It seems a truism, so obvious as to not be worth saying, that gun rights advocacy is associated with "conservatism," and the push for more oppressive gun laws is associated with "liberalism." This was not always the case. As UCLA Constitutional Law Professor Adam Winkler writes in The Atlantic, California's passion for "gun control" can be said to have begun with conservatives attempting to disarm the Black Panthers. Going back much further than that, John Locke, the "father of liberalism" (although admittedly, Locke's Classical Liberalism was a brand almost directly opposite what goes by that name these days), was clearly no advocate of a "government monopoly on force."
Now, though, a self-described "liberal" politician who fights strongly for gun rights is likely to be accused of faking his liberalism (or at least pressured to abandon principle for party unity and purity of dogma), while an ostensibly "conservative" one who aggressively pushes "gun control" faces a similar fate.
Still, that has not deterred a small number of self-identified "liberals" from forming the Liberal Gun Club. From the San Jose Mercury News:
When Northern California liberals are said to be “up in arms,” it usually means they’re marching down San Francisco’s Market Street or rallying at Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza – not toting guns and actively defending their right to do so.
But Marlene Hoeber, president of the Northern California chapter of the Liberal Gun Club, wants the world to know that lefty politics and a love for guns and gun rights aren’t mutually exclusive.
“If the conversation about gun policy in the United States is limited to what the National Rifle Association has to say, the conversation is over, because not enough people want to listen to that,” said Hoeber, 43, of Oakland, Calif. “Hell, I’m a gun person, and I don’t want to listen to that.”
That's all well and good, but where does that leave Hoeber and like-minded voters on election day? Even so-called "pro-gun Democrats" in Congress and state legislatures, many of whom are probably not liberal enough for Hoeber and friends, show a marked propensity to vote against gun rights when push comes to shove.
How many "pro-gun Democrats" (let alone "pro-gun 'liberal' Democrats) in the U.S. Senate voted against the appointments of rabidly anti-gun Eric Holder as Attorney General, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, B. Todd Jones as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, etc.? How many "pro-gun Democrats" in either house of Congress supported a penetrating look into the "Project Gunwalker" scandal? How many would you expect to fight against adding 8,000,000 anti-gun voters to the electorate? Hint: even if you count on your fingers, you won't need to take off your mittens.
Interestingly, Hoeber herself seems to know that she cannot count on her fellow liberals to leave her in peace to exercise her Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms (emphasis added):
“These are the same people who are the loudest pro-gun voices in American politics. If that was my understanding of who gun owners are, I’d probably want to take their guns away, too,” she said. “Those fundamentalist, queer-baiting people who I see as monsters and may be coming for me someday. But they’re the only people fighting for my right to have a gun on the day that they come for me.”
Any ally in the fight against the forcible citizen disarmament jihad is welcome, but before the Liberal Gun Club can contribute much to that fight, they're going to have to cultivate a brand of politician nearly unheard of these days: the truly "pro-gun progressive" politician. That's a tall order.
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