AOH :: FURYGUN.TXT|
Why opponents of gun control need to change their tactics
GUN CONTROL AS CLASS WARFARE
by Rosemary Fury
Opponents of gun control are in big trouble. They will lose the
battle against gun control unless they drastically change their
tactics. There are two fundamental reasons for this impending
defeat. First, the liberal/conservative split over gun control is
likely to give way to a \class\ consensus in favor of restrictions
on weapon ownership. Second, gun control opponents have failed to
enlist the support of those people most injured by such
For decades, the debate over gun control has been divided
along standard political lines of left vs. right. Advocates of gun
control have surprisingly gained the support of the liberal
political base with a conservative-sounding argument: i.e.,
restrictions on handguns will reduce violent crime, thus aiding
the cause of "law and order." Their opponents have appealed
largely to a conservative audience with God-and-Country rhetoric
about our "Constitutional Rights." The popular conception of the
issue is one of a political struggle. As we shall see, such a
conception is dangerously flawed.
Gun control got its start in this country as a racist measure
to disarm Blacks after the Civil War—to prevent them from taking
revenge on their former owners. Restrictions on weapon ownership
are still racist today. Blacks and minorities suffer at the hands
of both racist groups and redneck cops. The Black Panthers formed
in the 1960s specifically to counter police brutality in Oakland
County, California. Studies show that minorities are
disproportionately the victims of authority, whether it's Mexicans
drowned in Texas, Cubans and Haitians beaten up in Miami, Blacks
gunned down in Detroit, or Orientals abused in Seattle. When
courts turn a blind eye at brutal police departments, denying gun
ownership to minorities is tantamount to denying them self-
It is also true that Blacks and other minorities constitute a
large percentage of America's poor, and it is the \poor\ who stand
to lose the most from gun control. Rich people can afford to live
outside dangerous urban areas and maintain well-armed, high-paid
suburban police departments to protect their lives and property.
But for the poor person without the means to flee the ghetto,
handguns are the cheapest, most effective form of self-defense
available. A couple hundred dollars (or less) is a small price to
pay for the security of one's family and possessions.
Gun control advocates argue that handgun ownership damages
the ability of inner-city police forces to protect their
residents. But to the ghetto-dweller, as we have seen, the police
look more like enemies than defenders. Urban police departments
are not paid to protect poor people. They're paid to protect local
merchants and their property, and they're paid (unofficially) to
protect various organized crime operations. Understaffed and
unresponsive, the police can't possibly provide adequate service
to all their citizens. Under gun control, big-city residents would
not only be unable to defend themselves against organized
criminals, but would also be incapable of helping to defend their
friends and neighbors.
Gun control advocates loudly call for disarming average
Americans, but do they want to disarm the police? Certainly not!
\Their law-and-order rhetoric is just thinly disguised support for
Big Brother\. In fact, they look forward to a society where the
government has total control over the population. Under such
conditions, no one could step outside official bounds without
special permission. Gun control would give the police a free hand
in abusing people, while the ruling class could compel the masses
to conform to their wishes.
While gun control opponents are quick to proclaim the
importance of an armed populace to our national defense, they
overlook the importance of gun ownership as a deterrent to
oppression by \our own\ government. High taxes, restrictions on
travel, government surveillance, business regulations, etc., are
making domestic slaves of all of us. All that stands between our
present narrow freedoms and total bureaucratic control is the
determination of Americans to resist repression. Traditional ways
of controlling government (elections, political pressure, etc.)
have become increasingly ineffective. Gun ownership helps draw a
bottom line beyond which authorities tread at their own risk.
Some people have a lower tolerance for repression than
others. Tax resistors, Black Panthers, environmental activists,
and others have already hit their bottom line, and have used the
force of arms to repel the invading state. While they have
suffered for their defiance, they still send an important warning
signal to the bureaucrats, thus making life a little safer for the
rest of us. Without gun ownership, there would be no \ultimate\
check on the tax collectors, conscriptors, and regulators that
populate our federal government.
A common argument leveled by advocates of gun control is that
handguns are most often used in domestic disputes, where family
quarrels end with gunshots. There is no disputing the statistics.
However, the conclusions drawn from them are highly vulnerable.
Proponents of gun control assume the desirability of limiting gun
usage in domestic disputes. Do we really want to do that? "If it
saves lives, then it's worth it," the line goes. But are these
lives \worth\ saving?
Women have been the victims of domestic abuse for centuries.
Because of our relatively weaker physical stature, we have been
virtually enslaved by men (women are still considered property in
many of the world's cultures). Handguns are the great equalizer.
More and more cases have come to the courts where women have
"murdered" their abusive husbands. Gun control advocates deplore
this, but why shouldn't we defend ourselves against such abuse?
Why should the lives of violent bullies be spared? So that they
can continue to destroy the lives of the defenseless? Gun control
would make it easier for wife-beating and child abuse to continue
unchecked. I would rather see such brutes dead than see women and
children with no alternative to submission.
Gun ownership is vital right. Handguns are an essential form
of self-defense for the lower class of society that doesn't have
the personal armies and suburban fortresses of the upper class.
Private gun ownership serves as a powerful check on police and
other pigs who terrorize minorities, on the expansionist desires
of foreign governments as well as the encroachments of our own
state, and on the ability of men to systematically abuse and
exploit women and children. Gun ownership gives people the real
option of resisting an authority that becomes too oppressive to
bear. As such, it is a valuable tool for ensuring personal
In short, gun control is \class\ legislation. It is an
attempt by the elite rulers of society to disarm the weaker class
and make them submissive to their will. In the near future,
leading liberals \and\ conservatives will likely set aside their
minor political differences for the benefit of their combined
class interest, and enact legislation restricting the ownership of
weapons of self-defense. They will succeed in this, too, unless
opponents of gun control expand their base of support to include
the traditionally liberal constituency of the underclass: the
poor, minorities, and women. These groups have the most to lose
from gun control, and the most to gain from the right to
unrestricted gun ownership.
Published (prophetically) in 1983 by
P. O. Box 1197
Port Townsend, WA 98368
(Latest catalogue $2.00)
Reprinted as a public service by
The Company of Freemen
\Rosemary Fury is an editor of \The Spark\ (P. O. Box 528, Port
Townsend, WA 98368), a newsletter of contemporary anarchist
thought. It's about time gun rights activists looked toward
anarchist and libertarian ideas—they alone seem to have a complete
picture of what's going on with the conservative (Bush,
Dukemejian) and liberal (Metzenbaum, Kennedy) alliance to disarm
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