I’ve had intelligent conversations about gun control with rabidly anti-gun people. They can be reasonable and intelligent, analyzing new facts as they’re presented and sometimes even changing their opinions. But when they start the conversation believing false information, that discussion becomes unproductive to say the least.
Misinformation and lies are the best way to ensure that there will be no “conversation” about guns, gun rights and how they’re currently regulated in America. Just more yelling and polarization. Based on Shannon Watts’ latest tweet that seems to be exactly what she wants.
Since the Sutherland Springs massacre, we’ve learned that the shooter was a prohibited person — discharged for bad conduct from the Air Force after prosecution and incarceration for domestic violence. That prohibited from (legally) purchasing or even owning a firearm.
Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg’s paid sock puppet for gun control, took no time in pointing that fact out to her Twitter followers.
That means he’s prohibited purchaser, but there’s absolutely no regulation of long guns (AR15s) in Texas. No background check required.
You see the problem here. Well, a few, actually.
Shannon’s statement that “there’s absolutely no regulation of long guns” is a blatant lie. And as someone who’s been working to restrict Americans’ access to firearms since 2013, she knows it.
Texas State penal code chapter 46 specifically regulates weapons such as firearms, including rifles. Beyond that the Gun Control Act of 1968 (revised and expanded over the years) regulates the possession and sale of firearms within the entire United States, Texas included. So there are regulations in place which restrict firearms sales, and specifically prohibit individuals such as Devin Kelley from owning them.
But the situation got even more problematic for Shannon’s argument once it was revealed that the rifle was purchased from an Academy Sports store, where the purchaser filled out an ATF form 4473 and underwent the required FBI NICS background check.
So the idea that Kelley strolled in off the street and purchased a rifle without a background check is very definition of fake news. The biggest of big lies.
How did Shannon respond? She doubled down on her statement, pivoting to the non sequitur of the “gun show loophole” argument.
You are WRONG per usual. Private sales of long guns in Texas are totally unregulated: no background check, no training, no age limit.
Her second tweet at least brings her closer to an actual grey area, but it’s still false. Devin Kelley bought his rifle from a federally licensed gun dealer. All sales which take place from a gun dealer, whether at a gun show or at their place of business, REQUIRE a background check thanks to the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
Texas is a state where sales from one resident within the state to another resident within the same state are legal. But even then, had Kelley bought his rifle privately, the sale would have been illegal if the purchaser is a “prohibited person.” Even then, though Texas might not have a specific statute regarding prohibited firearms owners, 18 USC 922 still applies.
It’s hard not to conclude that Ms. Watts simply doesn’t care about the facts of this (or any other) case. Advancing the narrative she’s pushing — that Texas is the “Wild West” without any regulations on the sale of guns — is her only concern.
Her lies and distortions, however, will be taken as truth and repeated by some in the media, spread and repeated until they become part of the narrative on America’s alleged “gun problem.” Which only serves to make it more difficult for all involved to have a constructive discussion about guns based on actual facts.
When the NRA and gun owners are always portrayed as enemies and made the targets of hate, there’s no willingness to listen. When the effort required to educate those who will listen is so daunting, we all fall back into our usual echo chambers, perpetuating the polarization.
I’d love to have an actual conversation about guns with those who favor further restrictions on Second Amendment rights. But too often there’s just too much effort involved in re-educating the gun-haters, trying to reverse the programming they’ve already received. It’s simply easier to adopt the stonewall approach, blocking any new proposed gun laws. And there’s still far more of us than them. For now.