Recently by William L. Anderson: Progressives and the Phony Gun Debate
As one who does not care much for American Progressives, I do read their sites on a regular basis. Not only does that mean reading Paul Krugman's columns, blog posts, and occasionally his television appearances. (I cover Krugman and other "economic Progressives" in my website, Krugman-in-Wonderland.)
Another site I visit infrequently is the Daily Kos, which is one of the most influential Democratic Party sites and receives huge amounts of daily traffic. The Daily Kos does not repeat Democratic "talking points;" it generates political talking points that later are found in mainstream publications and from Democratic politicians themselves. Thus, when the Daily Kos not only calls for prohibition on all privately-owned firearms and lays out the political and legal road map on how to accomplish that political goal, Libertarians and others need to pay attention. These people are serious and are willing to use violent means to accomplish their ends.
We should not be surprised that Progressives have this goal, nor should we be surprised when they deny it and call us "paranoid" and "whack jobs" for believing what Progressives always have believed: all individuals should be firmly and absolutely made subservient to the State, and part of subservience is being disarmed and unable to defend oneself from other predators. Only the State is fit to protect us, even if the U.S. Supreme Court already has ruled that police have no legal obligation to protect anyone.
The writer, identified only as "Sporks," begins with explanations about why an assault weapons ban won't have any effect upon crime in general or spree shootings in particular:
It’s nice that we’re finally talking about gun control. It’s very sad that it took such a terrible tragedy to talk about it, but I’m glad the conversation is happening. I hear a lot about assault weapon and large magazine bans, and whilst I’m supportive of that, it won’t solve the problem. The vast majority of firearm deaths occur with handguns. Only about 5% of people killed by guns are killed by guns which would be banned in any foreseeable AWB.
Furthermore, there seems to be no talk about high powered rifles. What gun nuts don’t want you to know is many target and hunting rifles are chambered in the same round (.223/5.56mm) that Lanza’s assault weapon was. Even more guns are chambered for more powerful rounds, like the .30-06 or (my personal “favorite”) 7.62x54R. Even a .22, the smallest round manufactured on a large scale, can kill easily. In fact, some say the .22 kills more people than any other round out there.
Again, I like that we’re talking about assault weapons, machine guns, and high capacity clips. But it only takes one bullet out of one gun to kill a person. Remember the beltway sniper back in 2002? The one who killed a dozen odd people? Even though he used a bushmaster assault rifle, he only fired one round at a time before moving. He could have used literally any rifle sold in the US for his attacks.
While one could use the above argument against an assault weapons ban, the Daily Kos continues with what it says will eliminate almost all crime:
The only way we can truly be safe and prevent further gun violence is to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing. This is the only thing that we can possibly do to keep our children safe from both mass murder and common street violence. (Emphasis mine)
Although the writer says he believes that banning all civilian gun ownership will make us "truly" safe, it is hard to agree with such a statement, since murders and other violent crime still happen in countries that either ban civilian ownership or restrict it so that individuals effectively are kept from legal ownership of guns, including Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. The purpose, as one finds while reading this political screed, is for people the author hates — legal gun owners — ultimately to be imprisoned or killed violently by the police, as we shall see.
Like so many government actions that start out being "voluntary" and later become mandatory, the author calls for a national registry emphasizing "voluntary" compliance that then turns into something else:
Along with this, make private sales illegal. When a firearm is transferred, make it law that the registration must be updated. Again, make it super easy to do. Perhaps over, the internet. Dealers can log in by their FFLs and update the registration. Additionally, new guns are to be registered by the manufacturer. The object here is to create a clear paper trail from factory to distributor to dealer to owner. We want to encourage as much voluntary compliance as possible.
Now we get down to it. The registration period has passed. Now we have criminals without registered guns running around. Probably kooky types that “lost” them on a boat or something. So remember those ATF form 4473s? Those record every firearm sale, going back twenty years. And those have to be surrendered to the ATF on demand. So, we get those logbooks, and cross reference the names and addresses with the new national registry. Since most NRA types own two or (many) more guns, we can get an idea of who properly registered their guns and who didn’t. For example, if we have a guy who purchased 6 guns over the course of 10 years, but only registered two of them, that raises a red flag.
