Blazing Blaster Buyback BS

As NBC News reports, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is pushing “mandatory buybacks of certain semi-automatic weapons.” His plan would “ban weapons classified as ‘assault weapons’ as well as high-capacity magazines and silencers. It would also mandate that people who own weapons that become illegal under the new policy sell their guns back to the government.” That is going to be difficult because the owners did not buy their guns from the government in the first place. 

They bought them from independent gun dealers, licensed to sell firearms and ammunition. That is even the case with so-called “assault weapons,” which despite their menacing appearance are no different than any semiautomatic rifle, and less powerful than many bolt-action hunting rifles. Candidate O’Rourke is also on record that, “Hell yes we’re going to take your AR-15,” which he has emblazoned on campaign T-shirts. No word whether the legal owners of the AR-15 committed any kind of crime. Agents of the government will show up at private residences and “take” legally purchased private property. No word whether, as in other takings, the legal owners will be compensated for the seizure.

Like the scheming Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, one thing stands between candidate O’Rourke and the property he wants: “the rightful owners.”  His plan also falls afoul of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but give the candidate credit for candor. Gun owners may be forgiven for believing the ultimate goal is to disarm the people, a certain prelude to repression.

As Stephen Halbrook noted in Gun Control in the Third Reich, the German National Socialist regime disarmed the Jews and disfavored groups in order to more easily repress and kill them. In Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France, Halbrook shows how the National Socialist occupiers even confiscated hunting rifles, not just the “assault weapons” of the time. 

Law-abiding gun owners have every reason to resist the forced confiscation of their legally obtained property, and resist the violation of their rights under the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, few law-abiding citizens would likely object to the confiscation of stolen guns from violent criminals. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be what the current crop of candidates has in mind. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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