Yesterday President Barack Obama was part of a town hall on guns and gun violence hosted by CNN. One of the questions – from Mark Kelly, husband to former Congresswoman Gabbie Giffords – was about gun confiscation.
“Often what you hear in the debate of expanding background checks to more gun sales, and, as you know, Gabby and I are 100% behind the concept of somebody getting a background check before buying a gun,” Kelley said. “But, when we testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, we heard not only from the gun lobby, but from United States Senators that expanding background checks will, not may, will lead to a registry, which will lead to confiscation, which will lead to a tyrannical government. So, I would like you to explain with 350 million guns in 65 million places, households, from Key West, to Alaska, 350 million objects in 65 million places, if the Federal government wanted to confiscate those objects, how would they do that?”
Obama’s response? Talk about gun confiscation is a conspiracy theory.
“What I think Mark is alluding to is what I said earlier, this notion of a conspiracy out there, and it gets wrapped up in concerns about the Federal government,” Obama said. “Now, there’s a long history of that, that’s in our DNA, you know? The United States was born suspicious of some distant authority…So, yes, it is — it is a false notion that I believe is circulated for either political reasons or commercial reasons in order to prevent a coming-together among people of goodwill to develop commonsense rules that will make us safer while preserving the Second Amendment.”
You can see Obama’s full comments in the video above.
Now, the problem with President Barack Obama calling gun confiscation a conspiracy is that he’s actually on the record praising confiscatory policies in other countries. Like gun confiscation in Australia, which Obama touted back in June of last year:
Couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting, similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, well, that’s it, we’re not doing, we’re not seeing that again, and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since. Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country that would put up with this.
“You simply cannot praise Australia’s gun-laws without praising the country’s mass confiscation program,” Charles Cooke wrote at National Review in response. “That is Australia’s law. When the Left says that we should respond to shootings as Australia did, they don’t mean that we should institute background checks on private sales; they mean that they we should ban and confiscate guns. No amount of wooly words can change this. Again, one doesn’t bring up countries that have confiscated firearms as a shining example unless one wishes to push the conversation toward confiscation.”
Indeed, nor is Australia the only country with gun confiscation policies which Obama has praised. “We know other countries in response to one mass shooting have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it,” he said in in October.
The policies both Great Britain and Australia implemented were bans on certain type of guns paired with mandatory government buy-back programs. Some apologists for these policies have tried to claim that a buy back program isn’t gun confiscation, which is ridiculous when the buy back is mandatory.
To be clear, I am extremely happy that President Barack Obama is adamantly against gun confiscation. He is showing more sense in that way than some of the more extreme elements of his political base. But if he is going to dismiss the notion of gun confiscation as a conspiracy theory touted by his political enemies to inflame the public then he should acknowledge his past praise for confiscatory policies and rescind it.
Or perhaps admit that he didn’t really know what he was praising when he made those comments.