First, I want to make clear that I no longer own a gun, and I believe that owning a gun should be taken as a gesture that one has volunteered to use that weapon in service of their country.
In that sense, I’m disturbed by the vast number of people who, rather than intending to serve their country, feel the need to hoard weapons and ammunition of a similar type to those used by the world’s militaries as a counter-measure against their government.
That being said, I can’t be entirely surprised by it. This is the net result of a thoroughly broken system. Our society has been spoon-fed on an “us vs. them” mentality, both in policy and in their socioeconomic approach to everyday life, and such a mentality cannot sustain a civil social contract; sooner or later, if conflict is the way of a society, conflict becomes its undoing. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Furthermore, although I am dismayed that people feel the need to purchase an AR-15 or AK-47 and enough ammunition to hold off a small battalion, I do not feel that prohibiting them from doing so really solves the problem.
The issue here is distrust. It is rampant in today’s society, and not entirely ill-deserved. Even as a progressive I can name at least a dozen reasons not to trust our government off the top of my head, and when I hear any prohibitionist measure being pursued with the same sorts of emotional appeals and reactionary language that promoted disastrous decisions like the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I find I have more sympathy for the “prepper” with a stockpile of ammunition than for the senator who says they just want to help stop gun violence because the “prepper” probably isn’t going to kill anyone if they don’t have to; the senator, meanwhile, will very likely kill thousands by the stroke of a pen at some point in their career.
But here is the real crux of my skepticism toward gun control in the present state of things: the arguments by which it is promoted are rife with hypocrisy.
After all, if we are truly concerned with mentally unstable people having access to weapons of war, shouldn’t we be far more concerned with sociopathic statesmen with their finger on the button for nuclear war, weaponized drones, chemical and biological weapons, and any number of other weapons that are far more frightening than an AR-15?
By comparison, a citizen who must go through fairly thorough background checks to purchase these weapons (even at gun shows; the “gun show loophole” is an urban myth) can and will do far less damage than a head of state who faces complete immunity for firing hellfire missiles at a wedding party in Afghanistan, killing hundreds of innocent people. What happened in Aurora and Newtown is nothing compared to what happens in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Colombia, and any number of other repressed regions on a daily basis where the US government either kills directly, or willingly arms those who kill on its behalf.
What the proliferation of weapons among the civilian populace represents is only a symptom of a society constantly at war. It is a symptom of a people who are frightened- and rightly so- of a government that has declared war on the world as a way of life.
In other words, I do not support an assault weapons ban because it is the rough equivalent of giving a coalition of foxes full control over access to hen houses.
I am against war and I am against unnecessary violence of all kinds; but I cannot take any group as violent as our government seriously when they talk about stopping the violence of citizens, but make no mention of curbing their own violent tendencies.
Until Kabul, Baghdad, and Gaza are no longer occupied by the US and its allies, I cannot support an assault weapons ban in my own home town with any serious conviction. I choose the path of peace for myself and do not bear arms, but I cannot make that decision for my neighbor, especially in times such as these.