Representative Eric Swalwell, a hard-leftist from California, has about as much chance of winning the Democratic nomination for president as Bill Weld has of winning the GOP nomination.
Be that it as it may, Swalwell’s proposal to jail Americans who refuse to surrender legally purchased and owned firearms to a federal gun Gestapo not only demonstrates how the Left has moved the Overton Window in the gun-control debate, but also how Democrats have given in to the totalitarian impulse.
Outright gun confiscation is something only the craziest Democrat would have suggested 30 years ago, and the suggestion certainly would not have come from one who wished to be considered a serious contender for the presidency.
But more significantly, an American politician has suggested the wholesale arrest and imprisonment of law-abiding Americans who oppose the Stalinist proposal.
Tapper Gets at the Truth
As Swalwell brags on his website, “I’m the only candidate calling for a mandatory national ban and buyback of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.”
Appearing with CNN talker Jake Tapper, Swalwell explained the penalty for refusing to give up a legally-purchased and owned firearm.
Forget about the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids Congress from banning firearms, or Article 1, Clause 3, Section 9, which forbids Congress from passing ex post facto laws. You’ll go to jail if you don’t turn over your gun to Swalwell’s jackbooted Stormtroopers:
TAPPER: So, gun control is the central plank in your campaign.You wrote last year — quote — “We 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.” Criminal prosecution for keeping assault weapons. What's the punishment for people who don’t hand in their guns? Do they go to jail?
SWALWELL: Well, Jake, they would, but I also offer an alternative, which would be to keep them at a hunting club or a shooting range. And the reason I have proposed this is because these weapons are so devastating.
Swalwell then falsely claimed Americans, particularly children, are living in paralyzing fear of being shot to death, and cited Australia’s and New Zealand’s gun confiscation as a model for Americans.
Then Tapper dropped a truth bomb on the gun-grabber:
TAPPER: I know you know this, but the vast majority of gun-related deaths in this country are not related to these semiautomatic assault weapons, whatever you want to call them. And the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens who have purchased these weapons legally and use them safely. One of the most frequent attacks on this issue from President Trump and the Republicans is that Democrats want to take away your guns. But isn't it fair to say you actually do want to take away people's guns?
SWALWELL: You know, keep your pistols, keep your long rifles, keep your shotguns. I want the most dangerous weapons, these weapons of war, out of the hands of the most dangerous people.
Thus has the Overton Window moved. Three decades ago the gun grabbers were after handguns, particularly Saturday Night Specials, a movement that reached hysterical pitch after John Warnock Hinckley gunned down White House Press Secretary Jim Brady when Hinckley tried to assassinate President Reagan.
Now, the monomania is “assault weapons” and “weapons of war,” terms of no real meaning but that do permit the demonization of law-abiding Americans. Swalwell would ban those awful things, and who in his right mind could be against that?
“I’m the only candidate that’s proposing we ban and buyback the 15 million assault weapons on our streets,” Swalwell tweeted on Monday, the day after his Tapper interview. Then, as Breitbart.com reported, Swalwell attempted to soften his threat:
NRA Twitter is losing its mind with “how is Swalwell going to take guns from law-abiding owners.” SPOILER: I’m not. I’m organizing with the Moms & students, and we’re going to CHANGE the law. Weapons of war will be no more. #BanandBuyBack
That’s not what he told Tapper and that’s not his website says.
Upshot it, Swalwell proposes a law that would do the opposite of ObamaCare’s now-repealed individual mandate, which forced American to buy something they might not want. He would force Americans to sell something they might want to keep.
And just as Americans would refuse to pay “voluntary” income taxes every April 15 without the threat of fines and imprisonment for tax evasion, gun owners would refuse to sell their firearms without a similar threat.
That said, Swalwell might be unique. He might be the first politician to campaign for president with a vow not just to take away one of the primordial rights of the American citizen but to imprison those who refuse to surrender it.
Image of Eric Swalwell: Screenshot from CNN interview