Hey, Jim Jefferies: Humor is Not an Argument for Gun Control

Comedian Jim Jeffries in brown leather coat performs live

Up and coming comedian Jim Jefferies is making fun of gun rights advocates.

In a recent performance, he joked:

I had a break in in Manchester, England where I was tied up. I had my head cut. They threatened to rape my girlfriend. They came through the window with a machete and hammer. Americans always go, ‘Imagine if you had a gun.’  Alright, I was naked at the time. I wasn’t wearing my holster. I was staring at the window waiting for machetes to come through. [Source: huffingtonpost.com 6/26/15, breitbart.com 6/26/15]

Jefferies’ point? It’s ludicrous to think you’ll always be prepared for an intruder, a burglar or a home invader. Therefore, the implication goes, you don’t need a gun. You could not possibly use one, anyway.

Of course, there are plenty of people who have alleviated the use of force via intelligent ownership of a weapon. Why would anyone go to the trouble, expense and even risk of owning a weapon if they didn’t have some plan of action in place (e.g. location of the gun near the bed at night, etc.) in case the time ever comes?

Of course, we will never know for sure the number of crimes prevented because less skillful or less “confident” criminals are reluctant to take on a gun owning population. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that crime actually goes up when guns are banned, in places like Chicago or England, to name only a couple of examples. In Chicago, where gun laws are very strict, people are simply ignoring them. That probably keeps crime from going even higher, although it turns more and more peaceful citizens into criminals.

Undoubtedly, there are people foolish or self-negligent enough to own a gun without responsible care and attention. But why should the rights of those who are self-responsible, and who merely wish to survive, be curtailed for the sins of those who are not? And even if you could somehow prove that owning a gun is silly and self-defeating, why is this the government’s business if you’re not a known criminal?

Jefferies presumably does not own a gun, does not wish to own one, and does not believe it would enhance his life to own one. That’s his prerogative, and it’s a choice he has every right to make. But what gives him the right to make the same choice for everyone else, just because of how he feels about owning a gun?

Jefferies’ evasion — like that of any gun control advocate — is the principle of choice.

With rights, the onus of proof is never on the person claiming the right. The onus of proof is on the one attempting to ignore or violate the right.

You cannot say, “It’s silly of you to think you need your gun, or that you’ll even use it when the time comes. Therefore, you have no right to own one. It’s just too risky.”

I don’t know Jefferies’ views on other issues, but I’m willing to bet he’s an advocate of gay marriage, like most proponents of gun control and gun bans are. Imagine if someone against gay marriage said to him, “It’s absurd for two people of the same sex to get married; they don’t need that right. They can live together, write their wills, have their civil unions and legal contracts upheld, and all the rest. Leave marriage out of it.”

Jefferies, if he supports the right for gays to marry, would insist that the right to do so is an inherent, natural, “God-given” or otherwise inalienable right.

He would (correctly in my view) argue, “Your discomfort with somebody else’s marriage does not give you a right to prevent it.” But he’d never say, “Your discomfort with my owning a gun does not give you the right to ban me from owning one.”

Of course, he’d also claim that gay marriage and the right to own guns for self-defense are two different things. “Guns kill people; same-sex couples getting married do not physically threaten or harm anyone.”

That may be true, but again he’s evading the context. The context for gun rights, and for the Second Amendment, is not to enable criminals to own and use guns. Nobody is suggesting that known criminals should be allowed to own and use guns. The purpose of gun bans and gun control are to make it illegal for anyone to own guns.

The only possible effect of a gun law or gun ban is to remove guns from the property of law abiding, peaceful people; while leaving them in the hands of criminals, who will always find and use guns.

The absurdity of thinking that a government law banning guns would prevent violent and criminally minded people from securing a gun on the black market — an underground they already inhabit, by definition — would make for a funny joke, wouldn’t it? The self-righteous and rather pitifully arrogant stance of most people who stridently come out for gun control, often hypocritically (Rosie O’Donnell comes to mind) makes for some great opportunities for humor, at least to me.

Yet humor is not an argument. It can sometimes help make a point. But your point has to be a solid one. Jim Jefferies is doing what most advocates of gun control do: Taking his own position as enlightened and self-evident, despite serious evasions, logical fallacies and contradictions which must be addressed. (I just named a few.)

Jerry Seinfeld, a comedian who never became explicitly political, is now too politically incorrect for some college campuses, based on his own business manager’s advice. All he ever did was make fun of people’s neurotic worries about masturbation, birth control, family relationships and more mundane aspects of daily life. That’s considered insensitive by some, while Jefferies’ mocking of gun ownership is applauded and praised by The Huffington Post and much of the rest of our elite, progressive, not-to-be-questioned intellectual/political/academic Establishment.

Imagine what would happen if a pro-gun rights comedian made a joke about gun control advocates. The roar of rage throughout the established media, the government, many of the presidential candidates running for office, social media, would be deafening. The comedian would be labeled guilty of hate mongering and hate speech, and Yale Law School graduates-turned-CNN-hosts like Chris Cuomo would insist the First Amendment does not protect such speech.

We live in interesting times. Not in a good way, though.


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