The Liberal Gun Club

Gets a profile piece over at Bloomberg funded gun control site “The Trace”. This bit stuck out at me:

Despite the group’s name, politics are mostly absent from its discussion boards. Members instead use the forum to discuss reliability, accuracy, and cost of firearms, and to get advice.

Then what good are you? Those kinds of gun owners are a dime a dozen. I can find them everywhere. I’m actually rather sympathetic to the idea of a pro-gun insurgency on the left, and in the Democratic Party in particular. But you’re not going to be any kind of insurgency if all you do is talk about guns and look the other way while your members vote for gun banners. So I ask again, as someone who has never been entirely comfortable in the “conservative” movement (whatever that means these days), what good are you? Providing puff pieces for Bloomberg?

33 thoughts on “The Liberal Gun Club”

  1. Sebastian, you are completely right.

    The leadership of the Democratic Party is viciously anti-gun.

    I wish had gun rights hat bipartisan support, but, with few small exceptions, that is not true.

    If the members of the “Liberal Gun Club” voted for Hillary they should have just melted their guns down.

    1. “I wish had gun rights hat bipartisan support…’

      In the short term I would settle for monopartisan support, if by “support” was meant, gun rights not having to stand at the rear of the queue while we wait for the abortion-banners, gay-bashers, and immigrant-chasers to complete their initiatives before maybe getting around to our issue.

      ” all you do is talk about guns and look the other way while your members vote for gun banners.”

      Kind of ironic how that statement can be turned around, ain’t it? ;-)

  2. We do what we can for those abandoned and vilified by you folks, ignored by our own. We take one refugee at a time and make sure they have the tools to be safe and learn.

    If you have a bag of money, we can start politicking in earnest. Otherwise our chapters take on local issues as their resources allow.

    1. I’m not vilifying anyone. If you want to get together and shoot, that’s great. I have no issue with that. Enjoy it. But understand you’re enjoying it because other people are doing the difficult things that are required to preserve your right to do so.

      1. Read up on us. That said, either we aren’t doing enough or were doing it wrong. Been at it since 2008 and it’s a slog. Politicking costs money.

  3. I’ve had some discussions with members of the LGC on Facebook about this article. I’m not convinced yet that they have the media chops to be as wary of a Bloomberg outfit as they should be, but I can understand their reasoning for this one. For them, it’s a means to achieve some outreach to fellow Leftists who might come across the article. I think they’ve got a point there, and while that might seem odd to us, we must remember that their justification for it, rightly or wrongly, comes out of a very real desperation.

    Ed’s first statement above is ridiculous in its first part but drastically understated in its second part. The issue for the Leftist gun owners is not being vilified by the Right, but the vilification they suffer at the hands of their own. They’ve been shunned from their own political community, and to some extent must endure a form of “battered wife” syndrome.

    Their obsession with Reagan’s clear error in banning loaded carry in CA 40 years ago, combined with outdated and inaccurate prejudices against the NRA, along with the uncomfortable difficulties of siding with what they know is a clearly gun-owner hostile Democratic Party, continue to take their toll on their community, and prevent influence or action on a larger scale. Until that changes, the best they can likely achieve will be to win a few more converts to gun ownership on the Left. On that, we all wish them luck. We’ve been doing that for decades now, of course, but it’s always good to have more people doing it in areas we traditionally can’t easily reach.

    I think they’re going to remain a fringe within the Left as a result of the environment in which they must operate, and the (in their minds) compromises they’ve made stemming from that. Black gun owners are in a similar bind, but they (at least in some cases) are more capable of breaking out of the Democrat/GOP divide to prioritize gun rights more directly.

    I really don’t envy them their internal dissonance and contradictions. They serve as lessons to the rest of us.

    1. I can see an argument for “Right now we need exposure to build our numbers. Without numbers, we don’t really have much.” But I think if you want numbers, you have to have a plan that goes beyond talking about guns online and shooting every once in a while. If I wanted that, I can join a gun club.

      Long term, there needs to be a plan for taking on the anti-gun thinking in the Democratic Party. I won’t say it’s an easy task. But it will, necessarily, involve cultivating a decent number of dreaded and derided single issue voters. You won’t be able to demand miracles at first. At first the best you’ll probably do is convince Dem politicians to back off the gun issue a bit. But point is you need a pool of voters who are willing to hold back their support unless certain conditions are met.

      I’m not saying it’s easy. It took a long time to get the GOP where it is on guns. And still, it’s a struggle to keep them from being anything more than useless.

      1. Oh, I agree. And I’ve tried to get them to face the fact that they have to change the Democratic Party on this issue. Some think it’s irrelevant, but most of the more thoughtful ones are very clearly uncomfortable with how the part is at the moment, and struggle to even admit it.

        Like you said, this is going to take a long time.

      2. “…a plan for taking on the anti-gun thinking in the Democratic Party.”

