Arun Gupta recently argued on Truthout that leftists should reconsider their opposition to gun control. Bear in mind, Gupta is referring to “self-described radicals and revolutionaries, not liberals.”
Gupta says that many leftists “agree with the right that the biggest threat to society is not mentally ill shooters like Adam Lanza. It’s the state.” But Gupta is “rethinking this position” and now believes “that a society awash in guns is more of a detriment to the left project of emancipation than a means to secure it.”
According to Gupta:
…the left should connect the dots by framing gun restrictions as part of the effort to limit police powers, abuses and surveillance. Unlike the right, the left does not believe the state of nature is a war of all against all. Central to the left project is demilitarizing society, and by using this as the umbrella, gun control can provide an opening to shackle the state instead of the people. But first, the left needs to rethink the role that violence plays in social change.
Gupta believes that mass shootings like Newton provide an excuse to strengthen the state. But will new gun laws reduce violence to the point that the role of the state in crime control will be diminished? I think this proposition is doubtful at best.
Gupta’s analysis is more thought-provoking than the statist drivel that usually passes for “Left” opinion on guns. Still, I cannot endorse new gun restrictions. Leftists should certainly not partake in the national infatuation with weaponry or make a fetish of violent revolution. But I suspect a new “war on guns” will primarily hurt the powerless, just as all of the state’s wars do.
Ultimately, I agree with C4SS Fellow Nathan Goodman who said, “the real point he (Gupta) should be making here isn’t that leftists should back gun control, but that leftists should organize against the school to prison pipeline and attacks on the ‘mentally ill’ that happen in response to mass shootings.”