Geraldo Rivera must have a humiliation kink. It’s hard to imagine any other explanation for why the Fox News pundit would keep going on live television and making childishly absurd arguments for gun control without even doing basic research or critical thinking beforehand.
Rivera’s first embarrassing moment came about a week ago on “The Five,” where he claimed that the “AR” in “AR-15” stood for “assault rifle.” As was immediately pointed out to him by host Greg Gutfeld, that is not correct—it stands for “Armalite Rifle.” “AR” is the brand.
Rivera tried to bluster his way out of the mistake by saying, “All I know is AR-15s have no place in American society other than sports clubs.”
Geraldo Rivera just said with a straight face on The Five that the "AR" in AR-15 stands for "Automatic Rifle." pic.twitter.com/9HPkSlfdOT
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 17, 2023
All I know is that if you’re calling to ban something you should probably be familiar with the basic facts of the thing you’re talking about first. Before going on television in front of millions of people. But maybe that’s just me.
The debate continued into this week when Rivera appeared on Hannity to relitigate the question of whether AR-15s should be legal. He decided to bring a prop musket with him on set. Yes, seriously.
Take a look at this cringe:
On last night with friends and colleagues @seanhannity and Major @PeteHegseth debating whether the 2nd Amendment really contemplated modern military assault-type weapons. pic.twitter.com/iiH6TxoP4T
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) January 25, 2023
“This is what weapons looked like when the Second Amendment was passed,” Rivera said, flailing around with the musket before the camera. “You want to own this, you can own this. What you don’t want, though, is to give them weapons of war so that they can tear the hell out of people.”
The lameness of this stunt was matched only by the unoriginality of Rivera’s actual argument. “The Second Amendment was meant to be applied to muskets” is the oldest line in the book, the go-to talking point of your average Facebook Karen. It’s not exactly a sophisticated argument, and it collapses under the slightest scrutiny.
The Second Amendment was meant to protect the rights of citizens to own common weapons. Which, yes, included muskets at the time, and cannons. But it’s that right that is protected, not the specific technology of the day.
To understand why, simply think of the First Amendment.
No one believes that the First Amendment only applies to an ink quill and parchment, simply because that’s what they used at the time of its ratification. Countless court decisions have affirmed that the First Amendment also applies to the internet, digital communications, and all other forms of communication that the founders never in their wildest dreams would’ve imagined. Because, again, it protects the right to communicate freely, not the specific method of communication of the time.
Any thinking person can see that the same logic applies to the Second Amendment.
So, Geraldo’s specific argument is so simplistic and childish that I can’t help but feel second-hand embarrassment for him. But his entire crusade against the AR-15 is misguided in the first place.
Less than 3% of homicides are committed using any kind of rifle, let alone the AR-15 specifically. Far, far more people are killed each year with blunt objects or bare fists than with an AR-15.
What’s more, there are at least 16 million AR-15s in the United States. Each year, about 300 people are killed with any kind of rifle. Therefore, it’s no exaggeration to say that 99.99% of AR-15s are never used to murder anyone.
So, Rivera’s fact-free crusade against the AR-15 is pointless to begin with. Unless he just enjoys getting publicly humiliated.
In that case, it’s working out great.
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