Thursday, November 23, 2017

What Next? Gun Confiscation At Gunpoint!

50 Stars
Published on Oct 9, 2017
Liberal media admits: The ultimate goal is gun confiscation from all citizens… at gunpoint!
by Jayson Veley
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Remember all those times the liberal Democrats assured those on the right that they’re not out to take away anyone’s guns? Well, add that one to the long list of the left’s broken promises, right along with “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Earlier this month, David Scharfenberg of the Boston Globe wrote an article titled “Hand Over Your Weapons,” (see below for the article) in which he actually argued that total gun confiscation might be the only real solution to preventing mass shootings in this country. “The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street – and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach,” Scharfenberg said. “Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?”
Right from the start, it’s clear that Scharfenberg hasn’t spent much time thinking this idea through. Total gun confiscation in America would most likely be a two-part process. First, the people would be given a chance to voluntarily surrender their firearms to their local or state government within a certain time frame. Millions of gun owners would inevitably refuse, citing their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Tensions between the government and the people would continue to grow to the point where federal agents would literally start going door to door collecting firearms, potentially igniting a civil war within a matter of months.
Sorry, Mr. Scharfenberg, but your idea really isn’t a good one. (Related: Leftists are lying about gun control by failing to mention that the vast majority of gun deaths in America are suicides.)
His piece in the Boston Globe continued, “Ultimately, if gun-control advocates really want to stanch the blood, there’s no way around it: They’ll have to persuade more people of the need to confiscate millions of those firearms, as radical as that idea may now seem.”
But the truth is that idea doesn’t just seem radical; it is radical. It really makes you wonder whether or not proponents of gun control ever even consider the 
Second Amendment before making the arguments that they do. It wasn’t long ago that Democrats tried to argue that their gun control proposals were in full compliance with the Constitution; now, however, it’s as if the Constitution has been thrown out the window completely. Simply put, the liberals’ arguments have transformed from “we want more gun regulations, but don’t worry, we will respect the Second Amendment at the same time” to “we want more gun regulations, and we want them now.”
Furthermore, liberals consistently deny the fact that there is a positive relationship between gun laws and crime rates – that is, when more restrictions and regulations on firearms are implemented, crime rates go through the roof. Such is the case in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, both of which are run by liberal Democrats and have high crimes rates as a result of strict gun laws.
On the contrary, when lawmakers create an environment that embraces the right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense, crime rates generally decline. As reported by Breitbart News 
earlier this year, data from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) indicated that concealed carry permits increased by an astonishing 215 percent between the years 2007 and 2015, while the murder rate has declined by 14 percent during that same period.
If it is true that mass shootings happen as a result of too many guns in the hands of the American people, how is it that crime rates go down while concealed carry rates go up? Could it be that allowing the people to defend themselves is a much more rational solution to gun violence than going door to door confiscating firearms?
Sources include:
Hand over your weapons
By David Scharfenberg,  Globe Staff
November 10, 2017
People scrambled for shelter Oct. 1 after a gunman opened fire in Las Vegas. DAVID BECKER/GETTY IMAGES/FILE
IN THE AFTERMATH of the Texas church shooting last week, Democratic lawmakers did what they always do: They skewered their Republican colleagues for offering only “thoughts and prayers,” and demanded swift action on gun control.
“The time is now,” said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, “for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something.”
Trouble is, it’s not clear the “something” Democrats typically demand would make a real dent in the nation’s epidemic of gun violence. Congress can ban assault weapons, but they account for just a tiny sliver of the country’s 33,000 annual firearm deaths. And tighter background checks will do nothing to cut down on the 310 million guns already in circulation.
In other words, the proposals aren’t just difficult to enact in the current political climate; their practical effects would also be quite limited. On occasion, though, leading Democrats will make oblique reference to a more sweeping policy change: seizing a huge number of weapons from law-abiding citizens.
At a New Hampshire forum in the fall of 2015, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke approvingly of an Australian gun buyback program that collected more than 650,000 weapons — a buyback that, she neglected to mention, was compulsory.
And just a few months earlier, then-President Barack Obama offered coded support for the same confiscatory approach. “When Australia had a mass killing — I think it was in Tasmania — about 25 years ago, it was just so shocking, the entire country said, ‘Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws,’ and they did,” he said.
Democrats have even let the word “confiscation” slip out, on occasion. After the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview that when it came to assault weapons “confiscation could be an option, mandatory sale to the state could be an option.”
It was an option Cuomo didn’t pursue. But five years after that slaughter of schoolchildren — and with fresh tales of murdered kids on the floor of a Texas church — might gun-control advocates expand their agenda?
The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach. Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?
