On a variety of issues ranging from same-sex marriage to transgenderism to Islam, the Left has called for a more informed and accepting public. On one issue, however, it seems to benefit them to keep the public in the dark: firearms and the second amendment.
Passing modern gun-control schemes such as an ‘assault weapons’ ban and a ban on ‘high capacity’ magazines intrinsically requires an ignorant public. The reason why so many folks are anti-gun is simply because a large swath of the general population doesn’t really know all that much about guns. With only about 1/3 of Americans owning a firearm, the rest don’t have much of a reason to learn about guns, much less the laws surrounding them.
This is why Hillary Clinton can bring up ‘the online loophole’ in a presidential debate, as if firearms can be purchased on eBay and shipped to someone’s home without a background check, and no one is any the wiser. By keeping folks in the dark about the current background check system, anti-gunners can push for universal background checks. By failing to mention that the estimated eight million ‘assault weapons’ in the U.S. are responsible for only 3% of gun crime they can push for an ‘assault weapons’ ban.
As much as gun-clinging conservatives are indicted as fear mongers, the real fear mongers are those on the Left who use loaded phrases like ‘high capacity’, ‘rapid fire’, ‘military style’ and ‘weapons of war’ to propagandize their false narrative—that guns are evil.
An October 2016 Gallup poll found a 20 point difference in support for an ‘assault weapons’ ban between households with and without guns. Those who had a firearm in their household were much less likely to support a ban than those who did not. Anecdotally, those who own guns would be more likely to know about them and more likely to understand the intricacies of firearm legislation.
So, if the solution from the Left to Islamaphobia, transphobia, and homophobia is more education and acceptance, then the right should push for this in response to firearmphobia. Imagine if every American knew just a few simple things about firearms. For example, ‘assault weapons’ are not functionally different from other firearms, semi-automatic means that every time the trigger is pulled one bullet is fired, AR doesn’t stand for assault rifle, every firearm purchase from a shop requires a background check—even at a gun show, and online gun purchases are shipped to a FFL dealer who performs a background check.
This seems like common sense to gun owners and enthusiasts but would be news to many folks on the anti-gun left or center. The way to change hearts and minds about guns is to inform those who don’t have even baseline knowledge. For those who are anti-gun: basic firearm classes are available in most areas for under $50. Take one so you will at least know what you’re talking about. For those of us who are firearms enthusiasts and gun owners: we must not let the Left keep Americans in the dark any longer. With regard to gun control, education is the pathway to freedom, and we must embrace it.