In the aftermath of the Texas church shooting there’s been the usual amount of soul searching and demands that somebody “do something” about gun violence. And as always happens, the usual list of suspects begins proposing the same old solutions which wouldn’t have done anything to stop the guy. (Though in this case, we have at least learned about problems in the military reporting system for disciplinary action which may be helpful.) But the various partial bans and paperwork traps aren’t going to affect most of these worst case scenarios.
That doesn’t apply to quite everyone, though. Enter David Scharfenberg, editorial writer for the Boston Globe. He’s got a plan to suggest which would actually change the world. (Or at least the country.) David bravely admits that an “assault weapon” ban only applies to a tiny sliver of gun crimes and more background checks won’t impact all of the guns currently in circulation, both legal and illegal. From there he boldly steps forward to suggest what most of the Democrats are probably already thinking but don’t have the spine to say aloud. In a column simply titled, Hand Over Your Weapons, David proposes just that: a massive confiscation program.
On occasion, though, leading Democrats will make oblique reference to a more sweeping policy change: seizing a huge number of weapons from law-abiding citizens…
The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach. Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?
Here in the United States, interest in large-scale gun buybacks — both voluntary and involuntary — has mounted with each mass shooting. Matt Miller, a journalist and onetime senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for American Progress, has proposed what he calls a “massive, debt-financed” buyback.
The idea is to supersize the small-scale, voluntary buybacks that happen in American cities — offering hundreds of dollars more per weapon in a bid to make them more effective. “Instead of $200 a gun, Uncle Sam might offer $500,” Miller wrote, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post after Sandy Hook. “After all, overpaying powerful constituencies to achieve public policy goals is a time-honored American tradition; we do it every day with Medicare drug benefits and defense contractors, to name just two.”
Just to prove the take-no-prisoners attitude on display, the author goes on later in the article to admit that the Second Amendment is a major barrier to any successful confiscation program. He stops short of calling for the repeal of it, but the implication is fairly clear.
But until then, David seems enamored of the idea of gun buybacks, assuring us that if the government just ups the price far enough the guns will come rolling in. The number of reasons why this is absurd is too large to list them all here, but let’s just hit the high points. First of all, they never work. We’ve covered this here before and the stories are uniformly the same. The only people who show up are turning in broken firearms, antiques in poor condition or home-made contraptions to get a few bucks for them and avoid a potential disposal problem. People with good, functioning firearms they enjoy are not going to turn them in.
But what if we jack up the price as David suggests? $500 might not do it because many of us have weapons which cost significantly more than that. How about $1,000? In theory, we’ll eventually reach a price where lots of people will show up to turn them in. But since you haven’t repealed the Second Amendment and banned the sale of weapons, we’re just going to be taking your cash, going out to buy brand new firearms and pocketing the rest of the money.
And you know who else isn’t going to show up at one of these events in most cases no matter how much you raise the price? Criminals. They seem to have this unexplainable mistrust of events where a bunch of cops are standing around waiting to collect weapons from you. They don’t buy their guns at a gun shop and they don’t sell them to cops. It’s a funny old world, I know.
In any event, even though this proposition is doomed to failure, in addition to being offensive, I wanted to make sure you all saw it. That sentiment is still out there in liberal America. It’s never been about “reasonable restrictions” under the covers. The end goal is and has always been to get rid of every lawfully owned firearm in the country. And that’s why you never give them an inch, because the mile they actually want is a long and ugly road.