Action movie star Liam Neeson is being accused of lacking brains and “rank hypocrisy” for his comments blasting gun ownership in America – while making a career appearing in movies featuring … guns.
“The rank hypocrisy of an actor who uses guns in his films and attacks gun ownership at the same time is way over the top. I guess you don’t need brains to act,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “All you have to do is read the script.”
Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, was also not impressed by the comments from Neeson, who appeared in “Schindler’s List.”
“Too bad Neeson didn’t learn anything from Schindler’s List. Those were unarmed people who were being slaughtered (by the Nazis),” Pratt said. “You know they had to have wished there had been ‘too many (expletive) guns’ in Germany.”
Neeson took a shot at gun owners in America while commenting about the tragic loss of lives in Paris last week, apparently seeing no difference between Islamic terrorists and law-abiding citizens who carry weapons.
The Irish actor, who portrayed Oskar Schindler in “Schindler’s List” and has done his share of shoot em’ up movie roles, took the opportunity to speak in favor of gun control Monday while responding to a question about the Paris terrorist attacks.
“First off, my thoughts and prayers and my heart are with the deceased, and certainly with all of France, yesterday. I’ve got a lot of dear friends in Paris,” the 62-year-old actor said, according to Gulf News.
“There’s too many [expletive] guns out there,” he said. “Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a [expletive] disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.'”
Neeson made the comments while standing in front of a large poster for his new movie, “Taken 3.” The poster shows him holding a pistol.
The trailer shows nearly nonstop head-bashing, bombing and gun-shooting, with Neeson’s promise to “finish” the violence.
As for the situation in France, the facts render Neeson’s commentary even more inane, Pratt said.
“The guns that were used (by the Islamists) are not available to the French public, yet they were in the hands of the terrorists. Go figure,” Pratt said.
He said that if Neeson were interested in the facts, he wouldn’t make such statements.
Pratt points to data comparing violent crime rates in the United Kingdom and in American cities that allow for an armed citizenry, versus U.S. cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., which historically have banned most guns or made them virtually inaccessible to law-abiding citizens.
“The comparison between England and say Fairfax County, Virginia, is very relevant. Fairfax is a very urban county of well over a million people just outside of D.C. and because it’s in Virginia it’s fairly easy to get a concealed-carry permit,” Pratt said of the county where he lives.
The United Kingdom has a murder rate of about 1.4 per 100,000, whereas the U.S. murder rate was 4.7 per 100,000 in 2012. Fairfax County’s murder rate is 1.
“So it’s a calmer place in Fairfax County than it is in D.C., and it’s a calmer place than England, and I guarantee you Fairfax County is bristling with guns,” Pratt said.
Pratt said Neeson would do well to study both sides of the issue before popping off about guns.
He recommends “More Guns, Less Crime,” by John Lott Jr.
“Lott argues very convincingly that you could have a line separating two jurisdictions, one where the concealed carry law is on the books would see a lot lower levels of violent crime than the county immediately adjacent where concealed carry is not allowed,” Pratt said. “He found patterns like that across the country. Where concealed carry was introduced, the murder and violent crime went down.”
Pratt, who has led Gun Owners of America for 30 years, said he started out as a philosophical liberal and gradually became conservative, so he can understand where Neeson is coming from.
“They frequently, consciously try to teach us rubes through the mass media, that they dominate, and yet they’ll turn around and say, ‘My gunfights are just imaginary and have no relation to reality.'”
He said art in general and film in particular is a much more powerful method of communicating an idea than any opinion piece in a newspaper or on a television or radio talk show.
“The entertainment industry, particularly film, kind of sneaks in behind your rationality and grabs your mind, taking you into another world and then they can embed their assumptions and leave them there after the entertainment is over,” Pratt continued. “Whereas I get on a TV news show and if the viewer is not in agreement they can turn me off and move onto something else.”
Then there’s the issue of guilt, or a guilt complex, harbored by many liberals in Hollywood.
“I think Neeson is trying to somehow explain away how he makes so much money shooting people in the movies, saying, ‘Well it’s just my fantasy world.’ It shows that he hasn’t looked at the facts,” Pratt said. “He’s not interested in the facts.”
