Are North Dakota Democrats Getting Cozy With Gun Confiscation?


Mick Roelandts, firearms reform project manager for the New South Wales Police, looks at a pile of about 4,500 prohibited firearms in Sydney that have been handed in over the past month under the Australian government's buy-back scheme July 28. A total of 470,000 guns have been collected nationally, with owners receiving A$243 million (US$180 million) in compensation. The scheme was set up due to tighter gun laws brought in after the April 1996 Port Arthur massacre in which 35 people died when a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage.

North Dakota’s top elected Democrat, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, has been testy with reporters lately when asked about gun control. The reason is obvious. Heitkamp’s fellow liberals want gun control, up to and including gun confiscation (more on that in a moment), very badly. But Heitkamp knows that in order to keep her office, which she only won by the slimmest of majorities in 2012, gun control simply isn’t something she can support.

So it is into that context that Rep. Kylie Oversen, the titular chairwoman of the North Dakota Democrat Party, sent out to her party activists an endorsement of President Barack Obama’s recent speech in response to the shooting in Oregon.

“My heart is heavy with this news and with the current state of this conversation in our country,” Oversen writes (full email below). “Our President’s elegant, powerful speech after the Oregon shooting is included below, and if you have not had the chance, I invite you to watch and listen to what he has to say.”

That speech, of course, is the one in which President Obama endorsed Australia’s policy of gun confiscation.

“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,” Obama said.  “Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours.  So we know there are ways to prevent it. ”

The proponents of Australia’s policy describe it as a gun buyback program, but really it was confiscation. The buybacks weren’t optional. That country’s government simply provided gun owners with a payment to soften the blow of their property being taken from them.

And the impact on crime in Australia wasn’t exactly what the left tells us it was:

Yes, as with the gun-happy United States, the murder rate is down in Australia. It’s dropped 31 percent from a rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people in 1994 to 1.1 per 100,000 in 2012.But it’s the only serious crime that saw a consistent decline post-ban.

In fact, according to the Australian government’s ownstatistics, a number of serious crimes peaked in the years after the ban. Manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and unarmed robbery all saw peaks in the years following the ban, and most remain near or above pre-ban rates. The effects of the 1996 ban on violent crime are, frankly, unimpressive at best. …

It’s even less impressive when again compared to America’s decrease in violent crime over the same period. According to data from the U.S. Justice Department, violent crime fell nearly 72 percent between 1993 and 2011. Again, this happened as guns were being manufactured and purchased at an ever-increasing rate.

But it’s not just an allusion in a North Dakota Democrat email to a speech given by America’s Democrat president that should give North Dakotans pause. It’s also that Hillary Clinton, already endorsed by Senator Heidi Heitkamp, seems to be making Australian-style gun confiscation a cornerstone of her campaign.

“In the Australian example, as I recall, that was a buyback program,” Clinton said at a recent campaign stop. “The Australian government, as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of automatic weapons, offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns.”

“I think that’s worth considering,” Clinton said.

Again, the Australian program was gun confiscation. There was no “offer” to buy gones, because offers are something that can be declined. What’s more, Australia’s program didn’t work.

Yet North Dakota Democrats, along with the Democrat President and Heidi Heitkamp’s preferred successor, are playing footsy with gun confiscation policy.

That’s something North Dakota voters should keep in mind.