ABC News recently published an article that wasn’t inherently hostile to the Second Amendment, and most amazingly, to gun owners. And yes, that’s news. What’s the catch, you ask? The topic was liberal gun owners, and ABC took pains to point out that they are not members of the NRA. “Gun owner and Second Amendment advocate Marlene Hoeber isn’t your typical member of the National Rifle Association. In fact, she isn’t a member of the NRA at all.” . . .
The Oakland, Calif., laboratory equipment mechanic regularly visits firing ranges, where, along with other members of her gun club, she shoots a variety of weapons. ‘Guns are fun to play with,’ she says. She even makes her own ammunition.
She has no use, however, for the NRA’s conservative political agenda. By her own description, Hoeber is a feisty, liberal, transgender, tattooed, queer, activist feminist.
She belongs instead to another gun advocacy group entirely–The Liberal Gun Club–whose membership ranges, she says, ‘from socialists, to anarchists who can quote Marx, to Reagan Democrats.’
Its mission, she says, is to provide ‘a place for gun owners to talk to other owners about neat gun stuff, without having to hear how the president is a Muslim-usurper-socialist running a false-flag operation.
In truth, the NRA focuses entirely on Second Amendment-related issues. It supports politicians of both parties — and independents, too — who are faithful to the Second Amendment, regardless of their political positions on other issues. Got that, Marlene? The NRA does not take political positions on other issues. It never has. ABC News knows this, but continues to mislead:
Whereas the NRA has some 3 million members, according to Guidestar, and a budget of some $250 million, The Liberal Gun Club has 1,200 members nationally and a budget of $10,000, according to its head, Ed Gardner.
Although liberal gun owners are presumed not to exist, Gardner says they most certainly do.
By the most recent estimates, he says, about 40 percent of registered Democrats are gun owners (versus 60 percent of Republicans). He thinks 40 percent grossly understates the number of liberal owners. Reason: when some strange pollster calls an owner and asks, ‘Do you own a gun?’ many say no to protect their privacy, according to Gardner.
Where to begin? The NRA’s membership is now closer to 5 million and increasing daily. It has added more than a million members since President Obama was elected in 2008.
Who, precisely, presumes that liberal gun owners don’t exist? Certainly not the NRA and not most gun owners. In fact, conservatives — gun owners or not — often point to the hypocrisy of liberal/progressive politicians and others who labor ceaselessly to disarm the law-abiding while they are themselves surrounded by armed security or in possession of nearly impossible-to-get concealed carry licenses in places like New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles.
It’s also well known and well reported that gun owners — the majority of whom lean conservative/Republican — tend not to reveal their gun ownership to pollsters. Liberals might reasonably have an additional reason not to self-identify as gun owners: fellow liberals might disapprove.
Other gun owners, particularly conservatives, find gun ownership almost entirely reasonable and unremarkable, but ABC tries to suggest otherwise:
The Liberal Gun Club is not alone in catering to left-leaning gun advocates. Kindred institutions include the Blue Steel Democrat, Gun Loving Liberal, Pink Pistols and the online publication American Gun Culture Report.
On its website, Pink Pistols (slogan: ‘Pick On Someone Your Own Caliber’) urges ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or polyamorous persons’ to take up arms legally.
‘We teach queers to shoot,’ says the site. ‘Then we teach others that we have done so. Armed queers don’t get bashed. We change the public perception of the sexual minorities, such that those who have in the past perceived them as safe targets for violence and hateful acts will realize that now [they are] armed and effective with those arms.
To this, the overwhelming majority of gun owners would likely say, “Uh, OK.” ABC’s representation of these particular gun owners seems to suggest that they believe that everyone else must fully accept all of their political/sexual leanings. If so, this is inherently irrational. No one likes everybody. No one has to like everybody or fully accept everything they do or believe. People often choose to associate based on common interests — such as gun ownership — but may never invite many of the people who share those interests to their homes. This too is entirely reasonable and unremarkable, though ABC labors to portray it otherwise.
