Stephen King’s Hypocrisy on Gun Control

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


As of three hours ago there is not a single famous person in all of North America, the United Kingdom and the Rock of Gibraltar who has not weighed in with a screeching demand that the United States outlaw all guns and apologize for having them in its Bill of Rights.

Stephen King popped up with another one of his “publishing experiments”, an essay entitled Guns, in which in his patented “Crazy Uncle” style he discourses at length about why guns are evil, despite owning three of them. But it’s okay, he’s a celebrity.

If anyone should keep his mouth shut about school shootings, it’s Stephen King who is to school shootings what J.D. Salinger is to shooting famous people. And indeed King references his book, Rage, which was associated with a number of school shootings, arguing that just as he pulled it from publication, the NRA should agree to ban all assault rifles.

I didn’t pull Rage from publication because the law demanded it; I was protected under the First Amendment and the law couldn’t demand it. I pulled it because in my judgement it might be hurting people, and that made it the responsible thing to do. Assault weapons will remain readily available to crazy people until the powerful pro-gun forces in this country decide to do a similar turnaround. They must accept responsibility, recognizing that responsilibity is not the same as culpability. They need to say, “we support these measures not because the law demands we support them, but because it’s the sensible thing.”
Until that happens, shooting sprees will continue.

This analogy is as broken as King’s sentence structure. And he misses the point of his own essay. Owners of rifles are free to make the same choice that King did. But that’s not what Stephen King is suggesting. He’s not suggesting that individual gun owners make the same voluntary choice that he did with their own property. He wants the equivalent of a law that would ban books like Rage. And is that something he would support?

Right next to the HuffPo puff piece on King is a news story about the confession of a teenager who claims that the Rob Zombie movie Halloween inspired him to kill his family.

King had earlier stated that, “A novel such as Rage may act as an accelerant on a troubled mind; one cannot divorce the presence of my book in that kid’s locker from what he did any more than one can divorce the gruesome sex-murders committed by Ted Bundy from his extensive collection of bondage-oriented porno magazines. To argue free speech in the face of such an obvious linkage (or to suggest that others may obtain a catharsis from such material which allows them to be atrocious only in their fantasies) seems to me immoral.”

That’s an argument for locking up free speech, but King doesn’t go that far. He wants to lock up the Second Amendment, but not the First Amendment. And that’s hypocrisy.

“My book did not break (them) or turn them into killers,” King wrote in his essay. “They found something in my book that spoke to them because they were already broken.”

That’s Stephen King’s version of books don’t kill people, people kill people. And that’s true. Ultimate responsibility for a murder lies with the killer. But while King is willing to make that concession for his own industry, a civil rights group that protects the second amendment is just a bunch of killer-enablers. Even though that civil rights group is why he retains the right to own guns (aside from his celebrity status.)

Like most liberals, Stephen King believes that there should be two different standards for the two amendments. Free speech is an absolute right and King would be outraged if PEN or the ACLU were being described as “murder enablers” or told to go scrape blood and fluids from the scene of the latest school shooting or terrorist attack. But the right to bear arms is not absolute, even though King makes use of it. The second amendment is not one that King profits from. The first amendment is. And using his first amendment right he writes an essay calling for the abolition of the second and profits from his hypocrisy.

  • tagalog

    King inadvertently puts his finger on the heart of the shooting-spree issue when he says, "Assault weapons will remain readily available to CRAZY (emphasis added) people until the powerful pro-gun forces in this country decide to do a similar turnaround…" He loses the point immediately afterward, however, when he goes on to say that those pro-gun forces must accept responsibility for school shootings.

    King acknowledges that guns in the hands of crazy people are problematic, but then says that it's a gun problem, not a crazy people problem. The only way to keep crazy people from getting their hands on guns and causing mayhem is either of the following two solutions: (1) confront the issue of crazy people having the license to act so as to cause harm, due to overly scrupulous concern for their liberties, or (2) completely confiscating every single gun that potentially can be stolen. The second cannot be done; the first can be made workable by initially committing every crazy person who is deemed to be violent for observation and afterward monitoring closely those who display a likelihood of going on a shooting spree. No doubt King himself would agree that even a day or two of decompression might defuse some of these mentally ill people from taking up guns and destroying others.

    Pro-gun forces are NOT responsible, ANY MORE THAN STEPHEN KING IS, for the choices of unhinged people when they decide, as they occasionally do, to pick up guns and shoot people.

  • tagalog

    The difference in constitutionality is that a short-term involuntary commitment for a danger check would involve limiting the liberty of a few thousand potentially dangerous people for a couple of days as opposed to permanently limiting the freedom of 350 million sane and law-abiding people.

  • JacksonPearson

    Effing morons. The only reason we have a free country of our own called the U.S.A., and not a cowering a British colony, is because George Washington didn't sweet or pillow talk the Brits…he shot them!

    "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
    Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950])

    So I would have to take it, that morons like Stephen King would rather be in chains!

