The New Media Hotness: Civilian Gun Rights Feed the Insurrectionist Mindset

open carry protest capital

A protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

It seems easy to dismiss this bit of naked agitprop linking the expansion of gun rights since over the last 50 years to insurrectionist sentiment and action, since it comes from Michael Bloomberg’s paid flaks at The Trace. Naturally, they trace the roots of the “problem” back to the NRA and Cincinnati. But it’s only a matter of time before this take — linking civilian gun rights, terrorism and insurrection — bleeds through into the wider corporate media.

As the new Congress moves forward with a raft of new gun control measures, look for those pushing the legislation to get plenty of help from their supporters in the jernalizm community, spinning up plenty of thoughtful think pieces on the inherent risks and democracy-endangering knock-on effects of allowing civilian gun ownership.

In other words, they’ll conclude, it’s time to do something.

[T]his is all happening as firearms make their way into more and more public spaces. How do you think the role of guns in political life has changed since 2016? 

Well, I think they’re far more ubiquitous. It’s far more normalized to have people assemble outside places of governance with not just sidearms, but with very lethal weapons. It’s now more common to see that as a feature of political protest than it ever was, in even 2016.

It’s one thing if everyone leaves their guns at home, and you just have an armed populace. It’s another thing if people think, “It is my right to take these arms and overawe the political actors and political process.” That’s why the normalization of public arms at political events is hazardous. If we have a scenario in the future where the people who mobilize with guns have a bigger voice than the ones who respect a peaceful political process, then we are at the end of American democracy.

— Olivia Li interviewing Duke Law Professor Darrell Miller in The Gun Rights Rhetoric That Helped Seed the Insurrectionist Mindset


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