Guns and Control

I have been digging into the data and will blog about this soon, but the moral panic over guns right now is so hysterical that I have to write a blog about it now. When we look at the ten worst states for gun homicide, at least eight of them are southern states (Missouri is a regional edge case). We find that most of those states have easy availability of guns and that the strongest defenders of less restrictive gun laws are conservative white men. That’s what the media wants you to know and then stop thinking.

But if you actually look at the data, you will find that the driver of gun homicide is not rural conservative white boys and men. It’s not the people progressives and the media want you to fear. It’s not MAGA. It’s urban black boys and men. Black males are drastically overrepresented in gun homicide statistics—on both the perpetrator and victim sides. They are moreover more likely to possess illegal firearms, because they intend to use them in crime commission.

In Missouri, for example, blacks are nearly twice as likely to commit murder and nearly two and a half times more likely to be murdered compared to whites. Blacks, mostly young males, comprise 69 percent of murder victims in that state. Moreover, sixty-five percent of robberies are committed by blacks. All violent crime accounted for, half are committed by blacks, while fifty-five percent of victims of violent crimes are white. And Missouri is not the only state with this profile. (See How Progressive Criminal Justice Policy Puts Black Lives at Risk.)

Confiscated rifles Democrats call “weapons of war.”

The mainstream rhetoric on guns forms a false narrative. Like they do with most everything else, progressive elites are lying to you—and many of them don’t know they are lying. They’re focused on rifles because these are the weapons most effective in resisting tyranny. That’s why progressives call those rifles “weapons of war.” The corporate elite are paranoid: they think the far right is an imminent threat to “democracy.” But, really, they’re coming after all guns. If they could repeal the Second Amendment, they would. But they can’t, so they chip away at the right—and lie about what lies at the root of gun violence in America and who represents the actual threat to public safety to advance the agenda.

They want red flag laws and background checks for mental illness to identify those the state regards as a threat to political power. It’s a lot like the prior restrain concept in free speech law. Prior restraint is the practice of stopping the exercise of a right before it is executed. And why shouldn’t we? Words put murderous thoughts in people’s heads. Unrestricted access to words has laid before us a blood-soaked road. Let’s do background checks and pass red flag laws to make it less likely that those who wish to hear and read words won’t do something awful with them. You get the idea.

Abridgment of speech and all the rest of it fits nicely alongside abridgment of the right that follows it in the United States Bill of Rights. Soon political opinions that threaten the corporate state will be treated as red flags. They have already moved the administrative state to surveil and harass American citizens based on their expressions and politics. These may be portrayed as signs of mental illness. They will then use these laws and policies to prevent ownership of guns based on political and social profiles. Confiscation will occur largely beyond mass consciousness; dispossession is carried out on a case-by-case basis, beyond mutual knowledge. Independent journalists who make this known will be dismissed by the general population as crackpot through the propaganda work of prebunking.

The right to self-defense is a fundamental civil and human right going back centuries. The government has no business telling citizens they cannot effect that right with semi-automatic rifles. The Second Amendment is in the same package of rights as the other fundamental rights American citizens enjoy—freedom of speech, assembly, and association; religious liberty; privacy and protection from arbitrary state intrusion; the right to remain silent; protection from cruel and unusual punishment. We will only keep our rights as long as we aggressively assert them.

There is one party that stands out as the greatest threat to that package of fundamental rights. It isn’t the Republican Party. Choose accordingly.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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