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Gilbert Arenas Gun Incident and Suspension from NBA

An incident where a NBA player was suspended for storing firearms in his locker.

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Gilbert Arenas and the U.S. Gun Culture

  • Jan 7, 2010
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I am a gun owner.  I am an advocate of the Second Amendment.  I believe that all Americans should have the right to keep and bear arms.  I also believe that an armed citizenry runs a lower risk of becoming victims of violence than areas with strict gun control laws.  But guns come with responsibility, and it seems that this responsibility does not seem to be one embraced by the younger generation.

The problem with the irresponsible gun culture evolving in the younger generation is most evident in the realm of professional sports, where there has been no shortage of gun violence, gun play or simply illegal possession (and discharge). 

When I look at the gun trend, I think back to Rae Carruthers from Charlotte, NC, who was a promising young wide receiver.  He threw away his future by shooting his girlfriend who was six months pregnant at the time.  She died a week later, even though doctors were able to save her baby.  This provides an example of criminal behavior involving guns and athletes that takes the issue to the severest example.

Another football player, Ray Lewis, was involved in a fatal stabbing at a nightclub in Atlanta.  Although this was a knife fight it still demonstrates the point regarding the prevalence of guns.  As Lewis and others were fleeing in a Black Lincoln Navigator Limo, several gunshots were fired.  Witnesses failed to identify Lewis, who may very well have gotten away with murder.  This incident left two men dead.

More recently, NFL wide reciever Plaxico Burress entered a night club in New York City illegally carrying a concealed weapon.  The weapon discharged while he was in the nightclub.  Luckily, Burress was the only victim of his negligence...shooting himself in the thigh accidentally.  However, it could have ended tragically had an innocent bystander been struck by the discharged round.

Now we have Gilbert Arenas, who would have us believe that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center in order to get them out of his house after his daughter was born.  First of all, I have never known an infant that could discharge a weapon (especially one that is properly stored).  Secondly, they make a device known as a safe...I know the NBA probably doesn't pay very well...but you can get an inexpensive one for under one hundred dollars.  Third, carrying firearms in Washington DC is illegal anyway.  Fourth, it is against NBA rules to have firearms in their facilities.  Arenas is either incredibly stupid or he fails to recognize that actions have consequences.  I feel he should be prosecuted as well as suspended.  People like him give gun owners a bad name.

To further exacerbate the issue, Arenas chose to make light of the issue on Twitter.  How are we supposed to take him seriously...even if he does try to hide behind a baby...if he isn't going to take the issue to heart.  Making light of the issue sends the wrong message.  I don't think it would be out of line for the NBA to suspend him for the rest of the year to send a message on this issue.  It is not like Arenas hasn't made gun shooting motions at team mates and might have had the guns because of gambling debt arguments...no...that's not possible.  It is about the safety of his daughter (wink, wink).  I think he also is selling the 14th street bridge if there are any takers.

Just a few other notable irresponsible but famous gun owners:  Bill RB Marshawn Lynch, Cleveland Cavalier Delonte West, Chicago Bears Tank Johnson...and to make matters worse, it looks like four Tennessee basketball players are going to be charged with gun charges stemming from a recent traffic stop for speeding.  It also looks like they were smoking weed and have a good time.  Guns serve a valid purpose.  Guns and alcohol, guns and weed, and obviously guns and athletes seem to be a bad combinatrion.  It's time to send a message.  If you can't handle your weapons properly, you will face sanctions.  Dump Arenas for the season and let's start to send the right message.

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January 12, 2010
Great piece. Like you I am tired of responsible people paying the price for the blatant irresponsibility of others. They should throw the book at Arenas and ban him from the NBA for at least a couple of seasons.
January 08, 2010
Interesting points you bring up there, John, and some tragic, but relevent, other instancese as well.  What is wrong with these athletes???  They seem to have everything, yet manage to throw it all away over something so... stupid.  Well, at least Gilbert Arenas didn't hurt anyone.  Thanks for sharing this thought provoking review, John!
January 07, 2010
All too frequently, professional athletes, celebrities, high profile politicians and the like have a warped sense of entitlement and some sort of idea that the rules apply only to the "common" people ... not to them. In their own minds, they're just above all of that.
January 07, 2010
Hey, Coldsteel, I have to say, I agree with you. I too am a gun owner and I believe that having one is a major responsibility. I never take my guns anywhere (except to a shooting range occasionally before); and I know this may sound weird but I'd rather have a gun at home and not need it than needing it when I don't have one. Thoughtful write up!
January 07, 2010
I totally agree. Karl Malone, who owns plenty of guns, said it best when he said if you feel the need to carry a gun to a certain place, you don't have any business being there. I understand athletes are targets, but there is no reason for them not to have proper liscensing and storage for guns.
January 07, 2010
That is a very interesting quote/saying...just curious though..if you own a gun, where SHOULD you have it? At home to protect yourself in case of intruders, or outdoors to be used for sports (hunting, etc), or both?
January 07, 2010
Home, even to use outdoors for hunting purposes they should be stored at home in a secure place. If people believe they do need them in a car, than a concealed weapons license should be attained. Another huge factor is the fact that Arenas was caught in DC which has a no gun law in the first place. As unfair as that may seem, the law is the law and should be obeyed.
January 07, 2010
JT makes a great point. Home is the best place for your guns and is really where they belong. In the US, the home is considered sacred ground and you are allowed to protect it with far greater (in most states) leeway than when you are in a public space. It is also where those weapons will be most secure. Most gun advocates will tell you the simple rules of gun handling without even having to think about it. You don't point your firearm at anything you don't fully intend to destroy and you don't discharge it without a reason. I think it goes without saying that gun owners follow the law of the land where they live regarding conceal carry or even possession.
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On December 24, 2009, it was revealed that NBA player Gilbert Arenas had admitted to storing unloaded firearms in his locker at Verizon Center and had surrendered them to team security. In doing so, Arenas not only violated NBA rules against bringing firearms into an arena, but also violated D.C. ordinances as well. On January 1, 2010, it was reported that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton had unloaded guns in the Wizards' locker room during a Christmas Eve argument regarding gambling debts. The D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney's office are investigating.

On January 6, 2010, (coindentally Arenas's brithday) the NBA suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay until its investigation is complete. NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement that while Arenas would likely face a long suspension, "his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game." By nearly all accounts, the final straw for Stern was when Arenas' teammates surrounded him during pregame introductions and he pretended to shoot them with guns made from his fingers. This act is known as Gunfingers, which leads many to believe that Arenas is affiliated with Trotting. The Wizards issued a statement of their own condemning Arenas' behavior.
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