Sonia Sotomayor says Supreme Court changed arguments structure partly because female justices were interrupted

Sonia Sotomayor
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaks at Tufts University on September 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the Supreme Court changed its arguments structure partly because female justices were interrupted more than male justices.
  • The Supreme Court now allows each justice to take turns asking questions during arguments.
  • Previously, the court would only engage in free-for-all-questioning.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court changed its oral arguments structure partly because studies showed that female justices were interrupted more by their male counterparts than vice versa, according to CNN.

One such study found that during arguments in the 2015 term, Justices Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg were interrupted at double-digit rates far more often than their male colleagues.

“We observe only two instances of a male Justice being interrupted by another single Justice at a double-digit rate (ten or more times), but seven instances of a female Justice being so interrupted. Note that this disproportionate rate of the female Justices being interrupted occurred despite the fact that there were only three women,” the researchers wrote.

The data also showed that Sotomayor, for example, was interrupted a total of 57 times that term, roughly double the amount of times that four male justices were interrupted.

Sotomayor, who’s served on the high court for 12 years, said she recognized the imbalance “without question” much before the court decided to change its system – and found a way to deal with it, per CNN.

“I interrupt back,” she told an audience during a virtual event at the New York University School of Law.

Sotomayor pointed out that the problem is also seen elsewhere in society, saying: “Most of the time women say things and they are not heard in the same way as men who might say the identical thing,” according to the CNN report.

The studies about interruption had an “enormous impact,” Sotomayor said, and prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to become “much more sensitive” about justices cutting each other off. He offered to mediate if necessary, she added, per CNN.

The Supreme Court went remote last spring as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the justices hearing arguments for cases via teleconference and the audio being livestreamed for the first time in history. In another new twist, each justice in order of seniority was given time to ask questions. The practice was different from the usual free-for-all questioning that took place in person.

As the justices returned to the courtroom to kick off the new term last week, the court kept the new rule in place and took on a hybrid approach. The justices still speak up freely during arguments, but after each lawyer’s time has expired, they take turns asking questions.

The decision has brought in some change. Justice Clarence Thomas, infamous for not speaking or actively participating in sessions, asked questions in every single argument of last term, and is continuing to do so in this one. He’s the most senior justice, sitting on the bench for the past three decades.

The court will rule on major cases involving abortion and gun rights this term that could have dramatic effects on the country.

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Taliban mocks America in a propaganda video that shows its fighters dressed up in US Army uniforms and gear

Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, a leader of the Taliban affiliated Haqqani network, and a U.S.-designated terrorist with a five million dollar bounty, deliver his sermon to a large congregation at the Pul-I-Khishti Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.
Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, a leader of the Taliban affiliated Haqqani network, and a U.S.-designated terrorist with a five million dollar bounty, deliver his sermon to a large congregation at the Pul-I-Khishti Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.

  • The Taliban have released a propaganda video featuring its fighters wearing US uniforms and gear.
  • The insurgents have captured billions of dollars worth of US equipment left behind by fleeing Afghan soldiers.
  • Khalil Haqqani, a designated global terrorist, gave a sermon in Kabul while carrying a US assault rifle.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Taliban have released a propaganda video in which its fighters appear to be dressed in stolen US military uniforms and carrying US-made assault rifles.

The video, with a musical soundtrack, was aired on propaganda channels affiliated with the insurgent group. It said the group had deployed an elite unit called “Badri 313” to guard locations in Kabul.

The uniforms and weapons brandished by the men appear to be taken from stockpiles that US special forces had provided to the Afghan army.

The insurgents can be seen wielding M4 and M-16 assault rifles, wearing bulletproof vests and helmets with night vision goggles, The Sun reported.

This is in stark contrast to the group’s signature uniform of turbans, trainers, and AK-47s.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a sweeping offensive that culminated in the fall of the capital city Kabul on Sunday.

The insurgents easily defeated Afghan forces, and reports suggest they have since captured billions of dollars worth of US weapons left behind by fleeing soldiers.

