Mark Kelly was a name few people knew until his wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot by a deranged madman. Since then, he’s been a tireless crusader for gun control, if not the brightest. Now, the former astronaut is saying that members of Congress who oppose gun control should just quit.
Kelly, a retired astronaut, husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords and co-founder of gun control group Americans for Responsible Solutions, spoke on the issue during an Off Message podcast interview with Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere.
“I think if you’re a member of Congress and you fundamentally believe laws don’t work, you should quit,” Kelly told Dovere. “I mean, you really should. You’re in the wrong job. And that goes for anything, including this issue.”
“They are acknowledging that legislation matters. A lot of these folks have been saying it doesn’t matter, it will never matter,” Kelly said. “They have just turned that argument upside down. And that’s a good thing. You know, maybe people have to be educated, right?”
Kelly has constructed quite the strawman argument here.
It’s a strawman because pretty much no one believes laws don’t “work.” Instead, what gun rights proponents have claimed is that additional gun laws will not work to reduce crime when criminals get their guns through illegal means. Believing that additional gun laws are a waste of time is hardly the same as saying laws don’t work.
Bump-fire stocks are being examined for regulation not because people suddenly realize gun laws “work,” but because it appears that this is a genuine loophole (unlike the supposed “gun show loophole” that doesn’t exist). It legally allows someone to sort of convert their semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic one. This has many lawmakers concerned for a number of reasons, up to and including wanting to be seen “doing something” after Las Vegas.
Yet I also note that Kelly, like so many other anti-gun crusaders, says little about the causes of violence. It’s like he doesn’t really care about what causes violence in this country. Does he only care about banning the device that hurt his wife?
Don’t get me wrong, I can empathize with that. If someone hurt my wife, I’d be furious and want revenge against something, anything, as well.
Targetting guns with his ire, however, is fruitless. His wife’s shooter was a deranged monster who wanted to hurt and kill as many people as possible. Denied a firearm, he would simply have turned to another instrument, possibly a more deadly one. Don’t claim that they don’t do this either because we know better.
The truth is, everyone in Congress believes laws can work. The trick is to get the right laws in place to actually make a difference. Laws against drugs, murder, and robbery haven’t actually stopped those things and neither will gun control laws. They’ll simply hurt law-abiding gun owners.
If Mark Kelly wanted to really make a difference, to really combat violence in this country, he should probably start by working to uncover and rectify the roots of violence rather than just make guns his boogeyman.