Gun control is the liberal equivalent to abortion.
Let me explain: it’s a little difficult to remember now, after eight years of Obama Derangement Syndrome causing the Republicans to allow themselves to be taken over by authoritarian nutjobs who actually believe their own bullshit, leading to a real and genuine threat to (and steady erosion of) women’s reproductive rights, but for much of the 90s and 2000s abortion was largely a fake issue.
Which having said, let’s pull back a bit: there was real debate going on around the edges of the abortion issue, like the availability of late-term abortions, but the core notion that some kind of access to abortion in some form was a guaranteed right of all women wasn’t realistically under challenge. The Republicans would, of course, campaign on opposition to it, but no one except the uninformed expected them to actually do anything outside of the purely symbolic. It was just a guaranteed way for the conservatives to get their base riled up and out to the polls, and liberals let them get away with it because the idea that the right to abortion was under threat was a great way to get their base riled up and out to the polls.
Gun control is the same thing but reversed. Every time there’s a shooting, liberals trot out their opposition to guns, but nobody except the uninformed really expects them to do anything to challenge the core idea that some kind of access to guns in some form is a guaranteed right. They just say it because it’s a great way to get to get their base riled up and out to the polls, and conservatives let them get away with it because the idea that the right to gun ownership is under threat is a great way to get their base riled up and out to the polls.
The only real difference is that the Democrats haven’t gone batshit insane in the last decade, and therefore are still playing the same game, while the Republicans have collectively lost their minds and actually started trying to destroy the right to abortion.
And like all political theater, the goal in both cases is misdirection. The point of the gun control debate is to draw our attention away from real problems, the real underlying causes of violence. Because yeah, if we take away guns we might get stabbings with five victims instead of shootings with fifty, but we’re still going to get killings. We’re still going to have angry men (and it is always men, have you noticed?) lashing out in violence against people they hate, we’ll still have police officers slaughtering the people they supposedly exist to protect, we’ll still have a culture of violence and fear.
Because the real causes are things nobody in power wants changed: The individualist power fantasy of being a rugged loner in a dangerous frontier who depends on no one and nothing. The rampant inequality that puts anyone who isn’t rich in constant fear for their livelihood while also telling everyone who belongs to even one privileged population (which is virtually everyone) that they’re entitled to better. The scapegoating that puts the blame for inequality on its victims, encouraging them to lash out against one another. The authoritarian fear of change and difference. Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry, capitalism, all the mechanisms of sorting humanity into the deserving us who have been cheated and the undeserving them who are stealing from us.
Change those, and the availability of guns ceases to matter. And for all that they seem insurmountable, impossible, unconquerable built-in features of our culture, it’s pretty obvious that trying to push for gun control doesn’t actually accomplish anything, regardless of whether actual gun control would.
So if we’re going to be hammering our heads against the impossible anyway, why not go for broke?