‘Guns are a way to exercise power’: how the idea of overthrowing the government became mainstream

‘Guns are a way to exercise power’: how the idea of overthrowing the government became mainstream

Josh Horwitz has been an American gun control activist for nearly 30 years. In 2009, he co-wrote a book warning that the idea of armed revolt against the government was at the center of the US gun rights movement. Now, after a year that has seen heavily armed men show up at state capitols in Virginia , Michigan , Idaho and elsewhere to confront Democratic lawmakers over gun control and coronavirus restrictions, more Americans are taking gun owners’ rhetoric about “tyrants” seriously. Some of the same armed protesters who showed up at Michigan’s state house and at a pro-gun rally this summer were charged last week with conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s governor and put her on trial for tyranny. Other members of the “boogaloo” movement have allegedly murdered law enforcement officers in California and plotted acts of violence across the country in hopes of sparking a civil war. Horowitz spoke to the Guardian about how mainstream the idea of insurrection has become in American politics, and why lawmakers have failed to challenge it for decades. The conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity. You argue in your book that the idea of violent insurrection against the American government is at the heart of American gun culture. What do you mean by that? Guns and lies in America: sign up for email updates Read more There’s a belief among some American gun owners that the second amendment is highly individualized and was placed in the constitution as an individual […]

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