After the January 6th storming of the US Capitol Building, I knew that gun owners and gun culture would be blamed. But from the start I have questioned how widely gun owners in general supported this clumsy coup.
In this week’s Light Over Heat video I consider some recent survey data that addresses the question of gun owner support for the storming of the Capitol Building, and for political violence more generally.
Thumbnail image: TapTheForwardAssist, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
In early January 2021, my work was disrupted by a text message from a friend: “They are storming the capitol.” It took me a moment to figure out who “they” were, but I soon made the connection. They were people gathered for the March for Trump rally in Washington, DC. Formally organized by Women For America First, the rally included a motley crew of people wanting to “Save America” by overturning Donald J. Trump’s defeat by Joseph R. Biden in the November 2020 presidential election. Joining run-of-the mill members of “MAGA nation” in forcefully entering the U.S. Capitol Building were followers of movements like Stop the Steal, the QAnon conspiracy, Proud Boys, Nick Fuentes’s Groyper Army, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, and III%ers.
As they were attempting to disrupt a meeting of Congress that was certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, many have called the event an insurrection.
But was it?
NOTE: I am not an attorney, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so nothing in this post should be construed as giving legal advice or as constituting comprehensive and accurate interpretation of the law.
In the wake of the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building last week by supporters of President Donald Trump, philosopher Firmin DeBrabander (author of Do Guns Make Us Free? Democracy and the Armed Society) pointed a finger in The Atlanticat the gun rights movement, holding it responsible for promoting “insurrectionist fever dreams.”
The many typical gaffes in the article notwithstanding, my major reservation with DeBrabander’s argument is similar to my reservations about many news stories and scholarly articles about gun culture: It paints with too broad a brush.