According to the website of Georgia Gun Owners, the organization, “seeks to inform gun owners, voters, and liberty activists in Georgia on their candidates’ positions on firearms issues.”
The goal—a worthy one—is to hold politicians accountable for their position on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
But when it comes to Dr. Ben Carson and his thinking on the subject, leaders of Georgia Gun Owners are either unwilling or unable to properly inform anyone.
A short anti-Carson video on the website supports a petition and contribution drive by quoting one question from Glenn Beck in a 2013 interview with Carson: “Do I have a right to own a semi-automatic weapon?” And one six-word response from Carson: “It depends on where you live.”
That is ten seconds of video, all the information presented on Carson’s position. Patrick Parsons, Executive Director of Georgia Gun Owners, spends the remaining two and half minutes blasting Carson while standing in front of the sign for a community in Atlanta, “stricken by violence, criminals, thugs, gangsters, drug dealers running rampant.”
They all have guns, he notes; many of the law abiding don’t. “If Ben Carson had his way, these folks would not be allowed to exercise and defend their Second Amendment Rights.”
Presidential hopefuls will come to Georgia soon, continues Parsons, including Ben Carson on June 23rd. Parsons exhorts supporters to question the candidates, and to let them know, “you will absolutely not stand for any candidate who does not support our Second Amendment rights.” He then asks for contributors to sign the petition and “chip in whatever you can.”
But does a single statement, two years old, out of context justify such a radical interpretation of Carson’s position? Would it not be responsible to ask what he meant then and what he has said since?
Carson has clarified his position on many occasions, most recently as featured speaker at the NRA convention. In that speech, he addresses the “wrong impression” some have about his enthusiasm for guns. “It’s not so much that my positions on guns have evolved as it is that I have learned how to express myself better.”
Carson wishes to be very clear: “I am extremely pro Second Amendment…. I would never allow for anybody to tamper with that right.” He goes on to talk about how he learned about guns, why we have the Second Amendment, and why it is so important.
As a youngster in inner-city Detroit, Carson saw a lot of guns, drugs, and carnage; two older cousins were killed. As a surgeon, he operated on numerous gunshot wounds to the head. The right to self-defense is critical.
Carson became a gun fan when he joined ROTC in high school, rising quickly up the ranks. He led a class with real problems to become the best drill team in the city; he was a marksman himself.
Despite having joined ROTC a semester late, Carson achieved in his senior year the highest rank possible, City Executive Officer for Detroit. No one had ever done that in four semesters. He was offered a full scholarship to West Point, but passed on a military career to pursue medicine.
“For hundreds of years the people in America have had guns,” said Carson, “and for hundreds of years the people in America have been free.” Now the baton of freedom is in our hands. What are we going to do with it?
“Are we going to submit to the secular progressives who try to use every opportunity to get rid of our guns, or are we going to recognize that in order for the next generation to enjoy the same freedoms that we have, that we have to exercise the same kind of courage that people had before us.”
Carson concluded, “We must make absolutely sure that we will never allow the right to keep and bear arms to be removed from those who follow us in this nation.” He received a standing ovation.
Conservatives regularly criticize opponents for “gotcha” issues, but the Georgia Gun Owners organization seems to be following a liberal playbook.
While gotchas come in numerous forms, this could be called a “shredded quote” gotcha: A short reference, untimely, and decontextualized is blown out of proportion, misinterpreted, and put into the service of extreme conclusions.
How does it serve the cause of Georgia Gun Owners to adopt the tactics of radicals on the other side and misinform their followers? It makes one wonder what else they are hiding.
The people of Georgia and the nation need complete information to make informed decisions. Anyone concerned with this question should watch the NRA speech before judging Ben Carson’s commitment to the Second Amendment and his readiness to be president.