“The notion that I, or Hillary, or Democrats, or whoever you want to choose, are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true—and I don’t care how many times the NRA says it.”
—Barack Obama, June 1, 2016
The former president’s statement was a lie when he said it. Less than a year earlier, the 44th president had lauded Great Britain and Australia’s confiscatory gun control policies.
Like Obama, the more clever anti-gun activists, eager to curry favor with moderate Americans, have sought to assure the public that they seek only minor, “reasonable” or “common-sense” changes to current policy. According to these con artists, they only want to restrict a small subset of extremely dangerous firearms or keep firearms away from unpopular demographics.
What these gun controllers don’t tell you is that the guns they want to ban are yours, whether that is an AR-15, a pump-action shotgun or a .38 revolver. The unsavory demographic they want to prohibit from owning firearms is made up of law-abiding Americans. Aside from being bad policy on their own merits, each incremental step that Americans acquiesce to facilitates the next and brings gun control advocates closer to their ultimate goal of civilian disarmament.
The former president’s statement was a lie when he said it.
The blueprint was laid out by National Council to Control Handguns (now Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) Chairman Nelson T. “Pete” Shields in a 1976 interview with The New Yorker. Shields explained, “I’m convinced that we have to have federal legislation to build on. We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily—given the political realities—going to be very modest.” Elaborating, Shields went on to say, “So then we’ll have to start working again to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal—total control of handguns in the United States—is going to take time.”
In their more candid moments, gun controllers have confessed to this approach. In a 1996 piece for The Washington Post titled, “Disarm the Citizenry. But not yet,” columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, “Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic—purely symbolic—move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.”
Such brazen admissions used to be infrequent. If anything good can be said about the ugly tenor of recent anti-gun outbursts, it is that by embracing fanaticism our opponents have betrayed the terminal goals of the measured strategy pursued by more prudent gun control advocates.
Take The New York Times, which has long served as the chief propaganda arm of the gun control establishment. In 2015, a Times editorial declared that “large categories” of commonly owned firearms “must be outlawed.” Endorsing confiscation, the Times declared that a law must be enacted that “would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up.” In October and February, Times columnist Bret Stephens advocated for the U.S. to “Repeal the Second Amendment.”
Not to be outdone, in February The Washington Post published a piece from commentator Max Boot which argued that the country should “rethink the Second Amendment.” The Boston Globe ran a piece in November in which writer David Scharfenberg contended that gun control supporters will “have to persuade more people of the need to confiscate millions of those firearms.” That same month, former Obama Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer called for Australian-style gun confiscation.
Like their friends in the media, more anti-gun politicians have revealed the full scope of their ambitions. In recent years, each session of the California State Assembly has degenerated into a perverse search for the most severe gun restrictions the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will sanction. In 2013, New York City officials sent permit holders letters ordering them to surrender registered semi-automatic rifles or remove them from the city. As of press time, the Illinois House has voted to confiscate commonly owned semi-automatic rifles held by the state’s 18- to 20-year-old Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) Card holders. If enacted, these young adults would have 90 days to turn in their guns.
We know where the gun control measures that our opposition markets as “common sense” lead, because our opponents have told us time and again. Law-abiding gun owners must recognize that the so-called “reasonable regulations” proposed by gun control proponents are nothing but a foothold for greater restrictions on our rights.