Earlier this week, the British version of GQ magazine released part of an interview with actor Vince Vaughn that featured the movie and television star making a vigorous defense of the right to keep and bear arms. While an American expressing appreciation for guns is usually not an especially remarkable event, the conviction that Vaughn displayed and his willingness to buck typical Hollywood dogma are indeed noteworthy. "I support people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home," Vaughn told the interviewer. "We don't have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It's not about duck hunting; it's about the ability of the individual. It's the same reason we have freedom of speech."
Anti-gun publications such as Rolling Stone, Salon, and a large swath of the British press issued criticisms of Vaughn's remarks. The most ludicrous reaction, however, came from washed-up but still attention-seeking Geraldo Rivera, who said during an appearance on Fox News' The Five program, "Doesn't that remind you of Timothy McVeigh and the militias?"
In fact, the view that the Second Amendment provides a bulwark against tyrannical government is well within mainstream opinion, with a January 2013 Rasmussen poll showing that 65% of Americans hold this belief. And no wonder. The Supreme Court itself, in its landmark 2008 decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, explained that when the Second Amendment mentions the "security of a free state," it's talking about the "security of a free polity." According to the Court, the Founders believed the unorganized "militia" of armed Americans promoted this freedom in a number of ways. For example, "when the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny."
Another portion of the interview that has drawn attention from gun control supporters is Vaughn's trenchant criticism of gun-free zones. Here, too, Vaughn was unflinching in his remarks. "All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones," he stated. "Take mass shootings. They've only happened in places that don't allow guns. These people are sick in the head and are going to kill innocent people. They are looking to slaughter defenseless human beings. They do not want confrontation." The interviewer followed up by asking if firearms should be allowed in schools, to which Vaughn responded, "Of course. You think the politicians that run my country and your country don't have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights."
Vaughn's statements underscore simple facts that provide ongoing sources of embarrassment and irritation to gun control advocates. Simply put, an individual intent on breaking the law by committing violent acts against innocent people is not going to be deterred by an additional law prohibiting weapons in a given location. As much as gun control advocates hate to admit it (except when arranging for their own security), the only way to ensure protection for the law-abiding is to put them on equal footing with armed criminals. As even Washington Post reporter Hunter Schwarz accurately noted, a significant portion of the American public supports allowing greater access to firearms in schools.
Piers Morgan, Geraldo Rivera's British counterpart in the world of attention-seeking faded pundits, was one of the first to attack Vaughn, tweeting, "I truly despair for America's future if public figures like Vince Vaughn represent the popular view on guns. Just insane." Morgan went on to quote a portion of Vaughn's statement where the actor said "[b]anning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat," then added, "Vince Vaughn, proving it's not just his movies that are dumb." Notably absent in several follow-up tweets was any meaningful attempt to refute Vaughn's logic.
Moms Demand Action founder and Michael Bloomberg shill Shannon Watts also chimed in on Twitter with her own reality-free observation: "Vince Vaughn compares banning guns to banning forks - no one is trying to ban either, so I guess he gets to be armed and fat. Yay?" As a professional gun control advocate, Watts should know that members of the U.S. Congress -- along with the state legislatures of California, Connecticut, Maryland and New York (not to mention Watt's boss) – have been busy banning or attempting to ban guns for the last two years.
In a Hollywood that is usually consumed by self-congratulatory adherence to a rigid political orthodoxy, Vaughn's fearless defense of gun rights is refreshing. While those who hypocritically preach "tolerance" only toward the things they already like and believe have taken up their torches and pitchforks to gang up on the opinionated actor, we suspect he's also won himself some additional fans amongst free-thinking Americans. To be sure, he is not alone even in Tinseltown, which only loves to hate firearms when it's not putting them in the hands of action stars to draw audiences to theaters.