“No one wants to take away your guns.”
How many times have you been in an argument with a gun grabber and they uttered that very phrase? I’m not even talking about a variation of that phrase, I mean those exact words in that exact order. I’ve heard and seen it plenty. Then if you do consider the variations, the number of times I personally have been assured my guns are safe skyrockets.
No one, they continue to claim, wants to take anyone’s guns. They just want to make it harder for bad people to get them, they argue.
Then maybe one of those can explain this op-ed in USA Today from Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat in Congress. It seems his grand plan is to ban assault weapons, institute an Australian-style buyback, then “go after” those who don’t act like good little peasants and comply with the law.
Reinstating the federal assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 would prohibit manufacture and sales, but it would not affect weapons already possessed. This would leave millions of assault weapons in our communities for decades to come.
Instead, we should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons. The ban would not apply to law enforcement agencies or shooting clubs.
There’s something new and different about the surviving Parkland high schoolers’ demands. They dismiss the moral equivalence we’ve made for far too long regarding the Second Amendment. I’ve been guilty of it myself, telling constituents and reporters that “we can protect the Second Amendment and protect lives.”
The Parkland teens have taught us there is no right more important than every student’s right to come home after class. The right to live is supreme over any other.
Our courts haven’t found a constitutional right to have assault weapons, anyway. When the Supreme Court held in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that this right “is not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
First, let’s remember that Heller didn’t give carte blanche to gun control. Justice Scalia wrote (emphasis mine):
The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
While I’m sure Swalwell may disagree, the AR-15 and other so-called assault weapons don’t qualify under this standard. While they may be deemed particularly dangerous by some people, they’re hardly unusual. They’re one of the bestselling weapons in the country. Tens of millions of them have been sold, meaning they’re fairly common.
Justice Scalia wrote in Heller, “The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of ‘arms’ that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense.” However, tactical rifles like the AR-15 also fill a similar role for numerous Americans.
In other words, Swalwell is cherrypicking Scalia’s comments to prove his point.
However, there’s another side of this that either Swalwell isn’t thinking about or, if he is, he’s completely ignoring. That is the simple fact that Second Amendment advocates aren’t willing to give up their guns without a fight. Yes, a literal fight if need be.
People will die in this plan. All that remains to be seen is whether it’ll be the gun owners or the police sent out to take the firearms.
And that’s assuming that police don’t side with the gun owners. While some law enforcement do think gun control is a good idea, my experience with law enforcement from all over the nation is that the rank and file officer thinks an armed citizenry is the best defense against violent crime. They’re not all that likely to willingly go after gun owners.
Luckily, there’s a certain nonissue that Swalwell hasn’t considered: the government doesn’t know where the guns are.
Just because Swalwell’s California has a gun registry for assault rifles, it doesn’t mean everywhere else does. The authorities would be hardpressed to even know who has an assault rifle.
Instead, it’ll simply create a whole new group of criminals who would otherwise be law-abiding citizens. It’ll also potentially spark off a civil war that could cost thousands of lives.
All because of a demonized gun that’s used less often to kill than a hammer.