Swalwell Reminds Us That Democrats Won't Stop With A Gun Ban

As Americans continue purchasing firearms in record numbers, anti-gun congressman Eric Swalwell is out with a new opinion piece calling for a ban and “buyback” of millions of legally-owned firearms, claiming that the measure wouldn’t violate the Constitution and would only cost a “pittance” in financial terms (though his proposed $17-billion price tag seems pretty steep to me, given the fact that it do far more to turn legal gun owners into criminals than it would to stop criminal acts of violence).

Swalwell’s claims are likely go over like a fart in church (or on live television) with most gun owners, but the California Democrat’s proposal could easily become a reality if Joe Biden wins the White House in November, because the Swalwell gun ban plan is almost identical to the one proposed by the Democratic presidential candidate.

My bill builds upon assault weapon bans that have been introduced previously in Congress, defining assault weapons in the same way. But it would not “grandfather in” weapons already in circulation; instead, after a period in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would develop a price, ATF would buy back the banned guns from people or businesses. All guns bought back would be destroyed.

Owners would have two years in which to sell their weapons in the buyback program; after that, the possession, sale and transfer of these banned assault weapons would become illegal and subject to criminal prosecution. The bill contains exceptions for law enforcement, and allows citizens to possess these weapons at hunting/shooting clubs.

First of all, I find it fascinating that Swalwell wants to exempt police from his gun ban, given that the congressman was a co-sponsor of a bill called the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act” just a few short years ago. Swalwell claims that AR-15s and other commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms “belong on battlefields, not in our communities” yet his own gun control proposal would only disarm law-abiding gun owners while leaving them in the hands of cops across the country.

As for the details of Swalwell’s proposed ban, the congressman claims that “no one is going house to house looking for assault weapons,” if his bill becomes law. Instead, he says, possession of a banned firearm or magazine would be treated like illegal drug possession. Ironically, Swalwell has long advocated for states that have legalized marijuana to be able to ignore federal law without consequence, though he’s not taking the same stance when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms. As Swalwell said back in 2013:

“I believe that citizens in states across the county should be empowered to make their own decisions as to how to treat marijuana,” said Swalwell.  “The people of California voted to allow patients access to medical marijuana, and the federal government should not stand in their way. Likewise as a prosecutor, I saw firsthand the needs of local law enforcement, and we should be directing the hundreds of millions of dollars currently spent on marijuana enforcement to more serious priorities. These bills are good for the economy, patients and states’ rights.”

So, Swalwell believes that states should be able to ignore federal law when it comes to drugs, but he has a very different position on ignoring federal gun laws. In fact, the congressman makes it very clear that he’s prepared to see America’s prisons full of gun owners who refuse to go along with a prohibition on commonly owned guns and magazines. In fact, Swalwell makes it clear in his Newsweek op/ed that he views a ban on so-called assault weapons as a starting point for a host of other gun laws.

An assault weapons buyback is not the entire solution to gun violence. We need truly universal background checks for every gun purchase in America. We need to do more to take guns out of domestic abusers’ hands. We need a national gun registry. We need national laws so that laws can’t be evaded by a short trip across a state border. And we need real solutions to root out the underlying causes of violence: poverty, lack of access to education and economic opportunity, and a lack of hope in too many of our cities. But removing these weapons of war from our streets must be a piece of the puzzle, and doing so would undoubtedly save lives.

Spare us the pearl-clutching about constitutional freedoms. We’re a joke if we don’t consider the right to survive supreme over any other, and we can defend our own lives and homes perfectly well without weapons designed for mass killing.

Sell a gun or even a box of ammo to your neighbor without driving to a gun store so she can undergo a background check? Swalwell thinks you should go to prison.

Refuse to register your guns with the federal government? Swalwell thinks you should go to prison.

Own a firearm without purchasing liability insurance? Swalwell thinks you should go to prison.

Swalwell also wants to make it a federal crime to:

  • possess a firearm without a federal gun license (which currently doesn’t exist)
  • purchase more than one firearm within a 30-day period
  • purchase ammunition online
  • purchase more than 200 rounds of ammunition within 30 days
  • possess more than 200 rounds of ammunition in individual calibers
  • make a 3D-printed firearm
  • possess hollow-point ammunition

Each and every one of those proposals would create a new federal offense out of thin air, and would subject tens of millions of gun owners to the potential of a federal prison sentence for activities that fall squarely under the Second Amendment’s protection. At Newsweek, Swalwell chides those like me who even bring up the Second Amendment as an argument.

Spare us the pearl-clutching about constitutional freedoms. We’re a joke if we don’t consider the right to survive supreme over any other, and we can defend our own lives and homes perfectly well without weapons designed for mass killing.

Many of us own firearms because we consider the right to survive supreme over any other. How else would you describe the right of self-defense if not the “right to survive”? Swalwell has made it clear he believes that even commonly-owned ammunition magazines that can accept more than ten rounds of ammunition should be considered “weapons designed for mass killing,” so at what point would he decide that designation should apply to all firearms?

I suspect that Swalwell already believes that’s the case, but since the Supreme Court has taken a handgun ban off the table with the 2008 Heller decision, the congressman is content to focus on those semi-automatic firearms he’s designated as “assault weapons,” at least for now. If Joe Biden wins in November and installs enough anti-gun justices to turn the Supreme Court hostile to the Second Amendment, however, I have no doubt that Swalwell and his Democratic allies will go even further than they already have in the attempts to criminalize the act of keeping and bearing arms. Heck, they’ll keep claiming they “support the Second Amendment” even while they work to obliterate its guarantee of civilian gun ownership.