Same song, different verse

A refreshing wave of honesty is sweeping the movement to strip Americans of their gun rights.  More and more, the advocates of gun control are declaring themselves to be in favor of banning all guns.  We knew this all along, but it’s good to see that we’re not having to waste time with the claim that “no one’s trying to take your guns.”  Yes, many are trying to do exactly that, and now they’re admitting it.

One example of this is an editorial that has appeared in the New Republic by Phoebe Maltz Bovy, titled, “It’s Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them.”  Bovy wants to disarm all of us, and she even includes the police in this.  But while her article is long on assumptions and desires, it falls short with regard to details that add to proof.

Bovy tells us that to accomplish her goal, ordinary citizens “who are quietly convinced that guns are terrible” have to speak their minds.  Is this simply a rhetorical statement, or is she being disingenuous?  Anyone who has spent much time in this subject—on either side—knows that opponents of gun ownership and rights have been sharing their opinions for a long time.  Sharing, in fact, is too weak a word.  Opposition to guns comes in a constant flood, not a misting or a trickle.

She also argues that with the right of free speech comes the right to question gun rights and the interpretation of the Second Amendment and its ultimate repeal.  This is an interesting philosophical conundrum.  Are we free to challenge our own freedom?  Indeed we are, but we had better know what we’re doing, since challenging freedom all too easily succeeds by eliminating the thing being challenged.  My continued argument is that rights stand or fall as a group.  The more we subdivide and specialize rights, the weaker their defense all will be.

But a theme of Bovy’s appears to be the concept of privilege.  Her brief biography states that she’s working on a book on this subject, to be released in 2017.  And much of her argument in the editorial concerns itself with the perceived separation between rural populations and city dwellers, between the uneducated and the enlightened, between those who oppose and those who support gun control.  She dismisses accusations of elitism on her side by declaring that “it’s absurd to reduce an anti-gun position to a snooty aesthetic preference.”  Such a claim might be absurd if advocates of her position did not repeatedly behave as if they were inherently smarter, better educated, and more moral than we gun owners.

Of course, when the word, privilege, is brought into a discussion, race is often what is meant.  And she does confirm this:

Ask yourself this: Is the pro-gun side concerned with how it comes across? More to the point: Does the fact that someone opposes gun control demonstrate that they’re culturally sensitive to the concerns of small-town whites, as well as deeply committed to fighting police brutality against blacks nationwide? I’m going to go with no and no on these. (The NRA exists!)

In other words, she assumes here that if you support gun rights, you do so out of racism and privilege.  As much as I appreciate honesty, this admission of hers is simply dull, thanks to the many times I’ve heard it before.  I hope even a cursory reading of my writing on this site shows that I am opposed to police brutality as I am opposed to gun control, but more importantly, I remind my readers that we have to fight this assumption that gun rights is the game of white people outside the cities.  As I said before, we defend gun rights by showing how much we defend all rights.  That means blacks in Staten Island, gays in San Francisco, whites in the Appalachian hollows—it means everyone, everywhere.

Her conclusion, though, is her most bizarre assertion.  “Getting bogged down in discussions of what’s feasible is keeps what needs to happen—no more guns—from entering the realm of possibility.”  Notice her tacit acknowledgement there.  The way to achieve her demands is to silence opposition.  She apparently recognizes that her argument can’t stand up to rational analysis.  So we’re all asked to sing from the hymnal, ask no questions, and march together into the brave new world.

When we refuse, she will need guns—more likely others who have guns, not she herself—to force compliance.  And if such a program actually occurred, those people with guns, those agents of the government, will not give up theirs if they manage to take ours.  So we need advocates of total bans to take one further step into honesty and inform us whether they want a police state or they have lost touch with reality.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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