Chipper Jones was five or six years old when his father taught him how to shoot a gun, this coming before he had even played his first game of Little League baseball. He grew up loving one as much as the other, becoming not only a Hall of Fame player for the Braves but an avid outdoorsman.
We live a world where the subjects of sports, politics, violence, race and civil rights issues collide on a daily basis. It’s with that backdrop that I (AJC columnist Jeff Schultz) approached Jones about his views on gun violence and the rash of deadly school shootings, most recently at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the south Florida town of Parkland. A former student at the school killed 17 people, using an AR-15.
He has a real problem with the AR-15, the weapon used in at least 10 mass shootings. Jones believes the AR-15 and all similar assault weapons should be banned from public sale to civilians.
“I believe in our Constitutional right to bear arms and protect ourselves,” Jones said. “But I do not believe there is any need for civilians to own assault rifles. I just don’t.
“I would like to see something (new legislation) happen. I liken it to drugs – you’re not going to get rid of all the guns. But AR-15s and AK-47s and all this kind of stuff – they belong in the hands of soldiers. Those belong in the hands of people who know how to operate them, and whose lives depend on them operating them. Not with civilians. I have no problem with hunting rifles and shotguns and pistols and what-not. But I’m totally against civilians having those kinds of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.”