Where is the Right?
We’ve seen a string of mass shootings in the past week or so, resulting in dozens of deaths and scores of wounded people. Naturally, these shootings led to an evergreen topic: gun control.
Wasting no time, the left immediately called for a series of gun reforms. Some want to ban assault weapons (though nobody will define what an “assault weapon” is).
Others want to ban semi-automatic firearms (by this, they usually mean rifles, but they don’t realize that many handguns are semi-automatic, too).
Others want to only ban high-capacity firearms (despite the fact that this won’t actually limit the possible damage done).
Others want to ban firearms altogether and repeal the Second Amendment.
Clearly, the left is moving in the direction of gun control, albeit to different lengths. Usually, with every action on the left, there is an equal and opposite reaction on the right. Not this time, though.
The silence in response to gun control led me to ask, “Where is the right?” It turns out the right is pretty closely aligned with the left.
While the right is largely unwilling to go to the lengths the left would in enacting gun control, they are extremely willing to trample on Americans’ gun rights. One of the biggest names to come out against gun rights is Representative Dan Crenshaw.
The TAPS Act is an act which tries to stop the shootings before they occur by monitoring potential shooters. While this is a great idea, it also runs the risk of punishing people simply for thoughts or feelings. Sure, these thoughts and feelings about violence are certainly bad, but are they worth punishing someone for? Allowing law enforcement to monitor and/or punish an individual because of his or her thoughts sets a bad precedent.
Red flag laws are equally troublesome, if not more so. Red flag laws work by relying on friends and family of gun owners to contact law enforcement if they fear that the gun owner is a threat to himself/herself or others. Again, this sounds great. However, it’s actually a violation of individual rights, as red flag laws allow law enforcement to confiscate the gun owner’s guns without due process. In other words, a random phone call could result in the police being called to a gun owner’s house and the police taking the gun owner’s guns away for no reason. Generally, you have to be charged with or convicted of a crime before you lose your property – red flag laws skip those legal steps.
Sadly, Crenshaw wasn’t the only member of the right to give up on freedom. President Trump also announced his support of red flag laws, which should come as no surprise given his history of supporting gun control. (For more on Trump’s history of supporting gun control, click here, here, or here.) Furthermore, in a somewhat self-defeating move, Trump proposed tying increased gun control to increased restrictions on immigration, which is odd seeing as the shooting in El Paso *may have* been motivated by the issue of immigration. (*I say “may have” because the investigation is still ongoing.*)
The right used to at least pretend to support gun rights despite advocating for gun control in their actions. Sadly, the right can’t even be bothered to pay lip service to a right which is necessary to preserve what little freedom we have left.
If we lose gun rights, I’m afraid we’ll lose our other rights soon after. So, let me try to appeal to both the left and the right on gun rights.
The Leftist Argument for Gun Rights
For the left, the argument begins with identity politics. The history of gun control is a history of racism. Throughout our country’s history, gun control has been used to keep minorities in relatively weak positions. For example, gun control was used in the state of Florida “for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.” (You can read the whole opinion here.)
Clearly, gun control has disadvantaged minorities in the past, which is all the more reason to oppose gun control in the present and future. For example, it is entirely possible that some of the violence in which the African-American community suffered could have been mitigated, if not avoided, had gun rights been respected. I’ve always found that this picture serves as a great reminded of why minorities should be encouraged to own firearms, rather than prevented from owning firearms by the government.
Sadly, the racist history of gun control isn’t just limited to Florida. Any true fan of history is familiar with the Massacre at Wounded Knee. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Wounded Knee, here’s the summary: the federal government took the Sioux Indians’ firearms for their own protection, then later massacred the Sioux, killing 297. This is what happens when the federal government confiscates firearms. As an aside, Wounded Knee is also a great example of why high-capacity magazines are important.
Gun control is also sexist. It’s a scientific fact that, on average, men are stronger than women. It’s also a fact that women are not infrequently the victims of physical attacks by men. Whether it be spousal abuse, rape, murder, or anything in between, women generally are at a disadvantage in physical altercations with men. In such an altercation, what would you rather your mother, daughter, spouse, etc. be armed with: a handgun, or mace? For me, the answer is quite clear. I would much rather women be armed with a handgun than pepper spray.
The Right-Wing Argument for Gun Rights
First, let’s start with the Constitution for the right. The nature of conservatism is, naturally, to conserve our institutions. So, I say let’s conserve the oldest institution we have – the Constitution. I know this is a foreign concept to most people on the right, but please, try being the “conservatives” you claim to be for once.
Second, there’s the issue of empowering the federal government. All of the proposals I included above were proposals to be enacted on the federal level. Do you really want the federal government to be in control of guns when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins the 2028 Presidential Election?
Third, you people are supposed to be the ones who support private property rights, so you should support one’s right to privately own firearms. Firearms, like any other object, are personal property, and you should support the right to own them.
I can’t believe we’ve reached a point in this country where I have to tell both sides of the aisle to support individual rights, but here we are. Let’s hope others raise their voices in support of your natural right to bear arms.