I find our recent conversations regarding firearms and gun control fascinating. Individuals who are usually hard pressed to muster the energy to make themselves a sandwich are now activists. Social media campaigns, clickbait, as well as legit journalism and news coverage has some of us turning activist overnight. Suddenly everyone is hard-lined in their views and dead set on fighting for their cause.
Seeing this rise in social awareness inspires high hopes in me at times. Not only do we finally see Americans give a shit, but underlying debate and conversation is a really difficult one.
You see, gun control may be the closest that white men will ever get to being oppressed. It’s for this reason that we see them fervently citing the 2nd amendment and their right to bear arms. It is correct that a gun ban would be against our constitutional rights. “Guns are already legal!” they say. “It shouldn’t be up for debate!” they argue to the “anti-gun” side.
This is all true. However, it might just be a coaching moment for women’s rights.
The level of dismay that man exhibits when talking about fighting for our right to bear arms (which is already legal and that they already fought for) interests me for two main reasons.
1.) Abortion is already legal, and women are still actively fighting for it. Other than the obvious, “why are we still fighting about this,” abortion politics are related to gun control because they are both protected under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. After all, women gained the right to have an abortion through our 14th Amendment’s Right to Privacy Act.
2.) Could this comparison be what it takes to get white men to understand 3rd wave feminism? To demonstrate the hypocrisy of not only turning a blind eye to gun violence but also the tremendous implications of both issues being Amendment protected? Will pro-choice activists begin to see and believe in the underlying similarities of the laws protecting each issue? Perhaps sharing notes on maintaining and protecting the rights as outlined?
People who are “pro-gun” tend to be men. Just like advocates for women’s rights tend to be women. These two hot-button issues are very predictable in regards to metrics and who lands where. They are men vs. women. You could argue that abortion, rather than gun control, is strictly a women’s issue—you’d be wrong. You’d also be wrong to say that the two are unrelated. I find the underlying metaphor….unsettling. Women are fighting for control of their vaginas, and Men are fighting for control of their phallic boom sticks.
It’s fascinating how quickly support for our constitutional rights are pulled when considering abortion or women’s rights. Pro-gun men are quick to the soapbox when it affects them, but often seem unwilling to stand up for women’s rights.
Will this be a moment in time that the younger generations of men can understand the irony in complaining about their rights being infringed upon? Hopefully also recognizing the constitution for what it is—a document signed, vetted, approved by, and protecting white men?
So how can these documents (the U.S. Constitution/ Bill of Rights) not be ready for an update on our right to bear arms? The document itself has been amended multiple times since it’s creation to more inclusively to represent African Americans and women. Why shouldn’t we reform our gun laws and sit at the table to discuss gun control and education in our communities? But then, I guess anti-abortionists are probably saying the same thing.
This is a great article on the connection between fighting for Our Right to Choose and Our Right to Bear Arms. It details connections and highlights specific questions regarding the “undue burden’s” considered in various states.