Go Ahead, Representative Swalwell: Make my Day
By William Sullivan November 19, 2018
For the American Left, gun control has always been nothing more than a statist impulse in search of a reason to justify it.
And there have always been reasons they’ve offered as to why the government should prohibit Americans from owning this type of gun or that one. Today, the talk tends to be about the AR-15, and the reason that is most commonly parroted tends to be along these lines, this one offered in a tweet by Max Boot:
There is no reason why any civilian should own an assault weapon. And gun prohibition and buyback much more effective than a ban on further sale.
Boot tweeted this in support of the “courageous and principled stand” taken by Democrat House Representative Eric Swalwell of California, who is championing the idea of an Australia-style “buyback” of “assault weapons” such as the AR-15.
Gun control advocates are tactically referring to this proposed effort as a “buyback” for the same reason restauranteurs call the Patagonian toothfish a Chilean sea bass on their menus. A government “buyback” of guns may sound much more palatable for the American public than a “forcible government confiscation” of firearms, but it doesn’t change the nature of the thing.
The actual choice for Americans, under Swalwell’s proposal, would be to “sell” their guns to the government, surrender them with no recompense, or have the government forcibly confiscate them, with offenders facing prosecution or violence at the hands of government agents. This is, of course, not a choice at all, but it presents the veneer of choice, meant to hide the constitutional rights that would be stolen from American citizens.
But what’s most amazing about all of this is the ease with which the confiscation of heretofore-legal firearms from millions of Americans is being proposed in open forums today. It is, after all, impossibly illogical to conclude that such an action by the federal government would not be in direct violation of the Second Amendment.
The closest thing we can find to evidence suggesting that such a mass confiscation of “assault weapons” would be constitutional is offered by Swalwell in his op ed in USA Today. He observes that the late Antonin Scalia wrote, in the Heller decision of 2008, that the right to gun ownership is “not unlimited.” So, his logic goes, because the right is “not unlimited,” it must mean that it’s at least arguable that confiscation of “military-style” weapons by the federal government might be allowable, even though confiscation is the most egregious form of “infringement” upon firearm ownership, which the Second Amendment strictly prohibits. After all, “[o]ur courts haven’t found a constitutional right to have assault weapons, anyway,” he writes.
Except… that’s not exactly true. Insofar as Swalwell uses “military-style” weapons and “assault weapons” interchangeably to specifically reference the AR-15, one could easily argue that the courts have found a constitutionally protected right for Americans to own them. In fact, it was the Supreme Court’s rationale in upholding America’s very first sweeping federal gun regulation in 1939.
H/T Matt Bracken on facebook
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