Rolling Stone suddenly pro-gun? Depends on who has them

AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus

If you leaf through the pages of Rolling Stone or scroll through their website, you’re not likely to see a lot of pro-gun content. They’ve leaned heavily leftward for years. I mean, they put one of the Boston Marathon bombers on the cover, for crying out loud.

So imagine my shock when a friend sent me a piece from Rolling Stone that appeared to be pro-gun.

Well, I wasn’t actually shocked.

Why? Because it’s not about you or me and doesn’t give anyone a glimpse into why we own guns.

No, it’s about Antifa having them.

But the far right aren’t the only ones showing up armed. Across the country, marginalized individuals are forming groups like the John Brown Gun Club and Socialist Rifle Association that claim to be devoted to the idea of community defense. Their rationale is informed by the massacres at Colorado’s Club Q and Florida’s Pulse nightclub, and tempered by a long cultural distrust of the police, who they say have repeatedly failed to protect them from — and in some cases even perpetuated — right-wing hate.

Many sources interviewed for this story — particularly those who conceal their identities at protests — asked to use pseudonyms, in fear of being targeted or doxxed by the far right. Others were happy to share their names, judging that their public presence — or concealed-carry permits — shield them from harm. All of them, however, agree on one thing: The other side has guns and is willing to use them. The only answer is to be prepared to shoot back.

“We are a response,” one JBGC member says. “We exist as a response to violence.”

ON MONDAY, JASON, the owner of Tulips FTW, met with the Elm Fork JBGC before the protesters showed up, and asked them to leave their rifles in their cars. “Weapons beget weapons,” he told them. “We do not want things to get ugly.”

The presence of guns at a protest — or counterprotest — is a clear escalation of force. “If you bring weapons, you’re gearing up for a fight,” as Jason puts it. Having armed groups on both sides raises the deadly possibility of a shootout, and puts the more-militant gun clubs in the rare position, for those on the left, of matching the violent tactics of the far righ


It doesn’t really get much better from there.

If anything, the author’s lack of understanding of gun culture comes through when he talks about these groups having “tactical maps” and “intelligence dossiers” as a counter to armed groups from the far-right.

He presents this as a simple response. The right brings guns to protests so we will as well. He apparently forgot about entire cities burning back in 2020, didn’t he?

Yet I’m going to argue something that might surprise some of those Rolling Stone is celebrating. If they’re afraid of being targeted by violent extremists, they should bring guns.

That goes for everyone, though.

See, the Second Amendment isn’t about me being able to defend myself, it’s about everyone being able to defend themselves. If they think exercising their free speech will make them a target, then sure, buy a gun and learn how to use it.

That doesn’t bother me all that much, though I can’t say I trust these jackwagons not to start stuff and that does bother me, but until they’ve done something to warrant being stripped of their rights, there’s nothing I’m interested in doing about it.

What really bothers me is how Rolling Stone, which has never exactly been friendly to the gun community, now suddenly seems to be fine with heavily-armed gangs wandering around our cities’ streets.

I’m at least consistent with my beliefs. Pro-gun means pro-gun, even if you don’t actually like the group buying guns.

For them, it’s pro-whoever hates this nation more.

I guess they’re consistent after all.