Pavlich: Candidates pushing the gun 'buyback' lie

Pavlich: Candidates pushing the gun 'buyback' lie
© Getty Images

In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Odessa, Texas, over the past 30 days, 2020 Democrat presidential candidates are squeezing as much political capital as possible out of the fallout. 

On Twitter, candidates like Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCalifornia poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) are making promises about executive orders on gun control “within the first 100 days.” 

“When elected president, I will give Congress 100 days to put a gun safety bill on my desk for signature. And if they don’t, I will take executive action,” Harris tweeted. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Others, like Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharObama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE (D-Minn.), are arguing the Second Amendment is about protecting hunting. 

“Would this hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand?” Klobuchar said about her consideration of new gun control legislation during a CNN town hall earlier this year. 

But the most egregious and dishonest proposal comes from former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who continues to aggressively push a platform of a mandatory national gun “buyback.”

“I was asked how I’d address people’s fears that we will take away their assault rifles. I want to be clear: That’s exactly what we’re going to do. Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell their assault weapons. All of them,” O’Rourke tweeted over the weekend. “Buy them all back.” 

First, the term “assault weapon” doesn’t mean anything. O’Rourke is referring to semiautomatic rifles. The AR-15, AR standing for ArmaLight Rifle, is the most popular rifle in America and is owned by at least 20 million individuals. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Second, there is no such thing government gun “buyback.” Americans don’t purchase their firearms from the government. They buy them from private, federally licensed firearms dealers. These dealers conduct nearly 24 million FBI background checks each year in the United States. A mandatory “buyback” is confiscation. There’s nothing voluntary about it.

When Australia banned automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the 1990s, the government made it clear gun ownership was deemed criminal. As I’ve written in this space before, “This wasn’t a volunteer buy back and those who refused to participate were threatened with prison time. In fact, the Australian government ran a newspaper ad depicting naked, showering detainees and warned gun owners that if they refused to disarm, rape may be a consequence.”

Think this scenario wouldn’t play out the same way in America? 

Before dropping out of the race for the White House, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAt debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions Klobuchar, Buttigieg find themselves accidentally flying to debate together MORE (D-N.Y.), who used to tout a 100 percent “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, declared prison time appropriate for gun owners who refuse to sell their firearms to the government. Again, the same government that never owned them in the first place. 

“You don’t want to grandfather in all of the assault weapons all across America. We’d like people to sell them back to the government,” Gillibrand said during an interview with CNN. “The point is you don’t want people using assault weapons so the point is if you’re arrested for using an assault weapon you’re going to be arrested for an aggravated felony. The whole point is when you make it a crime to own an assault weapon then if you are found using it, that would be the issue. It would be part of law enforcement.”

Government firearm confiscation schemes are an abuse of taxpayer money. While bureaucrats demand citizens push aside their Second Amendment rights, turn in their firearms and walk away, their idea is to pay out fees for guns the government never owned —with the hard earned money belonging to the same people they are forcing into confiscation. 

These schemes have been part of the old anti-Second Amendment playbook for decades and have been rolled out in the past by failed Democratic candidates like Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE. And yet, the modern-day left hasn’t learned any lessons about the electoral consequences of the position. 

Most importantly, confiscation won’t stop at semiautomatic rifles and will inevitably extend to semiautomatic handguns. It’s a slippery slope and the anti-gun left knows it. Their use of inaccurate language, with their friends in the media doing the same, is a tactic — not a mistake. 

Democrats running for president and their colleagues on Capitol Hill aren’t just going after “assault weapons,” they’re going after the American right to own any firearm. “Buyback” is a false description of confiscation. Period. 

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.