The Left's Unacknowledged Problem With Gun Control

If you’re a regular reader to the site, you know that I’ve been arguing for a while now that the gun control movement cannot comfortably co-exist in a Democratic coalition that is focused on “reimagining policing” and defunding law-enforcement. Well, anti-gun activist David Hogg gave us a perfect demonstration of why that’s the case on Twitter the other day, when he tried to criticize those who would use violence in support of their cause and wound up defending violence against the State, as long as it wasn’t woke white people doing it.

Hogg’s thread started out as a call to young activists to engage in “humility, kindness, and grace” in their activism (which is something Hogg himself has struggled with, to put it mildly) before turning to the issue of using violence as a change agent.

A few years ago this would have perfectly on point for a far-Left activist like Hogg, who even managed a swipe at capitalism itself while advocating for peaceful protests.

Unfortunately for Hogg, times have changed, and his followers quickly let him know it.

Hogg, quickly realizing that he had committed the cardinal secular sin of the far-Left by daring to offer up his opinion as a privileged white guy, added some additional caveats.

In a mater of a couple of paragraphs, Hogg went from proclaiming that violence only begets violence and authoritarianism to meekly stating that actually that only applies to white Bernie bros and trust fund Commies. If you identify as BIPOC, on the other hand, your violence is your business.

What Hogg doesn’t mention is that the “violence directed at them by the state” includes enforcement of the very same gun control laws he and other gun control activists have been demanding for years. Look at New York City, for example. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg enforced his gun control laws through stop-and-frisk tactics, famously arguing that taking young black and brown men and “throwing them up against the wall” to frisk them was an effective way to enforce the prohibitions against possessing a gun without a license as well as New York City’s magazine restrictions.

The vast majority of New York State’s arrests and prosecutions for violations of the SAFE Act package of gun control laws take place in New York City, and the vast majority of those cases are young black men who face years in prison for the non-violent offense of possessing a gun without a license. Does David Hogg really believe that it’s wrong for him to tell a young black man that looting isn’t the best way to achieve change, but that it’s perfectly fine for him to advocate for gun control laws that would put that same man in prison for simply possessing a gun without a license (a license that can be denied to people for any reason or no reason whatsoever, by the way)?

I’ll give you another example of the problem for gun control advocates coming from the Left. Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley recently claimed that the “roots of policing are inextricably linked” to the slave patrols in the pre-Civil War south, adding “since the Fugitive Slave Act, criminal law enforcement has meant the subjugation and de-humanization of black lives.”

Now, I’m not going to get into the debate over the accuracy of Pressley’s claims. What’s important is that while Pressley believes that systemic racism is present in modern day policing, she’s still proudly supporting gun control laws that would be enforced by armed agents of the State. In 2019 Pressley sponsored something called the “Making America Safe and Secure Act,” which would have given grants to states that adopted Massachusetts-style gun licensing laws. That means, according to Senate co-sponsor Ed Markey:

• The chief of police or the board or officer having control of the police in a city or town, or a designee of that department, function as the licensing authority;

• Licensing standards for firearms owners include a thorough background check and a determination of suitability by licensing authority, which may include an in-person interview and the submission of references stating that the applicant is of sound mind and character;

• The licensing authority be given the discretion to deny, suspend, or revoke a firearms license or dealers license if an applicant is determined to be unsuitable;

In other words, while Ayanna Pressley says that policing is inherently racist, she wants to give police chiefs the ability to grant permission for someone to own a gun, including an in-person interview, character references, and the authority to deny someone a license if they feel the applicant is “unsuitable,” even if they’re legally eligible to purchase a firearm.

Does Pressley believe that the inherent racism in policing will suddenly disappear when it comes to determining who can exercise their Second Amendment rights? Has she not thought this all the way through? Maybe she thinks it’s okay to discriminate against people of color when it comes to gun ownership (though I doubt that’s the case). Pressley’s belief in the systemic racism of the criminal justice system coupled with her wholehearted support for new gun control laws is one of the clearest examples yet of the trouble that the gun control movement is in when it comes to their traditional allies on the Left. I think most Democrats are trying to ignore the fundamental contradiction at least until the election is over, but after that, I suspect that the Left is going to have a reckoning when it comes to the racist roots of gun control laws.