In an ad released last year, Blake Masters, a leading candidate in Arizona’s Republican Senate primary, cradles a semiautomatic weapon. “This is a short-barreled rifle,” he said, ominous music playing in the background. “It wasn’t designed for hunting. This is designed to kill people.”
For Masters, this isn’t an argument against allowing such guns to proliferate. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment of why access to these weapons is, for the right, a matter of existential importance. “The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting,” Masters said. “It’s about protecting your family and your country. What’s the first thing the Taliban did when Joe Biden handed them Afghanistan? They took away people’s guns.” Guns, in this worldview, are a guarantor against government overreach. And government overreach includes attempts to regulate guns.
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