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‘When it’s anyone but white Christian cis men, it’s not a right anymore’: Conservatives finally want gun control—for trans people

Their arguments are based on transphobia.

 

Claire Goforth

Tech

Posted on Mar 29, 2023

The Nashville school shooting is leading conservatives to finally call for gun control. Their newfound enthusiasm for reforming gun laws is based on transphobia, but some of their suggestions are also supported by gun control advocates.

On Monday, a transgender person killed three children and three adults at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. The shooter, who was fatally shot by police, used assault-style rifles in the attack.

Although the vast majority of mass shooters are cisgender males, the shooting inspired a wave of transphobia from conservatives. It also led them to call for banning transgender people from owning guns and other restrictions on possessing firearms—a deviation from their usual pro-gun purism.

Many of the calls for gun control are largely based on the transphobic, inaccurate assertion that being transgender or nonbinary is a mental illness.

Upon learning that the Nashville shooter was trans, conservative podcaster Elijah Schaffer tweeted, “Every libertarian who’s made the argument of ‘every transgender should own an AR-15’ may want to rethink their worldview.”

A woman who claims to be an alum of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign tweeted, “If you identify as transgender and/or are undergoing hormone therapy—you should NOT be allowed to legally purchase a firearm.”

When a person asked, “Curtailing the second amendment?” she replied, “For the severely mentally ill, yes.”

Ryan Fournier, founder of Students for Trump, posted a TikTok of a person loading an assault-style rifle, called them a “transgender activist showing off their firearm in a threatening demeanor,” and wondered why the “useless” FBI wasn’t doing anything.

Some on the right are (presumably accidentally) advocating for laws that gun reform groups have wanted for years, such as red flag laws and more inpatient mental healthcare facilities. Red flag laws restrict people who are violent and/or suicidal from temporarily possessing or purchasing weapons.

But most of their arguments are laced with transphobia, as they attempt to brand any trans person mentally ill.

Failed congressional candidate and former Trump staffer Karoline Leavitt opined, “The gun didn’t walk itself into the school and murder innocent children and people. A white, transgender, mentally ill, homicidal maniac did, and our country is producing more of them than any other nation in the world—WHY?”

Some on the opposite side of the issue suggested taking advantage of the transphobic reaction to the Nashville shooting to convince conservatives to vote for gun control measures.

“Remember that it took the Black Panthers arming themselves for Republicans to create stricter gun laws. Today perhaps our transgender friends will force them to do the same,” @RabbiHarvey tweeted. “When it’s anyone but white Christian cis men, it’s not a right anymore for them.”

Conservatives wanting to regulate guns came as a surprise to other observers.

“Literally the same argument progressives use to justify banning guns,” wrote one.

“So you’re advocating for gun control?” mused another.

One noted that people often argue against gun control by pointing out that Nazi Germany confiscated weapons. Those currently arguing to ban trans people from owning guns have failed to mention that the Nazis only took guns from specific groups.

It’s also true that red flag laws apply to everyone who is violent and/or suicidal—not just trans people.

Many on the same side of the political spectrum criticized their fellow conservatives for suggesting any form of gun control.

“So if transgender people post & say things similar to what conservatives do, conservatives will advocate in favor of gun control and the FBI?” the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus tweeted.

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*First Published: Mar 29, 2023, 1:52 pm CDT