When I’m not writing for The Truth About Guns, getting people through a concealed carry qualifier, or enjoying time outdoors, I also write for a website that focuses on electric cars, solar power, and micromobility (things like electric bikes and scooters). I’m into off-grid technology, which is of growing importance to anybody interested in emergency preparedness. One inescapable aspect of that whole industry is the wealthiest man on the planet, Elon Musk.
Having been front row to most of the things the guy does publicly for the last several years, I’ve seen a lot change. For a long time, he even followed that other website I write for on Twitter because we wrote frequently (and usually favorably) about his vehicles and other products.
But over the last few years that relationship has deteriorated. He took increasingly conservative views, especially on Twitter, which wasn’t received well by most of the other writers over there. Some of the things he said bothered me, but I tried to address it in the most friendly way I could. He moved his operations to Texas (a wise move when you look at California’s insane taxes), increasingly waded into social issues, and most recently made headlines with his deal to buy Twitter.
The Twitter purchase is probably one of the biggest things that has made him look like a friend to conservatives. His stand for online free speech, free of liberal corporate “fact checkers” and cyber-nannies (censorship) would make the website much more friendly to people who don’t agree with the prevailing left-leaning narrative. So he’s generated a lot of good will and positive feelings among many conservatives.
All of this having been said, we need to be careful not to trust the guy too much. There are a couple of good reasons to be skeptical and wary if you’re a gun owner or free speech maximalist.
First off, Elon Musk is no friend to gun owners. I’ll let him tell you himself what he thinks about guns:
To be more precise, I mean any semi-automatic gun with supersonic ammo and a large magazine
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2022
Keep in mind that he says “at minimum” here on the registration of “assault weapons,” which he defines as semi-automatic, supersonic, and taking a large magazine (which he doesn’t define). The technical problems with his statement aside (of which are many), the idea that this is the minimum that should be done to “do something” about guns should concern everyone, even those who think a deep background check (“extremely well vetted”) is OK. We don’t know where the limits are on what he thinks is acceptable.
Whatever your position, all of this goes well beyond “shall not be infringed,” and is thus entirely unacceptable. Period.
The other thing we need to keep in mind is that Musk is something of a grifter. Whether he truly believes the things he says that appeal to conservatives isn’t something I can’t answer, but the history of his companies should concern anyone who is considering trusting him.
One book I’d recommend reading is Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors by Edward Niedermeyer. In that book, the games the company played to hoover up California state subsidies and provide literally nothing in return are detailed, along with other moves that most people would consider unscrupulous.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
My personal opinion is that he’s done fleecing liberals in California (who mostly hate him now), so now he’s moved onto Texas to see what he can get out of conservatives like Greg Abbott for the next phase of his companies’ growth. Appealing to conservatives would be a key part of that plan. It’s also possible that he wants to play it straight in Texas and can afford to do so there with the state’s lower taxes and reduced regulatory burdens, but only time can tell us that.
His anti-gun tweets in the aftermath of Uvalde show that he’s not a believer in any real kind of conservatism, no matter how much noise he may make about other issues. Why? Because actual conservatives believe in personal freedom, and subjecting firearms ownership to extreme vetting and special permitting ain’t it.
I’m not saying anyone should hate Elon Musk, but they should be very careful about how he might use the wealth and influence he’s amassed against gun owners in the future.