Gun control is one of those ideas pushed by many of the same people who claim to be the champions of the poor. It’s amazing to me how often those denigrating the wealthy and calling for more effort to help the poor, then take on positions that negatively impact those very same poor people.
The truth of the matter is that when it comes to gun control, anti-Second Amendment activists don’t really seem to care that much about poor folks.
For years, Allyson Hottinger feared each day would be her last. The Arkansas-based, single mother of two had long been embroiled in a toxic relationship defined by domestic violence. But even with protective court orders piling up, her former partner stalked and threatened her.
“Eventually, it was the local police chief who told me I needed to get a gun to protect myself. He knew that the police wouldn’t be able to get here in time to save me,” Allyson said. “But, at the time, I was going through all this and barely making money at my job. Affording a permit and a firearm seemed out of the question. I had a lot of court hearings going on and was trying to make ends meet.”
Allyson was eventually able to save up enough to purchase a concealed-carry permit, undertake several lessons to learn how to shoot and to buy a handgun for protection—all of which came to more than $700.
“Not everyone is going to want a gun for protection, but those of us who do should be able to do so without the financial hurdles from the government,” Allyson said. “Those of us on the margins just keep getting pushed further and further down the priority list.”
Indeed, with the ever-growing chorus on the Left for stricter gun control—ironically, often the same groups pushing gun control also espouse equality in the same indignant breath—many of America’s poorest citizens simply can’t afford to protect themselves.
“Gun control has never been about controlling crime, but about control over the individual. Gun control has always been, and still is, about fear in one form or another,” said Amy Bellantoni, a constitutional-rights attorney at The Bellantoni Law Firm, based in New York. “Most significantly, it has never been about crime control; it is driven by those who are in power who fear those who are not. The government plays on the emotional fears of certain segments of the population, a fear ofharm, but never a specific harm by a specific person.”
Obviously, anti-Second Amendment activists would disagree with this characterization. However, actions speak louder than words.
Take a look at Allyson, for a moment.
The rule in place made it harder for her to get a firearm. Guns aren’t cheap, but when you throw in more and more rules and regulations, those costs increase.
For example, some popular proposals include special taxes on gun sales, permitting requirements (both to own and carry), and mandatory training (also both to own and carry a firearm). Which of these benefits the poor?
If you’re going to buy an inexpensive gun–not a decent one, just a cheap one–you’re still looking at paying $100 or more. Throw in sales tax and you’ve upped the price. Now, throw in “guns are evil” taxes and that drives the cost even more. Couple that with a requirement to have a permit just to buy the gun and, once again, the cost becomes even more. Throw in mandatory training and guess what? That’s right, still more money.
So, let’s do a little math here. Take a $100 gun (and there aren’t a lot of those, but it makes the math simple).
With a six percent sales tax–which looks to be toward the higher side of sales taxes, but isn’t the highest by any means–that becomes $106. Now, consider a 10 percent tax for a firearm and you’ve got a $116 firearm. California’s certificate of safety, which is required to buy a gun, is another $25, though, which means we’re now at $141 for that firearm. Oh, but that’s just $25 for the test.
You’re still going to have to spend $160 for the course (that price will vary, of course), which means you’re now looking at over $300 for a $100 gun.
And this is assuming you never actually want to carry that firearm. Wanting to carry comes with still other requirements. In California, that includes a $225 class for carrying a firearm.
Now, do you really think this is going to benefit the poor?
Look, lumping fees on the poor in an effort to make it more difficult to exercise a right is nothing more than an effort to dissuade them from exercising that right. It’s why poll taxes are unconstitutional in the first place. Yet here we are, with people pushing gun control laws that do little different from poll taxes.
What about the wealthy, though? Oh, they likely don’t even blink at the costs. They’re likely to be annoyed about having to spend the time on the training classes. The middle classes will complain about the costs, but they’ll still pay it.
It’s only the poor that these measures actually bar from gun ownership.
So, if you’re going to pretend to be a champion of the poor, it’s time to stop pushing for draconian measures that only keep them from exercising their Second Amendment rights.