The Corner

Stephen King and the Second Amendment

Stephen King has declared his support for gun control in an 8,000-word essay published by Amazon. In it, King condemns the NRA and advocates banning guns with more than ten rounds. He even goes beyond Obama’s pledge to protect hunting rifles and calls on hunters to give up “their sporting toys.”

To some extent, King accepts the argument that violent novels can act as a “possible accelerant” to school shootings. Hence, he had the publisher of Rage — a story he wrote about a disgruntled student shooting his algebra teacher and holding a class hostage — pulled from publication.

But these novels also act as an argument for the Second Amendment.

In The Stand, after millions of American citizens are wiped out by a “superflu” created in an Army lab, the libertarian argument of how helpless an unarmed citizenry would be in a country where only criminals and the Army have guns is validated in the book’s black-helicopter America. Televised broadcasts show citizens in a lethal gauntlet between the army on one side and far-left terrorists on the other. Freedom of the press is eradicated as broadcasters are forced to read government propaganda with a gun literally pointed at their heads. The First Amendment is briefly resumed only when the news crew smuggles in guns, but they are soon executed by the more advanced weapons of an invading army.

When survivors are able to arm themselves, much good is done and lives are saved. Bearing weapons with more than ten rounds, this moral group is able to rescue female hostages from a gang-raping group of criminals.

In the more contemporary Desperation, a lone highway patrolman is able to capture whole groups of unarmed drivers. Without weapons, the captives are unable to prevent the police officer from killing a little girl. The captors escape and, rather than phoning the ACLU, obtain as many automatic weapons as possible.

King’s The Long Walk explores what would happen to citizens if the only entity armed were the government. They become the playthings of the state and are forced to humiliate themselves in such “sport” as walking contests on penalty of death. Soldiers flank the participants in this Americanized version of the Bataan Death March and kill them when they straggle or collapse. 

And consider the novel Cujo. Had the mother been carrying even a hunting rifle she could have shot the rabid dog within seconds of encountering the animal, and thus spared her son a slow death.

In the aforementioned Rage, a psychotic armed student is able to kill several teachers and take a class hostage. Consider how many lives would have been saved and how quickly the hostage-taker would have been stopped had armed guards been present.

In King’s latest book, dealing with the Kennedy assassination, a man time-travels back to 1963 and is able to prevent the assassination of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald. He accomplishes this with a 38. True, this gun has less than ten rounds, but again King inadvertently makes the case that had armed guards been present on the Sixth Floor Oswald might have been intercepted.

Despite King’s liberal politics, his books show the dangers to civil liberties and safety that can occur when law-abiding citizens are rendered weaponless.


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