Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings is one of the preeminent British journalists and military historians.
As a foreign correspondent for the BBC, he covered 11 wars and reported from more than 60 countries.
In 1982, Hastings was the first reporter to enter Port Stanley, after the British military kicked out the Argentinians and liberated the Falkland Islands.
Hastings was knighted in 2002 for his “services to journalism.”
He has written more than 25 books – mostly about military history. I have a couple on my bookshelf. They’re very good. I highly recommend Yoni: Hero of Entebbe: Life of Yonathan Netanyahu (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1980). It’s a great read.
That said, Hastings doesn’t know a damn thing about Americans, our gun culture or our Second Amendment rights.
Nowadays, Hastings writes two columns a month for Bloomberg Opinion. I assume you’re familiar with the political views of its owner.
Hastings’ latest column is titled: “I Grew Up on Guns. Now I’ve Learned to Love Firearm Control: Viewed from the U.K., the American love of weapons is completely understandable, and completely irresponsible.”
The column reinforces two points: the British will never understand us, our gun culture or the Second Amendment, and who cares what the British think.
Like legions of anti-gun writers before him, Sir Max tries to establish his gun bona fides by telling his readers that he grew up with guns.
Evidently, Hasting’s father brought back a couple souvenirs from the Second World War: a Luger, a Mauser, a Radom and what he refers to in his column as a “Schmeisser submachine gun.” (It’s an MP-40, Sir Max. Hugo Schmeisser had nothing to do with this weapon except for holding a patent on the magazine.)
His father, Hastings claims, turned in all of the firearms during one of several amnesties the British government used to disarm its citizens.
“I recite this personal history before considering the latest appalling U.S. massacres in Atlanta, Colorado, Indianapolis and elsewhere. It is intended to dispel the common response of American enthusiasts to the rest of the world’s horror: ‘Foreigners don’t understand guns,’” he wrote.
I’m sorry, Sir Max, but my “common response” is pretty far from dispelled.
Growing up with a couple bring-backs doesn’t make you a gun guy, just like growing up with my dad’s old guitar doesn’t make me Eddie Van Halen.
Hastings claimed that he first objected to mass weapons confiscations in Britain and Australia along Libertarian grounds.
“I have since changed my mind,” he wrote. “I have come to believe that widespread firearms ownership is a pollutant; that we are a better, much safer society without handguns.”
But it gets worse.
“My resistance to private ownership of military weapons is strengthened by close acquaintance with them. I once won a prize as a member of a British Parachute Regiment team, shooting with automatic rifle, submachine gun and light-machine gun. I know how terrifyingly easy it is for a man or woman — though it is always men — with a gun in their hands to touch a trigger and broadcast devastation and death,” he wrote.
On this side of the pond, sir, we’re well acquainted with the I’ve-been-in-the-Army-so-I-understand-guns fallacy. It falls short both here and over there.
“Everybody who studies U.S. experience knows that legally held firearms are almost never successfully used by civilians, either to prevent a crime or to frustrate a mass shooting,” Sir Max opined. “The more extreme U.S. gun lobbyists insist that the best response to gun massacres is to arm more people, including schoolteachers, to defend themselves. There is no shred of evidence, nor credible speculation, to justify such a claim.”
No shred of evidence?
That, Sir Max, is an outright lie.
Just because the mainstream media chooses not to cover the thousands of defensive gun usages that occur in this country every single year doesn’t mean they don’t occur or that there isn’t any evidence.
Defensive gun uses happen all the time, but you need to look for them, since the media has decided that these stories aren’t worthy of any ink or pixels.
I have saved the best for last: “Most people seem to accept the enthusiasm of rural Americans for owning sporting guns as an assertion of the frontier spirit, which is in some measure shared by foreign sportsmen like me. Yet assault rifles, such as so many self-proclaimed militiamen now boast, have no application for practicing target skills or killing deer.”
There is no better way for anyone – especially a Brit – to prove their ignorance of our gun culture and our God-given Second Amendment rights than by bringing up hunting – especially deer hunting.
Give the Second Amendment a read, Sir Max, a thorough read. You’ll see there’s nothing about hunting. There is, however, a bit about the security of a free state. That means tyranny, sir, which we still won’t allow over here. Perhaps you’ve heard about the dustup that occurred the last time some Englishmen tried to regulate our private gun ownership.
As to Hastings’ claim that ARs “have no application for practicing target skills” – that’s so incredibly ignorant it’s difficult to respond. There are millions of Americans who practice their “target skills” with ARs every single day, myself included. In fact, if you go to the range – any range – you’ll see more people shooting ARs than anything else. It’s the most popular firearm in the country – it’s America’s Rifle. I cannot even comprehend the level of ignorance it takes to not understand this.
However, Hastings’ ignorance knows no bounds.
“The Second Amendment Foundation, a firearms lobby, recently denounced President Joe Biden’s proposal for new restrictions as signifying that he has “declared war on tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners.”
To be clear, I do not speak on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation. That’s Mr. Gottlieb’s job. However, as a proud life member of the organization, I agree 100% that President Biden has declared war on gun owners. Why else would he have nominated an anti-gun activist to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives?
Why else would the President have threatened door-to-door confiscations?
Why else would he even consider using the National Firearms Act to regulate the most-popular rifle in the country and its standard-capacity magazines.
We are at war, Sir Max.
Instead of denigrating a country and its people who you clearly know very little about, I’d recommend you drop immediately to your knees and thank God we have a solid gun culture over here, because if we didn’t, you’d likely have written your ignorant collection of lies and falsehoods in German.