BY BOB BARR
Watch Out! Eric Swalwell is making his move. The Congressman — who represents a district not far from the epicenter of 21st-Century liberalism that San Francisco has become — has yet to accomplish anything of note that would distinguish him from the large pack of Democratic Party presidential wannabes jockeying to win attention in these still-early months of the 2020 election cycle. He is attempting valiantly to change that equation by pressing a gun control platform that puts to shame Michael Bloomberg’s long-running campaign to make himself America’s Gun Control King.
One of the problems Swalwell faces in his drive for relevance, is that every one of his Democratic teammates has made gun control a central plank in their platform. The party appears once again to have concluded that gun control will be pivotal in wresting control of the White House away from the GOP.
Swalwell’s attempt to leapfrog to the head of the gun-control class actually garnered him a headline last November; though not really the type a serious candidate relishes. Responding on Twitter to a comment about how his proposal to ban “assault weapons” and force their “buy-back” under penalty of arrest could provoke a war, Swalwell pompously chirped “it would be a short war” because “the government has nukes” and “they’re legit.” Ever since, banning firearms in America has been Swalwell’s default sound-bite.
In spite of the Congressman’s laughably superficial knowledge of firearms, and his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons, Swalwell’s laundry list of proposals actually offers an accurate perspective on how Democrats really feel about the Second Amendment.
Last week, for example, at an event in front of the NRA’s Virginia headquarters just west of the nation’s capital (attended by less than 20 supporters), Swalwell unveiled a comprehensive gun control “plan”; extending far beyond his original ban-and-buy-back proposal. While “nuke gun owners” did not make Swalwell’s newest hit list, and notwithstanding that he did not call explicitly for the banning of pump-action, 20-gauge shotguns, if it was something that would limit exercise of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, it was on the laundry list.
Swalwell’s unabridged plan can be viewed on his campaign website. While it would be enjoyable to debunk each element of his plan to thus save America, in the interests of brevity, here are a few stand-outs:
“Criminally prosecute any person caught defying the [assault weapon ban].” This is his calling-card proposal, seemingly made with no regard for the collateral damage to occur when attempting the mass arrest of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
“Establish standards for safely storing firearms including smart tech, mandate that all gun owners comply with those standards.” One supposes low-income gun owners should prepare for arrest if they cannot afford the high costs of gun safes and other “smart” equipment that meet these new Swalwell Standards.
“Implement background checks for all firearm and ammunition purchases.” Considering the fact that the existing background check system already is overwhelmed and repeatedly has failed to flag multiple criminals intent on mass shootings, adding additional checks for every box of .22 cal. rounds sold will surely help, right?
“Limit ammunition sales for individual purchasers to 200 rounds per 30-day period”and “prohibit individuals from hoarding ammunition in quantities exceeding 200 rounds per caliber or gauge.” Ignoring the impossibility of actually enforcing this rule without mandatory, routine home searches by police, apparently Swalwell considers it inappropriate (indeed, unlawful) for gun owners to own sufficient quantities of ammunition so they might practice and more safely exercise their shooting skills.
“Mandate evidence-based ballistics identification techniques, such as microstamping.” This is pure science fiction. Such techniques do not exist and repeatedly have been proven unrealistic.
“Prohibit the manufacture and sale of hollow-nose bullets for civilians.” That is, make illegal the type of bullet safest for use in self-defense since it is designed not to carry through soft targets or walls.
Again, endless pages could be spent debunking the preposterous, bordering-on-childish nature of Swalwell’s proposal. The point, however, is not that Swalwell’s proposal is ridiculous, but that he and other Democrats consider it to be entirely reasonable, if not generous toward firearms owners. That millions of voting-age Americans buy into arguments that such limits on the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are not only constitutional but reflect “common sense,” is the truly frightening aspect of what he and his colleagues are proposing. And it is why Republican and independent voters must take the proposals and their advocates seriously, even though they do not constitute serious ideas.
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Bob Barr, represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990. He also heads the Law Enforcement Education Foundation (LEEF) and a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies.