Tom Arnold: ‘Insane’ to Believe Guns Are a God-Given Right

Angela Weiss/Getty Images for The Midnight Mission

Actor Tom Arnold penned an essay on Thursday in which he contended that Americans who believe gun ownership is a God-given right are “insane” and “unfit” to own guns.

In the essay, published in the Hollywood Reporter, the self-described Second Amendment supporter wrote that he used to take part in NRA gun safety programs in the 1960s, when it was “a much different NRA than we have today.” He then transitioned to the dangers U.S. military personnel pose to themselves upon returning home from battle, and, finally, to the tragic May 2 suicide of his 24-year-old nephew, who was a military veteran.

Arnold wrote:

“My nephew Spencer was a sweet boy, but he was small, and I’m sure he was picked on. He was kicked out of the Army after attempting suicide. He was diagnosed as chronically depressed and unsafe around weapons. Yet he was able to get a concealed weapon permit from the state of Iowa and buy five guns. Like me, Spencer was a substance abuser. He refused my offer for help with that as well as his mental illness, so I was very concerned. Last fall, when I saw on Facebook that he had joined a crazy, racist, neo-Nazi (I’m Jewish, as is my mom) gun group and videotaped himself showing off, drunkenly shooting his assault rifle and calling President Obama the N-word, I headed to the airport to go see him.

I don’t think Spencer was a racist. I think he joined that group because he was tired of feeling small. He wanted to be a part of something dangerous and cool. Most of my family agreed I’d overreacted. And this was America, so Spencer got to keep his guns whether I liked it or not. Whether he was healthy or not.”

Spencer reportedly had a fight with his girlfriend on May 2 and killed himself shortly thereafter.

In the wake of the tragedy, Arnold said he reached out to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to see what he could do to lobby for more gun control measures. He also reportedly called Spencer’s dad to ask that Spencer’s gun be turned over to the police to be destroyed. But Spencer’s dad reportedly did not comply; instead, he said that he was keeping the guns and using them as “his way of honoring his son.”

Spencer’s father’s decision to keep the guns reminded Arnold that some people view guns in an entirely different way — that they consider the ownership of guns a gift from God.

Arnold wrote:

“[Guns] represent liberty to some people, and the Constitution itself. Some even equate guns to religion. A gift to Americans directly from God himself. That sounds crazy to me. It should be on the gun test: If you truly believe your metal tool/explosive device is a gift from above, then you should be deemed insane and unfit to legally own a gun.”

Our Founding Fathers held gun ownership as an inalienable right. And when Thomas Jefferson referenced inalienable rights in 1776, he did so by stressing that Americans were “endowed” with such rights by “their Creator.”


AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at




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