Conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s video hitting back at gun-control proposals has sparked debate among his social-media followers and detractors.
Republicans are facing renewed scrutiny over their opposition to strengthening gun-control laws in the United States. This comes after mass shootings in Nashville, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, and Dadeville, Alabama, in the past few weeks.
Gun-control advocates have long called for more restrictive gun laws that they say would lessen gun violence. However, Republicans have opposed these policies, saying they would violate the Second Amendment. This guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”
Crowder on Sunday posted a video on his Instagram account, in which he spoke out against banning the weapons.
“We need to ban AR-15s, right? That’s one of these proposals,” Crowder said in a clip taken from his show Louder With Crowder. “Would banning AR-15s—if it was possible, assuming it’s not unconstitutional—would that make a difference?
“It would reduce total murders by less than 3 percent. Jeez,” Crowder added. “Here’s another potential path from the left. They said, ‘Well, we we need to increase gun-free zones… We need to make it hard for these people to carry firearms.’
“Except 94 percent of mass public shootings took place in gun-free zones. ‘We need to ban people carrying firearms, right? Far too many people are carrying firearms. Oh, OK. Hold on a second. There have been 370—at least—defensive uses of firearms just since January, right?
“Concealed-carry holders as a demographic commit lower crime than off-duty police officers… The most law-abiding group of Americans that you can find are concealed-carry permit holders,” Crowder said.
“Send this to anyone who thinks gun control is a good idea,” Crowder captioned the seconds-long clip, sparking spirited debate in the comments section.
“We all know it’s not about gun control and keeping people safe. It’s about disarming Americans so they can commit tyranny on us the people and force their bad policies on us and make themselves rich and powerful in the process,” wrote one who agreed with Crowder. “If we allow this we will look upon North Korea with envy.”
“If shootings were to magically stop, the left would lose a major talking point,” commented another. “If they really cared they’d be lobbying for more security in schools. It seems like they get excited when one pops up on the news.”
“Banning a weapon is only going to take them out of our hands and leave them in the hands of criminals,” another wrote. “If anything, it should just be harder to GET one in the first place. As in a background check. The kid who shot up Uvalde [Salvador Ramos] managed to easily purchase weapons despite a horrific track record of mental illness.”
While a number of Instagram users pointed to nations that have outlawed guns as proof that restrictions could work in the U.S., one person posted: “Just remember, all of México is a ‘gun free zone.’ And look how that is going on for us.”
One person of the opposite side of the debate wrote: “So many countries around the world with gun control measures in place that prove it works.”
Another posted: “Ever seen what the bullet of an M-16 does to human flesh and bone? Even [President Ronald] Reagan wanted to ban assault rifles.”
Joining the call for assault-rifle bans, one Instagram user wrote that “an AR can fire hundreds and hundreds of rounds per minute. Traditional shotguns can’t.”
Another commented that “99% of AR owners are responsible. And ARs make up a tiny fraction of total gun homicides every year. Unfortunately, it’s the gun of choice for these psychopaths. And no one with an AR has ever rushed into an active shooter situation to take out the bad guy with an AR.”
A number of other people instead criticized Crowder over the recently released Ring video footage that showed him berating his now-estranged wife, Hilary Crowder, when she was pregnant with their twins.
Semi-automatic AR-15s and other military-style rifles became legal federally in 2004. Then-President George W. Bush and Congress, then controlled by Republicans, allowed the national ban on military-style rifles to expire. This had been passed in 1993 with bipartisan support and was signed by then-President Bill Clinton.
In June 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. It closed loopholes for domestic abusers to obtain firearms and tightened background checks on gun purchasers under 21. Also included in the bill was more funding for mental health and to help states enact “red flag laws.” These allow local authorities to temporarily remove firearms from those deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.
Former President Donald Trump, during his speech at April’s National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, sought to blame a rise in shootings on mental health problems, marijuana use, and the transgender community. He also promised to roll back regulations on firearms if he wins the 2024 presidential election.
“I will ask Congress to repeal totally ineffective legislation that makes it harder to protect our schools and easier for criminals to face absolutely no opposition when they go in,” Trump said. “For about $12 billion, we could fund armed security guards at the entrance to every school in America and also arm every willing teacher.”
Gun-control advocates have specifically called for a nationwide ban on the AR-15 semi-automatic firearm. It is frequently used in mass shootings, including the shooting at a Louisville bank in Kentucky last month. The weapon has also emerged as a symbol of gun rights among many Republicans.
Meanwhile, there is majority support for banning AR-15 semi-automatic weapons, according to a new CBS News/YouGov poll. It surveyed 2,065 adults from April 12 to 14, finding that 62 percent of Americans would support such a ban; only 38 percent said they would oppose the policy. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent.
There have been at least 163 mass shootings in the U.S. so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, an organization that tracks shootings across the country. That number was 646 in 2022 and 690 in 2021. In 2014, the earliest year the organization began monitoring this data, there were 272 mass shootings.