A pro-gun Leftist?

I encountered Vaush on YouTube through his pro-LGBTQ+ videos and it was I guess just a matter of time before I stumble upon these as well:

I am torn on this issue. I have argued in the past on this blog that overzealous weapons regulations and indiscriminate bans are nonsense (-click--click-). For example, there is no practical purpose to be served by banning the sale and/or possession of some knives. I have also argued that liking firearms for their aesthetics or technology or enjoying exercising the skills needed for their use is not, in itself, a sign of a pathological personality (-click-). But I am also a proponent of proportionate regulation of weapons – the more dangerous a weapon, the more difficult it should be to obtain it for private use, and the barriers should not be financial ones or at least not purely financial ones. There should be some basic proficiency and background check for guns, as well as mandatory psychological exams and licensing for them. I do consider my home country (Czech Republic) to have a good and sensible legislature in this regard.

On the other hand, I do recognize that in the USA there are two strong barriers against the implementation of such laws and Vaush mentions them both.

  1. Guns in the USA are so ubiquitous that any ban or legislature will have negligible practical effect. They might stop impulse-buying a gun just before a mass shooting, but not much else. Anyone wishing to get their hands on a gun and ammo will probably be able to do so for a looooooong time in the good’ole USA. I do not have a response to this argument. The USA might well really be beyond the tipping point when the issue can be reasonably addressed.
  2. The problem in the USA is not the availability of guns alone, but mostly the culture surrounding them.  I wrote about this too in the past (-click-). The USA is in dire need of a culture shift. The current fetishization of guns and violence and of gun violence is harmful and it can only get worse if nothing is done about it. I do not know what to do about it though, the gun culture in the USA is extremely pervasive and strong.

So it is not simply possible to look around the world at what works there and implement it in the USA. The issue is, unfortunately, much more complicated than that.

If Vaush likes guns and wants to shoot them at the range or enjoy them aesthetically or both, I have no issue with it. Those are perfectly valid reasons to own guns in my book, and I think mentally healthy people should have lawful options to indulge in.

I also agree that some amount of packing heat on the left is reasonable, otherwise, there is nothing to stop the American right to have their version of Nacht des langen Messer and eventually Kristallnacht in the near future, it’s not as if parallels to these did not happen in the American history ample times in the past. And the armed right needs to be counterbalanced with something and flowers simply won’t do. Although I do fervently hope that it never comes to actual shootouts between neonazis and leftists in the USA. If the situation deteriorates that much, there probably won’t be a way to stop the civil war and the odds are that the police, army, and judiciary would side with the nazis – there are recent precedents for that too.

I do completely disagree, however, with one of his stated reasons – that having a gun might be useful in the case of a widespread societal collapse. In my opinion, in case of a widespread societal collapse in the USA or EU, not having a gun would be the least of the problems for most people. The topmost will be keeping yourself fed and warm, and guns can only help very little with that. Our current society is heavily dependent on infrastructure, logistics, and division of labor. In case of societal collapse, no electricity, no food and medication distribution, and no clean water will probably kill most people. Having a gun in such a scenario might marginally increase one’s short-term chances of survival, but without farming the land and distributing the food, any modern country will quickly starve. There is not enough wildlife left for those with guns to get sustenance by hunting. And stealing from others by force will be only of very short-term benefit. Bushcraft is a nice hobby but it can’t keep alive dense populations of hundreds of people per square km. Not to mention that I won’t live long without prescription medication and no amount of gun-waving will give it to me if pharmaceutical companies stop producing it. And in the case of Vaush personally, as well as millions of others – if he breaks or loses his glasses and there is no infrastructure to get him a replacement, his guns won’t help him with that either.

Other than this one thing I find his videos, especially on LGBTQ+ issues, reasonable.


  1. says

    Another reason one hears is to “defend against government tyranny”. Although I fail to see how handguns and AR-15s would win against mortar rounds and 155 mm shells.

  2. dangerousbeans says

    There’s a fairly long history of pro-gun progressives, parts of the black panthers come to mind. In the context of the US it seems reasonable

  3. says

    one element far too often failed to mention in this discussion is that the more trans people have guns the more will succeed at attempting suicide -- at rates that far exceed any benefit of defense from homicide. whatever else may be ultimately true in the pro-gun left position, this is a verifiable fact. im on the fence / slightly in favor of the “prepare for war” position, but I will not advise any trans person -- especially where it’s hard to get transition care -- to pack heat. and I won’t have a gun in my house.

  4. lochaber says

    I’ve heard of Vaush before, but never watched any of his videos until now. He makes some good points, but is a bit obnoxious and arrogant for my tastes, and he gets a couple things wrong, like dismissing the difference twixt rifles and handguns. He’s not wrong in that handguns are far more portable and concealable, but a rifle has far superior accuracy, range, penetration, power, and leaves a much more damaging wound (anyone curious about the specifics, go look at a couple of the high-speed camera channels where they film various rounds going through water jugs, phonebooks, ballistic gelatin, etc. there are more than you can count.

    Anyways, that said, I’m of really mixed feelings about firearm control and ownership. I personally don’t want to deal with the responsibility of possessing one. But I do think there is some merit in the idea of leftist groups taking after the Black Panthers, and groups of armed, TRAINED(this is important…) leftists showing up to counter-counter protest various lefty things, like abortion clinics, drag shows, pride gatherings, etc. We’ve seen countless situations where “proud boys” or other violent right wing extremists have shown up armed to terrorize some minority or oppressed group, and I think they would be less likely to do that, or at least less successful if there were an armed leftist group that showed up to counter them.

    But, also, training is important. Maybe even more important than firearm possession. I don’t exactly why I get this impression, but I feel like most of the pro-firearm leftists I’ve met/etc. have been pretty good about the training aspect. (There are a LOT of prior enlisted leftists…) Again, not much to back this up, but I feel like most of the right-wing extremists tend to focus on gear more than skills/training. If nothing else, their love of dumb shit like trigger cranks, bump stocks, and snaildrum magazines, especially considering their disregard of basic firearm safety (anyone else remember that brief trend where a bunch of right wing gun nuts were negligently shooting themselves in the junk/thigh/hip because they thought gun safety rules were for “cucks” (or whatever))

    Sorry, I tend to get ranty about this topic. One of the biggest arguments for gun control, IMHO, is to look at the shit people say/do, who are very anti-gun-control. those people scare me, in the same manner that someone doing 70mph down a residential street or donuts in a crowded intersection scares me.

  5. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Afghanistan militants won against the US military. And that doesn’t even count in the possibility that significant portions of the US military would desert or defect or fight purposefully poorly if they were ordered to attack US citizens in a civil war. It’s not as far-fetched as you think, although it should remain the option of last, last, last resort -- something to be feared, and not something to be appealed to so blithely as Republicans are wont to do.

    Congress should use their power enumerated in the constitution to train and discipline the militia. This power was not taken away by the second amendment. This training and disciplining should take the form of something like a weekend of firearm safety training, training in the legality and ethics and stats of firearm use, and some misc basic military training. Anyone who voluntarily refuses this mandatory militia training is free to do so at the cost of criminal sanctions. Congress is free to set criminal sanctions for particular crimes. For this crime of failure to appear for mandatory militia training, I have a particular criminal sanction in mind -- loss of gun rights. Then print a nice national ID card for those who complete their militia training, and have a national database for it. Voila. Perfectly constitutional even against the most “extreme” interpretations of the second amendment.

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