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OPINION

The True Flaws in Alyssa Milano and Fred Guttenberg's Gun Control Argument

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

After actress Alyssa Milano “discussed” gun control policies during a Twitter debate with Ted Cruz, she extended an invitation to meet with the Texas Senator on the “gun issue,” and so the American people could hear Cruz’s “bulls*** 1st hand.”

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Ted Cruz accepted the proposal, and met with Milano on Tuesday for a live-streamed meeting which lasted just over an hour. Because nothing says “independent feminist” like needing to be flanked by two men, Milano was joined by Fred Guttenberg - father of Parkland shooting victim Jamie Guttenberg - and Ben Jackson - a so-called “activist.”

Many applauded the supposed “civility” of the discussion, despite some repeated and unsubstantiated subtle attacks against both Ted Cruz and Americans who are concerned about gun control. While the meeting seemed fairly innocuous compared to the style of rhetoric we see elsewhere, two brief moments were missed which perfectly epitomized the Left’s flawed attitude towards gun control. If we hope to make real progress in the fight against gun violence, then it’s important that we don’t ignore the real foundation of division when it comes to this debate.

The first moment took place when Ted Cruz expressed his shared desire to fight gun violence.

Ted Cruz: “We need to do more to stop this.”

Fred Guttenberg: “So let’s do it.”

“So let’s do it” is representative of the common response from gun control advocates when their political opponents condemn acts of gun violence. While this may not be indicative of Mr. Guttenberg’s personal political leanings, this reactive expression is commonly mirrored by the Left, marred by an inability to see the difference between agreeing with a problem and agreeing with a proposed solution. For many, if you agree that mass shootings are morally abhorrent, then you must therefore agree with their gun control proposals. Ted Cruz agreed with the problem, but until we agree on the “it,” we will not move forward together.

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The second moment came during one of several ignorant and illogical interjections by Alyssa Milano. This was not her emotional appeal as someone with “anxiety,” or her emotional appeal “as a mother,” or even her emotional appeal as someone who wanted to see for herself that Ted Cruz was human. It was her assertion that the scale of a problem justifies the experimental implementation of any policy, regardless of its efficacy or constitutional legitimacy.

Ted Cruz: “I don’t think [background checks] would have a meaningful impact in decreasing gun violence.”

Alyssa Milano: “But isn’t it worth trying?” 

The same logic was echoed by Fred Guttenberg later in the discussion.

“Background checks will certainly stop, I’m not going to say the majority of those, but it’ll stop some of them, and if we save lives it’s worth it.”

Again, whether intentionally or incidentally, this attitude is repeatedly mirrored by the Left, uncovering deep hypocrisy and a threat of increased power seized under the banner of “saving lives.” Firstly, if the only evidence required in support of any policy is that it’ll “save lives,” then surely that would mean we should enact an instant immigration freeze. What about the forced euthanasia of anyone with a terminal, infectious disease? Why don’t we outlaw vehicular travel? “If it saves lives, isn’t it worth trying?”

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While such flawed logic could arguably be motivated by good intentions, it would be naïveté of the highest order to ignore the fact that such a shallow argument could not only be used to justify dreadful policies, but could also be abused by those who seek authoritarian power. The brutal fact is that all policies must be judged using far more complex and nuanced metrics than whether or not they will save certain lives, and should require substantive evidence of predicted efficacy before blindly handing over power to the state under the guise of “trying” to solve a problem.

This meeting was undeniably a step in the right direction. Despite moments of subtle incivility towards Cruz, and an occasional lack of self-awareness from Milano, the discussion showed that we are still capable of talking with those with whom we vehemently disagree. However, unless we address the fundamental flaws in the gun control argument demonstrated by Alyssa Milano and Fred Guttenberg, the same logical roadblocks will remain in place, and we won’t make any real progress in the battle against gun violence.

Editor's Note: This piece has been updated for further clarification.

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