“By describing gun rights as foundational to the nation and liberty through the Second Amendment, it elevated guns and related issues into a cultural and political identity that went beyond the legal technicalities of gun control,” German Lopez wrote almost two years before in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings, two years before two — not one, two — mass shootings turned America into Fallujah in twenty-four hours. The gun becomes a symbol of individual rights facing rescinding by a powerful central state; to take the gun is a step toward state control. Hence District of Columbia v. Heller, the culmination of three decades’ worth of relentless lobbying and psy-ops. The sense of aggrievement that Donald Trump has encouraged — a sense that America has become a browner, gayer, healthier place — transforms the fight over gun control into a heroic, moral last stand; treating victories as if they were last stands is one of modern conservatism’s deepest paradoxes. Yet even when the Dayton shooter posts a “manifesto” in which he bemoans a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” that dovetails with the most violent tropes of Trumpism, the responses look like this — one of the milder ones, let me add.
Indifferent at worst to anti-gun efforts for most of my adult life, I became, as they say, radicalized in 2017. I grew up around guns. Relatives accept hunting as a ritual. Since the attempted murder of Gabrielle Giffords they regard these shootings with horror. travesties on the Second Amendment and injurious to their own rights. They are wrong. But the only way to amend a constitutional blight is to amend the Constitution: the Twenty-First Amendment revoked the Eighteenth, recall. The late John Paul Stevens had reached this point himself. And the only way to get this amendment through Congress or state legislatures is to elect representatives and senators who agree.