By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Believe it or not, gun control is just as much a class issue as it is an issue of the abridgement of freedoms for misguided reasons.
Naturally, those who advocate for increasingly tighter restrictions on firearms ownership insist that it’s in the name of savings lives when anyone who actually knows anything can tell right away they just want fewer people buying guns, period.
What isn’t always appreciated about the role of firearms in human history is that they democratized the use of force.
Most people have heard that old saw about “God made all men, but Sam Colt made ’em equal.” While it’s not strictly speaking completely true, it’s not entirely an exaggeration either.
Historically, the weapons of the common man (certainly in a military context, but outside of one as well) were the bow, the spear and improvised cutting or bludgeoning instruments.
The sword was the weapon of aristocracy. You can learn to use a spear in a rudimentary (but effective) fashion pretty quickly, but the sword takes time to learn and large standing armies of professional soldiers get expensive in a hurry in any century.
Sure, a pike or a spear is deadly, but imagine a peasant with a pike trying to fight a nobleman or knight who had years of time and training with a sword while said peasant was toiling in the fields.
In other words, the elites of society had an edge (so to speak) for much of human history. They were the ones who could afford to take the time to become proficient with a weapon that requires great proficiency to use well.
The gun changed the equation.
A rifle in the hands of a peasant is as deadly as in the hands of the bluest of blue bloods. They may be less effective with one than a professional soldier who trains all the time, but represent more of a threat proportionally to a modern soldier than a pike-wielding peasant did to a knight.
Look at the history of modern warfare. How many wars have professional armies failed to win against peasant insurgencies? Granted, guerilla peasant armies tend to lose far more in numbers, but they typically have more numbers to lose in such conflicts.
Gun control laws generally take the gun, which is the Great Equalizer, out of the hands of the poor and the working classes.
Not only does this leave them at the mercy of the ruling class – and therefore dependent upon them for their “protection,” which is laughable given typical police response times – but also leaves them at the mercy of their less scrupulous fellows.
Crime isn’t exclusively a disease of poverty, but a lot of crime is.
Prevented from being able to have guns – again, the great equalizer – the poor and working classes are vulnerable to whomever is physically strongest (or stronger) and willing to use it against their fellows.
It is in this regard also ableist, as well as sexist. The elderly cannot hope to physically defend themselves against the young, or at least a lot of them can’t. As most people are aware, most women are smaller and weaker in terms of physical strength compared to most men.
Jack Dempsey knocked out two would-be muggers at over 70 years of age…but very few people have anything close to what his physical abilities were.
Again, what can give them the means to defend themselves? A number of things, among them a gun.
But this isn’t anything new. Take concealed carry permit laws.
Prior to the 20th century, concealed carry was largely forbidden. Open carry, however, was not. The intent prior to the 20th century, was largely to ensure that the enslaved as well as free black population was deprived of arms.
Most anti-concealment legislation as well as anti-gun legislation of the 19th century was passed in former slave states and border states to keep slaves (current or former) and freedmen from having guns.
The white slave-owning aristocracy (and later, the perpetrators of the Jim Crow regime) surmised that if African Americans had weapons, they might use them to give their oppressors what they richly deserved.
The Florida Supreme Court, even as late as 1941, acknowledged as much in Watson vs. Stone.
California’s Mulford Act was passed to disarm the Black Panthers.
The racial overtones diminished somewhat with the passage of New York’s Sullivan Act of 1911. The Sullivan Act made carrying a gun in any fashion a crime unless a person was issued a permit by law enforcement.
The Sullivan Act also made issuance of the permit at the total discretion of law enforcement.
And who did they actually issue permits to? Mostly the upper 10 percent. Older white men, generally wealthy and politically well-connected.
Take a guess at who can actually get a New York City permit.
As it turns out, who they issue permits to includes names like Donald Trump and Donald Jr. Singer Marc Antony. Howard Stern. Former Mets third baseman David Wright. High-profile attorneys.
The wealthy, the powerful. Everyone else in New York has to be content with keeping it in their home, if they can afford the $500 in fees just to get the permit to purchase in the first place.
Of course, that changed with the advent of shall-issue carry laws as well as constitutional carry laws. Instead of issuing permits to Whom The Authorities Deemed Worthy, most states issue permits to anyone who satisfies the legal requirements and pays the licensing fees.
That’s just concealed carry. Luckily for the modern gun owner, a tax stamp for an SBR, a suppressor or for a machine gun is only $200, which is pretty reasonable.
It’s only $200 because Congress hasn’t raised the amount since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934; that was -as near as makes no difference – the equivalent of $4,000 at the time, adjusted for inflation.
That means SBRs, suppressors and full-auto guns of any kind were solely the toys of the rich. Granted, full auto guns of any kind generally still are, but that’s for another time.
Point being, firearms democratize force itself. Gun control laws are always passed with the stated intention of saving lives, but are really to exert control over the poor and working class.
HR 127 is no different. Its onerous requirements for registration and gun ownership, including carrying personal liability insurance, is beyond exorbitant. Its proponents say it’s to make people safe and hold people accountable.
The bill is actually a tool to disarm all but the wealthy and powerful, by making gun ownership untenable for anyone else.
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.