Dr. Ben Carson on Guns

The internet is a wonderful communications medium, almost universal and instantaneous. Anyone can share opinions with the world.

But strengths are also weaknesses; it is all too easy to react without reflection, research, fact-checking, and editing. So, a great deal of what purports to be accurate information is not.

This was demonstrated in a recent letter from the Georgia Gun Owners to its membership concerning Dr. Ben Carson’s stand on the Second Amendment citing a two-year-old exchange with Glenn Beck.

Beck interviewed Carson in 2013 and asked him about the Second Amendment.  Here’s what Carson had to say, according to the letter:

“But when asked [by Glenn Beck] whether people should be allowed to own ‘semi-automatic weapons,’ the doctor replied: ‘It depends on where you live.’

‘I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it,’ Carson elaborated.”

The Gun Owners letter immediately concludes:

“There you have it, in his own words. He thinks Second Amendment rights apply to us based on where we ‘live.’”

However, that is not what he said and a little research would reveal that is certainly not what he meant.

This conclusion amplifies a specific question into a broad supposition that is neither logical nor supportable. The author of the letter wishes his readers to be in command of the facts, but instead misleads them, and does them a disservice on an important issue.

Similar unfounded conclusions have been drawn by others on Dr. Carson’s position and it is time to put the subject right. The place to start would be his official statement on the Second Amendment:

“It was no accident that our Founding Fathers enshrined the right to own firearms as the 2nd element of the Bill of Rights, immediately after establishing our free speech rights. I cannot and will not support any efforts to weaken The 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is a central pillar of our Constitution. Our Founding Fathers added it explicitly in order to protect freedom in the United States of America. It provides our citizens the right to protect themselves from threats foreign or domestic.”

Dr. Carson has commented on the Second Amendment on numerous occasions since that old interview and was a featured speaker at the recent NRA convention. As a child of the Detroit inner city and a man dedicated to saving lives, he is highly sensitive to the subject of violence in urban areas. In that context, he has clarified his thoughts on the subject of the Beck interview.

Based on all the evidence, an objective observer can only conclude Ben Carson is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

As stated in the Georgia Gun Owners letter, all candidates should be subject to close questioning on these issues, and citizens must be satisfied with the answers before they give their support. But let’s start with the facts and responsible reporting.