Between 2002 and 2017, the US gave Afghan forces an estimated $28 billion in weaponry.

“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” a US official told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

On Friday, Khalil Haqqani, a senior member of Taliban splinter group the Haqqani network and a designated global terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head, was photographed in Kabul preaching to a packed mosque while holding a US-made M-4 rifle.

He appears to be flanked by armed guards also equipped with US military gear.

Another official told Reuters that estimates suggest the Taliban control over 2,000 armored vehicles, including Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft, including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.

While the group will unlikely be able to operate the aircraft, the seizures will serve as a propaganda tool.

“When an armed group gets their hands on American-made weaponry, it’s sort of a status symbol. It’s a psychological win,” Elias Yousif, deputy director of the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor, told The Hill.

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Mexico is suing US gun makers, arguing that millions of American guns have illegally flowed across the border and fueled homicide rates

Mexico guns rifles firearms
Hundreds of firearms on display before being destroyed at the Morelos military headquarters in Tijuana, Mexico, August 12, 2016.

  • Mexico filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against several US-based gun companies.
  • The lawsuit argues the companies’ business practices facilitated the unlawful trafficking of guns into Mexico.
  • Mexican officials say more than 2.5 million guns flowed into the country from the US over a decade.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mexico sued several US-based gun companies Wednesday, arguing that their business practices led to illicit guns flowing over the border from the US into Mexico, which in turn led to increased homicide rates.

The lawsuit, which the government of Mexico filed in a federal court in Massachusetts, accused the companies of “actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels and other criminals in Mexico.”

The companies targeted include Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Century Arms, Colt, Glock, Ruger, and Barrett, all gun makers, as well as a wholesaler in Boston called Interstate Arms. The companies did not respond to Insider’s request for comment or could not be reached.

The US government, which Mexico has long criticized for its lax gun control laws, was not targeted by the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said 70% to 90% of all guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, which has strict gun control laws, were trafficked from the US, adding that “this flood is not a natural phenomenon or an inevitable consequence of the gun business or of US gun laws.”

“It is the foreseeable result of the Defendants’ deliberate actions and business practices,” it continued. “Defendants design, market, distribute, and sell guns in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico.”

The lawsuit cited several specific examples, including a .50 caliber rifle made by Barrett that “can shoot down helicopters and penetrate armored vehicles and bullet-proof glass” and has “become one of the cartels’ guns of choice.”

It also said three guns made by Colt seem to explicitly target a Mexican audience by being given Spanish nicknames, including one that features the image of Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican revolutionary, and a quote attributed to him: “It is better to die standing than to live on your knees.”

The court filing also drew a correlation between the rise of homicides in Mexico and the number of guns manufactured in the US.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm industry trade association, rejected Mexico’s claims that the gun makers took part in negligent business practices.

“The Mexican government is responsible for the rampant crime and corruption within their own borders,” Lawrence G. Keane, the group’s senior vice president and general counsel, said. He added that the Mexican government was “seeking to scapegoat law-abiding American businesses” and that it is “solely responsible for enforcing its laws.”

According to officials, Mexico has only one gun store and issues less than 50 gun permits each year. A study conducted by the Mexican government last year found more than 2.5 million guns have illegally entered the country from the US over the past decade, The Washington Post reported at the time.

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Texas Supreme Court dismissed lawsuit against gun store brought by families of the victims in church shooting

Sutherland Springs Baptist Church Memorial Texas Shooting
A group wait in line to enter the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church to view a memorial, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

  • In 2017, a gunman killed 25 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
  • Families of the victims sued the gun store where the he purchased the weapon.
  • The Texas Supreme Court dismissed the suit, citing a law that protects gun makers and retailers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled the families of victims killed during a mass shooting cannot sue the gun store where the suspect purchased the weapon he used.

The lawsuit was brought in 2019, nearly two years after Devin Kelley gunned down 25 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, before killing himself after a chase. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history.

