Karl Malone

After two Washington Wizards players were involved in a locker room altercation involving guns, Malone wrote a January 7, 2024 op-ed for Sports Illustrated that contradicted several longstanding NRA positions. “You can't tell me one good thing that can happen with a gun in an arena, but I can tell you a thousand bad things. If I'm a player on that team, of course, I'm saying to those guys, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ Even if, as [Wizards’ shooting guard Gilbert] Arenas insists, he brought the guns to the arena because he wanted them away from his children at home, I wouldn't have bought that excuse. Buy a safe. Put them in there. End of story,” wrote Malone. He added, “I like Arenas, but his initial reaction to this, in which he downplayed the seriousness of having guns in the locker room, was all wrong. It's wrong to make light of a firearm. That's when mistakes are made … I'll be the first to tell you I don't go anywhere in my vehicle without my weapon, but at no point has it ever occurred to me to take it inside anywhere, let alone an arena.” Regarding the use of firearms for self-protection, Malone stated, “ If I were a gun dealer and somebody walked in and said, ‘I want this for protection,’ I don't know if I would sell it to that person, because that person's only thinking about another confrontation. The people who get threatened or cut off in their car and think about their guns are the people who don't need a gun … The big picture is that guns won't protect you. If someone really wanted to get you, they would. If you still feel you need that protection, get yourself a bodyguard who knows the rules and knows the laws. How about you do all of that before you even consider having a gun? For you to say you need a gun for your protection? My goodness gracious, how are you living that you need that? I don't know where all these guys grew up, or who wants to do something to them, but be honest about why you want it. If you need a gun for that, that's for all the wrong reasons and something bad will come from it. If I seem a little fired up, I am. It's a privilege to own a firearm and I take offense when people don't handle their business the right way.” While Malone referred to gun ownership as a “privilege,” the NRA describes the private ownership of firearms as a “fundamental, God-given right.” Regarding the use of firearms for self-protection, the NRA has said, “The right to [self-defense] using deadly force would be illusory if one was not entitled to keep functional firearms.”

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