Rick Diamond/Getty Images

America’s gun control debate, in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead, has inspired a clusterfuck of opinions. They range from the sensible, led in part by student survivors from Stoneman Douglas High School (ramp up background checks, ban semi-automatic weapons) to the insane (violent pop culture is most to blame, we should pay teachers more to carry weapons). Rapper T.I. was flagged down by TMZ on Thursday to discuss the pressing issue, and his views are more moderate than the straw man arguments drawn up by gun proponents. Hmm.

The Atlanta MC has a measured take, arguing that it should be far more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain guns. He isn’t keen on abandoning the 2nd Amendment outright, either, as most supporters of comprehensive gun reform would also contend:

“It’s a tough one...I think you should probably make it more difficult for people who aren’t mentally stable to have guns, and maybe there should be some... I just honestly feel like if you lose the right to bear arms as a citizen, then you know what I’m saying, it’s easy to enslave. It’s easy for the government to enslave people when they don’t have the right to bear arms.”

T.I., who was charged with possession of firearms by a convicted felon in 2007, also makes the important distinction that felons usually aren’t the people conducting acts of mass violence. The perpetrators of those shootings are often legally permitted to obtain military grade assault rifles like the AR-15, with dysfunctional background checks in place to stop them:

“I think mental stabilization needs to be a big part... Just not being a felon isn’t enough. We see that, that isn’t working. People think that the felons are the ones that are causing all the problems, but you know, it seems as though people who have been given a gun license, who bought guns legally... Those are the ones who are causing all the mass hysteria, so I think that our system’s broken.”

He’s right about that much, even if he gets dodgy near video’s end when asked about banning semi-automatic assault weapons (and specifically when asked about how easy they are to obtain on the streets, which, I can’t blame him.)


Nothing will change, of course, when the easiest and healthiest solutions are so incredibly lost on the leaders who’ve been brutally roasted by teens.