Family members of the victims filed a lawsuit against Academy Sports & Outdoors, a sporting goods chain, where Kelley had purchased the AR-556 semi-automatic rifle, ammunition, and high-capacity magazine used in the shooting. The lawsuit argued the store wrongfully sold him the gun because he presented an ID from Colorado, where it’s illegal to sell high-capacity magazines.

Read more: These 7 federal judges have had past brushes with Trump and are now helping to decide the Capitol rioters’ fate

After two lower courts declined to dismiss the case, Academy Sports appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled the lawsuit couldn’t go forward due to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun retailers and makers when their products are used to commit crimes.

The court also said the sale was legal despite Kelley’s Colorado ID. The US Gun Control Act required the retailer to comply with Colorado laws, but the court said it only applies to firearms, not the magazine.

Families of the victims are also suing the US Air Force. Kelley was convicted of domestic violence in a military court while serving in the Air Force. The Air Force later admitted it failed to divulge the conviction to the proper FBI crime database, which would have prevented Kelley from purchasing the weapon.

The Air Force said at the time it launched a review into how the records were handled.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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After supermarket shooting, Colorado is letting cities pass their own gun laws – and Boulder plans to enforce its assault weapons ban

boulder shooting
The memorial at the King Soopers on Table Mesa in Boulder, United States on March 24, 2021.

  • After a supermarket shooting, Colorado repealed a law banning cities from passing local gun laws.
  • Boulder now hopes to enforce its 2018 assault weapons ban that a judge had previously struck down.
  • Most cities in the US are not able to pass local gun laws due to state laws banning the practice.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Months after ten people were killed in a mass shooting at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket, the state’s government took swift action.

Legislators have passed six gun laws since the shooting in March, with Gov. Jared Polis signing three of them into law Saturday. The recently adopted laws expand background checks for gun purchases and create an office of gun violence prevention.

The third gives local jurisdictions control over gun rights by repealing an existing ban that prevented cities from passing their own gun laws and has renewed interest in Boulder for an assault weapons ban. Almost all states have similar laws, known as preemption laws, that prevent local gun laws, according to the National Rifle Association.

Read more: 2 Democrats are pushing for decriminalizing possession of all drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and meth

Despite the former ban, Boulder had enacted its own local ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in 2018, though it had not yet been enforced. On March 12, a judge ruled the ban violated Colorado state law, citing the preemption law, and struck it down.

Just 10 days later, a gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in the city using an AR-556, an AR-15-style semi-automatic pistol, that he had purchased days prior. The gun would have been covered by the ban, according to The Denver Post, because it included guns that can use external magazines. He purchased the gun in another city, though Boulder’s ban would have made it illegal for him to carry it in the city.

Boulder is again looking at the ban now that the new state bill allows for cities to set their own gun laws. Mayor Sam Weaver told The Wall Street Journal he believes the new bill will negate the legal challenges to the assault weapons ban, effectively putting it into effect. He also said the city will do what it takes to make the ban enforceable.

“In theory, if we didn’t have this law, you could go buy an assault weapon, and then walk across the street and shoot a bunch of students,” Weaver told the Journal. “So we would like to have it in place to prevent rash actions with assault weapons in Boulder.”

The pre-emption laws gained traction in the 1980s after Democrat-led cities passed gun laws in states controlled by lawmakers who were more conservative, The Journal reported. The NRA and other gun-rights advocates have strongly supported pre-emption laws.

Polis had signed two additional gun bills into law earlier this year following the supermarket shooting, including regulations for gun storage and requirements for reporting stolen or missing firearms. Another bill that passed and awaits the governor’s signature seeks to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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Lara Trump urges Americans living near to the southern border to ‘arm up, get guns’ and prepare to ‘take matters into their own hands’ against migrants

Lara Trump, US-Mexico border
Lara Trump said that migrants should never make the “dangerous journey” into the US via the southern border.

