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Gun-Toting Liberals |
An article came out recently in Harper's Magazine called "Happiness is a Worn Gun". The writer, Dan Baum, has been in touch with us at Beyond Bullets in the past about gun issues, but we never knew that he was a gun-toting liberal!
His perspective in this article was unlike most of the polarizing views that typically plague the U.S. gun debate. It was insightful, balanced and even refreshing at times. Despite his open-minded exploration of the issue of concealed and open carry laws in America, however, he failed to give a voice to urban gun users or address teenage gun violence.
This was disappointing, especially because anyone working on youth violence prevention knows that this issue is all-consuming and essential to any conversation about guns in America. Mr. Baum described the psychological impact of carrying a concealed weapon, how it gives one power, responsibility, and a greater awareness of their surroundings. What he described is probably very similar to how teenagers feel when they carry guns in cities across the country. They carry guns for protection, but most of them don't want guns in their communities. For many, carrying a gun replaces other types of prosperity typically awarded to American teens. Guns become oppressive, rather than liberating.
Although it is refreshing to read that someone who carries guns is liberal and balanced enough to vote in favor of most gun restrictions, as Mr. Baum says he does, that's not enough if you still empathize with - even advocate for - the paranoid, distrustful mentality that leads gun owners to want their guns on their person at all times.
We thank Dan for writing so thoughtfully about this issue, but we also hope that he can come visit some of our communities in NYC to get a teenage perspective, as well. And in general, we hope that teenagers who are affected by gun violence everyday can begin to get their voices heard in our national gun debate.
If you're a teenager and have something you'd like to say about this article or issue, email us. Or say it through video and submit it to our site! Contribute Video