        You would think that the issue not being a vote-getter should be enough, but apparently there are issues that are as much articles of faith among Ds, as there are such issues for the Rs.

      3. It seems to be the best argument that a Democratic gun owner has for opposing gun-control to fellow Democrats, is that gun-control is a loser issue, and the gun-control tail shouldn’t be wagging the Democratic Party dog.

        1. But there’s a lot of Bloomberg money to be had. He’s sinking a million into the Virginia election this November. The Dems will dance Bloomberg’s tune to get the money as long as they can count ton there being no visible backlash from rank and file for taking it.

          NRA managed to get discipline from the GOP by putting Castle’s head on a platter. Then putting Dick Lugar’s head on a platter. But it took years of work to get to that point.

    2. I disagree with you JC both here and on FB. Same arguments. It’s usually me replying to you. So that disagreement should come as no surprise.

      Willful ignorance of my ridiculous statement doesn’t make it untrue.

      Also, I thought your position was we needed to grab hold of our conservative allies?

      1. No, my assessment of it was pretty accurate. Unless you meant something completely different than what you articulated, in which case we’d appreciate it if you’d parse it.

    3. I doubt it. There are (a lot of) exceptions, but I find that Democrats are nicer to me on average than Republicans. I’m a Democrat. Coincidence? You be the judge.

  4. “Then what good are you? Those kinds of gun owners are a dime a dozen.”

    Be careful what you ask for.

    To the extent that I read “hobby” shooting boards from time to time, on the “non-liberal” side what I see is mostly the repetition of moronic right wing memes. And, few things are more “dime a dozen” than those. (Someone, somewhere, is picking up a lot of dimes, though.)

    So on the “liberal” side, you will likely get either political opinions of the “support reasonable firearms restrictions” type, or, they will become just another echo chamber for opinions that give Republicans a yet freer ride, without actually doing much for our gun rights.

    What would be refreshing, and not a dime a dozen, would be a movement that held more feet to more fires in a more genuine way. Not, “we’ll give you until 2024 to cut that out — and we really mean it, this time.”

  5. The thing is, if you browse the LGC forum, the most popular rifle among liberal gun owners is the AR-15. Bloomberg and the Dem old guard have lost that segment of their 1990s gun ban coalition.

    I agree with your frustrations regarding getting rank and file Dems to stand up to their party leadership on rifle handgrip and magazine bans and carry licensure for non-elites, though. I spent quite a lot of time on Democratic Underground beginning in 2004; the gun-ban zealots are the subject of much head-shaking and eye-rolling among most of the participants there (the pro-gun-control group hardly has any members at all, and what few they have are largely unhinged), but the problem is that a couple of anti-gun fundamentalist billionaires literally own the party. Which is how their 2016 candidate ended up making support for new gun bans her defining issue in the primary, much to her and the party’s detriment, and how the NY SAFE Act and other zealot nonsense came to be.

  6. Liberal Gun Club, absent actual action to change Democratic Party gun-control, is how you eventually end up with only 1% of the public legally owning guns (as in New York City). An economic-class result which actually seems quite acceptable to too many Left wing gun owners.

    I thought the Left was supposedly against one percenters oligarchy?

  7. I’m placing this comment here because I wasn’t sure who above it would make an appropriate reply to — if it’s relevant to this thread at all:

    Today someone I know participated in a non-partisan voter registration drive at our county community college. I take their word about the non-partisan nature of the effort as they tried out their pitch on me and it was pristine in its neutrality.

    At the end of the day they stated that the vast majority of students showed no interest in their efforts, though of course many of them were probably registered already. But of those that did register, every single one registered Democrat.

    That may not be especially shocking around these parts, where even most Republicans lean liberal, but as political anecdotes (as opposed to statistics) go, it is interesting enough to make one wonder about what it indicates.

  8. The only reason that we have any rights about firearms is the laser-like focus of the NRA and other activist organizations on the topic. It is probably true that guns is the only cultural issue where conservatives are winning. Much of the criticism I see of the NRA on this board has to do with the leakage of their activism into other areas of conservative interest.

    There is a lesson here for the Liberal Gun Club. If they want to be taken seriously by the Democrat Party (assuming that they don’t much care what conservatives or libertarians think), they need to put some Democrat heads on a platter. This means primaries with the insurgents supporting all of the leftist orthodoxy except gun control.

    I can’t say I see this happening but it is what it will take for them to become a player.

    1. You have to take heads without regards to the side effects.

      Long-term, I still have to wonder if the NRA’s dropping their support for that one senator from Nevada was a good idea or not.

      1. This was the classic case of other conservative issues leaking into NRA activism. Back in the day, Dingy Harry was decent on guns. He is the reason we have national park carry. One of his big pieces of pork for NV was a mega shooting sports center. NRA leadership was talking about endorsing him for reelection as they had before. Membership revolted basically on non-gun issues like Obamacare.

