Stephen King and guns

Stephen King Joins Gun Control Debate, ‘Time To Ban Assault Weapons’

While author Stephen King might write about fictional horror, the real thing is going on in the United States right now.

King is a gun owner himself, but he is also a strong voice for reforming the current gun laws – specifically, banning assault weapons such as that used in the Orlando mass shooting by Omar Mateen, where 49 people died and 53 were wounded.

Back in January 2013 – around a month after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that saw the death of 20 school children – King wrote an essay addressing the subject of gun violence.

Titled “Guns,” at the time of its publication, King said he wrote it to “provoke constructive debate” over the issue of gun control.

As reported by Salon, King has long used Twitter as a platform to stress the dangers of guns getting into the wrong hands. The author always makes it clear he is not for gun control but that changes do urgently need to be made in gun legislation.

Now, following the tragic mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, King has taken to Twitter yet again to remind his followers of his essay and encourage people to read it.

King goes on to tweet that money received for the Guns essay will go to the James Brady Organization to Prevent Handgun Violence, stressing the organization does not advocate outlawing guns.

In Guns, King discusses his 1977 novella Rage, the story of a fictional classroom shooter, which he pulled from the bookshelves after the book was linked with four real-life school shootings and hostage situations. King wrote Rage under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.

Noting that each shooter had easy access to guns, in the essay, Stephen went on to say the perpetrators of the crimes were “unhappy boys with deep psychological problems.”

According to a report by USA Today, at that time of publishing the essay, King wrote, “My book did not break (them) or turn them into killers.”

However he did go on to write they found something in his book that “spoke to them because they were already broken.”

He did at the time see Rage as a “possible accelerant,” which is why he pulled the book from sale, writing, “You don’t leave a can of gasoline where a boy with firebug tendencies can lay hands on it.”

King explained that he pulled Rage from publication because, in his judgment, it might be hurting people, but not because the law demanded it.

“Assault weapons will remain readily available to crazy people until the powerful pro-gun forces in this country decide to do a similar turnaround. They must accept responsibility, recognizing that responsibility is not the same as culpability.”

King himself owns three handguns, but has a “clear conscience,” writing, “Even if I were politically and philosophically open to repealing the Second Amendment (I’m not), I don’t believe that repeal, or even modification, would solve the problem of gun violence in America, particularly violence of the sort that’s at the root of the problem.”

The essay goes on to give King’s prescription for sensible gun reform, including comprehensive and universal background checks and – most importantly following the recent Orlando mass shooting – a ban on assault weapons and large magazines.

While there are many negative comments on the Stephen King Twitter account, those Twitter users may not have realized that the author is not saying the U.S. should outlaw guns. King is stressing the need for real background checks for anyone wanting to buy a gun, as well as the opinion that assault weapons are something no one needs to own.

[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

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