American gun laws: Why the issues are not as clear-cut as they first appear

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He was one of the leaders of the anti-war movement in the UK and is known worldwide for his stand against imperialism. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow George Galloway on

Published time: 4 Aug, 2019 by

©  REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Apart from offering heartfelt condolences to the families of the slain in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, there is little that foreigners can do or helpfully say about the mass slaughter. It is a domestic internal affair.

The constitutional right to bear arms and constitute well-organized militia were revolutionary rights afforded the citizenry by the founding fathers as a bulwark against oppressive government like the one the colonists had recently overthrown.

While America seems like a “normal” state with a functioning internal democracy and the rule of law, for millions of Americans – there are 88.8 guns for every 100 citizens in the US – the notion of yielding a “monopoly of violence” does not sit easily with what remains in many respects a wild-west frontier land.

After all, the Supreme Court of the United States can bend and twist the laws, a court appointed by politicians in their own image. Despite the sound and fury at election times, there is really only one party in the United States – the corporate and war party. Largely, only millionaires – or those in hock to them – need apply to sit in the US Congress and only billionaires to sit in the White House.

©  REUTERS/Jorge Salgado

The state forces – localized police – are riven with racial hatred. The pictures of the gentleman arrests of the El Paso shooter and other white-supremacist killers contrast sharply with the daily choking and shooting of minor black and other minority miscreants.

In those circumstances many – myself included – would be loath to let go except from their “cold dead hands” the means of self-defense against a cancerously sick local and federal state.

The ease with which the mentally unhinged and the dangerously deluded can obtain weapons remains a mystery to many around the world, however. And the ease with which they appear to be able to carry them into crowded places even more so. Given that all cops and most security guards are themselves armed, it is remarkable how often these mass killers get a clear line of fire.

©  REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Instead of forever investing trillions of dollars in anti-ballistic missile defenses, Star Wars, and thousands of foreign military bases – with the omnipresent threat and often actuality of overwhelming American state violence – one would think there would be votes, and money, in investing in turnstiles at the entrance to public places!
Instead of much-trumpeted tax-cuts for the already rich in America, you’d again think there would be votes in a proper mental health system.

Instead of allowing Walmart to sell weapons to folks who then turn them on their own customers, perhaps the state might consider taking a monopoly on the sale of weapons at least?

Much is already being made of President Trump’s rhetoric in fueling gun violence in America. But this crisis did not begin three years ago. The achingly liberal Barack Obama presided over a fair few mass shootings of his own. And it was during the Kennedy-Johnson Civil Rights and Great Society eras that the Kennedys themselves as well as Dr King and others were cut down.

There can be little doubt, however, that Trump’s rampage like a drunken sailor across the American electoral cycle at Nuremberg-style rallies is whipping up racial hatred in America. His hype over border issues, his targeting of prominent women of color and of Muslims has undoubtedly energized the far-right in America – and beyond.
Trump’s strategy of driving wedges into the American body politic may or may not work in the forthcoming elections, but it is surely widening the fissures in US society in a dangerous way.

But he didn’t create them.

A society built on a hundred million corpses of Native Americans and two centuries of slavery, Jim Crow apartheid, and continuing racial segregation, bigotry, and discrimination was never going to turn out nice.

I say all of the above without hatred of America for I have none. I do not hate America and wish her only success in dealing with her myriad problems.

But I don’t want to be an American, to be led by America, still less do I consider America to be my father. I had my own father, my own country, my own leaders, whom I retain the right to remove.

The childishness of those around the world who continue to believe that they need this giant with the collective mind of a child to hold their hand and lead them to the promised land is perhaps the deepest sickness of them all.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.