The past few days saw a flurry of mass shootings in the United States. However, what was interesting to see was that while two shooters were far-right, the Dayton shooter displayed far-left sympathies. This perfectly shuts the case on the gun debate being that of a left-right argument. In fact, the gun debate is an argument between authoritarianism and liberty. 

The argument for gun rights is not a new one. In 1776, America passed its 2nd amendment.

“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The 2nd Amendment of the United States’ Constitution

With the American Revolutionary War, this amendment was sacred to the left and right of America’s past political environment. 

On the left, surprisingly to many, one of the fiercest advocates for gun rights was Karl Marx himself.

“Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”

Karl Marx

This was well clear in the past itself and, as the horrors of these mass shootings have encapsulated America and its mainstream media, its clarity has resurfaced today. 

Donald Trump, a right-wing Republican, is proposing stricter gun control. Many Democrats on the left such as Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang are also vouching for a similar proposal. 

No longer can The Young Turks claim Republicans love guns; no longer can Steven Crowder claim the left wants to take away your guns. 

So if right-wingers and left-wingers are somehow reaching a consensus that “guns aren’t good,” then where does the divide of the debate lie? The answer is authoritarianism versus liberty. 

If we go back to the words of the 2nd amendment and Karl Marx, their reasoning for gun rights is to protect the people/the workers against the tyranny of the state/bourgeoisie. Today, with increased overlapping of corporate bourgeoisie interests in the state, it is fair to say we can take them on as one. 

In that case, the case for guns rights is a case for the liberty of man. And in my view, this liberty should be protected. 

There are two main criticisms of gun rights. One, that “tyranny can never happen here.” This has been thrown in the bin ever since Donald Trump got elected in 2016, as numerous persons across the spectrum refer to him as a “tyrant.” And two, that you “can’t fight the army/state with small arms.” This, again, has been disproven throughout history may it be the American war of independence or the Russian revolution, the Vietnam war or the Afghanistan war. 

The point of gun rights is armed self-defence. Self-defence from those that threaten our well-being and existence. The police is not an organization for your protection, but rather for the protection of the state, as is evident with their indiscriminate killing of minorities in America and complacency towards Antifa and Proud Boys marches.

Of course, not everyone should own a gun. Domestic abusers, those with extremist sympathies, and those that don’t want a gun, shouldn’t get one.

It is with such sensibility that any sane person would agree for stronger background checks and regulation for gun ownership. May it be Ben Shapiro or Cenk Uygur, it’s something every end of the spectrum believes in. 

The reason, though, that people turn to violence is because of alienation. Sometimes the alienation (as in the historical cases for America with Britain and the Russian people with their Tsar) can be justified, as it is against the state and is felt by a majority of people. Other times, such as the case with these fringe mass shooters, the alienation can not be justified.  

These mass shooters are a minority. Their extremist beliefs are a perilous periphery of what leftist and rightist beliefs stand for. As my colleagues, Barrett Wilson and Libby Emmons, write,

“This kind of violence doesn’t stem from either an exclusively left or right perspective, but from an undercurrent of tribalism in our society that can cause young people to feel worthless and hopeless. When people feel isolated, they reach out desperately for somewhere to belong.”

Barrett Wilson and Libby Emmons

Adding a flex-tape of a gun ban won’t solve the alienation crisis, a crisis that is reaching a boiling point in the US. The main reasons for the crisis need to be addressed. Alienated peoples need to be given integration as economic inequality in America widens. 

White supremacists and Antifa sympathizers need to be spoken to. They need to be explained why their views are wrong, not simply that their views are wrong. Guns are their last resort outlet for letting out their frustration. 

Mass shootings in America have never been as high as they are today, and the reason is more to do with everything other than guns. 

For the boomers, I’m sorry but video games are not the reason for these shootings. 

As Republicans including Trump and Cranshaw accept more gun regulation, and as Democrats reach a consensus on this issue, the power of the corporate-state hybrid grows evermore. 

The issue of alienation is being used to curtail freedoms in a horrid case of authoritarianism. The lack of bipartisan willpower to address the root cause of the issue takes away not only our liberties but will alienate us further with perhaps more disastrous consequences.

The gun debate no longer has a left versus right divide. It is now a divide between authoritarianism and liberty.