Don’t Tell Me about Your Assault Rifle

I no more want to know you like assault weapons than I want to know what kinky things you do with a porn magazine in your hand. You see, if you’ve moved past guns for self-protection into defending your right to own war weaponry, that’s a fetish. And—I’m not trying to be rude—I simply don’t need to know that about you.

Yes, I understand that 1st Amendment rights limit how much I can say about your flipping that magazine page, doing whatever turns you on. You might argue 2nd Amendment rights also prevent me from asking you to please remove your trigger finger from your assault rifle.

The problem is, whether or not assault weapons are constitutional and what I think about someone are two different things. You might be someone I care about. Or respect. Or even just know in passing. And if you tell me you love your assault rifle, I’m going to look at you sideways. Hell, I might give you the side eye if you just say you like assault rifles. Or that you believe others should be able to own assault rifles. My view of you will change. And not in a good way.

In order to prevent that from happening, everyone, please rely on your absolute right to keep fetishized behavior private unto yourself. Seriously, don’t tell me. I’m not making some sort of fancy argument here—I DON’T WANT TO KNOW.

Yeah, yeah. We’re supposed to respect divergent opinions. How can we “engage in dialogue” if I turn my head? And, man, am I being judgy or what? Telling folks their macho military gun is a fetish?

But I have to say something. Because it’s gotten to the point people think an assault rifle is a normal thing, perfectly okay to talk about in public (we can thank the NRA for selling us that bill of goods.). If I don’t issue a warning, you might launch into a defense of your private behavior, not realizing what you’re revealing. In the end, I’ve only got your best interest in mind.

Before 2004, this public disclosure of private facts wasn’t a problem. Congress banned the sale of these weapons. But the NRA went on a campaign to rebrand weapons of war as “sporting rifles.” And, voila—a fetish slunk from the back pages of gun magazines into the glaring light of day.

Do I want to repeal the 2nd Amendment? I certainly do not. Do I want commonsense regulation of gun ownership? I do. I’m not even asking for radical regulation, such as we impose on abortion rights. Or unnecessary restrictions, such as what we’ve done with voting rights.

I’m asking that we declare limits, the same way we do for 1st Amendment rights. Pornography, protected; obscenity, not protected. What I’m saying is, by community standards, your assault weapon designed to kill fifty of our fellow and sister human beings in a matter of minutes, is obscene. I mean, for heaven’s sake, even Walmart won’t sell these things.

But I have strayed from my main point, which is: please don’t tell me if you support allowing military-style assault weapons in the hands of private citizens—yeah, baby!!! I don’t want to know that type of information about you.

I thank you for your cooperation.

1st amendment, 2nd amendment, assault rifles, definition of obscenity, District of Columbia et al v. Heller, limiting voting rights, Orlando shooting, restricting abortion rights, restricting assault weapons

Comments (8)

  • Yes! You go girl. I love the attitude, Ellen, and it mirrors mine as well as millions of other Americans (and world citizens). I just don’t get the infactuation with machismo killing machines over the safety of innocent victims – kindergartners, for heaven’s sake. Why can’t we be infatuated with love instead of fear? My family is a victim of gun violence. When I hear people talking about their guns, I share that, and it usually shuts them up.

    • I do hope there are SO many people who agree that our ‘leaders’ are actually forced to do something. I am so sorry about your family’s personal experience of gun violence–I bet that does make it real for folks, not just a theoretical opinion. Thanks for reading and commenting and supporting!

  • I made similar points and someone replied that criminals can buy anything on the black market (implying that gun regulation restricts gun ownership of non criminals only). What do you say back to that?

    • I’d have several options about how I make moral choices (hint: not based on others’ actions) or economics (such weapons won’t be cheaply, easily available UNLESS we keep manufacturing them) or logical (under that theory we’ll all soon have the right to own nuclear weapons (“if we don’t have plutonium, only the criminals will have plutonium.”) But the reality isn’t a theoretical argument: only since the ban expired in 2004 have assault weapons become the gun of choice by those committing mass murder, and they are being purchased legally. All of this assumes you don’t want to just say, “Ack! Talk about that sort of thing with your wife!” 🙂

  • Yeah. All that. I believe that the 2nd amendment is important to keep us in charge of our government instead of the other way around, but like all technology weaponry has been taken so far that it has to have constraints put on it. No, the laws won’t be perfect. We will still get assault rifles coming in illegally across our borders, there will be people who screw up and don’t enforce things properly, etc. But there is no need for citizens to be able to buy assault weapons–automatic, semi-automatic, whatever. As you can imagine, I wish we could outlaw all guns because of hunting as well as massacres, but my practical self knows that this could have a more dangerous outcome in the future. We need the 2nd amendment, but nowhere in there does it state that we need outrageous superduper killing machines on our streets.

    • You are so right—the constitution never says a word about “superduper killing machines.” I am probably wrong, but I sense a change after this massacre—we may actually do something. And I LOVE that you stayed with it long enough—I know you have a problem with my comments cutting out—to get in this whole, long comment. Thank you!

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