Writing at the Daily Beast, the always thoughtful James Kirchick drops the illusion and admits what we all know: Democrats want to take your guns. All of them:
Why don’t gun control advocates like Hillary Clinton talk about the one gun control solution that could actually fix the firearms problem in America?
Thirty thousand people are killed by firearms each year in the United States, an astronomically high figure for a developed Western country not in a state of civil war.President Obama reminds Americans of this sad statistic with depressing regularity, and he did so again earlier this month, after a mass shooting in Oregon took the lives of nine people. “We know there are ways to prevent it,” the president said.
We do indeed know there are “ways” to stop gun violence in the United States, yet we adamantly refuse to name them. The perennial “national conversation” about guns is predictably stale because its contestants—those favoring a largely unfettered right to personal gun ownership and those opposing it—are talking past each other. Prevarication characterizes the debate, as each side adheres to a core principle that, for reasons of propriety and political calculation, it is unwilling to admit publicly.
For the gun control side, the unspoken belief is that nothing short of all out confiscation will have an appreciable effect on decreasing gun deaths. Then again, it’s not that unspoken—gun control advocates just prefer tergiversation to clarity. Democratic candidates, officeholders, and liberal websites frequently invoke the example of Australia, for example. After a 1996 shooting rampage killed 35 people, the Australian government outlawed an array of firearms and instituted a compulsory buyback program that effectively eliminated private gun ownership. Since then, gun violence has dropped precipitously.
Rarely in American gun control advocates’ references to the Australian policy, however, do they acknowledge that the program amounted to confiscation. “When Australia had a mass killing—I think it was in Tasmania—about 25 years ago, it was just so shocking, the entire country said, ‘Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws,’ and they did,” Obama said after a June shooting in a Charleston church killed nine people. Curiously, the president omitted just what “change” the people of Australia decided to implement.
Earlier this month, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told an audience in New Hampshire that “Australia is a good example” of gun control laws, so much so that it “would be worth considering” the antipodean solution here in the United States. She, too, neglected to mention the obligatory nature of the gun buyback scheme.
Kirchick then brings up the (obvious to me) counterpoint:
Which leads to the second unspoken truth of America’s gun debate, that held by the pro-gun side: Americans should be willing to tolerate tens of thousands of gun deaths per year as the cost of the inalienable right, as enumerated in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to bear arms.
To me the calculus of an armed society was always self-evident.
Is it not so self-evident it others?
Having millions of tool X in society would lead to the abuse of that tool by some percentage of the population, and Y number of people could expect to lose their lives as a result of either then intentional or accidental use or abuse of that tool. So it has always been, and so it will always be. Man has an innate ability to use tools for both good and evil.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking prescription pharmaceuticals, swimming pools, cars, or firearms, all of these relatively common items in America can be a blessing or a curse.
When it comes to firearms, I’ve always understood that there will be some number of criminal homicides, tragic suicides, and accidents involving firearms. Indeed, I personally know people who have been involved in hostage standoffs, narrowly avoided a shooting myself, know several others who have killed people with firearms in justifiable homicides, and know several more who have had negligent or accidental discharges. I know an individual who was horrible maimed as a result of a hunting accident, had a childhood friend kill his own father in defense of his mother, and was deeply saddened when the stepfather of another friend—a man I thought I knew well—commit suicide with a shotgun.
I don’t have a naif’s views. I know precisely what a firearm can do to both human and animal flesh.
But I have decided after more than four decades on this planet, including three of which I’ve been armed to one degree or another, that guns in American society enrich us and protect us far more than they cause us harm.
We will lose good people—often very good people—to suicides, or homicides or accidents, but those losses, as horrific as they are, are an acceptable trade-off for the liberty of being a free society that is a counterweight to the ever-corrupting, ever-encroaching monster that is government.
262 million people were murdered by their own peacetime governments in internal pogroms and purges in the 20th century after being disarmed “for the common good.”
That cannot happen here, thanks to our right to bear arms, especially those arms of contemporary military utility, such as AR-15s and other semi-automatic firearms.
Liberty is a dangerous thing, and it was always meant to be.
If you do not embrace that liberty, I suggest to you that there are numerous other nations on this planet without those liberties that cause you consternation.
We will not diminish ourselves for you.