Remembering Ronald Reagan and His Stance on Gun Control
LOOKING BACK AT RONALD REAGAN AND HIS STANCE ON GUN CONTROL IS BOTH SCARY AND TELLING
Ronald Reagan remains a near deity in conservative circles, though recent years’ rightwing extremism has left his legacy looking more cosmopolitan in comparison. Yet it’s worth taking a look at Reagan and his place in political history, as the Cold War actor turned law-and-order conservative really started his work in government by informing on supposed communist actors, resulting in all of them being blacklisted. But Reagan was very good at pushing the economy in a direction that was extremely business friendly, and almost single-handedly created the prison industrial complex dependent on minority “clients.” So where did conservative icon Ronald stand on gun control?
REAGAN WAS GREAT FOR THE GUN INDUSTRY, WHILE SOUNDING RESPONSIBLE ON GUN VIOLENCE
A simple answer is that he straddled the fence, sounding reasonable about protections while making sure to tout the all-American 2nd Amendment. Those were the days! Reagan’s first public appearance after leaving office included the following, just after a mass shooting at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California in 1989. He said, “I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen to own guns for sporting, for hunting, and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for the defense of the home.”
REAGAN, HIMSELF A SHOOTING VICTIM, ONLY STUCK HIS NECK OUT FOR A POLITICAL AGENDA
So there’s a lot included in that small Reagan quote. He was sure to categorize guns for sports, hunting (etc) and especially for home defense. Those encapsulate the foundation for today’s gun industry, but most notably the seminal idea of Stand Your Ground laws which for some reason we’ve been talking about this past week. But then there’s his mention of assault rifles, without saying assault rifles. Instead of assault rifles, Reagan only mentioned the most well-known Russkie gun (ahem, assault rifle), the AK-47. Today, any critical thought against assault rifles is anathema. So what does that say about Ronald Reagan?
It says that he was wearing the right leggings on his political street corner at the time. Conservative tastes are somewhat more risqué today….