Writing for the Austin American-Statesman today, Hollywood celebrity and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey makes the case for what he calls “gun responsibility”:
I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children. The debate about gun control has delivered nothing but status quo. It’s time we talk about gun responsibility.
There is a difference between control and responsibility. The first is a mandate that can infringe on our right; the second is a duty that will preserve it. There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility. Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.
Specifically, McConaughey lays out four steps he’d like to see taken:
1.) A background check for all gun purchases;
2.) Increasing the age to purchase assault rifles from 18 to 21;
3.) Making Red Flag Laws the law of the land;
4.) A waiting period for purchasing assault rifles.
I’m not saying that I agree with all four of McConaughey’s proposals, though I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to any of the four if it can be demonstrated that they’ll reduce shootings and gun deaths. Frankly, I’m not convinced that any of the four will reduce the mass shootings we’re seeing in this country. But my mind is open and can be persuaded.
Whether or not I agree with McConaughey’s proposals, though, this is the kind of refreshing take we need from Hollywood celebrities and other influencers of opinion. I applaud McConaughey for being able and willing to discuss compromising measures to tackle gun violence without falling on the tired old proposals to ban or confiscate firearms.
I’m no fool; I know there will be plenty of gun rights advocates who will say “absolutely not!” to McConaughey’s proposals. They’ll say the same things they always say: “No compromise, ever.” Or, “Give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile.” Or, “It’s a gun ban in disguise.” Et cetera. But count me as one gun rights advocate who believes there’s room for action to be taken to control guns without compromising the rights of gun-owning Americans.
And while a mandatory waiting period to purchase an AR-15, or having to be 21 to purchase an AR-15, would certainly be an inconvenience for a lot of people who would never dream of using their semi-automatic rifle to murder someone, it’s certainly a much more reasonable step towards starting a meaningful conversation than calling for gun confiscations, like Saturday’s USA Today column that foolishly called for using a giant magnet to suck up everyone’s gun if it were possible.
It gets really old, hearing politicians and pundits call for “common sense gun laws,” and then in the next breath pushing a weapons ban or buyback program. Those aren’t common sense gun laws. Those are extreme measures that don’t have support in this country. And so while one side is pushing for gun bans and the other side is pushing back against the idea, nothing continues to get done while more mass shootings continue to take place. And around and around we go. Even if I might not agree with every point he makes, we need someone with a voice to start a conversation that has a chance to win support from both sides. Kudos to Matthew McConaughey for doing that.