I’m a big science fiction fan. I love the speculation about what the future might hold. Classic science fiction held great optimism for where we’d be by now–likely exploring the outer solar system at a minimum–but good modern stuff does as well.
Well, at its heart, science fiction is speculative fiction. It ponders what changes may happen and what people in the future will be like because of them.
And I happened to come across this piece that ponders what history books of the future might write about gun control. The author is writing this as if someone is critiquing those history books, much like a book he was assigned while he was in school.
The textbook American Pageant called the Guaranteeing Unanimous Nourishment and Safety (GUNS) Act of 2023 “a necessary measure,” and Land of Promise called it “common sense” gun legislation. The law implemented a nationwide requirement for criminal and mental health background checks before the purchase of any firearm, and it rendered most handguns and assault rifles illegal for the majority of citizens — that is, any kind of firearm that could shoot more than one shot before being reloaded.
McGraw Hill’s American History made a passing attempt at neutrality by saying, “Despite controversy and strong pushback on the part of many Americans, especially an organization known as the National Rifle Association, the GUNS Act was a critical step toward establishing a safer world, particularly for children.” This tone is representative of how all 18 textbooks in our survey described the law. With hindsight, they imply, it was an obviously good and morally correct action for the government to take.
But beyond the rhetoric, the actual results of the legislation, which became clear over the following decades (though rarely reported in the mainstream), tell a different story. They revealed the law’s deep-seated motivations, originating from the largely wealthy and privileged legislators responsible for it. Most of them likely had never contemplated what it was like to want or need a gun for protection. Those motivations, on further analysis, highlight an apparent lack of respect for minorities, disdain for the working class, and scorn for women.
Because, as the arc of history has demonstrated, in yet another of the seemingly countless such examples, with the GUNS Act — and contrary to the dominant political rhetoric at the time — the U.S. federal government systematically incapacitated poor people, women, and minorities of various strands. In a stroke of bitter irony, although at the time it was the political left — Democrats and progressives — who led the charge for the GUNS Act, nowadays it is also the political left that is quick to raise these points about the law’s disastrous and deadly effects on the underprivileged.
It’s a rather long piece and I’m not about to quote it in significant detail. I suggest you go and read the whole thing, but this part gives you the gist of it.
And the author, Trevor Kraus, is completely correct in his assessment.
The truth is that we know how such a law will be enforced. It won’t be the country club crowd paying the price for such regulations. No, it’ll be the urban poor who will bear the brunt of it.
This glimpse at the history books a century from now isn’t likely to sway anyone, though. Those who vehemently agree with gun control aren’t likely to accept this idea that the weight of their preferred policies will fall on black and Hispanic people. They’re convinced that it’ll be just as what these history books say, a necessary measure.
Except, they never looked for another answer.
The right to keep and bear arms is a constitutionally protected right and none of the gun control crowd–who likes to bill themselves as being about “gun safety” or just stopping “gun violence–has ever looked for any other way to prevent senseless tragedies.
Instead, they push for gun control and dismiss any concern out of hand. They don’t care if we tell them it won’t work. They don’t care if we tell them who will be arrested and jailed for these policies. None of that matters to them.
But who knows? Maybe future history books will have more sense than we give them credit for. Probably not, but I like my speculative fiction on the optimistic side.