The article lists a variety of apparently leftist gun-favoring groups, including anarchists(?), and asks:
“To what extent does the gun industry support any of these groups?
Hoeber of The Liberal Gun Club tells ABC News, ‘We haven’t heard a peep. We’d certainly be interested in support from the industry, if the industry was interested in being seen as supporting us. Whether we would take their money would be up to the membership. We’re not likely to turn anybody away.”
Says Ed Gardner about the gun industry, “It would be great to be recognized by them. We’re not your typical gun owners.” But, he says, apart from some outreach from makers of gun accessories, the industry hasn’t offered any support.
Again, most gun owners and organizations would reply, “Uh, OK.” The gun industry doesn’t “support” individual gun owners or groups, generally not in print, and certainly not financially. Manufacturers and trade groups focus their attention on legislation and legislators, understanding that in so doing, they are supporting the free market and the Second Amendment for everyone regardless of political leaning or sexual orientation.
“Hoeber says her own romance with guns began in childhood.
Growing up in Philadelphia, she says, she was 6 in 1976, during the Bicentennial. ‘The whole city was crawling with geeks in tri-corner hats and short pants explaining to small children how a flintlock worked. I was hooked.’
Living in San Francisco in her early 20s, she walked into a S.F. gun store and saw a reproduction of an old, black powder rifle. ‘I could buy that and take that home,’ she says she said to herself—and she did. ‘I’m a technical and mechanical person. Tinkering is a major element in my personal involvement with firearms.”
Again, so-called “conservative” gun owners would almost certainly reply, “good for her,” and would see her thinking as similar to their own.
“We asked if there is any distinction to be made between the kinds of guns a liberal likes and the kinds a far-right conservative might prefer.
Within the gun community, she says, conservatives have a stereotype about the kind of guns liberals like. ‘Conservatives assume, when they hear of our existence, that we’re all into fancy double-barreled shotguns and rifles with wooden stocks.’ That’s not the case, she says. ‘Our position is that scary black guns are very much okay. We do have members who think a limit on magazine capacity might be worthwhile. I personally don’t believe that that kind of restriction makes the world a safer place.”
I suspect Hoeber, if ABC is quoting her accurately, is reflecting what some conservatives might think about limousine liberals, the idle rich who wish to enjoy what they would deny to others. Most gun owners, however, probably have no real preconceptions about such thing — if they think about them at all. ABC is apparently hoping to get Hoeber to reflect their prejudices. Another example:
“Positions advocated by the Northern California Chapter of The Liberal Gun Club include:
‘Additional regulations on lawful gun owners are over-prescribed political placebos that fail to cure the underlying systemic societal problems that are the root causes of violence. Instead of window-dressing ‘solutions’ like so-called ‘assault weapons’ bans and magazine capacity restrictions, we support root cause mitigation for violence prevention: stronger mental health care, addressing poverty, homelessness and unemployment.”
Conservative gun owners can easily support most of this, however some would surely take exception to the idea that poverty, homelessness and unemployment cause violence. This would not, however, keep them from embracing fellow gun owners, or their support of the Second Amendment.
ABC’s piece appears to be another attempt, though maybe not as egregious as most, by the legacy media to turn supporters of the Second Amendment against each other. Gun owners aren’t a monolithic block of people who think, act and vote in lockstep. On the range, people care about safety first and foremost, then having fun. The number of tattoos, piercings, Obama-Biden and Sierra Club bumper stickers people sport mean little.
I would hope that progressive gun owners would come to understand that the Second Amendment is the guarantor of all other liberties. As I would hope they recognize those who want to destroy the Second Amendment and what that would inevitably mean for the rights not only of various minorities, but for every American. If and when they do, they might find it harder to reconcile support for their Second Amendment with support for lefty politicians.
However, no doubt to the chagrin of ABC and the rest of the legacy media, conservative gun folk tend to be far more accepting and tolerant of firearms fans of all stripes than the media are willing to publicize. It’s their own stereotypes and preconceived notions that keep them from recognizing it.