As we’ve been watching Washington state slowly turn from pro-gun to anti-Second Amendment, no one was much surprised that many lawmakers there want to be so-called assault weapons.
These are much-vilified guns and a symbol of gun rights supporters–a movement typically and understandably associated with the American right.
However, it seems liberal gun owners in Washington state are concerned about at least some ramifications of an assault weapon ban.
Washington is about to become the 10th state to ban assault weapons.
Under the new law, expected to be signed by Governor Jay Inslee shortly as the bill was passed by the legislature Wednesday, it will be illegal to buy, transfer or export any firearm that falls under Washington’s definition of an assault weapon.
But some Washington residents told VICE News that they’re worried the ban creates a situation where “traditional” gun owners—white, male conservatives—are sitting on an arsenal of high-powered weapons, which emerging demographics of gun owners, like LGBTQ people, leftists and minorities, no longer have access to.
VICE News put a call out for gun owners on the subreddit WAGuns, and found that fear of their fellow citizens, distrust of the government, and paranoia about the future was one of the key reasons driving opposition to the ban from gun owners across the political spectrum.
George, a 40-year-old lifelong-Democrat who declined to give his last name, says he supports other gun safety measures that made their way through the legislature but says recent unrest in the U.S. has made him nervous about the future of the country.
“This is also the worst time to unilaterally disarm a population of left-minded individuals,” George said. “These next five or 10 years might decide the fate of America, and when the music stops and the next January 6 happens and we’re all scrambling to find a chair, I’m worried that the fascists will be the ones with all the guns.”
Now, I don’t actually think George here has anything to worry about and that he’s bought into a lot of hysteria with little basis in reality, but that’s not really germane to the discussion.
What does matter, though, is that George here and a number of other liberals in Washington state have concerns for their own safety and they’re worried this law might prevent them from taking steps to keep themselves safe.
That doesn’t sound all that different from what the rest of us do. It’s why so many of us have modern sporting rifles in the first place. As such, I have to say that it seems perfectly reasonable for them to want these kinds of weapons of they harbor such concerns.
I sure would.
The question is whether there are enough of these left-wing gun owners to make much of a difference in the state’s politics over the long haul, and, frankly, it doesn’t look like there are.
If there were, there would be no new assault weapon ban on tap for the state. If there were enough, the state would continue its leftward lean but with a pro-gun flavor. Oddly enough, the northernmost state on the West Coast would mirror the northernmost state on the East Coast, Maine.
And Maine’s relatively pro-gun position exists while being one of the safest states in the nation, for what it’s worth.
Washington, however, isn’t heading that way. That’s an absolute shame, too, because they enjoyed being a fairly safe state while also being a fairly pro-gun state. Those days are slipping away from them and if history is any indicator, the deeper they go down the anti-gun rabbit hole, the worst public safety will ultimately become.