Chipper Jones denounces assault rifles, but supports corporal punishment

Chipper Jones has strong opinions on both assault rifles and corporal punishment. (AP Photo)

Chipper Jones will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in July, but he’s not keeping his public statements to just baseball. The former Atlanta Braves third baseman and avid hunter shared his thoughts on gun control with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday and it won’t surprise you to find out that he has some strong opinions — but not the one you might think.

“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.”

He also believes that the minimum age to purchase a gun should be 21 instead of 18. And before anyone gets angry at Chipper for sticking a toe into such a divisive subject, here’s a little background that Jones provided himself:

“I grew up in a town where two-thirds of the people who came to school drove trucks and had hunting rifles and hunting shotguns in their gunracks in their trucks,” said Jones, who was born in Deland, Fla., about an hour north of the Braves’ spring training complex … “

Chipper grew up hunting and handling guns. In fact, he learned how to shoot a gun before he’d ever played a single Little League inning. And since then, he’s continued to pursue it as a serious hobby. He’s posted photos of himself on social media with animals he shot during hunting trips. He’s co-hosts a show called “Major League Bowhunter” on the Sportsman Channel, which is now in its seventh season.

Chipper’s not talking out of turn here. He is a gun owner, a gun user and a hunter. But here’s something he’s not: an expert in child psychology. So his comments about bringing back corporal punishment in schools should be taken with a boulder-sized grain of salt.

“A lot of things have gotten worse since corporal punishment was done away with in schools. My generation of parents and maybe the generation just before have gotten away from disciplining kids and putting fear in their mind and we’ve moved into this world of entitlement: ‘We’re going to do everything we can for our kids and we’re going to spoon-feed them this and that.’ When life happens and life gets rough, kids don’t know how to handle it.”

Jones apparently thinks that parents and teachers are too easy on kids ever since the practice of corporal punishment became socially unacceptable. The definition of corporal punishment is physical punishment, so even though Jones just says “disciplining kids,” he’s not just talking about giving them detention or sending them to their room with no dessert. He’s talking about parents hitting their kids, and teachers hitting their students. He thinks that will help today’s kids handle life’s rough patches. And he apparently doesn’t think it’ll cause them any permanent damage, either physically or psychologically, or instill them with any kind of rage.

Chipper’s an avid gun owner, so his opinions on guns should at least be given a little weight. But until he produces his diploma for a masters in child psychology, it’s probably wise to give his opinions on corporal punishment the weight they deserve: none.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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