  • tagalog

    It is interesting that one of the bits of cover art for the Gunslinger/Dark Tower series is published here. In that series, King displays in a couple of places his inconsistency regarding his antipathy to gun use. In one of the Dark Tower novels, one of the characters takes a fully automatic assault rifle from the home of some character who King condemns for being a bad person for wanting such a gun, in order to use it later as the plot continues unfolding. So for King, one kind of person can own a firearm and another kind is not OK doing that.

    And of course, the entire series is about a "gunslinger." I guess it's OK for that character to have a gun because he's a "good guy."

    What is Stephen King's reasoned position on the so-called constitutional right to an abortion?

    I've noticed that when The Dark Tower series spends any time on the origin of the Gunslinger himself (is he named Roland?), that he's a bit of a philosopher-king without having spent the time Plato prescribed for the evolutiuon of such a person. Is Stephen King a Platonist?

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The out-sized hypocrisy of the "left set" is mendacious on every level. Most essentially, those who make their fortunes scaring the hell out of people have more to answer for than most of the poor schnooks they so viciously malign. You know, the "bitter clingers". Maybe he ought to be silenced via some form of rights taken away from him. Good for the goose….
    That being said, King is a special case, even though he is so called sober for years. Nevertheless, the amount of alcohol and drugs he consumed was enough to fry anyone's brains – for two lifetimes! As someone who has commented/researched this issue, now and again, I would take what he exhorts with less than a grain of salt – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/09/29/alcohol-addic

    In his case, we do know that he is not playing with a full deck. Maybe it is time to give, some of the rest of the gun control crew, a litmus test, just to know how many substances have fried their brains too. It couldn't hurt.
    It may be very enlightening.
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • steve

    Can you not read? The first sentence in this article asserts that Stephen King and all others are demanding the federal government to outlaw all guns. Has any read King's article? It includes the paragraph "Guys, gals, now hear this: no one wants to take away your hunting rifles. No one wants to take away your shotguns. No one wants to take away your revolvers, and no one wants to take away your automatic pistols, as long as said pistols hold no more than 10 rounds. If you can't kill a burglar with 10 shots, you need to go back to the shooting range." That doesn't sound like he's asking to outlaw ALL guns. You might consider that if you want to be taken seriously, get your facts correct.

    • Edward Cline

      Steve: That excerpt you quoted from King – ""Guys, gals, now hear this: no one wants to take away your hunting rifles. No one wants to take away your shotguns. No one wants to take away your revolvers, and no one wants to take away your automatic pistols, as long as said pistols hold no more than 10 rounds. If you can't kill a burglar with 10 shots, you need to go back to the shooting range" – that is just patronizing buffoonery. That's King sneering at gun owners, sticking out his tongue at them in mockery. And how does he know that the government and anti-gun forces – "no one" – don’t want to take away those guns? Has he a direct line to Senator Feinstein and the White House?

      • tagalog

        "Now children, no one wants to have to take away your Legos, we just want you to play with them the way WE want, not the way YOU want. If you can't do that, you'll just have to do without."

  • tagalog

    Steve, approaching the shooting-spree issue from the point of view of control of guns (as opposed to controlling the mentally ill), what gun control method do you believe could prevent a Newtown shooting incident?

    I respectfully submit that the only workable gun control solution for a Newtown situation is complete confiscation of all guns. That's what the Stephen Kings of the world are after.

    It's true that Stephen King didn't say that, but that's because his thinking is not very clear, as 30 or 40 years of Stephen King novels has amply demonstrated.

    Besides, the Second Amendment isn't about hunting. And what's the rationale for limiting magazines to a 10-round capacity? Isn't that just some politico's idea of what's acceptable? How about 11 rounds? Or 9? Who is Stephen King to dictate how many rounds it takes to "kill a burglar?" What if there's three burglars, armed and shooting? How does he know what it would take to do that? How about to kill a crazy fan who wants to run Stephen King over with his car while he's on the roadside?

    Just as an aside, I notice that King's 25-page essay on guns is a Kindle release, for which he requires a price to be paid in order to get the full benefit of his insights. I also liked the segment I was able to read, in which he defends his story Rage as not being a tipping factor in some nut case's decision to start shooting, although it might have been. Nice footwork dancing on that razor blade, Steve.

  • Beth

    Long post….but it must be said (all of it) to paint the full picture (I speak as a parent).

    Deporting all illegal aliens (all 11 million of them) and securing the border is impossible – it can not be done – according to hollywood (not all – but most of them).

    But taking the guns from millions upon millions of Americans, an unlawful act (according to the laws of the land of America) "will not be an easy task", they have admitted.

    The comparison between those two facts could not be more hypocritical. Add to that thought….the followng:

    The people in hollywood (not all – but most of them) fully support Islam, which teaches…

    Koran:

    047.004 – Beheadings

    033.052 & 024:033 – Gang Rape of female 'infidels'

    005.033 – Crucifixions

    008.067 – Treason (perjury in a non-muslim court is commanded when defending islam)

    033.061 – Genocide "without mercy"

    005.041 – Racism

    Continued:

    • Beth

      Islam will never have a place in America if her citizens are armed (That is a fact). If you are a parent and these things frighten you for the future for your children (as it should) consider some of the things you can do to take suppport away from holloywood.

