If ABC News is hoping to convince viewers that its new series “One Nation Under Fire” will be a sober, serious, and non-partisan examination of the increase in violence across the country, the network’s marketing team really should have instructed the hosts of “The View” to stay as far away as possible from promoting the new week-long look at “gun violence and its root causes.”
Apparently that memo was never sent, because on Friday’s show the anti-gun gals used the new series as a springboard for attacking the Second Amendment and 2A activists.
Joy Behar, subbing in for Whoopi Goldberg as today’s anchor, began the discussion surrounding gun violence in America as a part of ABC News‘ “One Nation Under Fire” program. The program will inspect day-to-day incidents with gun violence at ABC-owned stations and affiliates, trying to get to the bottom of the issue. After asking Ana Navarro what her stance on the matter was, the co-host labeled it as a national epidemic.
“It’s very much an American problem, and we’ve got to study it as such,” Navarro began. “Republican members of the legislature have got to get from under the grip of the NRA — which, today, is far from the club that started centuries ago. Today, it is a grift and a way for people to make a lot of money. A lot of funding is coming from the gun manufacturers. It is a special interest group, and they are holding up any progress that could be made on this issue.”
Behar then tossed the topic to Sunny Hostin, who immediately agreed with Navarro’s statements about the NRA and pushed the argument even further into racism regarding the Second Amendment.
“If you look at the history of the NRA for decades, the NRA has pushed legislation that not only supported a lot of gun ownership and the proliferation of guns, but also stifled the study and spread of information about the causes gun violence,” Hostin began. “The right to bear arms was designed to protect slavery, right? Our founding fathers and others, they wanted to be able to empower a local militia group to basically put down slave revolts and protect plantation owners.”
As far as Navarro’s comments go, I thought the conventional wisdom on the Left is that the NRA’s now fatally weakened, and isn’t in a position to hold up any “progress”. The truth is that there are more than 100-million American gun owners, and it’s a pretty fair estimate that 10-million of them (give or take a few) didn’t begin exercising their right to keep a firearm until March of last year at the earliest. I’m sure Navarro hates that fact, but to try to dismiss the Second Amendment movement as a grift ignores reality.
Hostin’s history lesson is even worse. The right of the people to keep and bear arms predates the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and was exercised even in colonies where slavery was almost non-existent and slave patrols weren’t a thing. It’s actually gun control that’s steeped in racism in this country; from Black Codes in the South in the 1830s that barred free African Americans from owning or carrying guns to the pistol purchase permit laws of the Jim Crow era and the discretionary-issue gun licenses designed to prevent immigrants from legally owning guns in places like New York City that were put in place in the early part of the 20th century.
Even today gun licensing laws are turning a disproportionate number of young black men into non-violent felons for simply carrying a gun without a government permission slip. As a recent study that looked at Illinois’ licensing laws found:
- Out of all arrests and convictions in Illinois for firearm-related offenses over the past decade, the vast majority were not for violent offenses carried out with a gun; 72 percent have been for firearm possession, while 28 percent were for discharge of a weapon or use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.
- The majority of firearm possession convictions in Illinois occur in Cook County, are disproportionately concentrated in a few Chicago neighborhoods, and primarily involve Black men.
- Increased arrests for illegal gun possession, and mandatory prison sentences for most of the offenses, meant that incarceration for these crimes increased 27 percent between 2014 and 2019, a period when incarceration for all other crimes fell 38 percent.
- Of those firearm possession offenses where prison is not mandatory, people convicted in Cook County were more likely to be sentenced to prison than in the rest of Illinois.
- The majority of those sentenced to prison for firearm possession do not have prior convictions for violent crimes, and the vast majority of those sentenced for firearm possession were not arrested for violent crimes during the three year period they were tracked following their release from prison or placement on probation.
Hostin may believe that the Second Amendment exists because of racist plantation owners, but those plantation owners are long gone and the Second Amendment is still here protecting the right of the People to keep and bear arms. For a much more thoughtful history of the issue, I recommend Nicholas Johnson’s excellent Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms, which does a tremendous job of detailing both the racism inherent in our nation’s gun control laws and the many examples of African American gun ownership and use in defense of home, hearth, and civil rights.
Regardless of what Hostin thinks led to the right to keep and bear arms being enshrined in the Bill of Rights, it’s clearly not the Second Amendment putting young black men without violent criminal histories into prison for carrying a gun without a license. It’s the gun control laws in places like Illinois and New York. You know, the same laws Democrats want to put in place at the federal level.
As you might have guessed, the only voice on The View not buying into the “blame the guns” mentality was soon-to-depart co-host Meghan McCain, who made a personal case for gun ownership.
“I never want to be lectured to by people who don’t own guns, who didn’t grow up in gun culture, who don’t understand why women like me want to be armed, want to feel safe in my home, want to know that if there was an intruder that my husband would be able to protect me and my baby,” she said, rattling off her reasons. “It’s a very hard thing for people to understand that don’t believe in it, and it’s one of the most polarizing issues in the United States of America.”
Was McCain referring to her co-hosts, or is she just feeling passionate about the topic in general? The co-host concluded her argument with a hefty statement about her relationship to the Second Amendment.
“Going forward, I will always vote for any person and any party that continues to defend the Second Amendment, no matter what happens,” she said. “It is the cornerstone of who I am and what I think America should be.”
Good for McCain for speaking up. She was much more kind than I would have been in response to Navarro and Hostin’s inanity. In fact, if Meghan McCain were hosting “One Nation Under Fire,” it might actually be watchable. Sadly though, I suspect that the ABC series is going to be infused with the anti-gun attitudes expressed by the majority of McCain’s co-hosts, even if the bias against the right to keep and bear arms isn’t quite as blatantly displayed.