The Liberal Gun Owners of America

The Liberal Gun Owners of America
Belief in the Second Amendment crosses political and ideological lines. image from vocativ.comweb photo

There are a lot of guns in the United States. Statistically, there’s no way all of the Americans who own guns fit into the standard mold espoused in the media of the stereotypical gun owner.

In fact, according to this story from vocativ.com, a lot of American gun owners are what would be described as liberal when it comes to issues besides gun control.

The story quotes Jae Seifert, a 28-year-old Minnesota native who lives in Colorado who is in favor of legalizing marijuana, physician-assisted euthanasia, and he's pro-immigrant. He was an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter during the election, before reluctantly backing Hillary Clinton, the story says. Seifert is also a passionate gun owner and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment.

"I think that in this country, because we have freedom, with that comes a certain acceptance of risk," Seifert says in the story. "So if you're going to be free, that also means I have freedom to do things that you may not life, which includes carrying a gun."

Seifert also happens to own a gun shop called WZ Outfitters that just getting started.

"I don't really like that kind of traditional gun store experience where you go in, you've got Islamophobic s--t, really, really right wing stuff. Just the whole kind of, 'Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. F*** the other guys.' That's also part of the reason I felt like I wanted to start my own store," Seifert says in the story.

From the story: "As a gun store owner with a liberal worldview, Seifert puts WZ Outfitters in a unqiue position to serve gun-lovers who shun shops owned by those who identify with the racist, xenophobic far-right. WZ Outfitters carries a range of firearms for sport and protection purposes, but you'll find no anti-Muslim merchandise or Donald Trump-supporting bumper stickers there."

The story says Seifert and his customers aren't alone. Membership in the Liberal Gun Club—which "provides a voice for gun-owning liberals and moderates in the national conversation on gun rights"— has increased by 10 percent since the election.

The subReddit /r/liberalgunowners has nearly 7,000 subscribers and has been around for four years.

The story also mentions Sergey Solyniak up in Lynwood, Washington, who also owns a gun shop, Precise Shooter, and describes himself as a "Bernie Sanders/ACLU Liberal." His shop, 17 miles north of Seattle, caters to a mixed clientele.

"We don't sell any actual propaganda items. We just don't. The store serves every customer…we want everybody to be welcome here." Solyanik said in the story.

Solyanik, 46, emigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago, and says in the story he considers himself to be left of Hilary Clinton and the mainstream Democratic Party and that he's disillusioned by the DNC, which talks about supporting the middle class but "doesn't actually walk the walk."

"That means I care lots about human rights. I care always about civil rights, I believe in equal opportunities, at least to start," he said in the story. "So I think that we should invest in infrastructure, we should invest in educating people, and we should respect due process."

He particularly doesn’t like the DNC focus on banning firearms and believes that Clinton lost the presidency because of her stance on gun control.

"I think there's long been people on the left who have strongly believed in gun rights. In fact, it used to be that the notion of people having guns in order to protect themselves, including to be a counterweight to government oppression, has long been broadly accepted by the mainstream left, and has been very much a part of the radical left," said Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA and gun control expert, in the story.

[Volokh said in the story](http://www.vocativ.com/400982/gun-lovers-left-trump/ that several “liberal” mid-20th-century movements, like people fighting the KKK and the Black Panthers, viewed guns favorably and that in certain parts of the country, everyone is a gun owner, regardless of party affiliation.

"The notion that gun rights is a conservative position is something of the last two generations," Volokh said in the story. "Before then, if anything, many conservatives were very much in favor of government control as a means of supposedly fighting crime. And it was often the liberals who thought it is important for people who didn't trust the police and who didn't think the police would be willing to protect them be able to defend themselves."