With the announcement of Bernie Sanders’ second presidential campaign, many are waiting with baited breath over his official platform. Bits and pieces have been released slowly including the Senator’s plan for creating a federal ban on all semi-automatic assault weapons. On the surface, this plan seems harmless and to fall in line with typical Democratic rhetoric, the details of this plank reveal a different story.
Sanders’ gun control measures may appear to be about stopping the surge of mass shootings and shoving a stopper in gun related deaths, but it appears to be another instance of the left using progressives in order to create a less equal society. The former mayor of Burlington has a long history of voting for legislation to regulate guns, including the 1994 assault weapon ban and against the 2013 concealed carry reciprocity, and has never had more than a C+ rating from the NRA.
The truth is that this tactic is a part of a pamphlet written by the merchants of Dodge City, Kansas in which they planned on placing restrictions on guns in order to attract customers to their businesses. UCLA history professor Stephon Aron explains that “the first law passed [of the newly formed municipal government] was one prohibiting the carry of guns in town, likely by civic leaders and influential merchants who wanted people to move there, invest their time and resources, and bring their families,” and that “Cultivating a reputation of peace and stability was necessary […] if it were to become anything more transient than a one-industry boom town.”
There are many signs that Sanders’ views are set in a capitalist sense of creating more dependency on businesses. According to his platform, the push for banning assault weapons would begin in the “most marginalized neighborhoods where concentrations of crime are high.”
That excerpt should be a cause for alarm, as many of these neighborhoods are very diverse and the most occurring crimes are not necessarily gun related. It would be accomplishing the same goal of those Old West business owners: to put a band-aid on a flesh wound and give business more ability to extract profits from the surrounding residents.
Progressives should immediately be skeptical of the Senator’s gun control tactics. Inviting business owners more opportunity to exploit those in the most marginalized groups is not the way to take guns off the streets and protect the United States’ citizens.