“Gun is a way to exercise power”: How the idea of ​​overthrowing the government became mainstream | US gun control

Josh Horwitz has been an American gun control activist for nearly 30 years. In 2009, he co-authored a book warning that the idea of ​​an armed rebellion against the government was at the heart of the US gun rights movement.

More Americans are now “tyrants” of gun owners after heavily armed men appear in state capitols such as Virginia, Michigan, and Idaho to confront Democrats over gun and coronavirus restrictions. I take the rhetoric about.Some of the same armed protesters Appeared in Michigan State Capitol And at a Progan rally this summer, he was charged with kidnapping the Governor of Michigan last week and bringing her to trial for tyranny.

Other members of the “Boogaloo” movement allegedly attempted violence nationwide in the hope of killing law enforcement officers in California and causing a civil war.

Horowitz told the Guardians how the idea of ​​rebellion became mainstream in American politics and why lawmakers didn’t challenge it for decades.

The conversation has been summarized and edited for clarity.

You claim in your book that the idea of ​​a violent rebellion against the US government is at the heart of American gun culture. What does that mean?

Among some American gun owners, there is a belief that the second amendment is highly individualized and is constitutional as an individual’s right to fight the tyranny of the government. Therefore, each individual has the right to own any number of necessary weapons without government intervention. License law or identification law means that the government knows who has the gun. If you believe that an individual has the right to rebellion, you cannot put in gun control.

Motivations for purchasing semi-automatic attack weapons such as the AR-15 are often purchased not for self-defense, but for fear of government tyranny.

When the NRA says “vote freedom first”, it is not “vote self-defense first”. They mean you can decide when the government will be a tyrant. The problem is that one person’s tyranny is another person’s universal insurance bill.

This concept is “Riot” Is it a very fringe idea why Americans should have unlimited gun rights?

It is not the owner of all guns. But this move is much bigger than people think. And now guns are seen as a tool of political objection by most of the community.

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, said, “A man with a gun makes the rules,” and politicians and elected officials said, “We are the remedy for the second amendment. When they say “rely”, they mean that people with guns actually set the political agenda and settle political disputes. It’s a very undemocratic idea. As Abe Lincoln famously said, “any appeal from the ballot box to the ammunition box must fail.” We are a country based on the rule of law. Because you happen to be armed, guns do not make you a super-citizen with the ability to make special rules or have special political influence.

Where is this “Insurrectionary anarchism” come from? When did it take root?

The idea that an individual has the right to fight tyranny is as old as the republic. However, the modern embodiment of this principle can be traced back to the early 1990s, and the rise of the militia movement during the Bill Clinton administration enacted national gun violence prevention laws such as the ban on assault weapons and background checks. ..There is a way from the Ruby Ridge and Wako cases [deadly standoffs between citizens and federal agents, both involving illegal gun charges] For the Oklahoma City bombing. Michigan Miricia is where the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh made this start. He made a living from a gun show. He fully agreed with the gun rights agenda and eventually killed many children. I began to address the resurgence of this idea in the mid-2000s at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of President Obama.

How does racism affect this idea? “Riot” And what is its position in US politics?

This has a big racial component. White men in particular feel that the political reins of power are being separated from them, and their grip on power is being lost. Guns are a way to use force, let’s face it. Power over policy. Dominate people.

You first published the idea of ​​guns, democracy, and rebels in 2009. What kind of reaction did it get?

People didn’t react as I wanted: this would be a big deal unless we worked hard to oppose it. Instead, many elected civil servants, including many Democratic elected civil servants, agreed with the idea of ​​a second amendment to rebellion anarchism. People running for president in 2004 and 2008 use the following lines: “The second fix is ​​not for hunting. It has to do with protecting ourselves, our homes, our families, and our country from tyranny.” No one follows up. It was. “What do you mean? Do you think it’s okay to shoot a politician?”

This year, the Michigan Legislature took over, and the Idaho Legislature took over. It’s just like no problem. There is some kind of reaction that “boys become boys”.

why Is the politician’s reaction to rhetoric about violent rebellion so modest?

I think there is an idea that if this really happens, the US military will just defeat these people. “Oh, they would commit suicide.” But the US military shouldn’t be deployed in private locations in the first place. What are we going to do, do we have a tank in our own soil? We are not going to do that. The other is that this movement is really well armed. There is a lot of firepower in the hands of civilians: .50 caliber sniper rifles, AR-15, AK-47.

If they really did it, it would be very, very complicated.

How important is the number of US military members and police who personally believe in this rebel idea? This year, U.S. military veterans and active military personnel have been charged with a number of violent plots, including those allegedly designed to cause a civil war.

There are several elements of law enforcement that sympathize with this. Many are not, especially those in leadership. I have friends in the military, and for many of them, this idea is a complete anathema. However, much of the military demographics are young white men who like guns. I think the majority of law enforcement agencies and the military will fulfill their obligations, but that doesn’t mean that everyone does.

What changes have you seen in the development of insurrectionary anarchism since 2009?

There have been major changes in the last four years since Trump came to power. He does not blame violence. What he said about Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was terrible. When he is asked about a peaceful transfer of power and he hedges, I believe it is because he thinks he has a private army to back him up.

The rebel idea is about fighting government tyranny, but it’s especially dangerous if it comes to serve a particular official, and that’s what you’re looking at right now.

What has changed: The amount of weapons boys have these days is obscene. The AR-15 and the number of large magazines and assault weapons should scare everyone.

Are you worried about the potential for a major rebellion against the US government?


My fear is that violence will occur if elections are contested or if Trump appears to be defeated. I’m worried that efforts will be made to intimidate election managers and voters.

I’ve always been worried about a lone wolf that makes the most of these ideas. I’m now more worried about elections, democratic power, and organized efforts to destroy courts.

You have published a report focusing on how the state bans guns from being brought into polling stations.Are you worried about what will happen election The day itself?

I don’t think polls will spread violence. I think there are places where people with guns try to intimidate voters, but I think it’s relatively rare, not shooting. It’s really important that each polling place knows what their rights are, but I think I had enough time to speed them up. I don’t want to scare people. The final response to the second amendment to rebellion anarchism is to vote.

What do you think you should do now in response to all of this public conversation about riots?

First, we need a clear public reaction that those who exercise this “right” are traitors, not patriots.

The second part is the policy response. You need to restrict access to assault weapons. As soon as Congress is held in 2021, the use of guns at polling stations should be banned. I want you to ban open carry everywhere. Peaceful protesters are now routinely threatened by armed rebels. The way they intimidate people is to carry weapons openly. We have proved that we cannot treat it as a society.

And those who have bullies need to be careful not to support the idea of ​​a second amendment to insurrectionary anarchism. Even if you believe in the right of an individual to own a gun, the purpose of that right is not to kill government officials.

CHave you ever seen a turning point in how Democratic politicians respond to this type of rebel rhetoric?

To be completely clear, the biggest problem is the Republican elected civil servants, who consistently use the idea of ​​insurrectionary anarchism to support this kind of action. Hoping that the Democrats will not just stand up and tolerate, the Republicans have now adopted the idea of ​​a “second amendment bailout,” which is dangerous and seriously dangerous to the United States.

Elected officials of the Republican Party in Virginia believed that the gun rights march at the State Capitol was the largest since sliced ​​bread. Many Republican officials find this great.

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