  • Lara Trump urged those living on the southern US border to “arm up” against migrants.
  • She also said that migrants should not make the “dangerous journey” into the US, during a Fox News appearance.
  • Her comments were met with outrage online, with some calling it “incitement to violence.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lara Trump urged Americans living on the southern border to “arm up and get guns and be ready” during an appearance on Fox News on Saturday evening.

Former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law was discussing President Joe Biden’s “disgraceful” plans for border security with Judge Jeanine Pirro.

“I don’t know what you tell the people who live at the southern border,” Trump said. “I guess they better arm up and get guns and be ready, and maybe they’re going to have to start taking matters into their hands.”

She then commented on migrants attempting to cross the border into the US. “These people should never make this dangerous journey here,” Trump added.

Trump was criticized on social media for her comments, with some saying that her words could promote vigilante violence.

There has been a significant influx of migrants arriving at the southern US border since the start of the year.

Since Biden became president, record numbers of migrants have tried to enter the US via Mexico. US authorities intercepted 180,034 migrants along the Mexico border in May, The Washington Post reported.

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California is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s assault weapon ban

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital on June 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital on June 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

  • A federal judge last week overturned California’s assault weapon ban, calling it “unconstitutional.”
  • California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced he would be appealing the ruling on Thursday.
  • He called the ruling “disturbing and troubling and of great concern.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California’s Attorney General appealed a federal judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s ban on assault weapons.

Attorney General Rob Bonta said at a news conference on Thursday that the decision to overturn the ban was “disturbing and troubling and of great concern,” according to NBC News.

“Equating firearms that have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in this country with Swiss Army knives has no basis in law or fact,” Bonta separately said in a press release. “The ban on assault weapons will not put an end to all gun violence, but it is one important tool the state has to protect the safety of Californians while also respecting the rights of law-abiding residents who choose to possess firearms. We have appealed the district court’s ruling and will continue our defense of the state’s commonsense gun laws.”

Last week US District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego overturned California’s 32-year-old ban on assault weapons in an opinion in which he called the ban “unconstitutional.”

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The FBI reported nearly 4.7 million background checks for gun purchases in March, revealing a record number of firearms sales in the US

Walmart guns
  • Background checks for guns hit a record in March 2021, the FBI reported.
  • Close to 4.7 million background checks were conducted, a 77% increase compared to March 2019.
  • Experts told CNN, fear during the pandemic and social unrest is fueling a rise in gun ownership.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations reported close to 4.7 million background checks for new gun purchases in March, the largest on record since the FBI began tracking them 20 years ago, revealing a record number of firearms sales in the US.

The figure is a 77% increase compared to March 2019. The agency conducted over a million more background checks in March 2021 compared to March 2020, which also saw a record number of gun sales.

The New York Times previously reported in March 2020, a record number of Americans were buying guns due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“We attribute it mainly to the virus scare,” Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun store in North Carolina and saw a record number of sales at the time told the Times.

Hyatt told The Times he’s seen similar influxes of people buying guns in the past.

“People have a little lack of confidence that if something big and bad happens, that 911 might not work. We saw it with Katrina,” Hyatt said. “People haven’t forgotten that a disaster happened, and the government didn’t come.”

Months with the highest number of FBI background checks like March, June, July, and December show months where there was political or social unrest.

CNN reported there’s a record number of first-time gun buyers, like Robin Armstrong who told the outlet the current instability in the country made her want to buy firearms.

“We’ve also seen, in times of civil unrest, that we see people go out and say that they need to protect themselves,” Jack McDevitt, a criminology professor and the director of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University told CNN. “So they’re going to buy guns to protect themselves.”

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A 2-year-old shot his parents and wounded himself after finding a handgun on their nightstand

Handgun on a table
A stock photo of a 357 Caliber handgun on a table.

