Gun control activists aren't just trying to change the law, they're trying to change the culture

Gun control activists aren't just trying to change the law, they're trying to change the culture
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

While we’re all focused on the wave of gun control legislation introduced in Congress and blue states, we shouldn’t forget that the gun control movement isn’t just about trying to turn the Second Amendment from a right into a privilege. It’s also about stigmatizing gun ownership itself and reducing the number of gun owners through cultural pressures as well.

Gun control activist David Hogg made that explicitly clear in an interview with Time magazine’s Charlotte Alter, telling the reporter that if the movement is successful, “future kids will look at guns the way we look at cigarettes—not as something cool and sexy, but as something that’s dangerous and gross.”

Hogg’s comments not only give the game away, they provide an important lesson in the law of unintended consequences. Yes, it’s true that the number of teens using tobacco has plummeted from 23% in 2000 to just 2.3% in 2021 according to one study, but as it turns out, kids have found something new that’s “cool and sexy”: Cannabis.

In 2019, 37% of US high school students reported lifetime use of marijuana and 22% reported use in the past 30 days. Past-year vaping of marijuana also remained steady in 2020 following large increases in 2018 and 2019. However, large percentages of middle and high school students reported past-year marijuana vaping—8% of eighth graders, 19% of 10th graders, and 22% of 12th graders.

I hate to break it to Hogg (okay, not really), but Democrat-controlled states and cities have tried for years to make gun ownership “dangerous and gross”, and all that’s happened is that they’ve destroyed the culture of responsible gun ownership while making guns a taboo object of fascination and importance among criminals. We’ve seen what Hogg’s utopian vision looks like in the real world, and it’s not pretty.

The efforts to stigmatize gun owners has taken a particularly stupid turn in California, where an animal shelter in Thousand Oaks says it will no longer allow gun owners to adopt shelter animals, I guess because the owner is worried about dogs and cats becoming enamored with guns, joining the California Rifle & Pistol Association, and advocating for their owners’ right to keep and bear arms? Okay, probably not, but the stated reason is just as silly.

“We believe that if we can make our voices heard on how we feel we can make an impact. We do not support those who believe that the 2nd amendment gives them the right to buy assault weapons,” Shelter Hope Pet Shop owner Kim Sill wrote on the organization’s website. “If your beliefs are not in line with ours, we will not adopt a pet to you.”

The shelter also requires owners to be at least 25, have a current driver’s license and submit to a physical inspection by the shelter if they don’t own their home.

Sill referenced the deadly mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks bar in 2018, writing that the shooter who carried out that attack had volunteered at Shelter Hope Pet Shop. Sill added that she had been told by officials that the gunman had considered targeting the shelter as a potential location to carry out the shooting.

“If you lie about being a [National Rifle Association] supporter, make no mistake, we will sue you for fraud,” Sill wrote.

The owner told NBC News that a number of the shelter’s donors are Republicans and have threatened that they will cut off financial support if she doesn’t remove the interview question about gun control.

“I say, fine, keep your money,” Sill told the network. “If I go out of business, as a result, I go out of business. But I have to do something. And this is the only thing I can do to make the point that mass killings by people armed with guns have to stop.”

This is the epitome of the vacuousness nature of “doing something,” as opposed to actually addressing the problem. Is any gun owner or Second Amendment supporter going to change their mind because of Sill’s new ban on letting gun owners adopt pets? Of course not. All she’s done is reduce the pool of potential adoptees, which only hurts the pets in the shelter. Sill may feel good about giving gun owners a piece of her mind, but she’s doing no good with her edict.

What Hogg, Sill, and the other anti-gun nuts who want to denormalize gun ownership fail to comprehend is that most of us aren’t gun owners because we think firearms are sexy or cool. We own them because we believe that life is precious and worth protecting. We own them because we believe our freedom is a gift handed down from the founders of this country, and one that we’ve pledged to protect and pass on to future generations. There are tens of millions of us across the United States, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds, and we’re not going away. In fact, despite the attempts to stigmatize gun ownership there are millions more of us each and every year; a clear sign that the pathetic attempts to convince Americans to forsake their civil rights aren’t having the effect that the gun prohibitionists are hoping for.