The headline in USA Today op-ed said it all. Anti-gun Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., in May advocated for legislation to ban an as-yet-undetermined class of semi-automatic firearms and to “go after resisters” who refuse to relinquish their lawfully acquired firearms. Lest anyone mistake his intentions, Swalwell followed up this week with a lengthy NBC News interview, in which he made clear that his own proposal is a departure from prior gun bans that allowed those who had obtained the firearms when they were lawful to keep them. Swalwell said that after thinking “about the different ways to address it ... I concluded the only way to do this is to get those weapons out of our communities.”
According to the NBC piece, Swalwell is modeling his proposal on laws passed during the 1990s in Australia. The article then inaccurately states, “But while Australia comes up often in gun debates, almost no prominent figures have proposed national laws that would demand that gun owners turn in existing weapons en masse.”
The truth is that anyone who suggests the United States should adopt Australian-style gun control—a club that includes such infamous gun-ban advocates as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—is by definition advocating for the forcible disarming of “resisters.” That, in fact, was the signature feature of the Australian approach, which required owners of many popular types of firearms to surrender them in exchange for a sum set by the government.
If Swalwell has distinguished himself at all from other American advocates of the Australian approach, it’s because he is willing to be more forthcoming about the fact that it would turn millions of formerly law-abiding Americans into armed “criminals” with the stroke of a pen.
In his NBC interview, however, he tried to have it both ways.
While proposing the forcible disarming of “resisters,” he insisted:
“I’m not proposing a roundup or confiscation. It would be like anything else that’s banned: If you’re caught with it there would be a steep penalty. Any fear of atf agents going door to door to collect assault weapons is unfounded and not what is proposed here. They don’t go collecting drugs that are banned or any other substance or weapon that’s banned, and I’m not proposing that here.”
That, of course, is a lie. Law enforcement agents with enough probable cause that someone possesses contraband to get a warrant absolutely do go after the contraband.
To their credit, NBC asked Swalwell directly whether he was “prepared for some of the confrontations that might erupt from this,” adding, “You’re surely familiar with the slogan, ‘I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.’” Swalwell brushed aside the question, indicating that Parkland, Fla., survivors who have been advocating for gun control have given him “courage” for resolute action.
Whether Swalwell is serious—or whether he is just hoping to move the Overton window on what is considered legitimate rhetoric in the realm of gun control policy—is perhaps debatable.
What is no longer debatable is the true ideology that lies behind the gun control project in America. It is the abolition of the right to gun ownership in America as we know it.