Cardi B Invites A "Friendly Debate" On Gun Control
Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File

Rapper Cardi B took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to muse about the possibility of her running for office at some point and time, as well as sounding off on a few issues including gun control.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to write a snarky piece pointing out all of the problems with Cardi B’s point of view (and spelling), but let’s look at this from another angle. After all, what she’s saying probably isn’t that different from what you may hear from some of your anti-gun friends or family. Honestly, how many times have you heard a variation on, “I support the Second Amendment, but…”?

Too often I think when we as gun owners hear that, we immediately start rebutting what comes after the “but,” when we should spend a little time time asking the folks who say they support the Second Amendment or believe we have the right to bear arms exactly what that means to them.

Do they see it as a right, or do they really think of it as a privilege? If they do believe it’s a right, then do they really believe it should be treated any differently than any other right? Putting up barriers to the exercise of a right isn’t the same as not being allowed to shout “fire!” in a crowded movie theater, after all.

Or maybe they’ve never thought much about what rights actually entail, and how they differ from privileges. The right to drink, for example, isn’t found in the Constitution, although you can find amendments enacting and repealing Prohibition.

Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone favorably compare gun control to Prohibition. Actually, I’m pretty sure that winky emoticon from Cardi B is a sign that even she understands that setting the drinking age to 21 hasn’t stopped underage drinking.

In fact, it’s only been since the 1990’s that the underage drinking rates have been declining. While alcohol use among teens has declined, teen marijuana use has skyrocketed. Despite what Cardi B claims, regulations and strict rules didn’t lead to fewer teen drinkers. Many of them have simply switched from a regulated substance to one that’s illegal for all ages under federal law.

As for training, a mandate may sound good in theory, but in practice it would be used to deprive many Americans, particularly lower-income Americans, of their right to own a firearm. In Washington, D.C. for example, there are no ranges for concealed carry applicants to take their required training course. That means you have to head into Virginia or Maryland to take the course, which is a burden at best and an insurmountable barrier at worst. There are many big cities with “range deserts” where it’s impossible to get the training Cardi B wants to require before individuals can exercise their constitutional rights.

When it comes to mental health, is Cardi B really concerned about people with mental problems owning firearms, or is her real issue the growing mental health crisis in this country, among gun owners and non-gun owners alike? I suspect, by the way, that a mandatory mental evaluation before a gun purchase would be another barrier to the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms. Many Americans don’t have easy access to a medical professional when its crucial, much less when they need a doctor to check a box that says they can own a gun. Doctors who frown on gun ownership may deny almost everyone, and such a move would also enable graft and corruption to take place, as we already see in jurisdictions where chiefs and sheriffs have the discretion to grant or deny licenses to individuals.

Look, I don’t expect a celebrity like Cardi B to be an expert on gun control, and in fact I’m kind of encouraged that she didn’t immediately tweet out her support for banning AR-15’s and ammo magazines. However, like most soft supporters of gun control, I don’t think she’s fully thought through what her proposed laws would look like once they were being enforced. If she’s up for a longer friendly debate than what Twitter allows, I’d be happy to have that conversation with her on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. We have an opening since I’ve yet to hear back from Governor Ralph Northam.