CNN Tries a Gotcha: ‘Thompson Has no Hunting License’ But, SO WHAT!?


By: Warner Todd Huston

CNN has posted a Political Ticker entry trying to create a “gotcha” on 2nd Amendment supporter, Fred Thompson. CNN’s South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby has breathlessly announced that “Thompson does not have hunting license,” but the question is… so what? Do you HAVE to own a hunting license to be for the 2nd Amendment? Does Fred not owning a hunting license disqualify him as a gun rights advocate? Well, it appears that CNN imagines that you are illegitimate if you claim to support the 2nd Amendment yet you don’t have a valid hunting license. What we end up with here is proof that CNN doesn’t have a clue what it means to own a gun, what it means to support gun rights, nor do they understand the 2nd Amendment itself, or that there are various “gun cultures” and levels of interest and usage for guns in the United States.

Of course, CNN’s allusion to that claim is absurd. It is perfectly legitimate to support the 2nd Amendment without being a hunter.

Here’s CNN’s set up:

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) — Fred Thompson has made a point of visiting gun shops and gun shows while hitting the campaign trail in New Hampshire and South Carolina, usually with camera crews in tow.

And now what Hamby imagines is the strike out pitch:

But Thompson said Wednesday he does not have a hunting license, nor has be been hunting recently.

Now, anyone interested in the Constitution, history, guns as a hobby, guns as historical artifacts, target shooting, Civil War and Revolutionary War reenacting, or Cowboy shooting will know right away that CNN’s gotcha is a meaningless point to flog. All those interested in the gun hobbies and causes mentioned above have no necessary connection to hunting whatsoever. Folks who like target shooting, reenacting or history might also be hunters, but many are not. Yet they are ALL for 2nd Amendment rights, hunting or no.

Let’s use me for instance. I am interested in guns as historical artifacts. I have a collection of guns from the early 1800s to current era examples. At this time I have over 25 different weapons of various eras. Yet, I have never used a gun to kill a living thing. I have never been hunting and I have never owned a hunting license. I’m not against hunting, it just has never been my interest. I know hundreds of gun enthusiasts in my area of interest and only a small percentage of them are avid hunters. Heck, some never even fire their guns being only interested in the collecting aspect of firearms.

Yet, here is CNN acting as if Thompson should be looked at askance because he does not currently have a hunting license, quite despite that he has had them in the past and been hunting many, many times throughout his life (unlike Mitt Romney who claimed to be a hunter “all his life,” yet had only hunted twice during that same lifetime). CNN seems to have no idea that there is more to gun enthusiasm than hunting.

Let us also visit the actual 2nd Amendment for a second, shall we? In fact, the 2nd Amendment has no discussion of hunting in it at all. It is the military usage of guns and the protection they afford that the 2nd Amendment is interested in, not hunting. That being true, it is perfectly in keeping with the 2nd Amendment to never hunt at all, yet still be interested in safeguarding that right to own firearms.

So, even if Thompson never hunted a day in his life, he can still be a perfectly legitimate spokesman for 2nd Amendment rights. Not that CNN has even the vaguest grasp of the issue, obviously.

The gotcha didn’t work CNN. Back to the drawing board. Oh, and, Peter Hamby should do himself a favor and actually read the Constitution next time he tries a foray into questions the answers to which are so obviously over his head!

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