It hurts when your personal hero, the figure you looked up to as a kid, is wrong and you have to call him out on it. Criticizing Chipper Jones, especially since he’s about to be immortalized in Cooperstown, is not going to be easy for me. I grew up a Braves fan in the early 2000s. I lived to watch Chipper Jones play; heck, I even tried teaching myself to throw right handed so I could play 3rd like him. No matter how much I looked up to him, as a pro-2nd Amendment advocate and gun enthusiast, his views on “assault rifles” are difficult for me to ignore.
Chipper has a champion work ethic, and seems like a genuine, honest person. He was put in a tough position by “sports bloggers” who were trying to be policy journalists, when they explicitly stated in an interview that they wanted to talk to him because he’d have an emotional connection to the Parkland Massacre due to him being from Florida and having children of his own. However, their manipulation of his emotional connection does not excuse Chipper’s flimsy argument from criticism or him promulgating false narratives.
Chipper’s views on firearms and the AR-15 seem ill-informed and were simply mainstream media talking points. What makes the discussion worse is that since the columnists who interviewed Jones liked what he was saying, and admits as much in his column, he did not bother to challenge Jones on obvious false annotations or his “solutions.”
Chipper says that he has no problem with, “hunting rifles, and shotguns and pistols and what-not but I’m totally against civilians having (AR-15s and AK-47s).” What Chipper might not know is that both the AR-15 and AK-47 are considered hunting rifles. The AR-15 is commonly used for small to medium game hunting, such as hunting coyotes because of the small caliber size, .223, while the 39mm AK-47 style rifle is one of the best deer hunting rifles you can buy. But even then, the Second Amendment was never meant for hunting purposes. It was the Founders’ way of recognizing the natural right and inclination for self-preservation, whether it be from tyranny, an infringement of liberty, or in personal self-defense, and not for hunting as Chipper seems to imply. Even if they attempted to pass a law to ban ARs and AKs, there are guns that are “hunting rifles” that fire the same caliber bullet, have similar magazine sizes, and have the same rate of fire as those two do.
In the same interview, Chipper continues on to advocate for raising the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21. He essentially states that kids are too immature to be able to handle the responsibility of firearm ownership. As both Chipper and I know, it’s not about age or maturity, but about teaching gun safety and respecting the value of life. Chipper and I were both handling firearms bigger than us at the age of 5, and I would be willing to bet that in our collective 65 years on earth that neither of us have ever aimed our firearms, or even arrows, at something we had no intention of shooting. It’s not a maturity issue, it’s a personal value issue. Responsible gun owners know the value of human life and the power of their firearm, regardless of caliber.
Chipper’s biggest blunder that dashed his credibility, was calling for automatic weapons to be banned. Full auto weaponry was banned with the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. This law made it illegal to manufacture new fully automatic weaponry and grandfathered in existing full autos. You must have a Class 3 license to own a full auto. Translation: they are very hard to get.
There are certain things I do agree with Chipper about. He talked about upping school security, and his doubts about arming teachers who are not licensed to conceal carry and who haven’t been properly trained, something most gun advocates agree with. He was also not pointing fingers unjustly at the NRA or the GOP, saying they are complicit in child murder. I cannot tell Chipper to stick to baseball or bowhunting, he has a right to enter the public square and voice his thoughts, just like David Hogg and the students speaking out. He does not however, become immune to criticism just because he is a Hall of Famer or avid hunter.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.