Poltical Analysis

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History

One reasonable analysis comes from Clayton Cramer's 1993 article The Racist Roots of Gun Control. The introduction:

The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism
underlies gun control laws -- and not in any subtle way.
Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly
stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics "in their
place," and to quiet the racial fears of whites. This paper is
intended to provide a brief summary of this unholy alliance of
gun control and racism, and to suggest that gun control laws
should be regarded as "suspect ideas," analogous to the
"suspect classifications" theory of discrimination already part
of the American legal system.

Racist arms laws predate the establishment of the United
States. Starting in 1751, the French Black Code required
Louisiana colonists to stop any blacks, and if necessary, beat
"any black carrying any potential weapon, such as a cane." If a
black refused to stop on demand, and was on horseback, the
colonist was authorized to "shoot to kill." [1] Slave
possession of firearms was a necessity at times in a frontier
society, yet laws continued to be passed in an attempt to
prohibit slaves or free blacks from possessing firearms, except
under very restrictively controlled conditions. [2] Similarly,
in the sixteenth century the colony of New Spain, terrified of
black slave revolts, prohibited all blacks, free and slave,
from carrying arms. [3]

In the Haitian Revolution of the 1790s, the slave population
successfully threw off their French masters, but the Revolution
degenerated into a race war, aggravating existing fears in the
French Louisiana colony, and among whites in the slave states
of the United States. When the first U. S. official arrived in 
New Orleans in 1803 to take charge of this new American
possession, the planters sought to have the existing free black
militia disarmed, and otherwise exclude "free blacks from
positions in which they were required to bear arms," including
such non-military functions as slave-catching crews. The New
Orleans city government also stopped whites from teaching
fencing to free blacks, and then, when free blacks sought to
teach fencing, similarly prohibited their efforts as well. [4]

It is not surprising that the first North American English
colonies, then the states of the new republic, remained in
dread fear of armed blacks, for slave revolts against slave
owners often degenerated into less selective forms of racial
warfare. The perception that free blacks were sympathetic to
the plight of their enslaved brothers, and the dangerous
example that "a Negro could be free" also caused the slave
states to pass laws designed to disarm all blacks, both slave
and free. Unlike the gun control laws passed after the Civil
War, these antebellum statutes were for blacks alone. In
Maryland, these prohibitions went so far as to prohibit free
blacks from owning dogs without a license, and authorizing any
white to kill an unlicensed dog owned by a free black, for fear
that blacks would use dogs as weapons. Mississippi went
further, and prohibited any ownership of a dog by a black
person. [5] 

Professor Robert J. Cottroll published a follow-on article, reaching similar conclusions, in the 1995 Chicago-Kent Law Review, "NEVER INTENDED TO BE APPLIED TO THE WHITE POPULATION": FIREARMS REGULATION AND RACIAL DISPARITY--THE REDEEMED SOUTH'S LEGACY TO A NATIONAL JURISPRUDENCE. The introduction:

This Paper is part of our ongoing effort[2] to explore the
connections between racial conflict[3] in American history and
the evolution of (p.1308)the notion of the right to bear arms
in American constitutionalism.[4] (p.1309)Although there has
been a growing awareness on the part of historians and legal
scholars of the connection between the attempt of Southern
states to restrict the right to bear arms on the part of newly
emancipated blacks immediately after the Civil War and the
enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment and contemporaneous civil
rights legislation,[5] the study of the connection between
racial conflict and the jurisprudence of the right to bear arms
has hardly begun.

This Paper hopes to begin that inquiry. It asks questions about
the South during the eras of Reconstruction and Redemption. To
what extent did the white South, which had historically
attempted to prevent blacks from having access to firearms,[6]
try to restrict black access to arms after the enactment of the
Fourteenth Amendment?[7] (p.1310)Were various statutes in
Southern states restricting either the carrying of concealed
pistols or prohibiting the sale of certain types of firearms[8]
enacted with racial motives in mind? And if the motives behind
these statutes were racial, which of several possible racial
motives played the predominate role in influencing this type of
legislation? Were legislators primarily concerned with
maintaining traditional patterns of racial control? Did they
see provisions that would disarm blacks as measures that would
deprive blacks of the means of resisting the extra-legal
violence that played such a crucial role in Southern 
Redemption, the re-establishment of white rule in the South at
the turn of the century?[9] Or were measures that would work to
disarm blacks enacted in response to the growing stereotype of
the Negro as brute, which began to expand in the white South's
consciousness in the years when Jim Crow was being
implemented?[10] To what extent were Southern firearm
restrictions, like restrictions that were developing in other
parts of the nation,[11] a response to the view that new
dangerous classes were beginning to emerge--classes that posed
a danger not only to the better elements of society, but indeed
classes whose members needed to be protected from the more
vicious in their ranks?

