Last week’s Democratic debate was punctuated by bursts of unrepentant arrogance, ignorance and scholarly indolence. In short, the Democratic presidential candidates are sliding “hard left” faster than a healthy imagination can keep up. The latest? A leading candidate wants to confiscate America’s guns. Forget it.
Let’s review facts closely. Former Texas Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke appeared on September 12 to advocate confiscation of firearms described – rather obliquely – as “assault weapons,” including semi-automatic “AR-15” and “AK-47” rifles.
With no attempt to walk-back the quote, the Associated Press confirmed O’Rourke’s plan on September 14, noting “their presidential contender’s full-throated call on national TV for confiscating” the “assault” firearms.
Much could be said in response, from noting that Americans hold an estimated 393 million firearms, most legally, safely and for good purposes, to observing that mass shootings are infrequent, have to do with mental instability, and that cars and knives can be as dangerous as guns.
Likewise, we could restate the Second Amendment, dozens of Supreme Court cases upholding the citizen’s right to “keep and bear arms,” to protect oneself, protect others, keep a government honest, put food on the table, and use guns for sport.
All this is a matter of record, and makes the Democratic shift left even more arresting. Ignorance is part of the problem, for sure. Rather than examine mental health, role of guns in protecting America and individual Americans, or even what a semi-automatic gun is, Democratic candidates like O’Rourke seem content to blur lines, and play to gun-haters.
First, all Americans should understand that automatic firearms – a constant flow of ammunition with one trigger pull – are illegal, unless ownership is approved by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. So, we are not talking about machine guns as used in World War II.
Second, semi-automatic firearms are, always have been, and forever should be legal. They are the sort of guns that send one bullet or shotgun shell out a barrel with one trigger pull. This includes semi-automatic shotguns used for bird hunting, skeet, trap, sporting clays, self-defense and deer (slug or buckshot).
Semi-automatic weapons also include rifles, from deer-hunting 30.06 and 30-30 to .22 caliber traditionally employed by Boy Scouts for target proficiency and merit badges, short range to long range, wood stock to plastic, two-tone to camouflage.
Now, here is the ultimate absurdity proposed by Democratic anti-gun fanatics, who want confiscation of all “assault weapons” – the Second Amendment, American gun owners’ rights, and reality notwithstanding: There is no material difference between a semi-automatic colored and shaped to resemble a military firearm, and one that is not colored or shaped that way.
Obviously, if the federal government – or a zealous Democratic president – aimed to end gun ownership by confiscating so-called “assault” weapons based on their shape and color, they would be able to throw that same blanket or ban over every semi-automatic weapon. The differences are minimal, as the defining characteristic is their semi-automatic nature.
But the real issue is not ignorance, it is a combination of not knowing and an unabashed intent to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, in this case embedded in the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution.
The audacity of it is stunning. In effect, they wish not to examine underlying causes of America’s rising mental instability – which might be tied to accelerating cultural change, growing anonymity and lack of accountability, invasions of privacy, border and community insecurity, increased alienation, legalizing drugs, denigrating faith, restricting free speech, punishing association, and trampling individual prerogatives. Instead, they prefer to ban, confiscate and vilify firearms.
At some point, ignorance and an open intent to violate the Constitution’s text, terms, interpretation and natural law becomes something else. It becomes irresponsible, indefensible, and a matter of grave public concern.
Today, the “skateboarding presidential candidate,” who reflects many of the shifting, arguably shifty, aims of the modern Democratic presidential field, has distinguished himself. He showcases what it means to be a modern, hard-left, dictate-utopia Democrat.
I am reminded – in this odd historical moment – of two quotes, neither from a politician, but each with a kernel of undeniable truth. The first is from Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote in “Beyond Good and Evil,” an oft-forgotten truth: “Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.” The Democratic party leaders vying to lead in 2020 prove the rule.
The second is straight forward, a return to common sense, offered by H.L. Mencken. We all know that guiding principles are important, and always have been. We also know that indolent – that is, lazy – minds hate to wrestle with applying big principles to daily life.
As Mencken wrote: “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.” Suggesting confiscation of America’s guns is one of those. Forget it.