The most accomplished of liars eventually come to believe their own lies. And so it is that the people who have been insisting for years that “nobody wants to take away your guns” cannot stop repeating that lie even when they are openly proposing the confiscation of the most commonly owned firearms in the United States.
In March, Joe Biden threatened to slap a construction worker from Michigan after the worker told him he was worried that Biden wanted to “take away our guns.” “I’m not taking your gun away at all,” Biden said angrily, pointing his finger in the man’s face and cursing at him. “That’s bull----.” For this outburst, Biden was widely praised in the press.
But what the worker had said was not bull---- at all, and we can tell as much by looking at Biden’s own words. Asked last year by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether “a Biden administration means they’re going to come for my guns,” Biden confirmed that it would. “Bingo!” Biden told Cooper, smiling. “You’re right if you have an assault weapon. The fact of the matter is, they should be illegal, period. Look, the Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t restrict the kinds of weapons people can own.”
This attitude was echoed a few days before the event in Michigan, when Biden publicly told Beto O’Rourke, “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on ya.”
Given that O’Rourke is primarily famous these days for having told Americans on live television, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15,” and then for having sold t-shirts with those words emblazoned proudly across their fronts, one wonders what voters were supposed to assume Biden meant by this endorsement. As far as political statements go, “Bingo! You’re right” is about as straightforward as it gets.
The episode demonstrated once again that, in 2020, “we’re not going to take away your guns” has become little more than a thoughtless throat-clearing exercise. Members of Virginia’s legislature repeatedly said “nobody is trying to take away your guns” while they endorsed a bill that would have done exactly that. Gun-control groups repeat “nobody is trying to take away your guns” at the same time as they funnel money and support to politicians who openly pledge confiscation drives. Even Beto O’Rourke said it—before he didn’t.
The “nobody is trying to take away your guns” claim is merely another way of conveying “don’t get mad at me, but....” It is a tic indulged by politicians and activists who sense deep down that their position is extreme and unworkable but who don’t quite want to admit that to themselves. Reflecting on Beto’s failed presidential run, “The View’s” Joy Behar gave the game away when she advised gun-control advocates not to announce “everything they’re going to do” ahead of time. “If you are going to take people’s guns away,” Behar counseled, “wait until you get elected and then take them away. Don’t tell them.”
Or, to put it another way: “Nobody wants to take away your guns.”
And yet, they do. The idea has gained currency among the political commentariat, which cannot seem to decide whether it is “common sense” or fringe, and so has taken to arguing both positions simultaneously; it became mainstream within the Democratic primary, nearly half of whose aspirants backed some confiscation measures by the time the contest really got going; and, this November, the presidential election is guaranteed to feature a Democratic candidate who, by his own admission, supports the confiscation of America’s favorite rifle.