What happens at this point? Now the police become involved and the Daily Kos advocates the most violent approach to anyone who might technically "violate" the new rules:
Now, maybe he sold them or they got lost or something. But it gives us a good target for investigation. A nice visit by the ATF or state police to find out if he really does still have those guns would be certainly warranted. It’s certainly not perfect. People may have gotten guns from parents or family, and not registered them. Perfect is the enemy of pretty darn good, as they say. This exercise isn’t so much to track down every gun ever sold; the main idea would be to profile and investigate people that may not have registered their guns. As an example, I’m not so concerned with the guy who bought that bolt action Mauser a decade ago and doesn’t have anything registered to his name. It’s a pretty good possibility that he sold it, gave it away, or got rid of it somehow. And even if he didn’t, that guy is not who I’m concerned with. I’m concerned that other guy who bought a half dozen assault weapons, registered two hunting rifles, and belongs to the NRA/GOA. He’s the guy who warrants a raid. (Emphasis mine)
The recommendation here depends upon one thing: all government agents raiding others are armed, and armed to the teeth. The author, then, is saying that indiscriminate raids, which often end in tragedy and the loss of innocent life, are a good thing and should be expanded.
(We should not be surprised that the Daily Kos is a cheerleader for government violence. This is the same political blog that claims that socialism is good for the United States because it has provided war, the CIA, business subsidies, FEMA and…the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At least we know what they believe in Washington, D.C.)
As for gun control, the author then demands an end to the gun registry, with a government campaign to tax, harass, arrest, and turn on the propaganda:
A national Firearms Owner Identification Card might be good, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary if we have a national database. We should also insist on comprehensive insurance and mandatory gun safes, subject to random, spot checks by local and federal law enforcement.
We must make guns expensive and unpopular, just like cigarettes. A nationwide, antigun campaign paid for by a per gun yearly tax paid by owners, dealers, and manufacturers would work well in this regard.
If that is not enough, then the government will turn on the hunters as well:
We should also segway into an anti-hunting campaign, like those in the UK. By making hunting expensive and unpopular, we can make the transition to a gun free society much less of a headache for us.
I know this seems harsh, but this is the only way we can be truly safe. I don’t want my kids being shot at by a deranged NRA member. I’m sure you don’t either. So lets stop looking for short term solutions and start looking long term. Registration is the first step.
My guess is that very few crimes have been committed by NRA or GOA members, but that is not his point. These people are different than "Spork," and while they pose no threat to him whatsoever, the very existence of people who might have different outlooks on life is just too intolerable. They must be arrested or killed, but they certainly need to be eliminated. (And to think that the writers for Daily Kos consider themselves to be the Apostles of Tolerance.)
There also is another matter to consider, although I doubt it would bother the Daily Kos people or their fellow Progressives: Since police and other government "law enforcement" officers and departments would not be affected by this gun ban, it is ludicrous to think that many of these weapons and ammunition would not make their way into the hands of civilian criminals (as opposed to government criminals who are permitted to commit robbery, murder, and rape and not have to worry about being punished).
My sense is that the Daily Kos people know exactly what would happen, as armed criminals would go on rampages against unarmed civilians, with the police dutifully drawing the yellow chalk lines around the bodies. One also could expect civilians who did try to defend themselves and their families from armed predators (not police, just regular criminals) quickly and surely would be charged with crimes as they are in Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, as it effectively is illegal for people to engage in self-defense, even if their lives are in danger.
Progressives really don't care whether or not individuals are safe in their homes, and if they truly believed that firearms themselves were the cause of violence, then they would demand disarmament of the U.S. Armed Forces and all state, local, and federal police. Furthermore, most of them know that the vast majority of legal gun owners in this country do not commit crimes, nor are they a danger to the public.
However, most Progressives believe that even the mere presence of a lawful gun owner is so odious and so evil that if the government cannot rid the world of those people, at least it can try to take away all of their firearms. My sense is Progressives will not stop there if they have any success at all with the latest gun-control/gun-ban initiative. As they continue to win more political victories, and as they continue to ravage the U.S. economy, they will become even angrier and more paranoid and more oppressive. Their end is a society in which the State makes all decisions for individuals, and their means is violence and more violence.
William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.