California Rep. Eric Swalwell, having joined a growing flock of Democrat presidential hopefuls, is attempting to set himself apart from the herd by declaring war on gun owners, specifically those who have semiautomatic modern sporting rifles (MSRs), with a plan that would require them to turn their guns in for money or face prosecution for non-compliance.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper, the anti-gun congressman carefully offered a caveat. He said gun owners might avoid trouble by storing their firearms at a gun range. He also contended that his plan allows people to “keep your pistols, keep your long rifles, keep your shotguns” that was suspiciously reminiscent of Barack Obama’s claim, “If you like your plan you can keep your plan.”
If Swalwell tries to backpedal, he’s going to have to disavow remarks by Quentin James, founder of “The collective PAC,” who appeared with Fox News host Tucker Carlson long enough to declare, “Congressman Eric Swalwell did say he wants to ban military-style assault rifles. He also said that folks who want to keep them would be able to do so at a gun club or a hunter’s range in a locker, so it’s not taking them by force. It would be a buyback program. Again, this is his proposal, not mine.”
But Carlson was very quick to rebut James, noting, “But he just said, he said twice, he actually wrote a USA Today op-ed today saying it, and then he just said it on CNN, ‘People who don’t give up their guns will go to jail.’ He just said that. So it’s not a buyback program, that’s a gun confiscation by force.”
This came in the wake of a story in USA Today in which Swalwell estimated the “buyback” would cost about $15 billion. He also advocated for so-called “universal background checks,” which suggests he hasn’t paid attention to failures of such laws in California and Washington state to prevent high-profile shootings.
In his exchange with James, Carlson bluntly told the anti-gunner, “You’re scaring people when you talk like this. You’re scaring me.”
A moment later, Carlson told his guest, “Please don’t try this crap on America.”
But Swalwell seems all-too-willing to “try this crap.” Last year, writing in USA Today, the congressman stated, “(W)e should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons.”
He suggested that “Australia got it right” when it banned certain firearms following a mass shooting in 1996, forcing citizens to turn in their guns for a government payment. That’s not a voluntary “buyback” program, that’s compliance-or-consequences government tyranny, according to Second Amendment activists here in the United States.
In his interview with CNN’s Tapper, Swalwell used a popular and typically reliable fallback excuse for wanting to ban MSRs; children.
“The reason I’ve proposed this is because these weapons are so devastating,” Swalwell said. “I’ve seen this as a prosecutor in the cases that I’ve prosecuted, we’ve seen these in the school shootings from Sandy Hook to Parkland. It’s not just the violence that they’ve caused — it’s the fear, the immeasurable fear that our children live in. I want to get rid of that fear.”
What seems clear from Swalwell’s campaign strategy is that he is not afraid of political backlash from gun owners or rights organizations. Apparently he thinks his supporters will have gun owners outnumbered if he becomes the Democrat nominee.