The Denome’s Advocate: An anarchist’s perspective on gun control


very summer, I leave school and come back far more radical than when I left, without fail. Two summers ago, I identified as a progressive and one summer ago I identified as a democratic socialist. Now, in my third year of writing this column, I speak to you as an anarchist.

Anarchy, or more specifically, anarcho-communism, can generally be defined as a world without a hierarchy, government, corporations, or anything of a large, organized nature. Naturally, anarchists thus are very supportive of the rights of the individual, including on issues that contrast with other leftists, including gun control.

Anarchists certainly like their guns, and not without justification. Generally, those on the left justify owning firearms as a self-defense measure against a possible uprising of right-wingers. The Socialist Rifle Association says on their website that their goal is “provide an alternative to the predominantly white, right wing, male gun culture which has dominated the firearms community for decades.”

It’s true that there is a large disconnect in gun ownership between the left and right. According to a study by Pew, 44 percent of Republicans and right-leaning independents own guns, compared to only about 20 percent of their counterparts on the left. Furthermore, guns in America are highly concentrated in the hands of a few people; according to the Guardian, 3 percent of Americans own half of America’s guns.

Such a disparity is slightly concerning, but only in the event of a civil war, or other event that would pit neighbor against neighbor over political beliefs. And despite Alex Jones’ claims to the contrary — in July, he falsely claimed Democrats were planning to spark a civil war on July 4 —  such an event is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Thus, despite my anarchist beliefs and my distrust of the government telling me how to act, for the good of the American people, we might as well have gun control.

The fact of the matter is that having more guns does not make us safer, especially not us students. The oft-cited mass shooting numbers hold true in this instance: America has more guns and more firearm homicides than any other country in the world, according to Vox.

That still doesn’t solve the main anarchist gripe about gun control, which is that it’s governmental overreach and a violation of the human right to self-defense. One of my favorite anarchist writers put it this way: if you can steal no other property from the state, at least steal back yourself, and by extension, your rights.

I’d argue, however, that it’s one thing for a responsible gun owner — yes, liberals, such a thing exists — to want to go out to the range and shoot targets for fun, or even for a backwoods rifleman to take aim at some deer for sport. But we can’t just allow anyone to get a gun under the justification of “the human right to self-defense.” The thing is, people are not going to use guns exclusively for self-defense. Countless school shooters haven’t.

The best course of action going forward is to ensure people have the freedom to exercise their rights while simultaneously keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Sensible gun control measures, such as background checks, waiting periods on gun purchases and required firearm safety training should be mandatory for all gun owners. These aren’t so much gun control measures as they are common sense; there’s no reason to not take reasonable steps toward a safer nation, even if the idea of a nation is restrictive to begin with.

To my more moderate readers, consider this an assertion that the radical left is not a rowdy band of gun nuts, and that there is a legitimate argument for gun control even from government skeptics. To any anarchist who might happen to be reading this, I encourage you to answer this question: as long as a government exists, should it not be used for good?