Bigotry, Symbolism and Ideology in the Battle Over Gun Control

Public Interest Law Review, 1992

12 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017

Date Written: April 15, 1992


Why do “anti-gun” advocates insist on portraying gun owners as “demented and blood-thirsty psychopaths whose concept of fun is to rain death upon innocent creatures both human and otherwise?” This article explores this question finding that while such a view may partially reflect mere political or cultural antagonism against gun owners, it also involves a genuine, ethically based hatred of self-defense and, consequently, of gun owners and guns as symbols of it. Anti-gun insistence on this kind of discourse is indispensable to the gun lobby’s success in defeating control proposals that, in principle, enjoy overwhelming support. Ideally, gun control organizations could defuse such counterproductive advocacy by disavowing it. But anti-gun advocates are so numerous and influential among gun control organizations that it is impossible for those who are merely pro-control to repudiate anti-gun ideology and disassociate their proposals from it.

Keywords: gun control, Second Amendment, crime, protection, self-protection, anti-gun, movements, ideology, safety, life, death

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Kates, Don B., Bigotry, Symbolism and Ideology in the Battle Over Gun Control (April 15, 1992). Public Interest Law Review, 1992, Available at SSRN:

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