The lexicon of gun prohibition is coming under new scrutiny. (Dave Workman)
In the aftermath of what was likely the most successful Gun Rights Policy Conference in its 34-year history, a story in the Deseret News, while not directly related to the Phoenix gathering, underscores much of what was said by many speakers about the ineffectiveness of gun control laws.
Headlined “The gun violence solution that experts say won’t work,” the article takes a look at so-called “gun buyback” programs, particularly the mandatory one that is being championed by Democrat presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. His remarkably candid threat to gun owners during a heat-of-the-moment discussion about gun control has galvanized Second Amendment activists and, according to rights advocates such as Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, laid bare the true agenda of O’Rourke’s party contemporaries.
None of them so much as raised an eyebrow when he declared, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR15, your AK47!” This can only be interpreted one way, say activists.
Gottlieb said in a prepared statement, “Thanks to O’Rourke, Democrats have just graduated from being the ‘party of gun control’ to officially being the ‘party of gun confiscation,’ and nobody in the firearms community is going to forget that.
“From this moment forward,” he added, “when Democrats talk about ‘gun reform’ or ‘gun safety,’ the whole country will know they’re not just talking about gun control, they’re talking about taking firearms from law-abiding citizens who have committed no crime.”
The Deseret News article talked about O’Rourke’s “mandatory gun buyback program in which the government requires that anyone with an assault weapon turn it in to the government, and then be compensated for it.”
But activists attending the Phoenix conference uniformly agreed that O’Rourke and the establishment media can call this anything they want, but in reality, this is “compensated confiscation.”
As Michael Scott, a professor at the Arizona State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice told the newspaper, “A mandatory buyback program is in essence a confiscation of property and that is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. I cannot imagine that it would be politically palatable or likely to generate results.”
And Lara Smith, national spokesperson for the Liberal Gun Club and a Phoenix conference speaker, added this: “Our organization completely opposes it. If we don’t stand for every single civil right for every single person, I see it as a slippery slope.”
The gun prohibition lobby’s lexicon has changed and it is alarming to conference speakers such as Dan Wos, author of Good Gun Bad Guy and Good Gun Bad Guy II that the establishment media has adopted their lingo.
During remarks at the conference, he assailed terms now in common use by anti-gunners such as “assault weapon,” which was invented in the 1990s and was “designed to scare people.” He ridiculed phrases such as “blood on your hands” which he said are designed to blame gun owners “for anything that happens” involving firearms.
“But the big daddy of them all,” Wos observed, “is the term ‘gun violence.’ There is no such thing as gun violence. Gun violence doesn’t exist. There is human violence…They’d much rather have you focus on the problem as being a gun issue. It’s a straw man argument.”
For the past several years, the gun prohibition lobby understood that the idea of “gun control” is politically toxic, so they adopted terms that fall under the definition of “camo speak,” that is, words and phrases used to conceal the true intent of the speaker. They replace “gun control” with more positive-sounding terms as “gun safety” or “gun reform” or – as has been wholeheartedly adopted by a Seattle-based lobbying group, “gun responsibility.”
But initiatives passed in Washington State over the past five years do not appear to have had any discernible impact on homicides, except, perhaps, in the negative. In 2014, the year Washington voters passed Initiative 594, a “universal background check” initiative, the state reported 94 gun-related murders. In 2015, there were 141 firearm-related homicides. In 2016, the number dropped to 127, but in 2017 it bounced back up again to 134, according to data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for all of those years.
Data for 2018 is not yet available, and the impact of Initiative 1639, which was passed last year and added new gun restrictions this year, will not be evident until September 2020, when the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2019 will be released.
But in the meantime, rights activists know the gun control rhetoric will continue, and it all means the same thing and leads ultimately to the same result, they believe: restricting a fundamental right and demonizing the people who exercise it.