The Guardian posed this question to gun owners and Second Amendment advocates at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Louisville, KY. You can see the responses from the interviewees in the video above.
But before you watch the video. Why don’t you, in 300 words or fewer, answer the question in the comment section below. What do liberals get wrong on guns? I’m curious to read your thoughts.
Below, you’ll find some of my reflections on the matter.
The big problem with liberals is that they emphasize public safety at the expense of personal preparedness.
Personally, I want to live in a safe area but more than anything else I want to be prepared. Safety is the absence of threats. Preparedness is the ability to confront and handle all threats an environment poses.
One’s safety, therefore, is a fluid condition contingent upon the potential threats in an area. Since it’s impossible to control all the variables and conditions of an environment, one is never truly safe or out of danger. Something can always go wrong. A threat can always emerge. Hence, it pays to be prepared, to have a degree of agency in an environment, to have the training and confidence to act decisively to neutralize a threat.
Yet, liberals by and large don’t believe in personal preparedness. Like with everything else (health care, education, child care), they encourage you to rely solely on Uncle Sugar to provide you with what you need. Why? Because the more you are dependent on government the more you are malleable to the government’s agenda, which is and has always been the rapacious expansion of its power and control over the people it is supposed to serve.
Liberals, therefore, tell you that the government can protect you. This is a lie. The government cannot protect you! You, and you alone are responsible for confronting and handling the dangers you may face day to day.
The government’s role in public safety is to enforce the laws and take bad guys off the streets — to remove threats from society. But more often than not this happens retroactively. That is to say, after the crime has been committed, after the victim has been victimized. In the moment when your life is on the line, it’s up to you to defend it. The government won’t be there to save you.
What’s worse than the lie about the Uncle Sugar being able to protect citizens is the falsehood that maximum public safety is created through a maximally disarmed populace. Liberals support complete civil disarmament because they contend that gun-free zones are danger-free zones. This is absurd for obvious reasons. First, as we’ve witnessed time and time again, gun-free zones are frequently exploited by spree killers with tragic results (e.g. Paris, France). Second, when the government removes our ability to protect ourselves we are more vulnerable to threats — not less.
What’s sinister is how this liberal approach to public safety is manifesting in our society. It’s a downward spiral that will eventually lead to the revocation of the Second Amendment. It works something like this: Liberals propagate the lie that the government is responsible for your personal protection. They then add the caveat, to properly protect you, the government needs you to embrace gun control and gun-free zones. Ironically, this makes the public more susceptible to violent attacks and violent crime. When these attacks happen, liberals double down on the lie that the government can protect you. However, to optimally protect you, they argue, the government needs to continually ratchet up gun control until complete civil disarmament is achieved.
At the end of the day, the liberal agenda is clear. It’s to expand the power and control of government by convincing more and more people that in order to achieve ultimate public safety citizens have to give up their personal autonomy and freedoms as it relates to their fundamental right of self-defense. In a nutshell, liberals want everyone to believe that you are more safe when you are less free to defend yourself. If that sounds crazy, that’s because it is crazy. But that’s what liberals get wrong on guns in my opinion.
I should add that not all liberals are anti-gun and using the term “liberal” may be too broad a brushstroke. “Neoliberal” or even “statist” is probably a more appropriate term than “liberal” but for sake of convenience, I opted to go with “liberal.” I’m not going to dwell on labels or the differences between the terms. However, I thought I’d acknowledge that there is a distinction between a classic liberal and some of the big government leftists out there, the latter of which I’m referring to in this commentary.