California Congressman Eric Swalwell published an op/ed this week and it is gaining traction among Second Amendment opposition groups and activists.
Within the USA Today piece Swalwell proposes the federal government buy back “assault style” weapons from gun owners, and “criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons.”
Why does this politician want to ban specific firearms?
As he puts it, “an assault weapon . . . is a hand-held weapon of war.”
Ironically, Eric Swalwell has no problems accepting money from actual “weapon of war” manufacturers. So far this year, Swalwell’s campaign committee has accepted $29,500 from the defense industry.
Swalwell, a House Representative who was elected in 2012 and serves a Central California district not far from San Francisco, used Australia’s 1996 gun ban as the shining example of a gun buyback program.
The Aussie program resulted in 700,000 firearms being turned over to the government.
But Australian legislators didn’t stop there. In 2002, the government restricted the round capacity, barrel length and caliber of handguns.
While Swalwell says, “Australia got it right,” he failed to mention the impact of the attempted, liberty-killing move.
While deaths from gunshot wounds did go down after Australia enacted the gun ban (a first world trend), deaths from stab wounds on average went up – and it turns out that from 1989 until 1995, knives were the top weapon used by Australians to kill each other anyway.
Swalwell also failed to mention that only 19% of Australians have complied with the law and their government is not aggressive in enforcing the gun ban.
While Swalwell left out those specifics, he did get very specific on the buy back program, proposing the government pay Americans $200 per weapon turned in.
The $200 rate would cost taxpayers $3 billion while a $1,000 rate would cost Americans $15 billion.
Now let’s really envision the Australian program enacted in the United States.
The most significant differences are these:
Our federal government would be aggressive with enforcement.
(Formerly) law abiding citizens would be aggressive in opposition.
Basically, all hell would break loose and the result would be the exact opposite.
But don’t take my word for it.
Our history proves that Americans don’t take kindly to governments taking our weapons . . . and the first weapons “buyback” program ever tried on American soil by a federal government was an absolute failure.
A day after the first battle of the Revolutionary War, the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, decide to steal all of the gunpowder stored in Williamsburg, claiming he was protecting it from a “rumored slave uprising.”
To make matters worse, after locals protested the move, Dunmore angrily announced that if attacked he would, “reduce the City of Williamsburg to Ashes.”
Twelve days later, 150 men led by Patrick Henry showed up on the home doorsteps of the Deputy Collector of Royal Revenue and demanded payment for the gunpowder.
Three hundred pounds were forked over to Henry.
Henry and his Hanover County Militia then headed over to Williamsburg to have a chat with Lord Dunmore – who had fled to a British Ship anchored in the York River.
From the security of his ship, Dunmore charged “a certain Patrick Henry . . . and a number of deluded followers” with extortion and issued a proclamation forbidding citizens from giving aid to Henry and his men.
The proclamation was ignored, and a year later, Patrick Henry replaced Dunmore as the Governor of Virginia.
If we backup a few days before the “Gunpowder Incident” in Williamsburg, British General Gage mustered 700 troops to seize munitions from the local militia in Concord.
Now, the Massachusetts Minutemen were far less civil than Henry and the Virginians. Not only did the Americans take on Gage’s 700 men, they emptied out the arsenal in Concord before the British arrived.
And that was the Battle of Lexington and Concord – that “shot heard round the world” that officially sparked the Revolutionary War.
Politicians, especially men like Swalwell, need to review history before proposing taking guns from the hands of Americans.
Today’s patriots, who have enjoyed the liberties made possible because of men like Patrick Henry and the Massachusetts Minuteman, have not only their freedoms to protect, but they are responsible for protecting a legacy of liberty.
If Swalwell and his colleagues in Congress were to ever successfully pass a bill to disarm Americans . . . may God have mercy on their souls, because Americans won’t.