John Kerry’s Ignorant Gun-Control Rhetoric Is More Dangerous Than Guns

John Kerry’s Ignorant Gun-Control Rhetoric Is More Dangerous Than Guns

Think of how dangerous anti-gun candidates would be if they knew what they were talking about. Lucky for hunters and veterans, politicians' firearm ignorance shines.
Mark Oliva
By

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is back in the headlines, this time for denying reports that he was overheard talking about jumping into the 2020 presidential race. But he’s also stumping for Joe Biden, and during gun-related remarks in Iowa before the caucuses, Kerry passed gun misinformation off to voters who deserve better.

“There’s not a veteran here who would take an AR-16 with a long clip to go out and shoot a deer or shoot anything,” he told voters.

He’s right, and the first reason is the rifle he’s trying to demonize doesn’t exist. He also reminded everyone of how he cloaks himself in the veil of military service to push for gun control. Unlike Kerry, I know gun owners. Veteran gun owners are my friends. Kerry is not a veteran gun owner nor a hunter. He is a caricature though, a veteran version of Elmer Fudd.

John Kerry Doesn’t Understand Guns

Kerry was obviously referring to the AR-15, again conflating the semiautomatic rifle with the military’s M16 and M4 rifles, which are automatic. He also clearly confused magazines with clips.

All the while, though, Kerry confirmed the long-held beliefs that the only thing he and the candidates he supports want to do with firearms are banning, outlawing, restricting, and denying the ability of law-abiding gun owners to buy the firearms they choose. He warned if voters don’t turn out for Biden, those “AR-16s” and “clips” could make a comeback.

“Now we have a crowd who’s willing to bring them back,” he added.

Kerry should be more aware when his anti-gun bias is showing. The ban he’s scaremongering about expired in 2004, and today, the modern sporting rifle is the most popular-selling centerfire rifle in America. More than 17.7 million of them are in circulation today. They’re popular for hunting, recreational shooting, and self-defense. They come in a wide array of calibers, firing not just the popular 223-caliber, but an array of bullets that are often better suited to hunt big game.

Both hunters and veterans are able to ferret out a certain kind of authenticity rather quickly. Just as quickly, Kerry ably fails to convince either group he’s authentic. This isn’t a screed to bash his service. Kerry did, in fact, serve in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. His service is respected.

His service, though, like mine, should have been instructive on the rifle he carried into combat. The M16 rifle has a selector switch. It allows the rifle to be put on safe, which doesn’t permit it to fire, “semi,” which is short for semiautomatic, meaning one round fired for each squeeze of the trigger, and finally, “auto” or automatic. When I served, this was changed to “burst,” for a three-round automatic burst of fire for one squeeze of the trigger.

The AR-15 doesn’t do that. It’s only capable of safe and semiautomatic, just like the shotgun Kerry toted into the marshes in Ohio for his 2004 presidential “goose hunt.” About the same time, he had a few hunting tales of his own, which were rather revealing.

‘That Dog Won’t Hunt’

“I go out with my trusty 12-gauge double-barrel, crawl around on my stomach,” he said in 2004. “I track and move and decoy and play games and try to outsmart them. You know, you kind of play the wind. That’s hunting.”

Hunters have a familiar saying that applies here: That dog won’t hunt.

NSSF’s Senior Vice President Lawrence Keane noted as much in a news report at the time. “The only thing Senator Kerry is hunting today is the all-important sportsmen’s vote,” Keane said, according to a UPI report. He added Kerry’s supporters were hardly pro-hunting. “The senator’s rhetoric and play-acting aren’t fooling anyone. Kerry the ‘hunter’ is endorsed by radical anti-hunting organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Fund for Animals.”

Kerry emerged from his goose hunt with a bloodied hand but no goose in tow, saying it was sent forward with his aides. No one was convinced.

“His new camouflage jacket is an October surprise, an effort he’s making to hide the fact that he votes against gun-owners,” said Vice President Dick Cheney at the time. “The cover-up isn’t going to work.”

You can’t blame hunters or veterans for being skeptical about Kerry’s views on guns and hunting.

Kerry Supports Biden, Who Is Also Ignorant About Guns

Kerry’s understanding has been to ban, limit, and control. He supported the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban mandatory trigger locks and voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. As secretary of state, Kerry signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which would have exposed the firearms and ammunition industry to a confusing web of international regulations that would not have contributed to curbing illegal arms trafficking, protecting human rights, or guaranteeing the rights of U.S. citizens.

The treaty was never ratified, and President Donald Trump withdrew from the treaty in 2019, saying, “We’re taking our signature back.”

The tragic thing is that the once-defeated presidential candidate is backing Biden, who said from the debate stage the firearms industry was “the enemy.” Kerry’s throwing his support behind the guy who would ban modern sporting rifles, and who proposes taxpayer-funded buybacks to gather them up, thinks a federal gun rationing plan is appropriate, and wants to mandate technically impossible DNA-matched “smart guns.”

All of this, and Kerry’s AR-16 proclamation, make about as much sense as Biden infamously advising a woman during an online forum to “get a double-barrel shotgun” and like he told his wife just to “fire two blasts” of a shotgun if she felt threatened.

Think of how dangerous these anti-gun politicians would be if they actually knew what they were talking about. Likely, more knowledge would force the fallacy of their indefensible political talking points.

Mark Oliva is director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industries. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant with 25 years of service, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Albania, and Zaire.

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