The Boston Globe recently wrote an anti-gun screed, disguised as news. I wanted to take a minute to examine the article and its claims.
It uses Australia as an example:
Some feared resistance. Howard, at one point, wore a bulletproof vest during a speech to a group of gun rights supporters. But the buyback went forward peacefully, and it claimed an estimated one-fifth of Australia’s gun stock — one of the largest gun confiscations in modern history.
One fifth? So the confiscation was ineffective more than 80% of the time? What now?
Since passage of the law, the country hasn’t seen a single mass shooting — defined as a killing of five or more people, not including the gunman.
In order to make that claim work, they have to do a bit of gymnastics. First, they exclude all killings not committed with a gun. Next, they exclude all killings where less than 5 people, exclusive of the killer himself, were killed. Then, they exclude all cases where no one was arrested (usually because the killer himself was killed.)
A study by researchers at Australian National University and Wilfrid Laurier University found a 59 percent drop in the firearm homicide rate and a 65 percent decline in the firearm suicide rate in the decade after the law was introduced. And while critics have noted the firearm death rate was already declining before passage of the legislation, the data show it dropped twice as fast afterward.
Another lie. The murder rate actually went UP after the confiscation, and then went down, and back up again, with the homicide rate in Australia only being down 5% overall. So where do the anti gun folks get their “fact” about a 50% reduction? From 1915 to 1996, about 30% of homicides in Australia were committed by people wielding firearms. From 1996 onwards, that has fallen to about 15%. So what we have seen is a 50% reduction in percentage of homicides that were committed by FIREARMS, but overall rate of all homicides has remained unchanged.
Then the paper goes on to suggest that it is time for a
mandatory buyback confiscation, where the police collect the firearms in US circulation in exchange for $500 or so.
Part of the problem is the sheer scale of the enterprise. An operation on par with the Australian buyback — claiming one-fifth of American guns — would mean tens of thousands of police officers collecting some 60 million guns. It is, on some level, simply unimaginable.
That presumes that there are only 310 million firearms in private hands, according to the article. I think this number if FAR, FAR too low. There have been almost 275 million NICS checks in the past 20 years alone. Are we to believe that the number of firearms sold in the US from 1900 to 1998 is only 35 million, when Americans are busy buying 27 million firearms and 10-12 BILLION rounds of ammunition a year. That is more ammunition than was used by the entire US military during each year of World War 2, when the average was just over 10 billion rounds a year. Some bloggers think that the true number of firearms in private hands is over 600 million.
The second presumption is that Americans will give up these guns without a single fight. While it is true that many will, others will simply ignore such an order, and will soon be selling firearms for many times the $500 fee paid by the government for turning in their guns. Even the threat of a new assault weapons ban several years ago saw people paying $900 for stripped AR-15 lower. Do you think that all of those people would pay that kind of money, simply to turn them in a couple of months later for a fraction of that amount in return?
When it doesn’t work, what then? How many cops will want to go door to door in order to take them? How many cops and citizens will die as a result? Even if only 1 in 10,000 gun owners are willing to shoot it out, that means there could potentially be 60,000 active shootouts during this door kicking. Are you willing to see hundreds of thousands of dead cops and citizens, all for little gain?
So, to answer the overall question of The Boston Globe’s article:
Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?
I don’t think so. Such a law would violate the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.
Americans possess FAR more than the 310 million firearms that the left wants you to think are out there. Should such a law come to pass anyway, it would look like the second American Civil War.