After the massacre Tuesday that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, billionaire Elon Musk has taken a public stance on the discussions surrounding gun control laws.
In response to a Twitter follower who asked, “Thoughts on the AR-15 discussion or too controversial for you to weigh in on?” the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX tweeted his opinion Thursday concerning so-called “assault rifles” — a technically meaningless term used by gun control advocates for its negative connotation.
Assault rifles should at minimum require a special permit, where the recipient is extremely well vetted imo
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2022
However, Musk told CNBC News Wednesday that he does believe in the right to bear arms.
“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 wrote in an email, according to CNBC.
Despite that, Musk supported “tight background checks” for all gun sales, according to CNBC. He also backed limiting sales of so-called “assault weapons” to those in special circumstances — such as gun range owners or those who live in a “high risk location, like gang warfare,” CNBC reported.
Musk also criticized the mainstream media for focusing too much on the gunmen in mass shooting stories.
“Regarding recent events, the shooters are obviously doing this to generate the most amount of attention possible. Why is the media doing exactly what the mass murderers want?” Musk wrote, according to CNBC.
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The gun control controversy has been in the spotlight again since the Uvalde shooting. The gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, The Associated Press reported.
“We, as a nation, have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden said, according to a White House transcript. “When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”
Many conservatives criticized the Biden for speech, such as Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, who called the address “frail, confused, bitterly partisan, desecrating the memory of recently murdered children … dividing the country in a moment of deep pain, rather than uniting.”
Others have been critical of Musk for his opinions.
Independent journalist Luke Rudowski called out Musk’s use of the “highly political term” by discussing “assault rifles.”
Liberals and the mainstream media generally use “assault weapons” to refer to semiautomatic rifles, but as a commentary piece in The Federalist noted in 2018, the term has come to mean basically anything gun control advocates want it to mean.
Rudowski also noted that putting the power of deciding who can own a gun in the hands of the government through “vetting” would turn the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Constitution into simply a privilege that was granted by the party in power.
Your using a made up highly political term, 1.
2. vetting by the government would soon turn to it abusing that power and denying people the right to defend themselves based on their political ideology and what party would be in office at that time!
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) May 26, 2022
One thing was clear: Regardless of whether he intended it, Musk’s contradictory positions on guns couldn’t have pleased either side in the gun debate.