We have reached what should prove to be an infamous moment. The 2020 Democrat Party presidential ticket will be the first in American history to feature a candidate who openly supports the confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens.
During the primary debates, Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick, Kamala Harris, warned that she would give Congress 100 days to pass her gun-control agenda, an agenda that includes a ban on AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles. If Congress fails to implement her wish list? Well, then, Harris explained, “I will take executive action.” Harris has also publicly stated her support of a “mandatory gun buyback program,” which is simply how anti-gun extremists refer to confiscation without saying confiscation.
Those who believe Harris’ rhetoric is merely campaign hyperbole should peruse the draft of the 2020 Democrat Party’s national platform. It, too, supports the banning of “assault weapons,” which has the possibility of instantaneously transforming millions of gun-owners—the vast majority of whom have undergone criminal background checks and never used firearms for any illicit purpose—into criminals.
Many more Americans, of course, are murdered by fists or knives than AR-15s. But the DNC document is laden with misleading statistics and the kind of scaremongering intended to allow them to push through authoritarian gun policies.
Take, for instance, the DNC’s claim that criminal violence with guns is a “public health crisis” that takes “nearly 40,000 lives.” By conflating criminal and suicide deaths—around two-thirds of all gun deaths are self-inflicted—these politicians not only diminish the importance of mental-health struggles, but also inflate the problem of criminal use of guns. There is little evidence that tighter firearm restrictions do anything to stop suicides; for instance, nations with the highest rates of suicide—Russia and South Korea—also have some of the strictest gun laws.
The first thing the DNC promises is to “ensure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have sufficient resources to study gun violence as a public health issue.” In other words, they would try to politicize state institutions to join the gun-control fight.
The Ninth Circuit recently found that a magazine ban “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment right to armed self-defense. Armed self-defense is a fundamental right rooted in tradition and the text of the Second Amendment.”
The Dickey Amendment, passed in 1996, banned the CDC not from studying guns and crime, as these anti-Second Amendment politicians intimate, but from using congressional dollars to “advocate or promote gun control.” In the real world, criminal violence is incessantly studied, not only by private institutions, but by grants provided by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institutes of Health and the CDC.
In fact, when the Obama administration’s CDC released a wide-ranging gun study in 2013, it found that “defensive uses of guns” were safer than other “self-protective strategies,” that the “number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths,” that the fictional gun-show “loophole” accounted “for only a small percentage of guns used by convicted criminals” and that the majority of mass-murder incidents that the media pays attention to are committed by those with mental-health problems.
What these anti-gun politicians mean is that they want public-health reseachers to keep studying until they get the “right” answers—and then have them join the gun-control crusade.
Speaking of imaginary loopholes, the DNC’s platform also promises to close the “Charleston loophole,” which is an effort to do away with shorter wait times for gun purchases. There is, of course, no such thing as the “Charleston loophole.” The three-day waiting limit on checks was written into the 1998 law on purpose—making it the opposite of a loophole—to ensure that the FBI wouldn’t arbitrarily deny Americans their Second Amendment rights for extended periods of time. (The Charleston church murderer, who killed nine people in 2015, obtained his gun because of an error by a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) examiner, according to the FBI, not because of any “loophole” in the law.)
Democrats also promise to enact “universal background checks,” which, if done by the federal government, would mean establishing a de facto federal gun registry.
The clamor for “universal background checks” is also intentionally misleading. As gun owners well know, every time anyone in the United States purchases a gun from a federal firearms licensee (FFL)-an actual gun dealer-the seller must run a background check on the buyer through the FBI’s NICS database. In some cases, the FFL checks to see if the buyer has passed a background check via a state-issued concealed-carry permit or other federally-recognized state permit. It is also already illegal to knowingly sell a firearm to anyone whom you believe to be obtaining it for criminal purposes.
In addition to the “assault weapons” ban, the DNC promised in its 2020 platform to ban all online firearm sales (purchases that already go through the same background check system) and the online sale of ammunition. They also support a ban on all “high-capacity magazines.” A similar ban already exists in California, and it encompassed countless standard-issue magazines needed for firearms commonly used for home defense. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently found that California’s magazine ban “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment right to armed self-defense. Armed self-defense is a fundamental right rooted in tradition and the text of the Second Amendment.”
These anti-gun politicians also promise to institute “red-flag” laws that ostensibly allow courts to order the removal of guns from the possession of those who are deemed a danger to themselves or others; orders that can be initiated on the mere word of a family member, law enforcement and sometimes even simple acquaintances. Of course, in practice, many “red-flag” laws, like the ones in California, regularly circumvent any notion of constitutionally required due process, and allow the state to confiscate guns from citizens who will never be charged with, much less convicted of, any crime.
Then again, it should be pointed out that most of these politicians’ agendas entail advancing policies designed to inhibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing firearms—policies that do little or nothing to mitigate either the unique social problem of mass shootings or gun homicides. In an era when gun ownership is greatly increasing due to lawlessness in many of our cities, an agenda to disarm Americans is more dangerous than ever.