of celebrity and support for the Second Amendment seen in Trump himself and in his detractors.
Of all the candidates who have sought the nomination of the Republican Party, Trump has the highest unfavorability ratings among Democrats and Independents. According to Gallup, he is the Republican candidate best known to Democrats, and his rating with them is -70. Independents have a -27 rating of him. His unfavorability rating is far larger among Independents and Democrats than any other candidate in his party.
This suggests that if Trump becomes the nominee, he will get little crossover support. But there is an irony here in that he represents exactly the gun control policies that many on the left of the political spectrum demand.
I’m not referring to his current stance on the Second Amendment. Current, let’s note, because he has not always been a solid supporter of gun rights. But for the moment, he has taken a stand that many among the readers here will approve of. And he has a history of exercising gun rights. According to his own statements, he has had a carry license for years and does carry a concealed handgun now and then. As a resident of New York, this makes him a member of “one tenth of one percent” of the population of that state for a reason other than his wealth.
The gun laws of New York—state and city—are infamous. The process of getting permission just to own firearms in the city legally is Byzantine, and if you want to carry a handgun, your chances are best if you have chosen your parents well and have powerful friends.
In other words, when gun control gets its way, the people who have guns are by and large either elites or criminals. And so to people on the left who base their political ideology on doing what is good for ordinary people instead of the wealthy and connected, I have to ask why so many support gun policies that benefit the One Percent.
Among many who exercise gun rights, the answer to that seems easy. Democrats want control, or so we’re told over and over in discussions about guns. People of the left just as often respond that they want safety, and round and round the argument goes. But the experience of New York shows how gun control plays out. Crime rates, and particularly homicides, have dropped in the city, but that trend has followed the rest of the country in recent decades, while New York’s onerous gun laws go back to the 1911 Sullivan Act, a law named after a Tammany Hall machine politician.
People in power and people who don’t care about the law will always be armed. The question for the rest of us is whether we will play along or will assert and exercise our rights.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.