A few hours after Biden won the election, the kid I babysit sometimes was in my yard playing with the dogs with a friend of his, and somehow just noticed the Biden sticker on the back of my car. He went “eww” and pointed at it, like he was incredulous I voted for him.
I said, “yeah, I did.”
He said, “you know he’s gonna come after everybody’s guns,” very matter-of-factly.
I didn’t want to go over his head and do the statistics and research thing (he’s only 12), so I just kept my voice just as matter-of-fact and said something like, “No, he doesn’t, and couldn’t even if he wanted to because we have the 2nd amendment and we have far more guns than people in this country so it wouldn’t be possible. It’s just fearmongering.”
I could’ve said more, but I tend to sum it up like that. He and his friend were there to play with the dogs, anyway.
But it got me thinking: I’ve heard that line almost word-for-word my whole damned life.
“The Democrats are gonna come and take your guns!”
“You know the Democrats are going to come after us and try to take our guns.”
“If the Democrats win, they’ll take our guns!”
And on. And on. And ON!
I hate this freaking discussion, because it’s circular. Or maybe something other than circular, because at least that indicates some progress and regression. Once they’ve said this line, it’s the Gospel Truth and whatever you may say in response is in one ear and out the other. So maybe it’s more like that weird dimension behind the wall like in classic Twilight Zone. Hmm…
I’ve heard this for my whole damned life. Over 30 years and in EVERY national election I’ve heard this fear point.
Now, before it all starts, I’m quite sure that there are plenty of Democrats that would like all the guns to go away, that they all be banned or whatever. I’m sure there are some freaked out Republicans that might feel the same way, they just don’t have a microphone in front of them or a high profile. I know after a major shooting the tension runs high and there’s a lot of the same old, same old finger pointing and blaming and attempts to find that ONE thing that will stop the shootings. And in those high emotion moments, some Dems do come out and want bans on guns and such.
It’s times like this that I wish everyone in the U.S. was required to watch Beau’s videos on guns and the 2nd Amendment (I’ve watched them all multiple times and they taught me a lot–well worth it even if you do know your guns well and your rights, especially if you’re having trouble educating others about the subject. The first one is linked below).
The crazy thing, too, is that a lot of the single-issue voters who are all about GUNS as their primary issue assume if the person’s got an (R) next to their name, that they’re all about gun rights and letting folks keep their guns. They’ve focused on Trump’s tweets and his rally bloviating, but not the see-sawing record. There are plenty of folks over the years who firmly believe Trump has tried to curb gun rights more than Obama did!
And shortly before I quit my job helping folks with background checks, many for licenses to carry, several times a week I’d see a MAGA hat (or MAGA mask) wearer complain about the system and say something like:
“The Democrats are gonna take our guns, you know.”
“Trump won’t let them take our guns.”
“Biden’s gonna take our guns.”
“Clinton’s gonna take the guns” (way back when).
“Obama’s gonna take our guns.” (forgetting that Obama wasn’t running, I guess… one odd running gag among many for this election. Sheesh).
And on, and on, and ON!
Seriously, it’s like an absolute truth to these folks, as absolute as a devout Christian’s belief that Jesus exists and is the son of God. Said with utter conviction and matter of fact, and if you question it, they give you this piteous look like, “bless your heart, child, You sure are stupid and I’m gonna pray for you.”
I want to know, why does this ridiculous, fearmongering message persist, unabated for so long, and when did it start? It’s not even said with emotional inflection (unless the person is screaming at a protest carrying their favorite gun on them).
How did it get to this point where if you declare yourself a dem, people automatically assume you hate guns and want them taken from people? When did it start? Why do conservatives love to keep saying “the democrats are gonna take our guns” (even when it’s clearly not true and plenty of Dems carry and hunt and such, too)?
I’m just tired of hearing it. It’s beyond stupid to me, and it needs to stop. It feels like the talking-point equivalent of an idiot losing an argument and suddenly jumping in with asking the other person “have you stopped beating your wife?” to throw them off their game.
Any ideas or stories or understanding how the hell this all started, because I’m not getting very far just yet.
5 thoughts on “Q #151: Why do (most) Republicans love to say, “the Democrats are going to take your guns”?”
Fear from lies and unrepentant brainwashing
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The myth is promoted because it works. It worked especially well when it was about Obama because the implication was that as a Black man, he would take away White people’s guns and give them to Black and Brown people for the Race War. Add to that what guns mean to many people as a symbol of “freedom” and safety (even leaving aside the Freudian analysis of that meaning for males).
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I unfortunately don’t have a good answer to your question. I do however use “Dems are going to take away your guns” in the same way as hearing someone use the word “administrate” or “irregardless”….. Gives me the ability to alter my interaction with them in a way that has potential for a better outcome. Some die hard followers, on both sides, will ignore facts of it contradicts their understood reality….. I feel sorry for those individuals.
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The GOP has been very successful in convincing rural conservative Christian white voters to vote against their better interests by demagoguing emotional issues. There are the old favorites, socialism, choice, taxes-debt, and guns and then there are the more timely ones like Ebola and immigrant caravans. It is all about what works in the moment to gin up the base and turn them out to vote.
Like it or not, people are emotional decision-makers and will be more likely to vote when emotionally aroused but not necessarily when cognitively engaged. Fear has been shown to cause people to behave and vote more conservatively. So, whenever possible, conservative politicians cynically exploit these human tendencies to get RCCWV to vote for them even though it means they’ll live in Cancer Alley, drink Flint water, and die young — literally, especially if you’re living in Louisiana.
it is unfortunate because regulating guns reduces gun-related deaths. Republican fear mongering on the gun issue literally kills their constituents because most gun deaths are male suicides. In fact, the life expectancy for middle class whites has been declining and gun-related suicides is a big contributing factor.
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