Liberals have a reputation for being gentle peaceniks who would never dream of buying a gun, but as Problematic highlighted this week, the left isn’t a monolith. Moshe sat down with liberal gun owners Killer Mike (of rap duo Run the Jewels) and Ana Marie Cox (of MTV News) to talk about why they’re packing. Here’s what he found out that every left-leaner should know.
THE FOCUS ON BANNING ASSAULT RIFLES MAY BE MISGUIDED.
According to UCLA Law professor Adam Winkler, liberals are barking up the wrong tree when they argue that banning assault rifles will put a serious dent in gun violence. He concedes they are the most popular type of gun in the country, but he also points out that they’re only “responsible for only a tiny fraction of gun deaths in America.”
KNOW YOUR GUNS BEFORE YOU TAKE A STANCE.
Moreover, Moshe argues that the call for a ban on military-style assault rifles is fueled by a misunderstanding of gun models themselves. Though many of these guns — the AR-15, for instance — are functionally identical to other guns that attract far less attention, they are frequently confused with more dangerous weapons (like machine guns) because they’re designed to look the same.
GUNS CAN HELP GIVE MEMBERS OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS PEACE OF MIND.
For groups that have been historically victimized, guns offer the promise of protection — something many marginalized people don’t expect to get from the government. “I trust me more than I trust the state,” said Killer Mike. “And as a black guy, I trust me more than I trust any police officer.” When Moshe talked to members of the LGBTQ self-defense organization the Pink Pistols, he got a similar response from Chris Cheng, one of their members: “For a lot of people, [the Orlando shooting] made a lot of individuals question, ‘Do I need a firearm for self-defense?’”
It’s a valid question, and one that liberals (or anyone else) should be aware of when discussing firearms in the future. It may be a contentious topic, but the more knowledge we all have, the more productive these discussions can be.