By Larry Keane
Mark Cuban might be a billionaire entrepreneur, NBA team owner and celebrity investor with a television show. But a constitutional scholar, he’s not.
It’s time to call foul on Cuban’s latest foray into the gun rights debate. He offered to “update” the Second Amendment. What he really offered was lower the hoop to six feet so gun controllers could finally dunk. Cuban’s proposed changes include:
- Every American has the right to own a gun.
- The federal government can’t seize your guns.
- States reserve the right to “manage” guns, including purchase, ownership and management – whatever that means.
That’s not an update to the Second Amendment. That’s a wholesale dismantling of an essential American right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment expressly protects the pre-existing individual rights of all Americans to keep and bear arms. Those rights – yes, two rights – don’t end at a state’s borders. Cuban’s ideas, though, aren’t surprising given his history of appeasement toward gun control demands.
Cuban’s backed White House candidates who expressly campaigned on gun control platforms. Cuban said in 2016 he wanted to see fellow billionaire and anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg run for the presidential nomination.
“We know his policies from his time as mayor of New York. We know where he stands on guns, we know where he stands on other issues,” Cuban said in an interview on “The Rita Cosby Show.” “The question’s going to be is he too meek? When I say meek, I mean just force of voice. Can he shout loud enough?”
That’s not equivocating. We know exactly where Bloomberg stands on guns and that he funds Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, both groups that want to eradicate gun rights.
It wasn’t just a billionaire’s club for which Cuban had a gun control affinity. He also backed Hillary Clinton, who campaigned on a promise to reinstate a ban on modern sporting rifles, standard capacity magazines and advocated for the repeal of the bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
That last piece would have allowed victims of criminal acts to sue firearms manufacturers instead of holding criminals accountable for their criminal actions. It’s akin to suing Ford for drunk driving deaths.
Cuban Likes Rules, Just Not for Him
Still, Cuban’s latest lob isn’t a big surprise. He’s got a history of making half-hearted pronouncements that give the appearance of respecting gun rights. On closer examination, though, he’s exposing his elitist billionaire hubris.
Essentially, it’s okay for him and his family to be protected by guns, but everyone else’s family can only do so if you pass a test, get certified, register with the state and follow whatever “management” definition he’s espousing today.
Cuban talked “gun safety” with anti-gun CNN host Piers Morgan in 2014. They talked “gun safety” because “gun control” would have been too honest. Cuban explained for his basketball players he instituted a set of rules when it came to guns.
Cuban’s Team Rule for Gun Use
- Follow the state law.
- No traveling to another state with your gun.
- Register the gun.
- If you are going somewhere you think you need a gun, then don’t go there.
He didn’t make these statements off the cuff. He thought about them because he echoed them again in another Piers Morgan interview, but took it a step further.
Cuban’s Gun Test Muster
“I think if you own a gun, you need to be registered and pass tests,” Morgan explained. “I’m a believer that if the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, so we ought to give the good guys registration, make them fill out forms, make them pass tests. Then you give them a white hat because no one’s going to mess with a good guy with a gun with a white hat in public. Seriously, it’s absolutely ridiculous to take a gun out in public because you think you might protect yourself.”
Got that? That’s registration of law-abiding citizens, not the criminals.
First, constitutional scholar Cuban should know Texas doesn’t require firearms registration. Second, while we encourage training for all firearms owners, the Second Amendment clearly states Cuban’s musings, and application of his business policies for his team expanded to the public, is unconstitutional.
The right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home. The late Justice Antonin Scalia stated as much in the landmark 2008 Heller decision, that bearing arms meant carrying guns, not just keeping the home. It’s also why the Justice Department filed an amicus brief in the forthcoming New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York case urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn New York City’s law against traveling with firearms.
Topping off his laughable suggestions is Cuban’s “white hat” comment. Concealed carriers carry concealed because they don’t want to draw attention. It’s a quiet presence that doesn’t intend to draw the ire of criminals or the general public alike.
Stick to the business of basketball, Cuban. Your take on the Second Amendment is a double dribble.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.
This article was published in Townhall.com and is reprinted here with permission.