Gretchen Carlson Drops Video Defending Her AR-15 Tweet and Makes Things Even Worse

There have been a lot of bad takes on the AR-15, among them Joe Biden’s hot take that a bullet from an AR-15 blows up in the body. 

But as I reported on Tuesday, Gretchen Carlson’s post on X took ignorance about the weapon to a new level, claiming “ordinary people” didn’t have them before 2004 and that if we “could fix” that mistake, we could save thousands of lives. 

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The internet responded with an impressive ratio to clue her in on a few things, including that many “ordinary people have owned the gun since it was developed in1959. She even earned a Community Note. 

Carlson didn’t like being told she was wrong, so she dropped a video in response, making things even worse. Everything she claimed in the video had a problem with it, as she revealed even more ignorance. 

“Big round of applause,” she said for the people who pointed out that “ranchers” and a “few animal control people” had the gun before 2004. No, Gretchen, all kinds of ordinary people had it, as it was available to anyone. Her snark was ridiculous, given the reality. She had no idea what she was talking about. 

But Carlson wasn’t finished yet. Then she tried to chastise people over the math and went off the rails. 

“And since we’re all big fans of math, here are more numbers that seem relevant,” she said, seemingly thinking she had a “gotcha.”  “In 1992, AR-15s comprised roughly 21 of every 100 firearms made in the U.S,” she claimed. “By 2020, almost one in five guns made here were AR-15s.”  

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Um, Gretchen? 1 in 5 is essentially the same as 21 in 100. Twenty-one percent is essentially the same as 20 percent. But even if your numbers were correct, that would indicate the number of AR-15s had gone down, rather than up as you seem to be claiming. She has no idea about the “math” or what she’s saying here. 

“There are now more than 20 million AR-15s in people’s closets and cabinets,” she railed. “Oh, and there’s this. In 2023, there’s been 560 mass shootings in our country. And we still have two months to go. This is not normal. A world where everyone has AR-15s is just a hell of a lot more dangerous than one where we don’t.” 

So many wrong things to unpack there. 

First, 20 million of them but only 560 mass shootings would seem to put paid to the idea that the AR-15 was somehow endemically an evil mass killer. That would mean that the vast majority of those millions of guns weren’t used in any killing. 

Second, the 560 mass shooting number is a questionable number at best. But most mass shootings are not done with an AR-15. Most gun-related deaths are caused by handguns; only a very small percentage involve rifles, and then a smaller percentage use AR-15s. Carson doesn’t even bother to note how many of those alleged mass shootings involved an AR-15. So much for whatever point she was trying to make. 

Third, if there are 20 million, that sure sounds like a weapon in “common use” and therefore protected under the Constitution. So she just gored herself on her own stat. 

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The problem isn’t the weapon. The problem is with the mentality of the killers. 

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