Guest Commentary / June 7, 2022

Leftists’ One-Track Mind on Gun Violence

Fox News featured Arthel Neville and Judith Miller, both of whom sang from the gun control hymnal.

By Richard McDonough

One expects most of the “news” media to feature one inappropriate virtue-signaling liberal pseudo-“expert” after emotionally reciting the same gun control script, but one expects better from Fox News. However, after the horrific mass murders in Uvalde, Texas, when emotion, not reason, was at a high point, Fox featured the grim-faced pair of Arthel Neville and Judith Miller, both of whom sang from the same Democrat Party gun control hymnal. Both endorsed New York Senate Democrat Chris Murphy’s hope that the Uvalde shooting will drive Congress to pass significant gun control legislation.

After recounting how many people are killed in the U.S. by guns every year, Miller states, “If New Zealand and Australia can do it with gun legislation, why can’t we?” Further, revealing that her real concern is partisan politics, she adds: “It really depends on the Republicans now who must stop being the party of egregious mass shootings and uncontrolled guns. … As someone who has been embedded with the U.S. military many times and has seen these weapons in action, I believe firmly that there is no place for … military assault weapons … on American streets. Even Wyoming, which is one of the most pro-gun states in the nation, does not permit guns to be sold to young people under 21. … So why can’t we … do this?”

Miller makes numerous claims here — first, that Australia’s gun legislation worked; second, that the Republicans are “the party of egregious mass shootings and uncontrolled guns” (whatever that means); third, that it is up to the Republicans to stop the mass shootings; fourth, that guns like the AR-15 are “military assault weapons”; fifth, that she has personally witnessed the AR-15 used on the military battlefield; and sixth, that pro-gun Wyoming does not permit gun sales to people under 21. All of Miller’s claims are false.

First, despite Miller’s assertion, the August 2008 U.S. Department of Justice study on the Australian program concluded that “there is little evidence to suggest that it had any significant effects on firearm homicides and suicides.”

Second, Miller’s election-year statement that “the Republicans are the party of egregious mass shootings” is silly, even for her. Republicans and the Democrats simply have different ways of trying to solve the gun violence problem. Democrats typically want to curtail people’s constitutional rights. Republicans generally want to solve it by enforcing laws already on the books and hardening schools and other venues. Understanding that people have different views about how to solve problems is part of growing up. Miller’s vicious caricature of Republicans serves no positive purpose except to feed her overdeveloped capacity for sanctimony.

Third, Miller’s claim that it is up to the Republicans to solve the problem of gun violence is curious given that the Democrats control all three levers of power — the presidency, the House ,and the Senate. That is just one more manifestation of the Democrat strategy to blame others rather than governing. She also neglects to point out that her beloved Obama-Biden administration had a near super-majority in 2008-2010, when they could have pushed through major gun control legislation but failed to do so.

Fourth, her claim that the AR-15 is a “military assault weapon” is false. There is an enormous difference between the semi-automatic civilian version and the fully automatic military version.

Fifth, since the civilian AR-15 is not used by any military force anywhere in the world, Miller is wrong that she has personally witnessed it being used in military combat. We are waiting with bated breath for Miller to identify the battlefield where she personally witnessed the civilian AR-15 being used in combat.

Sixth, Miller’s claim that people are not permitted to buy guns in Wyoming until they are 21 is false. Wyoming permits people to buy a rifle at age 18.

After Miller finished her litany of falsehoods and fallacies, Neville played a video of Trump’s claims at a recent NRA convention that the Left is attempting to whittle away the Second Amendment by bits and pieces.

Miller responded emotionally: “The fact that [Trump] chose to appear at the NRA assembly … so soon after a shooting shows that he really does not have his hand on the pulse of the nation. … If it was one of their children, the senators or congressmen, would they not take a different position? … Trump is not being honest with the American people. … The Second Amendment is not under assault.”

Miller’s argument here can be found in a first-year college critical reasoning text in the section titled “ad hominem fallacies.” Yes, if a pro-Second Amendment person’s own child is killed by an AR-15, he or she might flip and become anti-Second Amendment. But that does not mean they were rationally persuaded. It only means they were emotionally traumatized into changing their view. Further, someone who is anti-Second Amendment but whose child is saved by a “good guy with a gun” might be emotionally driven to flip and become pro-Second Amendment. Ad hominem (“against the man”) fallacies can be used equally by both sides.

Miller’s claim, presented without any evidence whatsoever, that Trump is not being honest with the American people about the assault on the Second Amendment is also false. Biden exposed this when, after one thought the focus was on “assault rifles,” he stated that Americans should not be permitted to own 9mm handguns, the most popular handgun in the United States. Biden’s slip exposes the fact that after the Left manages to ban the AR-15, the 9mm handgun is next. Democrats also seek to ban ammunition (Yes, you can have a gun. You just can’t put any bullets in it) and to hold gun dealers liable for crimes committed with guns purchased from them.

Working oneself up into an emotional lather is an excellent method for self-glorification, but it is not the best frame of mind in which to solve difficult social problems. What is most astonishing about the entire Neville-Miller discussion is that neither even mentions the sort of measures that might have actually prevented the Uvalde murders: ensuring that the school doors are locked, ensuring that the armed resource officer is present at all times, and requiring that police immediately confront the shooter. Further, they never even consider cases where lives are saved by a gun.

Finally, they never once mention the societal decay fostered by “liberal” policies — the destruction of the family, rampant drug use, the denigration of males, the assault on religious faith, etc. The knee-jerk “liberal” reaction is always the same: Instead of taking simple commonsense measures to “harden” schools and address the societal decay that leads angry young men to lash out with guns, “liberals” seek to curtail the constitutional rights of American citizens who have done nothing wrong and who, Miller and Neville may have forgotten, are still considered “innocent until proven guilty.”

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