Trump Shoots His Mouth Off on Twitter, Accidentally Blows Away Anti Gun Reform Argument
In One Late Night/ Early Morning Tweet, Donald Trump Stumbles Into Making A Case For Gun Reform
When Donald Trump assumed his “throne” in the bathroom to send out a tweet at 4:43 am on Sunday, he thought he was doing the NRA a solid. In his head, he was dismantling the gun reform debate within a mere 100 characters. But as everyone on planet Earth is well aware by now, what’s happening inside Trump’s head and what’s happening in the real world couldn’t possibly be more diametrically opposed.
In a tweet focused on the London terror attacks, Donald Trump pointed out that the terrorists didn’t need to use firearms to kill people, as they had in Paris and a number of other attacks around the globe over the years:
Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
But Trump’s tweet unintentionally reads two different ways. And if you’re familiar at all with the gun laws in the United Kingdom, it can only really be interpreted one single way: the recent attacks in Manchester and London thankfully didn’t involve firearms because firearms are extremely difficult to obtain there, thanks to a strict firearm ban and a lack of a gun culture like we have here in the United States.
The UK’s Gun Reform Laws Have A Proven Track Record Of Success
The United Kingdom has had a lengthy list of gun reform measures dating all the way back to 1594, when Queen Elizabeth I, concerned over the possibility of being assassinated by Roman Catholics, banned the possession of pistols near any royal palace. Since then, the UK’s gun laws have grown and evolved with the times, and whereas a thriving gun culture exists here in the United States, our older siblings across the pond never really developed a love for firearms like we have here.
Firearms are used in the UK for hunting and sport shooting, but the concept of owning a firearm for personal protection is seen as bizarre by most Brits. Even the bulk of Britain’s police officers aren’t “packing,” and those officers who are carrying firearms are required by law to announce that they’re armed.
What happens when you add all of that together? You end up with one of the lowest gun crime rates in the world. There were only 26 gun-related deaths in the whole of England and Wales between March 2015 and March 2016. To put that into perspective for you, the city of San Diego has the lowest murder rate of any major US city, with 32 homicides investigated in 2016. San Diego’s population is nearly 1.4 million. The combined population of England and Wales? A little over 56 million. So yeah, whatever the UK is doing with their gun reforms? It’s definitely working. And the country’s lack of a ridiculous gun culture like we have here in the US? That helps, too.
To be clear, I’m not arguing here that gun reform laws by themselves would have any meaningful impact on reducing gun deaths. The United States has a serious gun culture problem that frankly isn’t seen anywhere else on Earth. So long as Americans romanticize firearms and argue about this issue in absolutes, the needle on the gun reform debate isn’t going to move much.
I’m also not saying England is absolutely impervious to gun-related acts of terrorism. Terrorists could still get firearms into the UK if they really wanted to. But their gun reforms, coupled with their lack of a gun culture and their status as an island nation where illegal goods are more difficult to move across borders, makes it significantly harder for terrorists to use firearms in their heinous acts. The London attack was horrible, but how much worse might it have been had the terrorists been yielding firearms rather than knives? I don’t think any of us want to even begin to imagine that scenario.
Donald Trump meant for his tweet to make some poignant statement about the gun reform debate. He wanted to argue that terrorists don’t need firearms to carry out acts of terror, and therefore, gun reform is futile. But inadvertently, Trump stumbled into making a clear-cut case for gun reform, which work almost flawlessly in most of the countries around the world that utilize them, when coupled with an absence of a gun culture, that is.
Rarely does Donald Trump prove himself to be an idiot savant — more often than not, he’s just a plain-old idiot — but in this case, Trump makes a pretty solid argument, doesn’t he? The United States needs to adopt serious gun reform. And we need to figure out a way of nullifying our ridiculous gun culture, too. If we can do both of those things, the impacts of acts of terror both foreign and domestic could be greatly lessened. Fewer people will be shot and killed in the United States each year. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with accomplishing either of those goals, is there?
Featured image courtesy of Scott Olson/ Getty Images
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Matt Terzi is a political satirist and essayist from Binghamton, New York, who has written for some of the most prominent satire publications in the country. He’s now moving into more “serious” subject matter, without losing touch with his comedic roots