  • A two-year-old boy shot his parents and wounded himself after finding a gun on a nightstand.
  • An investigation is underway to understand how the young boy gained access to the gun.
  • A Maine gun safety group is now pushing for a bill that would require gun owners to keep firearms locked away.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A two-year-old boy shot his parents and wounded himself with a handgun after he discovered the weapon on his parents’ nightstand on Wednesday morning, the police said.

The child’s 25-year-old father was shot in the head and his mother, 22, suffered a leg wound, according to Sagadahoc County Sherriff Joel Merry.

The toddler was struck in the face by the recoil of the handgun, Merry added.

All three were transported to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Maine. They were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the sheriff said.

An investigation is underway to understand how the young boy gained access to the gun.

Read more: Joe Biden has a 2nd chance to take on the NRA with action on background checks for gun sales

“The question of how the boy was able to pick up and fire the weapon is of great concern and is being investigated,” Merry told reporters. “This situation, while disturbing, could have had an even more tragic ending. We are thankful that the injuries were not more serious.”

In response to the shooting, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition (MGSC) is pushing for a bill that requires gun owners to keep loaded guns out of children’s reach.

The MGCS is supporting Bill LL 759, WMTV reported. If passed, the law would hold gun owners criminally responsible if a child can access and use a loaded firearm that was not properly stored.

“Even toddlers know where guns are kept. So, these guns need to be secured,” Rep. Vickie Doudera, who is sponsoring the bill, told WMTV. “They need to be in a locked safe, or they need a trigger lock, a slide lock, or something that keeps a kid from being able to fire it.”

Only one US state – Massachusetts – legally requires gun owners to keep firearms locked away, according to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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I am a Leftist, trans woman living in the rural South and a gun owner. Biden’s proposed gun control legislation will only help the far right.

Magee Homestead, Wyoming - Gun Range
A shooting range in Wyoming.

  • After the Pulse nightclub shooting and several doxxing attempts, I decided to become a gun owner.
  • Most people who do not own guns do not understand how complicated and arbitrary gun law really is.
  • Biden’s proposed gun legislation misunderstands gun ownership and will only help far-right recruitment.
  • Margaret Killjoy is an author, musician, and podcaster living in the Appalachian mountains.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It was the Pulse nightclub shooting for me. I spent hours glued to the news, shaking with anger and fear. That hate crime sent plenty of people in search of more restrictive gun laws, but it sent me and an awful lot of others in the opposite direction. Over the next few years, I started going to shooting ranges more. I took a two-day concealed carry class. Now, like millions of Americans, I’m a gun owner. Importantly, I’m part of what looks like a demographic shift in gun ownership in the US.

I’m a woman in the rural South, and I’m very visibly trans. I unintentionally find myself in the center of a culture war; the way people treat me, in cities or the countryside, has changed dramatically since Trump’s election in 2016. The stares are longer, the sneers more open. Before gender identity became so politicized in the past few years, I was a curiosity. Now, I’m a walking symbol of everything the far-right hates.

Through my activism and my art, I have found myself in the crosshairs of the local far-right. A local news outlet once ran a satanic-panic style story about one of my music videos, and the more overtly fascist groups have sent me pictures of my family alongside my license plate number and home address.

I have always supposed that my safety is something I need to guarantee for myself – that no one else was going to do it for me. Since the people who hate people like me are famously well-armed, I determined I would be as well.

It wasn’t a simple decision, nor one that I would ever recommend anyone take lightly. The risk-benefit analysis of owning a tool like a firearm must always be ongoing. Yet as I’ve become increasingly comfortable with firearms, I’ve also come to realize just how misguided most efforts at gun control truly are.

Biden’s gun control legislation is misguided

Frankly, I believe that Biden’s executive orders and proposed legislation will disproportionately affect marginalized groups, both in terms of enforcement and in terms of access to the tools of self-defense. Because the legislation does not understand the gun community, I also believe the proposed laws are a gift to the far-right’s recruitment efforts.

