Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a series of columns about some of the myths perpetuated by the gun lobby. One on the claims made about the “cosmetic features” of assault rifles, another about the idea of the Second Amendment as a “self-destruct” mechanism.
This time, I’m focusing on the biggest myth of them all: that the government is coming for our guns.
This is simply not true.
At this time, no serious person is suggesting confiscation as a viable solution to the gun violence problem. I mean it. Anyone who honestly believes, or even suggests, that it would be right, feasible or a good idea to take legally owned guns away from law abiding citizens is kidding themselves.
The government is not coming for the peoples’ guns. Legally, it never can, thanks to the 2008 and 2010 Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, which guarantee an individual right to bear arms.
These cases really should have ended the most immediate fears of a government confiscation program once and for all, but here we are today, still seeing advertisements from the NRA, like one released on February 12 titled “Ask Obama’s Experts,” saying that the president’s gun control proposals would lead to confiscation.
Let’s say this is true. The president, or anyone in the government, for that matter, can talk all they want about confiscating firearms, but the fact is that it will never happen. According to D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, they can’t even force you to put a trigger-lock on your gun.
This makes the threat of confiscation essentially a non-issue. Anything resembling it will be struck down in a court of law. Why do people keep insisting, then, that the federal government is coming for our guns? Vigilance is good, but the constant insistence that the government is on the verge of confiscating our guns hurts the credibility of pro-gun rights groups.
Our right to bear arms is safe, thanks to the courts, but many of our other rights have come under fire in the meantime.
One perspective says that the peoples’ arms serve as a deterrent against government interference in our other rights. However, the security of our civil liberties has continued to erode throughout the 21st century, due to portions of legislation like the PATRIOT Act, indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA and the use of drones by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
All of this happened while firearms imports and the total number of civilian firearms in the country were on the rise, based on data presented in a Nov. 14, 2012 document from the Congressional Research Service titled “Gun Control Legislation.” So while the number of guns increased, our total civil liberties decreased.
I have to wonder, if even half of the resources utilized to fight for gun rights, which are now set in stone in the courts, were used against the above policies, how long would they last? Outside of a few libertarian and liberal groups, there isn’t much noise.
Every time someone cries wolf about gun confiscation, it becomes a little less believable. If the government ever does come for our guns, the people won’t know it, because the Chicken Little Society will have made them deaf to the warning signs.
The government is not coming for our guns. It’s time to accept victory and move on.