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  • Robert Farago

Do Guns Turn Democrats Into Republicans?

“Travis Reinking is the man at the center of my book,” Dr. Jonathan Metzl tells “I show his secret home movies – where he talks about his homosexual desires…

He would have all these psychotic dreams and fantasies about having sex with other men—but that was not OK in the conservative world where he lived. The gun became his symbol that assured him that he was still a man… Then he got arrested and the FBI took his guns away. He basically had a psychotic break, which caused him to move from Illinois where he couldn't carry his gun to Tennessee. He got his guns back and became a mass shooter: Masculinity restored.

It’s no surprise that Dr. Metzl puts a repressed homosexual mass shooter front and center in his tome What We've Become: Living and Dying in a Country of Arms.

The author is a gun control advocate, an activist who sees the “conservative world” as a negative influence on mental health and physical safety.

In case you missed his liberal bias, Dr. Metzl sees America’s gun violence “epidemic” in a racial framework.

A white man with a gun, even if he's a homicidal white man, is someone whose rights are to be protected until the moment he pulls the trigger.

The Straw Man Cometh

Just so we’re clear, Illinois sheriff’s deputies revoked Mr. Reinking’s firearms license, confiscated his firearms and vouchsafed them with his father. Who returned them to his son unlawfully.

As far as Dr. Metzl’s comment on gun rights and race is concerned, note: in the last three years, firearms sales to Black buyers increased 58 percent. Hispanic Americans bought firearms at a 37 percent higher rate.

Manly Men

Dr. Metzl isn’t wrong about one thing: there’s a strong link between gun ownership and traditional ideas of masculinity.

You don’t have to watch every Hollywood action movie ever made to know that mainstream American society associates guns with manliness.

There’s also truth in Dr. Metzl’s follow-on assertion “there's something about being a gun owner that makes many people turn into Republicans.”

Connect the Dots

By culture, tradition, common sense and dare-I-say-it genetics, American men consider themselves protectors – charged with defending themselves, their family, neighbors and their community.

When they see endless examples of violence against innocent men, women and children– whether or not the offense is firearms-related – they think “that could have been me or someone I love.”

The Case Against Firearms Ownership

Lest American men exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, Democratic politicians and their media enablers automatically and repeatedly blame gun violence on firearms availability and, by extension, Republicans blocking “common sense” gun control.

Gun control advocates jump through hoops to “prove” that owning a gun for self-defense is a bad, bad thing.

They dismiss defensive gun use statistics (between 55k to 80k incidents per year on the low-end). Antis also highlight examples of mass shootings and firearms-related accidents, suicides and domestic violence.

They combine this “your gun will hurt you” strategy with lip service to the Second amendment. In practice, Democratic politicians are for any laws that delay or prevent Americans from purchasing and, especially, carrying a firearm.

From Fifth Amendment due process-violating “Red Flag Laws” to forcing concealed carry applicants to surrender their social media passwords.

Millions of Democrat-voting American men buy what the antis are selling. Depending on class and location, there’s no personal downside to ignoring the inconvenient truth of the gun guy adage “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

A Personal Challenge

Despite the anti-gun rhetoric, hundreds of thousands of peaceable, law-abiding, tax-paying, left-leaning American men see the potentially catastrophic downside of not being armed.

They buy a gun to increase their odds of successfully fulfilling their “natural” role in a world where bad things happen to good people. Just in case.

Not to mention the fear they share with far right gun owners: that the government will move against them, should Donald Trump and his cadre of assumed right-wing racist fascists takes power.

When these buyers make the decision to purchase and/or carry a gun in a Democrat-controlled city or state, they come face-to-face with the bureaucratic roadblocks erected by Democratic politicians.

At the same time, they encounter blowback from their gun averse liberal friends. Assuming they admit their purchase.

Now What?

An American who opts for firearm-related self-reliance is taking a giant step away from their faith in the efficacy or integrity of government protection. A step that can lead them to question other aspects of the Democratic Party’s ethos.

An unsettling question arises: why doesn’t the Democratic Party and my liberal friends support/value my right to defend myself and my loved ones by force of arms?

This dilemma – along with rubbing shoulders with conservative gun owners – can trigger a political sea change amongst Democrat-supporting gun buyers. A switch to the Republican Party. That said…

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

There’s no data on how many Democrats change political affiliation after purchasing their first firearm. For sure, some switch parties for non-firearm-related reasons, then buy a gun.

Even so, I reckon Dr. Metzl is on the right track: the increasing number of males purchasing first-time firearms is a reflection of a return to traditional concepts of masculinity.

Values that Republicans champion to a greater degree than Democrats, especially in these days of gender “confusion.”

How increasing male (and female) gun ownership plays out politically remains to be seen. Meanwhile, an interesting data point: John F. Kennedy was a card-carrying member of the NRA. Travis Reinking was not. What does that tell you?


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