It’s funny to think that for millions of Americans, Ice-T is best known as a television cop on the hit show Law & Order: SVU, rather than as a pioneering gangster rapper who achieved special infamy when his thrash metal band Body Count released the song “Cop Killer” back in 1992. Told from the perspective of a violent criminal, “Cop Killer” was widely denounced at the time by both police organizations and various conservative activists, most famously including the actor and future National Rifle Association leader Charlton Heston, who attacked Ice-T and his record label for “every vicious, vulgar, dirty word they were selling.” Body Count ultimately dropped the song from later versions of their debut album.
But what a difference a few decades can make. In an unsigned editorial yesterday, the conservative New York Sun lauded Ice-T as a Second Amendment hero for his comments in the wake of the horrific movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado, where the rapper defended gun rights and told a British interviewer, “I’ll give up my gun when everybody else does.” As Ice-T pointed out, “it’s legal in the United States, it’s part of our Constitution.” Furthermore, he continued, “The right to bear arms is because that’s the last form of defense against tyranny. Not to hunt. It’s to protect yourself from the police.”
I’m a little surprised that Ice-T’s connection between tyranny and the police went down as smooth as it did with the Sun’s editors. Yet rather than chiding the rapper for his negative take on the boys in blue, the Sun favorably compared Ice-T’s arguments to those of Founding Father Elbridge Gerry, who said the Second Amendment was “intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of government.” I hope the author of “Cop Killer” enjoys his new reputation as a constitutional originalist.
Watch Ice-T make the case against gun control below.