The headline of the USA Today op-ed said it all. Anti-gun Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) last week 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 with a lengthy NBC News interview this week in which he made clear that his own proposal is a departure from prior gun bans that allowed those who 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 own 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.
The widespread disarming of Australian citizens occurred through a comprehensive scheme that proceeded as follows. What is no longer debatable, however, is the true agenda and 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 … “resisters” be damned.
First, the various political subdivisions within Australia unanimously agreed to a uniform ban on large categories of popular firearms. The ban was both retroactive and prospective.
Second, the government instituted “amnesty” periods, which allowed those who had previously acquired the newly-banned firearms lawfully to surrender them to the government for a fixed and nonnegotiable rate of compensation.
Third, and most importantly, anyone who refused to relinquish their formerly lawful property was to be treated as an armed criminal, with all the physical jeopardy and legal consequences that entails.
The Australian government also uses a “may-issue” licensing scheme for firearm acquisition, which among other things requires an applicant to show a “genuine reason” for needing the gun. Self-defense – which the U.S. Supreme Court considers the “central component” of America’s right to keep and bear arms – is not recognized under Australian law as a permissible reason for the acquisition, ownership, or use of a firearm.
Australian-style gun control, in other words, is completely foreign to and incompatible with America’s history, tradition, and rights of firearm ownership. Simply put, there is no reconciling Australian-style gun control with America’s Second Amendment, a fact which even some gun control advocates in their more candid moments are willing to admit.
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.
First, 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 drugs or other contraband to get a warrant absolutely do go after the contraband. Some might even say they are duty-bound to do so. A quick Internet search will show you what that looks like in the real world.
Anybody who illegally possesses a contraband firearm potentially risks the same treatment. Swalwell, who touts his credentials as a former prosecutor, surely knows that.
But when asked to elaborate about the “stiff penalties” that would supposedly ensure compliance with his scheme, Swalwell seemingly contradicted his no-confiscation stance, stating, “I'd want to first get the gun.”
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 survivors who have been advocating for gun control have given him “courage” for resolute action.
The actions he is calling for, however, carry inherent risks of further unnecessary loss of innocent life.
But that is what the gun “debate” has come to in America, with at least one gun control advocate so emboldened that he’s openly willing to put violent confrontations on the table to advance the agenda.
Whether Rep. 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, however, is the true agenda and 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 … “resisters” be damned.