South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg argued Sunday that the real reason the United States has not adopted stricter gun control is that the NRA has convinced Americans that guns are an idol rather than a tool.
Buttigieg made the comments during a segment of Sunday morning’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper, saying that the NRA had turned guns into a “false god.” (RELATED: Pete Buttigieg Says ‘The Racial Divide Lives Within Me.’ Here’s How Twitter Reacted)
Tapper began the segment by quoting a tweet whose author he could not recall, saying, “There is a tweet out there, I forget who wrote it, something along the lines the moment this country decided that it was acceptable for 20 first and second graders to be massacred at Sandy Hook was the moment this country decided it would not do gun control no matter what.”
Buttigieg responded by pointing out that his own marriage to Chasten Buttigieg would have been considered impossible just a decade earlier, before same-sex marriage was the law of the land, but because people believed it could happen and it was important, they made it happen. “We have to believe in the possibility of political change but we also have to hold our leader accountable when they fail to deliver it,” he said.
“This is a cultural issue,” Buttigieg continued, arguing that the influence of the NRA had convinced Americans that guns were “idols” rather than “tools.”
He added, “A question of how we handle responsible gun ownership. Here is something to think about this Sunday morning. Is a gun a tool or an idol? Any time I’ve carried or handled a weapon, whether in Afghanistan for self-defense or whether it was to go skeet shooting or hunting, I viewed it as a tool. But if the gun corporation lobby, which is what the NRA is, now has people viewing guns as a thing to be loved, a thing to be protected, a thing that is a source of our freedom and power and a thing to which we are willing to sacrifice human life, isn’t that the definition of a false God?”
Buttigieg argued that the only way to change the culture of mass shootings was to change the way that Americans view guns and gun ownership.
“We can’t go on like this,” he concluded. “I was part of what I feel like was the first generation where school shootings were routine and now we’ve seen a second. Are we going to allow there to be a third or be proud of what we’ve done, by five or 10 years from now — on the current track we’re on, we already have more guns than people in this country and they’re saying about 2030 there will be 130 million more guns on the street. We could tell our kids by 2030 that we finally changed. Or we could let it be one of those issues that we just accept the unacceptable for as long as we live.”