March 30, 2023

The White House Dodge on Gun Confiscation

A simple “no” was all that’s required, but White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre couldn’t bring herself to say it.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15!” shouted professional loser candidate Beto O'Rourke in a Democrat presidential primary debate in 2019. Democrats were ticked that he said the quiet part out loud, which is no doubt why White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled to answer when asked if attempted confiscation was around the corner.

It started when Jean-Pierre challenged congressional Republicans to “show some courage” by introducing a ban on “assault weapons” in response to the Nashville massacre. A reporter asked her a follow-up bringing things back to O'Rourke, and her dodge was quite something:

Reporter: “In the last presidential campaign, one of the Democrat contenders said that what he would do is come for AR-15s. Does the president support not just banning the sale and manufacture of semiautomatic weapons, but, further than that, confiscation?”

KJP: “Let me just be very clear, what we’re talking about, AR-15s, these [sic] assault weapons ban— They are weapons of war and they should not be on the streets, across the country, in our communities, they should not be in schools, they should not be in grocery stores, they should not be in churches. That’s what the president believes.”

KJP continued: “And he has done more than any other president the first two years on the executive order. And as you know, we all know how government works. There’s only so much that he can do. And so now it’s time for Congress to do the work. And he’s happy to sign, once that happens, he’s happy to sign that legislation that says, ‘OK, we’re going to remove assault weapons — we’re going have an assault weapons ban.’”

When the reporter pushed back regarding just how many of these guns are out there, Jean-Pierre snapped back: “That’s unacceptable. That’s our response. It’s unacceptable that Republicans are saying that there’s nothing that we can do.”

That’s a lot to unpack, but here goes.

Again, “no” is the correct answer to confiscating legally owned firearms clearly protected by the Second Amendment as AR-15s are. Democrats may want to repeal the Second Amendment, and most of them wish they could get rid of guns entirely (except for their own security details, of course). But the intensity of their emotional response doesn’t make for rational or safe policy.

Even if Democrats somehow managed to win enough congressional seats to entertain a constitutional amendment repealing the Second Amendment, and even if enough states agreed with repeal, and even if Democrats then outlawed guns at the federal and state levels, that’s when the hard part starts — they’d have to enforce the new “no guns” regime. Yet sending heavily armed federal agents door to door across all of America to collect hundreds of millions of guns, or even just tens of millions if “assault weapons” are all they sought to confiscate, doesn’t seem, well, safe or peaceful.

Ask the survivors of violent socialist regimes like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia how well gun confiscation worked out for the innocent.

What about a buyback scheme? Good luck getting American Patriots who’ve been repeatedly threatened by their president to voluntarily turn in their 20 million AR-15s. After all, America’s war for independence began in part because the British tried to confiscate firearms.

Of course, KJP couldn’t say out loud that Biden wants to confiscate guns. What she did say, however, made abundantly clear that a world without certain semiautomatic rifles is exactly what Democrats want, even if they concede it’s unrealistic.

As for her acknowledgement that the president doesn’t have the authority to do whatever he wants, forgive us if we scoff. Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden have repeatedly insisted they had no authority to do something and then eventually did it anyway when they grew impatient with inaction in Congress. With Obama it was DACA. With Biden it was forgiving student loans. White House lawyers are no doubt scouring for ways to justify an “assault weapons” ban by executive order.

Finally, accusing Republicans of doing nothing is rich given that Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress for multiple two-year stints in the last decade.

Meanwhile, the Left continues to ratchet up the fear and angst over guns. A recent article by a couple of pediatric academics discusses how dangerous guns — even toy guns and guns in video games — can be for kids. Some of that is true. Children are highly impressionable and prone to foolish mistakes, after all. Just don’t say that to the groomers.

The Washington Post has a multi-part series with an impressive number of words and visual features telling us how bad AR-15s are. The paper launched the series, coincidentally, hours before the Nashville murders. One entry in the series purports to illustrate the uniquely horrific damage done by wounds from an AR-15. We’re not ballistic experts, but neither are the graphics artists who put together the Post’s eye-catching and heartstring-tugging presentation.

What we do know is that the U.S. Army announced plans last year to ditch the M4/M4A1 carbine — a gun that uses the same caliber ammunition as the AR-15 — in favor of a larger-caliber rifle that would “provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range and overall lethality.”

Military decisions are not always made with combat effectiveness in mind, especially considering all the recent woke values and training that are pertinent to this story. But if the Army doesn’t see the AR-15 as being quite the devastating weapon of war portrayed by graphics artists at a newspaper, maybe banning and confiscating them isn’t really about safety or saving lives. Maybe it’s just about political power.

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