“For anyone that talks about how Biden will take their guns, remind them that we had 8 years of Obama/Biden where that never happened,” reads a popular post in a progressive subreddit. “But Donald Trump has definitely suggested he would take guns away from people without due process.” The average liberal who supports much stronger gun-control measures may understand this as a criticism of the Obama administration, but this wasn’t posted in your average left-leaning internet forum. It comes from r/liberalgunowners, a Reddit community of over 100,000 people who defy the archetype of the gun-hating cosmopolitan Democratic voter. Gun control tends to be a clear red-and-blue issue in American politics, but the general uptick in gun ownership among people across the political spectrum — 2020 will be a record year for firearm sales in the U.S. — points to the possibility that the Democratic Party may include more gun owners in the future than it has in the recent past. In rapidly growing online and real-world communities, there’s a sizable, vocal bloc of progressives who are voting for Biden but think the Democratic Party’s position on gun control is backward.
Plenty of lefties liked guns before Trump became president, but the escalation of right-wing violence on top of a global pandemic has made things feel extra apocalyptic for a lot Americans in blue states. “The demographics of gun buyers appear to be shifting, too,” reports Politico. “Retailers are selling to more women, and more Black men and women, than in previous years.” The membership of r/liberalgunowners has also grown enormously this year. In November 2018, it had around 24,000 subscribers; in 2019, it reached 39,951; and now it has over 100,000. A recent poll posted in the subgroup asked, “Do you expect calm or violence eruption in the U.S. after election night 2020?” If the poll is a good indicator, about 80 percent of the subgroup’s members foresee postelection conflict. [full article]