By Gary Bai
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk joined the right-to-bear arms debate this week by sharing his thoughts on the second amendment after the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas on May 24.
“I strongly believe that the right to bear arms is an important safeguard against potential tyranny of government. Historically, maintaining their power over the people is why those in power did not allow public ownership of guns,” Musk said in an email to CNBC on May 25.
In the same email, Musk elaborated that he supports applying “tight background checks” on all gun purchases, and limits on gun sales to people with special circumstances such as “high-risk location, like gang warfare,” reported CNBC.
In a later interaction with Twitter users, the billionaire further revealed his thoughts on the right to bear arms.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog, replied to Musk’s posts with what he thinks is the point of issue between gun control activists and those advocating for the right to bear.
“A gun is a gun is a gun when it comes to those commonly available to civilians. “Assault rifles” (as gun opponents have broadly defined) are no more/less deadly than other avail firearms. “Assault rifles” (full automatic fire kind you likely mean) already banned/highly restricted,” Fitton said.
“In truth, anti-gun activists seek severe restrictions on, and oppose in concept, any individual civilian RIGHT to own ANY firearm, even though it is an inalienable right specifically recognized in the U.S. Constitution under the Second Amendment. This is the debate,” Fitton added.
In response to Fitton’s post, Musk pitched a few ideas for striking a balance between protecting people’s constitutional freedoms and public safety.
“How about a middle ground, where the licensing standard for semi-auto rifles is a driver’s license, age 21 and no rap sheet?” Musk said. “Basically, what is a reasonable way to make it harder for people with homicidal impulses to obtain body count maximizing weapons?”
“Maybe just require homicide insurance for a gun purchase? Minimum car insurance, which is basically homocide insurance, is required for car ownership,” the billionaire said in response to a Twitter user’s suggestion to raise the gun licensing age to 25. “I think this would actually work.”
In response to a query about his thoughts on AR-15s, the weapon used in Tuesday’s mass shooting, Musk said, “Assault rifles should at minimum require a special permit, where the recipient is extremely well vetted [in my opinion].” By “assault rifles,” he meant “any semi-automatic gun with supersonic ammo and a large magazine,” Musk added.
The billionaire’s comments after a school shooting incident in Uvalde, Texas, that took the lives of 19 children and 2 adults, which stirred up debate on the gun laws in the country.
Democrats have called for increasing restrictions on gun ownership. U.S. President Joe Biden decried current gun laws during a White House speech on Wednesday, saying that the Second Amendment “is not absolute.”
“While they clearly will not prevent every tragedy, we know certain ones will have significant impact and have no negative impact on the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is not absolute,” Biden said. “When it was passed, you couldn’t own … a cannon, you couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons.”