Read a letter in a local paper today: the writer complains that editorial cartoons stereotype NRA members as "fat, sloppy, loud-mouthed Archie Bunker types" when the reality seen at anti-gun control demonstrations is more diverse, more normal. He finds the cartoon image "sad and insulting and only contributing to a false image." Further up front the paper ran a story about the NAACP demanding an end to New York City's "stop and frisk" program, widely seen as another form or racial profiling. The coincidence of the article and the letter gave me an insight about the objections to gun control. Opponents really resent what they see as a presumption of their guilt; for them, it seems, being subjected to firearms regulations is psychologically equivalent to black people (or any demographic group) getting profiled. It may be the closest many white people come to the experience and humiliation of being profiled. As always, individuals expect a presumption of innocence and see their subjection to profiling (or regulation) as a still more insulting denial of their individual innocence, if not their very individuality.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions, please note that any moral equation of profiling and gun control is a matter of subjective perception. While a stereotype of the gun owner or gun apologist may prevail (and if it looks like Archie Bunker, that's because the "gun nut" is presumed to be a reactionary), what's really being "profiled" through gun control is the weapon, not the person. No one can complain of being accused of "carrying while ---" the way some are supposedly accused of "driving while black." Carrying itself is the cause of suspicion, which is what the NRA objects to. But you have to wonder whether their presumption of gun owners' innocence is truly universal. I'm not sure whether they'd recognize the resemblance of their feelings to those of people subject to profiling, but whether they do or not, the resemblance does make me wonder what the gun people think of profiling, whether of blacks, Muslims, or whomever. If they don't object to any of that, can they object when they seem to be profiled, albeit in a manner not so immediately insulting? There are probably libertarians in that throng who would take a consistent stand against any form of profiling, but many more may well perform profiling themselves when they imagine themselves defending theirs against hordes of marauders. Is that a stereotype? If so, then if it makes them feel any better, at least I don't think they're fat.