Toure: Entertainers Are Not Leaders

by | Dec 28, 2023 | Opinion

NBA star Lebron James was in Las Vegas last week for the NBA In-Season Tournament. During a press conference, he found himself talking about gun control again after being asked about his feelings about the shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus. This unfortunate tragedy at UNLV took the lives of three and wounded one.

Lebron acknowledged that he didn’t know much about the incident until a friend texted him, but felt compelled to discuss the incident from his typical anti-gun playbook. Lebron has been a vocal advocate for gun control for years, begging the government to take more control out of the hands of the people, while ignoring the overwhelming negative impact these types of laws have had.

Lebron is a great athlete, and even more than an athlete; he’s a family man, a husband, and one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game. But he’s also a billionaire, superstar with private security that can no longer relate to the needs of everyday Americans.

But the truth is, Lebron simply doesn’t understand the importance of the Second Amendment for Americans. Everyday-citizens forced to live in dangerous areas, particularly inner cities where high levels of crime persist, don’t want to be lectured by rich people who live in mansions and behind gated walls about gun control, especially when the choice to defend yourself is protected as a constitutional right.

While Lebron James may have good intentions and genuinely want the unnecessary deaths to end, people like him don’t seem to understand that there are unintended consequences of gun control.

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A few years ago, Lebron was a very vocal proponent of social justice, speaking out about the racial disparities in America. “We are scared as black people in America,” he notoriously stated in 2020 after a string of shootings of unarmed black men, including the shooting of Jacob Blake, but fastforward and he is advocating for legislation that does the exact opposite of his former plea.

Gun control removes the protection he knows is needed, leaving the same people he seemingly cares about disarmed and vulnerable. Anti-gun policies overwhelmingly affect the poor, people of color, and those living in inner cities—ironically, people who need protection the most.

While Lebron James may have feelings about the issue, the facts are that according to FBI data, African Americans, who represent about 14 percent of the US population, accounted for 45% of weapons offenses in 2020. It is naive and dangerous to suggest that gun control policies help Americans, particularly in high-crime areas where police response times are too long and gun laws are used to over-police and criminalize black people and hispanics.

The overwhelming majority of guns that are used in homicides are obtained illegally. Therefore, most laws that regulate legal gun sales do little to reduce the larger proportion of homicides, but they do give police more tax dollars to over-police and violate people’s human rights, oftentimes disparagingly. So when a megastar like Lebron James calls for the government to “do something,” this is the real-world consequence of gun control that is happening far outside of his mansion’s walls.

The bottom line is that Lebron’s skill at basketball doesn’t make his opinion valid on a constitutional issue, and he’s not special in his desire for unnecessary death to stop. We all do. What happened on the campus of UNLV was tragic and unacceptable. But unlike Lebron’s suggestion, if we hope to tackle violence, we need to make sure that we do the “right” thing, not just “something.” Especially if that something is in violation of our natural right to self-defense.

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It was police with guns that neutralized the suspect at UNLV to preserve life. Police Sheriff McMahill stated, “If it wouldn’t have been for the heroic actions of the armed officer, there would’ve been countless more lives taken… Armed confrontation of the suspect by law enforcement stopped the suspect’s actions.”

The suspect is dead because someone with a gun stopped a bad man from doing evil, but anti-gun politicians and billionaires seem to never understand or want to acknowledge this. Carnage is limited by good people who are armed. Ironically, if anti-gun politicians hadn’t put gun-free zones in place to discourage solid citizens from stepping up to defend themselves and their fellow Americans, this carnage could have possibly ended much sooner.

Americans need and have the right to protect themselves, the Second Amendment is clear on that. Celebrities are generally uninformed and simply aren’t well versed on the Second Amendment or Constitution. They shouldn’t feel pressured to be the spokesperson on these types of issues. We can appreciate them for their talents and skills, but they do not speak for or on behalf of most Americans.

The balance we need to find as fans is an appreciation for their amazing talent and skill, but a healthy understanding that those talents don’t automatically translate into all areas, especially politics. Entertainers are simply not leaders.

Maj Toure is the president and founder of Black Guns Matter. You can follow him on X at @MajToure999.

NEXT: Toure: The Fashion of Stop and Frisk

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