Gun rights are often portrayed as a conservative issue by many who oversimplify the issue as if only Republicans in America care about preserving the constitutional right to bear arms.
Monday’s large pro-gun rights demonstration in Richmond, Virginia, provides another example. The event has been framed as a right-wing protest. But, gun rights are not an inherently political issue, and many on the left who oppose almost everything Republicans stand for will also stand up to defend the Second Amendment. Here are a few:
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All Antifa groups are not created equal. But some of them, including in Virginia, are extremely pro-Second Amendment. Members of Richmond’s Antifa Seven Hills rallied alongside conservative gun rights advocates Monday at the State Capitol.
“This is our fight as much as anyone else’s,” sad Antifa member James, according to Vice News. “It’s our state, and we are left largely out of the debate. The presence of an armed left is not discussed, it’s not understood.”
While it is actively opposed to conservative gun rights advocacy, which it believes is racist and non-inclusive, the Socialist Rifle Association is a national organization that seeks to equip and train people to use firearms safely for self-defense, and advocates for marginalized groups to have legal access to guns. It opposes gun control laws on the grounds that they are often enforced more severely against minorities.
“We seek to provide a safe, inclusive, and left-leaning platform for talking about gun rights and self defense, free from racist and reactionary prejudices, while providing a platform for the working class to obtain the skills necessary for all aspects of community defense,” the SRA website reads.
NRA certified instructor and founder of the Florida faction of Pink Pistols Jo Martin holding a pink gun, on December 11, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Francisco Hidalgo/BarcroftImages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The Pink Pistols is an organization that focuses on arming members of the LGBTQ community in order to break the stigma that LGBTQ people are easy targets for violent criminals. By arming more members of the community, the group believes, they will be protected if they are attacked, and eventually, attempts to attack them will be less frequent.
“Armed queers don’t get bashed,” The Pink Pistols’ website reads. “We change the public perception of the sexual minorities, such that those who have in the past perceived them as safe targets for violence and hateful acts—beatings, assaults, rapes, murders—will realize that that now, a segment of the sexual minority population is now armed and effective with those arms. Those arms are also concealed, so they do not know which ones are safe to attack, and which are not…which they can harm as they have in the past, and which may draw a weapon and fight back.”
Image source: CBS This Morning video screenshot
It might not be accurate to classify this organization as a “liberal” gun organization, as its mission is not overtly political in a way that would exclude or discourage a conservative from joining. If anything, NAAGA is somewhat apolitical right now, as a pro-Second Amendment group seeking to arm African Americans legally and create an environment in which it is not dangerous for a black man or woman to carry a gun due to racial stereotypes or biases. The group has recently been grappling with what its inevitable political aspects will look like in the future.
“The long-term goal of the National African American Gun Association is to have every African American introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting, and outdoor recreational activities,” the NAAGA website reads. “We welcome people of all religious, political, social, and racial backgrounds. We especially welcome African American members of law enforcement and active retired military.”
Lara Smith, president of the California chapter of the Liberal Gun Club. (Image source: ABC News video screenshot)
The Liberal Gun Club has been described as a “gun-filled safe space” for liberal gun enthusiasts who are put off by the conservative political ideology that is associated with groups like the National Rifle Association.
“The mission of The Liberal Gun Club is to provide a voice for gun-owning liberals and moderates in the national conversation on gun rights, gun legislation, firearms safety, and shooting sports,” the group’s website reads.