Posted on June 12, 2022
McConaughey offers tired liberal gun cliches
Actor Matthew McConaughey tells us he's seeking "common ground" on new gun laws that everyone can get behind without threatening our Second Amendment rights. Anybody who believes that probably also believes that the Biden administration allowed him to deliver a speech from the White House, without first being assured of finding its content agreeable.
Although he presented himself as an apolitical concerned citizen, the proposals he put forth were nothing more than the usual, warmed-over liberal bromides. The native Texan's delivery may have borne the superficial marks of plainspoken folksiness, but the meaning of his words was comprised of such stale Democrat cud that one would have expected it to drop from the mouth of one of Bill Clinton's cabinet appointees.
McConaughey's speech was partly a restatement of the op-ed he had published in the Austin American-Statesman the previous day, supplemented with some personal stories about the children who were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Three times during his presentation, he rhetorically asked, "How can the loss of these lives matter?" which of course they already do, with or without any action being taken by the federal government. This tasteless remark, which might charitably be considered a gaffe, comes across as a paraphrasing of the Democrats' favorite slogan, "Never let a crisis go to waste."
Proceeding as if he were composing a liberal neighbor's yard sign, McConaughey categorizes his proposals under the heading, "I believe:" The first item to follow is, "All gun purchases should require a background check." Federal background checks are already mandatory for firearms purchased from licensed dealers, like the one that Salvador Ramos used in Uvalde. The NRA and other groups of gun owners oppose "universal" background checks that would be imposed on private sellers, because they worry that it will lead to the creation of a national gun registry. Nevertheless, fourteen states already require universal background checks, including California, Illinois, New York and Maryland. As long as we're looking for common ground, can we all agree that such a policy has already proven itself to be ineffective?
Second on his list is that nobody under the age of 21 should be allowed to purchase an "assault rifle." The flaws in this argument are glaring and many. For starters, the term "assault rifle" has no objective definition. The Clinton-era "assault weapons" ban identified which guns were prohibited by superficial characteristics that are capable of being altered. If an AR-15 is specifically prohibited by law, such a gun could simply be redesigned and renamed. Furthermore, somebody who is intent on mass murder is not going to have any compunction about acquiring a gun illegally. Somebody under 21 could still buy a gun through a straw purchaser, or could steal one, perhaps from his parents. Finally, 18 is the age of majority in 47 states out of 50. Where does the federal government get off denying a legal adult the right to buy a gun? If somebody between the ages of 18 and 21, who no longer lives with his parents, feels the need to purchase a gun to protect his home, nobody has a right to say no.
The simple fact that McConaughey uses the phrase "assault rifles" ought to cause others to doubt his sincerity in seeking common ground. That non-factual designation is based on the prejudicial judgment that its owner must have bad intentions. What makes a rifle an assault rifle is the assailant, which is what every AR-15 owner in America is presumed to be, according to this point of view.
Liberals like to apply ill-defined designations like "assault rifles," because they can be easily expanded later on. In the hands of the wrong person, any rifle (or "long gun," as the liberal media suddenly decided to start calling it) can be an assault rifle. How confident is each of us that he or she is among the right people?
Next, he endorses "red flag laws," but only under the condition that they "must respect due process," which is totally nonsensical. Red flag laws are a means of preemptive policing, by which someone is deprived of his constitutional rights based on someone else's fear about what he might do. The entire point is to deny due process in the name of safety. Granted, this approach might prove effective in certain cases, but that's not a trade-off that we, as Americans, should be willing to accept. If we empowered the police to haul away everybody who looked suspicious, those of us who remained would surely be safer also, but at what cost to individual rights?
McConaughey proposes waiting periods to purchase "assault rifles," a position he attempts to support by pointing out that suicides account for the majority of shooting deaths, but is a rifle a common weapon for committing suicide? Moreover, waiting periods for firearms put the innocent at a disadvantage, because the time and place of a confrontation are determined by the aggressor. Somebody who plans a criminal act has got all the time he needs to prepare himself. What about a woman who has just discovered that she's being stalked by a violent maniac? Imposing a waiting period before she can arm herself helps nobody but her tormentor.
In his speech, he called this list of incremental encroachments "a step forward for the Second Amendment," a claim only a professional actor could have delivered with a straight face. Most of the things he suggests are clearly infringements upon the right to keep and bear arms. To argue that they would somehow enhance our Second Amendment rights has got to be the phoniest argument since "the more you spend, the more you save."
McConaughey's "common ground" is no more common than the "commonsense" gun laws that liberals have been advocating for decades. From beginning to end, his op-ed is nothing but trite liberalism wrapped in a transparent, mainstream American cover. At the beginning, he stresses the need for "gun responsibility," as if he meant something to be exercised at the individual level, but then he pivots to endorsing heavy-handed government dictates. In conclusion, he writes, "It's time for real leaders to step up and do what's right, so we can each and all just keep livin.'" Yes, that's "livin'" with an apostrophe and no "g." Those red-state rubes eat that kind of thing up, or so he must think.
Once you get past the messenger's celebrity, the only thing that's common about his message is that it's the same expansionist government sophistry we hear anytime a liberal decides to make the deaths of others "matter."
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