Little over a week has passed since the most recent mass shooting in America, and the argument about gun control is already in full swing. There are those who contend that having more weapons would make us safer, and there are those who contend that more stringent regulations are required to stop future catastrophes.
But, there is a more fundamental question that has to be answered: why do we even have weapons in America? The discussion has so far mostly been centered on the topic of gun control itself.
Although the solution to this query is nuanced, democracy is the central concern. Guns have stood in for power and authority for millennia. This has historically been especially true for white men in America.
In the early years of the republic, people believed that having a gun was essential for protecting themselves from intruders and Native Americans. They gained more and more ties to Manifest Destiny and westward expansion as the nation developed and became more settled.
Many white men saw guns as a means of establishing their dominance and control over others. This was particularly true during the Civil War and Reconstruction when black Americans were intimidated and subjected to oppression when using firearms.
Even now, political attitudes and gun ownership are strongly correlated. Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats to own firearms. This is not a coincidence; the NRA and other pro-gun organizations have traditionally supported the Republican Party.
America’s real gun issue is not about safety or crime, but rather about democracy and equality. Since Obama’s victory, the right-wing faction of the Republican Party feels betrayed by democracy and has turned to laxer gun laws as a means of reestablishing white authority.
It’s about upholding an unequal social structure; it’s not about hunting or self-defense. It’s time for Americans to wake up and recognize that oppression is not only symbolized by weapons but also carried out with them. To safeguard our democracy and guarantee that all citizens are treated fairly before the law, we need tighter gun control regulations.