November 11 2015
The Daily Beast: Yes, They Want to Take Your Guns Away
November 11 2015
Yes, They Want to Take Your Guns Away
Why don’t gun-control advocates like Hillary Clinton talk about the one gun control solution that could actually fix the firearms problem in America?
11.02.15 1:00 AM ET
Thirty thousand people are killed by firearms each year http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm in the United States, an astronomically high figure for a developed Western country not in a state of civil war.
President Obama reminds Americans of this sad statistic with depressing regularity, and he did so again last month after a mass shooting in Oregon took the lives of nine people. “We know there are ways to prevent it,” the president said.
We do indeed know there are “ways” to stop gun violence in the United States, yet we adamantly refuse to name them. The perennial “national conversation” about guns is predictably stale because its contestants—those favoring a largely unfettered right to personal gun ownership and those opposing it—are talking past each other. Prevarication characterizes the debate, as each side adheres to a core principle that, for reasons of propriety and political calculation, it is unwilling to admit publicly.
For the gun-control side, the unspoken belief is that nothing short of all out confiscation will have an appreciable effect on decreasing gun deaths. Then again, it’s not that unspoken—gun-control advocates just prefer tergiversation to clarity. Democratic candidates, officeholders, and liberal websites frequently invoke the example of Australia, for example. After a 1996 shooting rampage killed 35 people, the Australian government outlawed an array of firearms and instituted a compulsory buyback program that effectively eliminated private gun ownership. Since then, gun violence has dropped precipitously.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told an audience in New Hampshire last month that “Australia is a good example” of gun-control laws, so much so that it “would be worth considering” the Antipodean solution here in the United States. She, too, neglected to mention the obligatory nature of the gun buyback scheme.
The following week, after having explicitly praised gun confiscation, however, she mocked the National Rifle Association for supposedly scaring its members into thinking that “they’re the only thing that’s going to stop the black helicopters from landing in the front yard and people’s guns being seized.”
Holding up Australia as a model of sensible gun policy without mentioning how that government forced its citizens to turn over their weapons is like praising Chinese population-control efforts without mentioning the one-child policy
But if it would seem that confiscation on a massive scale is the only way to solve American gun violence, why don’t we talk about it more?