The Right to Bear Arms: Isolating the Targets

American progressives, ever keen to exploit a crisis, even one on the opposite side of the globe, are in breathless outrage mode over gun ownership again in the wake of the “New Zealand massacre.” Meanwhile, just below radar range, anti-republican activists are roving the country looking for soft underbellies to stab with “red flag” laws at the state level, thereby perplexing many conservatives with their “states’ rights” optics, while actually operating under direct guidance and encouragement from Washington.

Add to this the special danger of a Republican president who happens to share many of the anti-gun biases, and all the anti-constitutional biases, of his Democratic rivals, and we have a peculiarly dangerous time for people, American or otherwise, who, against all the latest trends, maintain a preference for limited republican government and individual liberty. For as long as the Republican Party was at least posturing as the Second Amendment party, the line separating the pro- and anti-gun rights factions was clearly defined. But with Donald Trump being a New York progressive on this issue, not to mention a constitutional illiterate and a teenage girl desperate for approval, all the lines have become much fuzzier.

For example, just last week, Lindsey Graham, also known among Trump fanatics as “Lindsey Graham 2.0,” expressed support for red flag laws allowing states to confiscate weapons from people “judged to be” mentally unstable. Trump supporters were furious with this anti-gun-rights position, accusing Graham of reverting to his bad old establishment hack days and abandoning their Orange god — because they were completely oblivious (or rather willfully blind) to the fact that Graham was merely expressing an opinion which Trump himself had espoused in the most lawless fashion imaginable a full year earlier. 

Thus, with the leadership of both major parties now on board with the general principle of gun confiscations, arbitrary limits on the gun ownership (i.e., property) rights of citizens who have committed no crime, and restrictions on the production and sale of certain types of weapons or accessories deemed by the government to be “unnecessary,” those who still regard the right to bear arms as an individual liberty issue (not primarily a hunting issue, or even a home protection issue) must be doubly vigilant. More importantly, in this time of postmodern intellectual murkiness, the believers in liberty must exert the effort required to keep their own thinking on these matters as clear and well-defined as possible, so as to avoid the influence of the milquetoasts all along the political spectrum who would have them compromise on basic principles under the rubric of “common sense gun laws,” playing on the emotionalism associated with a moment of (media-hyped) public sadness to push the door to tyranny just a little further ajar.

Luckily, you have come to the right place, since that urgently needed effort to think clearly at all costs, practical contingencies and public passions being as they may, is what Limbo is all about. As it happens, I have written many essays on the gun control issue over the years, viewing it from various angles and with various points of focus: electoral politics, grassroots progressive activism, and philosophical foundations. 

As a public service, then, I have taken the trouble of collecting several representative pieces here in this one handy post for you, even grouping them under convenient headings related to theme. Please send this link to all your friends and family who care about the right to bear arms, and to all your friends and family who cannot understand why you get so uptight about this issue.

Theme 1: Mass Shootings, their Causes, and their Social Significance

Let’s Play the Root Causes Game
School Shootings, Gun Control, and Trump

Theme 2: The Tyrannical Impulse of Progressivism

The Root Cause of Gun Control
The Progressive Psychology of Exploiting a Crisis
Arranging American Gun Confiscation (warning to allergy sufferers: this essay is about Hillary Clinton)
Florida Gun Law is Perfect Progressivism
Clutching at Pearls (tight around your neck)

Theme 3: Making the Case for the Right to Bear Arms

Shifting the Burden of Proof on the Right to Bear Arms
The Case for Unchecked Tyranny
An Open Letter to David Hogg

Theme 4: Donald Trump, Gun Control President

Guns and the Mental Illness Slippery Slope
Why Principles Matter in a Leader
Trump Back to Gun Control Again

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