The stories behind the firearms

  • 24 June 2019
  • NormanL

Gun control is on the political agenda, this time in Virginia. Legislators have been called into special session by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to consider a package of gun meaures lawmakers rejected earlier this year. The Governor, who is still reeling from a scandal that erupted in February, is taking full political advantage of a recent mass shooting in Virignia Beach that claimed more than a dozen lives. 

While Northam & Co. know their proposals would not have prevented that horrific incident, they, and anti-gun partisans elsewhere, continue to push their tangential solutions. Perhaps part of their problem is they don't really understand why some Americans choose to own firearms. They could begin the long process of erasing that ignorance here -- a series of sketches of the kinds of people who own guns, and why they do.  Consider Aulani Kahalewai:

"It's not like I'm attached to them greatly—I mean, I spent a good deal of money on them, and it's a personal hobby—[but] it boils down to protection. Protection of myself comes second. It's really the protection of my daughter, and making sure that I come home to her alive rather than in a box.

"I'm a trans woman of color. I'm a native Pacific Islander. There's very few demographics that are smaller than us. And very few demographics that have been stepped on as much as us, too."

Or Alex Lambson:

"I realize my views are extremely radical for American politics—I like Marx's view on guns. His language was old-school, and I can't repeat it verbatim, but it was basically: Any attempt to disarm the working-class needs to be obstructed by force. It's always funny when people say the left wants to take away guns. It's like, well, no, it's not the left that wants to take away guns. It's Democrats. And you know, it seems like most anti-gun people are upper-middle-class and usually white, in my experience."

There are more such sketches, and we encourage you to read them all. But we would most strongly encourage Gov. Northam and others to read beyond the anti-gun talking points to get a broader understanding of American gun ownership.