      I don't watch their movies – or buy them…..same applies with the federal (not state) media. They're all owned (and have been owned) by the federal government, which has been deeply infiltrated by devout muslims who are only carrying out thier commands:

      Koran:

      004.094 O ye who believe! When ye go abroad in the cause of Allah, investigate carefully, and say not to any one who offers you a salutation: "Thou art none of a believer!" Therefore carefully investigate. {they are to keep their intentions hidden

      004.100 He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah, finds in the earth Many a refuge, wide and spacious.

      004.101 When ye travel – through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear '''the unbelievers''' May attack you: For '''the Unbelievers''' are unto you open enemies.

      • Beth

        (Thus, dispells the lie that the laws of Islam are only for Islamic lands.)

        Koran:

        009.038 O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter.

        004.095 Not equal are those believers who sit at home and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons… those who strive and fight hath He distinguished above those who sit at home by a special reward.

        002.216 Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing [war] which is good for you and that ye love a thing [peace] which is bad for you?

        004.104 And slacken not in following up the enemy: If ye are suffering hardships, they are suffering similar hardships.

        009.039 Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.

        (They are commanded to travel the earth and to infiltrate.)

        • Beth

          047.004 Therefore, when ye meet '''the Unbelievers''' in fight, smite at their necks. Behead them! and the Muslims are commanded to initiate the fight} 002.216 – 009.039 – throughout the earth} 004.101 – 004.100

          005.033 THE PUNISHMENT of those who '''wage war''' against Allah and His Messenger is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet. – {meanwhile – It is the Muslims who are commanded to initiate the fight} 002.216 – 009.039

          002.193 And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.

          005.051 O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them for friendship is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

          008.067 It is not fitting for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war [slay them first] until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. {Treason in all non-Muslim nations

          • Beth

            009.029 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, {The Jews and Christians} Other non-Muslims are not so lucky] until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

            033.061 They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain without mercy. {Genocidal teaching – no matter how you look at it!

            (I have one message for hollywood: If you support murderers – then you're a murderer. There is a saying…. "Let them eat, drink and be merry", because murderers have no hope for eternal life.)

          • Beth

            These are the things that hollywood should be showing to their fans – and so, for their fans, remember these things the next time they stand there on stage, telling you – "I love you"….as theyre fighting to disarm you – allthewhile – welcoming strangers who are commanded with whole hearts to smile in your face while having dangerous intentions.

            The facts given here about the koran prove one of the two: Hollywood is either too stupid or evil.

            But to fight for strangers rights while attacking the rights of their fellow citizens – is just plain Hypocritical.

  • scum

    So Greenfield believes RAGE should be on the shelves.

  • cdnbn

    How about, instead of millions of law-abiding citizens turning in their weapons
    (which could be used to protect themselves against criminals and the insane,
    who would not be turning in their weapons),
    how about the handful of multimillionaire producers who release blood-soaked
    movies and television shows (which have no redeeming value whatsoever)
    voluntarily STOP PRODUCING SUCH SICK IMAGES WHICH LEAD CRIMINALS AND
    THE INSANE TO THINK THAT KILLING PILES OF PEOPLE IS NORMAL?!?!

    How about that??

  • Daniel

    Someone should read the article that king wrote. This is one of the most irresponsible snapshots of head in the sand journalism I have seen in a while.

  • FPF

    “They found something in my book that spoke to them because they were already broken.” Well then Steve don't put it in your book so they won't find and start killing people. Is that too hard?

    • tagalog

      King crafted his story for the kind of reader he wanted to reach, didn't he? Hmmm…

  • Cat K

    I once had the opportunity to hear S. King speak (at a family graduation). I was thoroughly disgusted. He had no insight whatsoever. He bragged about his money and success condescendingly as if he was convinced that he was deserving of some other worldly level of greatness.This was interspersed with ridiculing and chastising 'the rich' (parents of the graduates who he assumed were all wealthy-a bigoted assumption). King is a low IQ bigot with poor reasoning abilities and no conscience or compassion. After that day, King's opinions on any topic have no merit for me.
    &Yes, I read some of his books years ago. I can't explain why he became so popular- so wealthy and famous. Maybe it was some need in the culture for easy-to-read shallow, gory, scary, fake-Americana themed books.

    • tagalog

      King has consistently demonstrated, via most of his novels over a lengthy span of time, an inability to write endings to his stories. It appears, that like many storytellers, King is too much in love with the story itself to tie up his loose ends. That's why he winds up ending many of his novels with a deus ex machina. Under The Dome was a particularly egregious example of that. The dome was just a creation of some beings in another place or dimension or something, who were playing. One of his central characters, the Major or Lieutenant or whatever he was supposed to be, I think his name was Barbara (Major Barbara – cute), turned out to be entirely unnecessary to the story.

  • Chris Cosby

    Stephen King should stick to writing novels — of which I have read about eight — he understands nothing about the second amendment and is really quite ignorant of firearms and middle America. Maybe he should take some time to meet some of us before rants about what simpletons we are — he has become a typical liberal holier than thou elitist.