I've got a new essay up at BNR about Hillary Clinton calling for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, and how it is music to my ears, because I am from the no-gun culture:
I have heard gun-owners tell me about their right to bear arms, all kinds of arms without restriction, and about their right to be able to walk around in public with them. And now I would like gun-owners listen to me tell them about my right to not be around guns and my right to not get shot by someone holding one.Click through to read the whole thing.
For many Americans, gun ownership is utterly natural. And it's so commonplace that everyone knows and understands the phrase "gun culture." There is abundant public conversation about the right to own guns.
What we don't have words for are the experiences of people for whom gun ownership is not natural. Who didn't grow up around guns, who don't know how to use them, who are frightened of them, who have been turned off by guns because of a bad encounter with them. And there is very little public conversation about the right of these people to not be around guns.
I am one of the people from what I'll call the no-gun culture.
...I really want gun owners to understand that there is an equally valid no-gun culture. It is okay for me to never want to own a gun, for self-defense or any other reason. It is okay for me to not want to have guns in my home. It is okay for me to want to go into public spaces without seeing unconcealed guns.
There has to be some sort of balance between the pro-gun and no-gun subcultures that coexist in the U.S. And I really believe that reinstating the assault weapon ban is a place to start.
If we can't even agree on that, especially after the horrific shooting in Orlando, then this isn't a conversation about guns anymore. Not really. It's a conversation about power and control.
I suspect that it always has been, but I would be thrilled if gun-owners would prove me wrong.