Neeson wasn’t alone is seizing upon the Paris terror attacks to take a swipe at a perceived lack of gun control in the United States.
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson took the opportunity to sound off on U.S. gun laws Friday in an interview with MSNBC in which he said a Paris-style attack would be “much worse” in the United States where guns are so much easier to obtain.
Stephen P. Halbrook, a constitutional attorney in Fairfax, Virginia, and author of the newly released book, “Gun Control in the Third Reich,” is an expert on gun-control laws throughout the North America and much of Europe.
He recently completed a scholarly article “Why Can’t We Be Like France?” for the Fordham University Law Review.
He explains that France’s gun registration law went into effect in 1935, just in time for the Nazi occupation. When Hitler’s troops arrived, all they had to do was seize the gun registration records from French police.
“When this incident happened in Paris, I was first thinking, ‘Imagine this taking place in Texas, how many concealed-carry permit holders would take out their guns and shoot the guy on the spot,'” Halbrook said.
But this wasn’t Texas. And it wasn’t Fairfax County.
It was Paris, France, where Halbrook said officials never learned from the past experiences with tyranny.
“It retains strict gun registration laws in place to this day that allow only hunting rifles and shotguns to be owned by private citizens,” he said.
Prime Minister Pierre Laval, for the first time in French history, required registration of fire arms in 1935, and continued a prior ban on military grade weapons.
“Concealed carry permits, they’ve never been available in France,” Halbrook said. “Laval was the prime minister in 1935 and then he came back and was prime minister during the Nazi occupation and he was the same one who decreed registration and when Nazis took over France they gave everyone 24 hours to turn over all guns. The French police had the registration records and any Frenchman who didn’t turn over his guns was subject to execution.”
Modern laws in France are even more stringent, he said, “so basically you have a disarmed population completely dependent on the state for protection from attackers like the three jihadists in Paris.
“There are a lot of hunters in France, so we’re talking about hunting rifles and shotguns, and nobody is going to have those at their offices if a bad buy comes in.”
The three jihadis also proved how easy it is for terrorists and criminals to evade the laws that the general public feels it must abide by. They were armed not with hunting rifles but high-powered AK-47 military rifles.
“And what I find really hypocritical about those who are saying it’s so easy to get guns here, these criminals don’t’ have guns legally and in France those AKs were likely from the black market,” said Halbrook, whose next book will take a look at the Nazi occupation of France. “They probably came from Eastern Europe or somewhere in the former Soviet bloc.
“It’s easy pickings in France. If you’re just a normal person in the office or have just a Jewish grocery store, look now they have police posted there for their safety, but how long can they do that?”
Halbrook says France was ripe for the Nazi invasion because the gun owners could be easily identified, and now they are ripe for Islamic terrorist attacks from within their own society.
Halbrook concludes that the only vanguard against tyranny, whether it comes from a domestic government, foreign invasion or violent dissidents from within a society, is to have an armed citizenry.
“You have a society that has a military and police but you should also have citizen participation – the right to serve on juries, to petition for grievances, to vote, exercise free speech, run for office, own firearms – that makes for a sense of balance in the political society,” he said. “If everything is in the hands of the state, particularly the most elementary protection of your life, and that’s the big problem with the big militarized police forces, then the state becomes too powerful and it can’t protect the citizenry anyway.”
Halbrook said the underlying message of the progressives is that dependence on the state is the desired outcome in all facets of life.
“The purpose of the dependency is so the people cannot decide for themselves how best to protect themselves, that this elite that runs everything knows better than anyone else,” he said.
There have been incidents here in U.S. where the assailant was not in a gun-free zone and people in the crowd shot down the attacker, including in an Oregon shopping center last year.
Pratt says it would also be instructive for Neeson to look at Chicago, one of the most restrictive in the nation regarding firearms, yet one of the most violent U.S. cities anyone.
“It’s still probably the worst place for gun owners in the country and they have numerous murders every weekend,” Pratt said. “It’s something that happens very rarely in Fairfax County.”