The Elephant in the Gun-Control Room

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The world in which most liberals live is one of magic and fairytales — where socialist systems have starved millions of people and destroyed every economy forced into its model, but which certainly will work the next time. It is a world in which using fascist tactics to silence opponents actually makes you an anti-fascist; and where presidential candidates can promise everything for everyone, and still have enough money left over to cut taxes. In this fantasy land, anything is possible if you just feel it to be true.

Perhaps nowhere is the Left’s disconnect from reality more acute than in its assault on the Second Amendment. Despite decades of gun control proposals debunked time and again, the same schemes and arguments regularly are recycled and repackaged. Democrats remain convinced that Americans are just waiting for permission to hand over their firearms and their God-given right to self-defense. After all, Democrats say, other countries are doing it, so why not us?

Take for instance New Zealand, which recently achieved rock star status in the eyes of Democrats in our country, when its prime minister reacted to a tragic mass shooting with a crushing blow to the country’s firearms rights. The prime minister immediately banned “military-style assault rifles,” to be jump started with a “buy-back” program. 

As expected, Democrats here gushed with envy at what would be possible in our country. “Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cluelessly tweeted, echoing sentiments from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Chris Murphy, and others.    

The “leadership” which so moved Ocasio-Cortez, however, appears to have hit a roadblock – the country’s citizens are not responding as expected. 

While New Zealand’s left-wing leaders appear to have felt that a firearm ban was the correct and only possible response to the Christchurch shooting, the reality is that its citizens did not feel the same. In spite of the rush to enact a ban, subsequent pushback from citizens and noncompliance with the law have stalled what was expected by New Zealand officials to be an easy process of collecting now-illegal firearms. Months after the ban, reports suggest only 700 firearms have been voluntarily surrendered to police.  Optimism about the effectiveness of the buy-back program is waning, with the next move up to the government. 

This is what the New Zealand government has planned for all those firearms they are expecting to be turned in. What a waste! And a law the New Zealand population is currently ignoring.

Confiscation efforts have been further hampered because in New Zealand – as in the United States – the government does not maintain a registry of firearms owners. In spite of what government leaders apparently expected, New Zealanders are not rushing to let the authorities know what may be locked in their gun safes (or now buried in their yard).  Gun owners in New Zealand obviously do not share the liberal delusion that guns are instruments useless for any purpose besides shooting people, and therefore to be handed over readily to please the authorities and avoid prosecution.

Like their mentors in New Zealand, Democrats in the United States appear oblivious to the reality of firearms ownership, and piously drone on and on about the evils of gun ownership and their ideas for gun control. They grow curiously quiet, however, when it comes to articulating what is to happen when people refuse to surrender their Second Amendment rights. Discounting Rep. Eric Swalwell’s bizarre threat that the federal government could use “nukes” to accomplish such a goal, the crucial question becomes, how would Democrats respond? 

If they ban AR-15s (the most popular sporting rifle in America), would Democrats send authorities to knock down doors, and drag people off to jail for noncompliance? Or, would they simply turn a blind eye; thereby confirming that such bans are not so much about public safety, as to satisfy a political agenda? Democrats should not be let off the hook simply because the consequences to their proposals are frightening for them (and us) to articulate.

It is doubtful the sycophants from the Mainstream Media tapped to preside over the Democratic presidential debates would dare to broach such a topic; but the American public deserves to hear what would be in store for them. If New Zealand is any indication, there is no fairytale ending, regardless of how hard Democrats otherwise try to pretend this elephant is not in the room.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the House of Representatives from 1995-2003. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and is Chairman of Liberty Guard (a non-profit, pro-liberty organization). He also heads the Law Enforcement Education Foundation (LEEF) and a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies.