Alec Baldwin's Accidental Shooting Demonstrates a Desperate Need for Education On Firearms

(Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File)

If you’re a Hollywood actor, there’s a solid chance that firing a gun is something you’ve done many a time in your career. If you haven’t yet, then that time is coming. Yet, outside of a group of actors (Keanu Reeves and Brad Pitt being two notable pro-gun celebs) the accepted mainstream opinion in Hollywood is that guns are bad and they should be wiped from the face of the Earth. You’ll hear some of them tell you that guns are one of the biggest problems in America and advocate for the elimination of the 2nd Amendment, mandatory buybacks, or at the very least, gun laws so strict that you might as well not even have a gun.

Alec Baldwin was one such celebrity. The 63-year-old actor was has been a part of many an anti-gun campaign and even attached his support to an anti-NRA movie.

Now, as my colleague Nick Arama reported, Alec Baldwin has accidentally shot two people on set when he fired a prop-gun that judging from reports with actual rounds.

I’m not here to jeer at or mock Baldwin. While he’s insulted my friends by name and relentlessly mocked conservatives unfairly, this is not an incident with which we should do any sort of victory dance. An innocent was killed as a result, and another was injured. To mock him would be to mock them.

Instead, I want to take this moment to highlight a very important fact about how this incident was born of Baldwin’s approach towards firearms.

Hollywood actors would like to tell you that what they’re trying to push is “common sense.” You’ll often see that phrase attached to everything the left does pertaining to guns. “Common sense gun control,” or “common sense gun laws” are phrases used frequently and that’s by design. They’re attempting to generate a narrative where they seem like the sensible and wise people in the room.

What they’re actually pushing is blind fear of firearms. Their PSA’s are often laced with misrepresented or manipulated numbers, making gun rights advocates into evil boogie men operating in the shadows, and in some cases, even dramatizing horrific scenarios. The end game is to make people not just scared of firearms but also look at those who advocate for them as stupid, evil, or both. Their hope is that this will lead to America turning against firearms and making the elimination of the 2nd Amendment a supported issue by the majority of voters.

Firstly, it should be understood that ridding America of guns is a pipe-dream. Millions of Americans own firearms and millions more are bought every year. So saturated is America with firearms that it’s estimated some 40 percent of Americans own a gun, and that’s on the conservative end since Americans aren’t required to report their ownership, and many don’t want to. It should be noted that during the pandemic alone, gun sales skyrocketed to record-breaking heights as well.

Moreover, America is a gun culture. Even if the government mandated the handing over and destruction of all firearms tomorrow, the numbers wouldn’t change too drastically in reality. In fact, it may wind up starting a civil war that the government would lose.

Facts and statistics also point to the fact that much of the firearm violence we see in this nation isn’t caused by law-abiding, gun-owning Americans. Suicides and gang violence make up the vast majority of gun violence in this nation, but this often goes ignored. Talking about mental health and crime involving people of color is usually dismissed pretty quickly.

(READ: Gun Control Advocates and Flat Earthers — What’s the Difference?)

The bottom line here is that celebrities who push blind fear of firearms are often pushing ignorance and putting unrealistic expectations on a nation that has a cultural attachment to guns. We are a nation built on blood, sweat, tears, and gunpowder.

Baldwin’s pushing of the anti-gun narrative and the embrace of fear and hatred was foolish, and this made him lack something the very important bit of education necessary to avoid the situation he now finds himself in.

Education about firearms isn’t just about learning how to load and fire them. Education is about learning how to store them safely and safely wielding them once you have them in your hand. In fact, much of firearm education revolves around safety.

It’s that safety training that goes by the wayside whenever fear is pushed over education. Baldwin was clearly uneducated. He was a victim of his own ignorance. The same can be said of a lot of people who wielded a firearm without the knowledge that would have come from a culture that embraced itself and the cohabitation it has with its primary means of defense.

Anyone even a little trained with firearms would have known that you treat every gun as if it’s loaded with real bullets, even if you know it’s empty. You never point a gun at anyone even as a joke.

Prop guns can be just as dangerous as real ones in the hands of those who don’t take them seriously. Brandon Lee famously died on the set of “The Crow” in 1993 after a prop gun fired a real bullet that had been lodged in the barrel. John-Eric Hexum died in 1984 on the set of “Cover Up: Golden Opportunity” after putting a prop gun to his head and firing it as a joke, resulting in his death. Even prop guns fire real gunpowder and being struck by its discharge up close can result in serious injuries, even death.

If education had been embraced then no chances would have been taken.

One thing agreed upon by pro-gun and anti-gun advocates is that guns are dangerous, but it’s the pro-gun advocates that seem to know how dangerous they actually are. Their education makes them aware and careful. If only more people were given this education, then perhaps Baldwin would have known better and we wouldn’t have the death of an innocent on our hands.