When people talk about “common sense gun laws,” it sure feels like they mean the opposite. Gun owners are very aware of the labyrinthine laws that surround the ownership and use of guns, how they vary state by state, and what will and won’t bring the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) down on their heads. Many attempts to make laws more “common sense” end up making them even more confusing and contradictory – and can easily criminalize people who are trying to follow the law.

Take the arm brace for example. An arm brace on a pistol allows you to shoot more accurately. In 2014, the ATF ruled that you could stabilize the brace against your shoulder, if you wanted, without the gun being considered a short-barreled rifle, which are more heavily regulated and taxed. Then in 2015, they changed their mind. The exact same legal firearm, owned by millions, would be legal if shot normally, but illegal if shot with the arm brace held against the shoulder – unless the gun owner paid a $200 tax and filed the right paperwork. In 2017, they reversed again. All this because of quibbles over the definition of a rifle, which isn’t legally concealable, whereas a pistol often is.

Now Biden wants to say people can’t have this pistol, modified with the arm brace, at all without registering it and paying potentially hundreds of dollars.

That is to say, Biden is telling millions of law-abiding Americans that they better pony up hundreds of dollars or else become criminals because of arbitrary distinctions in the length of the barrel of a gun they own. If the goal of legislation is to prevent mass shootings, calling a pistol fitted with an arm brace a rifle – and thus illegal to conceal – is the most unhelpful of legal technicalities. Shooters planning to murder a crowd of people are not concerned with the legality of how they carry their gun.

This type of legislation is a gift to far-right recruitment, which, according to leaked Telegram chats, relies on using gun rights advocacy and the fear of gun confiscation to push people further to the right. One recruitment guide listed gun control as a way to “find common ground” before introducing someone to more fringe ideas. Guns should never have become a right versus left issue.

I grew up largely outside of gun culture. My father is a Marine with a medal for marksmanship, and I shot a .22 at Boy Scout camp in middle school, but guns didn’t play any large role in my life.

When you don’t own a gun, it’s really hard to care about gun law. It doesn’t risk criminalizing you or too many people you know. We live in bubbles in the US. If you own a gun, your friends likely do too. If you don’t, your friends probably don’t.

Most advocates for gun control do not understand firearms, firearm law, or firearm culture. When people tell you what to do, while making it clear they don’t have the first idea what they’re talking about, it is always going to rub you the wrong way.

I own a gun and most of my neighbors own guns. Some of them hunt. Some of them are veterans. Some of them are concerned with self-defense. My neighbors in rural North Carolina, just like my neighbors when I’ve lived in major cities, run the full gamut of political affiliations. None of them operate under the illusion that the police would keep them safe in case of an emergency. Safety comes from knowing your neighbors. Safety comes, sometimes, from being armed.

Gun ownership as a symbol

What I didn’t realize, until I was in the environment I’m in now, is the importance of the gun as a symbol for many communities. A rifle in a safe, or a handgun on a bed stand, says, “I’ll never go hungry, because I can hunt.” It also says, “I will not be a passive victim of a violent attack.” It says: “Me and the people I love are the ones who keep ourselves fed and safe.”

Taking that away from someone, or just making it even more legally complex to own a gun, will never go over well. No amount of statistics will ever outweigh the emotional and symbolic importance of that ability for self-determination. The far-right heavily leverages that symbolic weight for recruitment – perhaps more than anything else.

I’m not advocating for universal gun ownership. I don’t believe an armed society is a polite society. I also recognize that for a lot of people – maybe even most people – gun ownership makes them less safe instead of more safe

But it’s poverty, patriarchy, and racist policing that drives most gun violence, and those underlying issues are where change ought to be focused.

There’s a slogan, albeit a cynical one, that people involved in mutual aid organizing use that resonates a lot with me: “We keep us safe.”

There are people who want to hurt me for who I am, and I don’t want to let them. My safety is my responsibility. Maybe it shouldn’t be, in some perfect society, but we don’t live in a perfect society. We live in the USA.

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