        1. I understand why it happened. I just am not sure it was strategically wise. The NRA/ILA’s “body language” is troubling to me, even as they ostensibly stay focused on RKBA.

  9. In reply to, well, many of the replies here, all apologies for not leading an armed resistance of partisans wearing berets, but there is tremendous value for the safe, enjoyable use and ownership of firearms without the doctrinaire, racist, unpleasant, and largely ignorant comments of the pri-2A trolls on many gun websites. The LGC is probably the first forum I joined the political discussions depth and academic knowledge of philosophy, economics, and sociology involved, and lacked the “Ima shuut librals cuz they r commies!” rhetoric I’ve seen literally everywhere else.
    So, I’ll be sure to change face of the corporatist Democratic party that in no way absolutely shafted its membership and damned the country to an episode of reality political “Survivor,” perhaps sometime after I get back from the range and dry-fire practice.

    1. I’ve spent a lot of time on gun websites, and that has not been my experience. At least not out of line with any other online fora on Pick Your Subject Material.

      You act like reasonable discussion on this issue didn’t exist until LGC came along. All that stuff existed. In fact, most of the academic material in this issue was directly funded by the NRA.

      1. “I’ve spent a lot of time on gun websites, and that has not been my experience.”

        That would actually make an interesting study. A problem would be, what you qualified as a “gun” website, and what you classified as (say) “racist” or whatever.

        I have come at that issue somewhat backward, by which I mean, sometimes when I try to track down the originating source for some “hard right” meme, I will find it repeated at any number of boards/blogs that appear to be primarily “hobby” firearms websites, of which there seem to be myriads.

        I think it depends on the “quality” of the gun websites; I have no doubt that at the type of sites Sebastian frequents, his experience as stated is true. But I also believe it would be possible to bias a search so as to find enough sites to make what Jx says, also true.

        I’ll last suggest that how much some things offend us, affects our perception of how often we encounter it.

      2. Academic is debatable–depends on your definition. NRA did good work for years, but no longer–are you going to argue that Dana Loesch ads add any reasonable facts to the discussion? Despite some areas of agreement, I will never again support the NRA because they have gone out if their way to alienate gun owners like me. When the choice is “agree with us about everything or F off, my choice is always to go my own way.
        And re: your experience–I have participated in local and national gun sites for years, and have seen a lot of pretty vile nonsense. Maybe you filter it out, but it’s there.

        1. NRA is much bigger than Dana Loesch. She doesn’t even technically work for NRA. She works for NRA’s PR firm. They are still funding a lot of academic work.

          And yes, there is plenty of vile nonsense out there. It’s the Internet.

          1. “NRA is much bigger than Dana Loesch…”

            A problem I see is, when it comes to propaganda providing an organization’s identity, who in fact is “bigger” is irrelevant to who is louder, so at present Dana Loesch is the NRA for a large percentage of the population that otherwise is ambivalent or just doesn’t care about gun rights issues. As with That AH Nugent, gun rights opponents make sure they are amplified so everyone hears about them. And, to the extent the NRA does nothing to resist that, even pro-gun people who those people offend are inclined to think the NRA likes it that way.

            1. I have to agree with this sentiment. As much as I like Bill Whittle, I’m not thrilled that he’s talking about conservative politics through the “NRA Hot Mic” thing, whatever that is. I’d like to see the NRA to be as politically neutral as possible.

              Really, the only thing that makes “political neutrality” difficult is that we have one side that pays lip service to gun rights, and another side that pays lip service to gun control (and used to accept people paying lip service to gun rights, but more recently drove them out of the party, in no small part because that side *really* wanted a law that would further their control over health care…)

              And it’s kinda hard to say “The NRA doesn’t endorse this message!” when you slap an NRA logo on the screen.

  10. “…politics are absent from its discussion boards…”

    Uh, there are way to many of us who think that “discussion boards” are what “politics are” (sorry keyboard warriors).

    Also; there should be _at_ LEAST as many approaches to restoring our freedom as there are boxes of corn cereal at your local supermarket. If LGC isn’t doing it right by our individual standards the question isn’t “why don’t they do it my way” (or why aren’t they [insert name of favorite gun org here]?) the question is “do they help”.

    If they help even marginally with some group at the fringe, that makes them BETTER then your shooting buddy who stays home on election day.

    1. Right on!

      But personally I have always found the “my way or the highway” attitude to prevail in the gun rights movement, whether that was at the local/regional level, or with the NRA, who would be quite vicious with dissidents within the movement.

      My personal experience with people in small organizations always was, that if we didn’t agree on tactics, it was me who was in favor of a more militant approach. (I honestly don’t like any politicians.) But when I suggested a “Good Cop/Bad Cop” strategy, with my faction being the Bad Cops, everyone in favor of political ass-kissing would say NFW. They honestly liked their political darlings, and didn’t want them attacked or embarrassed, even for the sake of The Cause.

  11. You have to be pretty fucking stupid to believe anything they publish on The Trace.

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