The paranoid right-wing fringe believes it needs guns to overthrow the government—and even so-called GOP moderates are pandering to them.
It’s crazy, but we have to face the facts: Our prolonged gun control stalemate reflects the far-right’s deep distrust of democracy, and it’s worsened by a party that panders to that paranoid base. Increasingly this right-wing fringe believes it’s going to need its guns to overthrow an illegitimate government—especially the one run by gun-grabbing Barack Obama. They’ve been shrieking that Obama is coming for their guns since before he became president—the NRA mailed its devotees a 10-point guide to the way Obama would eviscerate the Second Amendment in 2008. He did anything but; in his first year he signed a law overturning a ban on loaded and concealed guns in national parks in 2009. He left the issue of gun control alone, only talking about it three times during the 2012 campaign.
The passion for guns has political and cultural roots in our origin as a nation that laudably threw off tyranny—while shamefully killing the people who lived here first, as “settlers” claimed the “frontier.” The continued mania for guns to ward off tyranny, even after we’d overthrown our oppressors and settled the country by any means necessary, is a holdover from the Civil War, when the South violently seceded to protect slavery. There remains a suspicion, in the red states of the South and mountain West, but even in some pockets of blue states, that the elected government isn’t entirely legitimate, and they may have to rely on “Second Amendment remedies,” in Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s unforgettable phrase, to overthrow it.
Unbelievably, the conservative majority on the John Roberts Supreme Court went so far as to redefine the Second Amendment to block what had been established efforts by local, state, and federal elected officials to place restrictions on individual gun ownership, in its infamous 2008 Heller decision.