Lawmakers posing with guns has nothing to do with violence

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In the gun community, people have mixed feelings about posing with firearms. For some, it’s not a bright idea because then there’s a record of what guns you have. For others, it’s an expression of our Second Amendment rights and we need to normalize people seeing them. Still others think it’s harmless but not necessarily a great idea.

However, in the anti-Second Amendment crowd, it’s a whole other ballgame.

You see, they apparently think that lawmakers posing with guns has something to do with “gun violence.”

It’s not hard to find photos of each one of the three Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation posing with guns.

The images aren’t just out there on the internet — the members want you to see them. They released them as part of campaigns or policy statements. The discouraging implication is that they assume such posturing will resonate with a substantial portion of their base.

They’re hardly alone. Many conservatives suffer from a compulsion to be photographed shooting, brandishing or fondling firearms. It’s looney. But it also contributes, in ways that don’t get enough attention, to the epidemic of gun violence in America.

On Monday, five people were killed as a result of the latest paroxysm of gun violence in Colorado, a state where bullets have claimed so many lives it occupies a special place of shame in the national gun debate. A man went on a killing spree that started at Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing in Denver and ended at the Belmar shopping district in Lakewood.

But as silly as these leaders make themselves look, the message they send is dangerous. When elected officials extol instruments of death, they reinforce strains of violence in the country’s political culture and encourage lethal aggression. It’s easy for most Americans when they see gun cosplay from their leaders to laugh it off as the antics of children. But disturbed and aggrieved viewers will derive inspiration from such displays, with bloodshed too readily the result. It’s still unclear what motivated the shooter on Monday, but initial indications are that he espoused far-right political hatred, and it’s reasonable to suppose that right-wing celebration of firearms helped clear space for his murderous rampage.

No, it’s not actually reasonable to assume any such thing.

See, while the Denver shooter may well have espoused sentiments similar to those you find on the right, we can find a lot more mass shooters with left-leaning sensibilities. Were they also somehow motivated by supposed messages sent by pro-gun politicians?

Of course not, and neither was this guy.

Let’s also be clear here. Mass shooters and rampage shooters account for an almost insignificant fraction of all fatalities each year. Instead, the lion’s share are carried out in our larger cities by an urban population. Those are the same populations that vote for Democrats by a staggering percentage.

Are you going to tell me that they look to Reps. Thomas Massie and Lauren Boebert for guidance? If so, I’m going to have to call BS on it.

The problem here is that the author has decided that guns are the problem. They’re not and they never have been.

The issue is that people in certain parts of our nation have no respect for human life and think the only way to gain respect after being insulted is to take that human life. It’s just that simple.

But no, let’s blame politicians posing with their guns.

I’m sure that has nothing at all to do with the desire of some people to push guns so far underground that people won’t realize anyone actually owns these things. No, the leftist hope of isolating gun owners and making them feel alone so the instinct to conform will kick in and they’ll back gun control never enters into anyone’s mind when they take issue with this kind of thing.

The truth of the matter is that we need more photos like this. Let’s make this author feel really uncomfortable going forward, not by targeting him with anything, but by being damn proud we’re gun owners in a nation that still has some respect for the right to keep and bear arms.