When reporters want to discuss firearm policies with Kurt Russell, they’d better bring a better game than the hapless Jeffrey Wells managed. While promoting the new Quentin Tarantino film Hateful 8, Russell got into an extended exchange with Wells, in which the latter derided gun rights as “a totem… for disenfranchised white guys,” and urged Russell to consider the possibility that people on the no-fly list could buy firearms. Russell rips the reporter for believing that people who want to kill others will refrain from doing so because Congress passed a law against it (via The Blaze):
When Wells went on to say that guns are a ”metaphor that disenfranchised white guys need,” Russell let loose.
“If you think gun control is going to change the terrorists’ point of view, I think you’re, like, out of your mind,” he began. “I think anybody [who says that] is. I think it’s absolutely insane.”
“Dude, you’re about to find out what I’m gonna do, and that’s gonna worry you a lot more,” the actor continued. “And that‘s what we need. That will change the concept of gun culture, as you call it, to something [like] reality. Which is, if I’m a hockey team and I’ve got some guy bearing down on me as a goal tender, I’m not concerned about what he’s gonna do — I’m gonna make him concerned about what I’m gonna do to stop him. That’s when things change.”
Arguing back, Wells invoked the no-fly list, saying that the people on the list are there for a “good reason,” but that they can allegedly still “get [a] hold of a gun pretty easily.”
“They can also make a bomb pretty easily. So what?” Russell retorted. “They can also get knives and stab you. [What are you] gonna do about that? They can also get cars and run you over. [What are you] gonna do about that?”
What exactly is the thought process on this? If we make gun purchases illegal, the bad guys won’t be able to get their hands on them? How has that worked out in Chicago or Washington DC?
Wells regurgitates the no-fly list nonsense, apparently without discovering that no one in these attacks was on a no-fly list in the first place. Maybe he should have watched Josh Earnest’s dancing around that reality yesterday:
Mr. Obama has called on Congress to ban semiautomatic “assault” rifles and to ban people who are on the government’s “no-fly” terrorist watch list from purchasing guns. Mr. Earnest said Thursday that he isn’t aware of any perpetrators of mass shootings in the U.S. who were on the no-fly list.
Earnest says that it’s just common sense to allow the government to decide who’s too dangerous to buy a gun, but as I explained in my column at The Week, this proposes stripping a constitutional right without any due process. And even Earnest can’t explain how that would have prevented any attacks:
Nothing requires the federal government to actually charge people on this list. Nor are there requirements to remove people even if they have been acquitted of charges relating to terrorism, as The Intercept discovered when they acquired the procedure manual for the no-fly list. “The rulebook justifies this by noting that conviction in U.S. courts requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas watchlisting requires only a reasonable suspicion,” Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux reported. “Once suspicion is raised, even a jury’s verdict cannot erase it.” …
And for what purpose? Which of the terrorist attacks cited by Obama in his speech — which included two he had never before acknowledged as such, the Fort Hood shooting and the Chattanooga attack on a military recruiting office — would a no-fly gun ban have prevented? None of them. None of the suspects were on the no-fly list. Farook and Malik flew last year with no problems, and Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan was still in the Army. In fact, even after Russia warned the FBI about Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, the U.S. allowed him to fly to Russia and back in 2012.
In other words, the no-fly list is not just unconstitutional, it’s also a red herring. Democrats want to change the subject from the failure of this administration to prevent these attacks. When government feels the need to strip Americans of their constitutional rights — including the right to bear arms — they should prove their case in court while allowing for full due process. That is precisely why our founders wrote the Constitution in the first place: to protect a free people against the whimsy of tyrants.
If the government believes these people too dangerous to exercise their constitutional rights, then charge them with crimes and bring them to trial. In the absence of any evidence that (a) this would have prevented terrorist attacks in the past and (b) that it would prevent terrorist attacks in the future or even necessarily change their choice of weapons, it’s nothing more than a red herring to change the subject from terrorism to gun control.