Similar analyses were briefed by amici for the Respondent (Heller) in "BRIEF FOR GEORGIACARRY.ORG, INC. AS AMICUS CURIAE SUPPORTING RESPONDENT" and "BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENT"

Contemporary Anti-Gun Beliefs

What do those opposed to the RKBA believe?

  • "Guns have no social value. Sure, people may enjoy hunting and target shooting but people also enjoy prostitution and drugs." Those who oppose guns do not believe that they have any redeeming social value.
  • "Guns are inherently violent. Even setting aside the above and considering any possible social value of guns, it comes through the exercise of violence whether it be killing innocent and defenseless animals or members of society who may commit a crime in a momentary moment of weakness."
  • "Guns faciliate crime and violence. Even if 99.99% of gun owners are trustworthy, the few bad apples who misuse guns completely swamp the scales against them. How many innocent children must die to enable your enjoyment of hunting and target shooting?"
  • "Guns symbolize violence. People who like guns are sick in the head and need psychological counseling, not indulgence. Getting rid of guns would be one step toward curing this problem."
  • "If I don't trust myself with a gun how can I possibly trust you?" Opposition to the RKBA is sometimes projected rage. Various emotional defensive mechanisms redirect rage into opposition to guns.
  • "Firearms are complex mechanical devices that make loud noises and hurt people. If I can't understand how firearms work then it makes sense for only professionals (e.g. police and army) to have guns. I [for whatever reason] am not going to use or own a gun and the only people who I know are on my side, who will protect me, are the police and military. Since I don't know anyone else's intentions (much less their training, responsibility and accountability) then I have no reason to support anyone else in their effort to own and use firearms. I can't successfully defend myself, because if I had a weapon it would just get taken away from me. I have to depend on the government for safety, because having a badge and a uniform magically makes people capable of using a gun effectively."

Fear of the dangerous devices.

  • "The more guns people have, the more incidients of violence there will be."

Underlying these are two broad themes: pacifism [[1]] and utopianism [[2]]. Pacifism in western culture traces back to the Anabaptists of the 16th century [[3]]. Utopianism is an enduring theme of human culture everywhere but modern, potical utopianism is primarily a product of the socialist movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Rational Ignorance [4] accounts for much of anti-gun sentiment. Most voters do not even see any value in studying the issue and, so, tend to adopt what they believe to be the prevailing opinion of society which they have been led to believe, often by deliberate misrepresentation by the media, favors gun control.

And what do those opposed to the RKBA believe that those in favor of the RKBA believe?

  • "Gun owners think they need a gun to protect themselves from a dangerous world. They're paranoid."
  • "Gun owners feel inadequate and insecure, and they need a gun to feel like 'real men.'"
  • "Gun owners are violent or love violence."
  • "Gun owners are criminal or have criminal intent."
  • "Gun owners are rednecks, compensating for small penises, violent, mentally unstable, baby killers, blood sport advocates."
  • "Gun owners are more interested in enjoying their shooting sports than in preventing crime and accidental shootings."
  • "Gun owners are vigilante uninterested in, or despaired of, creating a polite and proper society."
  • "Gun owners are the type of people who are not dependent on established law enforcement to handle every little incident. These people instead believe that they can handle most any situation, and thanks to their owning of a gun they feel more secure. There lack of dependence on established law enforcement is thus a threat to law enforcement in general. Owning a gun promotes disrespect of the establishment."

Methodology

To contribute to this research project, talk to anti-gun friends and acquiantances and:

  • Present the current list of anti-gun beliefs and find out which they agree most with.
  • Present the current list of anti-gun beliefs about gun owners and find out which they agree most with.
  • Ask if there are any missing from the lists.
  • Probe the reason for these beliefs. Do the fundamental themes account for them or are there other deeper explanations? Keep asking "why do you believe that?"

Update this page with your findings or go to the Political Analysis Methodology [[5]] thread to discuss.

Other Research

  • "The Self-Defensive Cognition of Self-Defense" [6]
  • "More Statistics, Less Persuasion: A Cultural Theory of Gun-Risk Perceptions" [7]

Pro-Gun Arguments

Natural law.

Political theory.

Constitutionality.

Criminological statistics.

The racist history of gun control.

Pro-Gun Strategies and Tactics

Argument and debate.

Political lobbying (offlimits for Calguns Foundation).

Legal action upon the Second Amendment.

Publicly exercising existing rights in an exemplary and responsible manner (e.g. open carry).

Take anti-gun friends to the shooting range.

Attend political rallys with signage.

Write letters to the editor.

Articulate a realistic RKBA-friendly future that is attractive to everyone.

Write and publish pro-gun articles for the popular media.

Write and publish fiction with pro-gun messages and morals.

See Also

  • Raging Against Self-Defense: A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality [8]