Stephen King has released a new Kindle single titled Guns, in which the horror author – who says he owns three handguns himself – passionately advocates for additional firearm regulation. “In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, gun advocates have to ask themselves if their zeal to protect even the outer limits of gun ownership have anything to do with preserving the Second Amendment as a whole, or if it’s just a stubborn desire to hold onto what they have, and to hell with the collateral damage,” King writes. “If that’s the case, let suggest that f— you, Jack, I’m okay is not a tenable position, morally speaking.”
In the essay, which is available on Amazon for 99 cents, King writes about the first novel he ever wrote, which he penned in high school and was later published as Rage under his Richard Bachman pseudonym. The book is about a kid who shows up at school with a gun, kills a teacher, and takes his class hostage, and after it was published, Rage apparently helped inspire several real-life school shooters.
So King pulled it. “My book did not break [the school shooters it appears to have influenced] or turn them into killers; they found something in my book that spoke to them because they were already broken,” King writes. “Yet I did see Rage as a possible accelerant, which is why I pulled it from sale. You don’t leave a can of gasoline where a boy with firebug tendencies can lay hands on it.”
King hopes gun owners will take similar measures, agreeing to certain limitations on their constitutional right to own guns (which King fully supports) because, he says, it’s the right thing to do. “I didn’t pull Rage from publication because the law demanded it; I was protected under the First Amendment and the law couldn’t demand it. I pulled it because in my judgment it might be hurting people, and that made it the responsible thing to do…. They need to say, ‘We support these measures not because the law demands we support them, but because it’s the sensible thing.”
King also counters some of the arguments frequently offered by opponents of assault-rifle and large-magazine bans, and he claims, perhaps less convincingly, that the idea that Americans are obsessed with violent entertainment is just “a self-serving lie promulgated by fundamentalist religious types and American’s propaganda-savvy gun-pimps.”
You can read more of King’s essay here.