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.