In the weeks since the Parkland shooting, the president of the United States has endorsed arming teachers. Others have proposed turning our schools into armed camps. School children are doing even more "Code Red" drills.
However, the biggest modern mass shooting in America took place at a concert. Many others have happened at restaurants or churches, yet we do not see a call to require armed pastors or to turn every Applebee's into a fortress.
The reason for this is pretty simple: the people who want gun proliferation hate public schools. They want to make public schools miserable places because public schools go against their ideology, which claims only the private sphere is good and matters.They want a society where everything public is gutted and personal violence is the ultimate law. In this dystopic understanding we should all have guns, and then ultimate peace will prevail.
Gun control matters because it is a fight against a pernicious worldview. Fighting for gun control isn't just about saving lives, it is about combatting an absolutely sociopathic understanding of society, one that I think is related to this country's wealth inequality, killer cops, rotting infrastructure, underfunded schools, lack of social safety net, and general crappiness for those not fortunate enough to be rich.
If we are to have a more social democratic society, more people in this country need to have a more social democratic outlook. Those opposed to it have used guns very effectively. They sell a seductive narrative of individualism, one where the government is an impediment and armed citizens should be empowered.
As with health care, however, guns are an issue where social democrats can easily point out how our lives can be made so much better with a collective solution. After decades of neoliberalism, it is time for a social democratic moment, and social democrats can seize it on issues like guns, which do not first appear to be of a traditionally social democratic nature.