I’ve been writing for the past couple of months about the hoplophobia that’s been spreading through the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts like a virus. Earlier this year, when townfolk discovered that a gun store was getting ready to open in the business district downtown, calls were made, groups were formed, and an organized campaign to kick the gun store to the curb was soon underway.
Over the past few months the city council has weighed banning gun shops completely, but ultimately settled on a change to zoning laws that will restrict gun stores to just a few square blocks in industrial or less-desirable pockets of real estate. Some gun control activists still say the town hasn’t gone far enough, but I ran across an interesting take from one of the proponents of the attack on Newton Firearms recently, who seems to be having some second thoughts about the whole crusade.
I’ve never held a firearm, nor have I ever wanted to. My children are grown, but as a young mom I wouldn’t have knowingly allowed them to play at the houses of gunowners. I’m a proponent of gun control who agrees with my neighbors and all 24 of Newton’s city councilors that we should keep a gun store out of the city. Yet, I’m left wondering if we accomplished anything other than making ourselves feel better.
I applaud the effort that stopped the store: A group of moms established a “Stop Gun Stores in Newton” campaign, a Go Fund Me page quickly raised more than $6,000 for yard signs, and residents flooded City Council inboxes with emails. More than 10,000 people, myself included, signed a petition that read, “Having a gun store in Newton would undermine our reputation as a welcoming and progressive city.”
Yet, if the same business owner tried to open a shop on Main Street in Watertown, just two miles away, most Newton residents probably wouldn’t have even taken notice. Stores already operate in Natick and Waltham.
I fear that banning stores in a suburb will prove more self-serving than transformative. Disallowing gun stores in Newton is a narrow solution to a massive problem if business owners instead choose to locate one town over.
Obviously Gail Spector, who wrote this piece, isn’t a fan of the Second Amendment. Her chief objection seems to be not that shutting down Newton Firearms was anything but welcoming, but that it doesn’t address the “real problem,” i.e.; gun ownership itself.
Here too though, Spector seems to having some doubts, at least about the idea of gun ownership.
I, too, support tighter gun regulations, but I worry we’ve become so insular that we don’t understand why some people might feel a need to buy a firearm. It’s easy to disparage gun ownership when we don’t feel the need to protect ourselves, when we can count on someone else to wield a weapon for us.
In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Danielle King, a health policy fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, wrote about her decision to buy a revolver, despite her discomfort. When police finally responded to her call about a violent intruder ransacking her house, 45 minutes after she’d dialed 911, her Black husband was greeted by a police officer “brandishing his loaded Glock,” while the white intruder claimed ownership of the house he’d vandalized. Police eventually figured it out but we’ve all read enough news accounts to know this situation could have ended much differently – not for white non-gun owning Newton homeowners, but for Black residents across the country.
She’s so close to getting it, but in the very next paragraph Spector ignores Danielle King’s story in favor of a warm blanket of wokeness. Instead of actually trying to understand why some people might feel the need to buy a firearm, she once again embraces the idea of banning gun shops. A lot of gun shops. Spector seems to be trying to push away her doubts by doubling down on her anti-gun approach.
t’s not enough to prohibit gun stores in Newton. Doing so will neither keep guns out of the city nor prevent them from getting into the wrong hands. Anyone who signed the petition should support the Stop Gun Stores group as it expands its mission to advocate for gun violence prevention in surrounding communities.
If Newton residents want to lower the rate of gun violence in the country, we need to harness our privilege to help more vulnerable communities feel safer.
Otherwise we’re just putting borders around our entitlement.
Gail, you’ve not only put a border around your entitlement, you’ve built a big-ass wall to go along with it. I think I even see a moat with alligators if I’m not mistaken.
If you’re actively working to make it harder for people to exercise a constitutionally-protected right, you’re not wearing the white hat. If you’re trying to shut down an entire industry because, as a woke white woman you believe it’s the best thing for minorities, you’re being self-serving, paternalistic, and yeah, a little racist. You’re attempting to strip people of their own agency because you don’t like the decisions that they’re making.
There’s nothing noble in the gun control activism Spector writes about. And I suspect there’s a part of Gail Spector that’s starting to understand that fact, which is why she’s having those second thoughts in the first place. She should do herself a favor and actually talk to a few gun owners. If reading about a Democrat’s decision to buy a gun has given her some doubts, she should try having a conversation with some of the gun owners in her own town. I guarantee their reasons for owning a gun are just as compelling, and would reveal Spector’s efforts to shut down gun stores to be not just ineffective, but an exercise in intolerance as well.