I’m starting to wonder if it’s a little unfair to assume that the vast majority of media outlets are anti-gun, because I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in recent months. With gun ownership on the rise, including among women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, and the LGBT community, exercising your right to keep and bear arms doesn’t appear to be quite as icky to some media outlets… at least if you’re not a conservative.
Take the new CBS News special “The New Pro-Gun Generation,” which will debut this weekend. In a preview, the news network highlights Black and Latino gun owners; virtually all of whom share a distinctly progressive point of view.
P.B. Gomez is a 23-year-old law student at the UC Berkeley School of Law interested in urban environmental justice policy. He’s also the founder of the Latino Rifle Association (LRA), a politically progressive organization for Latino gun owners with left-leaning values who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
“Gun culture in the United States is largely toxic, and it’s not welcoming,” said Gomez. And he believes gun rights are for everyone: “I don’t believe self defense, which is fundamentally about bodily autonomy, should be exclusive to people on the right politically.”
I’m a conservative (or maybe a conservatarian is a more apt description), and I feel the same way when it comes to self-defense. So does every other gun owner I know. But if you or I were quoted saying that, we know that CBS would be sure to follow up our comment with a rebuttal from the likes of Shannon Watts or David Chipman.
Not so with P.B. Gomez’s comments. In fact, the only semi-critical remark in the entire story comes from UCLA professor Adam Winkler, responding to a question about a march of Black gun owners open-carrying through the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma this past summer to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city’s brutal riots and rampage that left much of the Black section of town in ruins and hundreds of Black residents dead and injured.
Winkler noted the Tulsa armed march was a powerful display of support for the idea that Black Americans need to defend themselves —”that they can’t rely on the White government to really protect them, or the police force.”
But he’s concerned that too many groups are taking up arms and openly carrying them to air grievances. “[It’s] probably destructive of political debate and the kind of community that we need to move forward on the major issues that confront America,” said Winkler.
I disagree. In fact, I think that gun ownership and support for the Second Amendment have the potential to bridge the ever-deepening divides between and within the Left and the Right. As it turns out, while I don’t agree with progressives or socialists on many things, I have no problem endorsing statements like these:
“I’m a very peaceful person, but if people won’t let me walk away, I will defend myself.”
“Everybody’s entitled to self-preservation. I don’t care who it is. I don’t advocate violence, but I do advocate self-defense.”
These are not controversial positions within the Second Amendment community. It doesn’t matter if the person saying these things is a Black Democrat, a Latina lesbian, or a redneck with a beard and a ballcap, because the statements themselves are inherently in line with the vast majority of us who carry or own firearms for self-defense. As Second Amendment supporters, we are fighting to defend a right of the People, not just the people who look or think like we do.
But you rarely if ever hear that point of view in most media reports about Second Amendment activists, or at least the conservative ones. Invariably 2A supporters on the Right are portrayed as extremists or perhaps even insurrectionists, while 2A backers on the Left are generally able to avoid any sort of pejorative descriptions being applied to them by the reporters highlighting their activism.
As a conservative, the double standard on display by CBS News bugs the **** out of me, to be honest. But looking at it through a lens of pure Second Amendment activism, I think this report is ultimately beneficial, even if it’s one-sided. If nothing else it serves as a reminder to Americans of all races, colors, and creeds that the Second Amendment belongs to them too. That’s a good message to have out there, but I’d remind CBS that they don’t have to speak solely to progressive gun owners to hear it.