A rack at the Firing-Line gun store in Aurora, Colo. ED ANDRIESKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ON APRIL 28, 1996 a deranged man named Martin Bryant used a semi-automatic rifle to slaughter 12 people in 15 seconds at the Broad Arrow cafe in Port Arthur, Tasmania, a popular tourist spot on the site of a former Australian prison colony.
He killed eight more in the gift shop, and several others in the parking lot. And as he drove away, he came across Nanette Mikac and her two daughters fleeing the scene.
Bryant told Mikac to get on her knees and as she wailed, “Please don’t hurt my babies,” he blew a hole through her forehead and fired several shots into her 3-year-old, Madeline. Alannah, 6, ran into the woods and Bryant gave chase. When he found her curled up behind a tree, he put his gun to her neck and fired.
Bryant, who killed 35 people that Sunday afternoon, shocked Australia into action.
It took just 12 days for conservative Prime Minister John Howard to announce a full slate of gun restrictions in a nation with a long tradition of frontier firearms. There was a ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons and shotguns, an extensive registration system, and a 28-day waiting period between getting a permit and buying a gun.
But the centerpiece was the mandatory buyback, with a temporary tax financing the multimillion dollar purchase of hundreds of thousands of weapons deemed illegal under the new law.
Some feared resistance. Howard, at one point, wore a bulletproof vest during a speech to a group of gun rights supporters. But the buyback went forward peacefully, and it claimed an estimated one-fifth of Australia’s gun stock — one of the largest gun confiscations in modern history.
The seizure and the other gun control measures seem to have had a significant effect. Since passage of the law, the country hasn’t seen a single mass shooting — defined as a killing of five or more people, not including the gunman.
A study by researchers at Australian National University and Wilfrid Laurier University found a 59 percent drop in the firearm homicide rate and a 65 percent decline in the firearm suicide rate in the decade after the law was introduced. And while critics have noted the firearm death rate was already declining before passage of the legislation, the data show it dropped twice as fast afterward.
Here in the United States, interest in large-scale gun buybacks — both voluntary and involuntary — has mounted with each mass shooting. Matt Miller, a journalist and onetime senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for American Progress, has proposed what he calls a “massive, debt-financed” buyback.
The idea is to supersize the small-scale, voluntary buybacks that happen in American cities — offering hundreds of dollars more per weapon in a bid to make them more effective. “Instead of $200 a gun, Uncle Sam might offer $500,” Miller wrote, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post after Sandy Hook. “After all, overpaying powerful constituencies to achieve public policy goals is a time-honored American tradition; we do it every day with Medicare drug benefits and defense contractors, to name just two.”
John Rosenthal, co-founder and chairman of Massachusetts-based Stop Handgun Violence, says it may be time to embrace a mandatory buyback — the relentless tide of mass shootings leaving weary activists with little choice.
“I am so struggling right now to find the strength to keep going,” he said earlier this week, a day after the Texas church shooting. “And guess what, I have been thinking a lot about Australia. They had that one horrific event, with 35 killed, with an assault weapon. They banned them, they bought them back — and there hasn’t been a mass shooting since.”
It’s a model the Aussies themselves have been touting to any Americans who will listen — suggesting it could succeed in the United States with a little political courage, especially on the right.
In Australia “many farmers resented being told to surrender weapons they had used safely all of their lives,” wrote Howard, the former prime minister, in The New York Times a few years ago. “Penalizing decent, law-abiding citizens because of the criminal behavior of others seemed unfair. Many of them had been lifelong supporters of my coalition and felt bewildered and betrayed by these new laws. I understood their misgivings. Yet I felt there was no alternative.”
Crosses were set up outside the massacre site in Sutherland Springs, Texas. MARK RALSTON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
THE TROUBLE WITH all of this is that America is not Australia.
As Howard himself has noted, Australia is a more intensely urban society than the United States, meaning there is a larger natural constituency for gun control Down Under — and a smaller rural opposition.
The Australian gun lobby, moreover, is not as powerful or well-financed as the National Rifle Association. And the Aussies don’t have a constitutionally protected right to bear arms.
While the Second Amendment isn’t absolute — no less than conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ruled that it’s “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose”— it would undoubtedly serve as the basis for a robust legal challenge to any involuntary buyback program. And the courts would not be the only site of resistance.
Gun culture runs especially deep in a country born of violent rebellion. And over the last couple of decades, firearms have become one of the most important fault lines in American culture. It is hard to overstate the devotion — or if you prefer, the fanaticism — of the 3 percent of the population that owns half the guns in circulation.
Many of those hard-core gun owners see their weapons as a guard against government overreach. And sending government agents to claim them could end very, very badly. An NRA article on the specter of Australian-style confiscation coming to the United States is subtitled “There Will Be Blood.”
Part of the problem is the sheer scale of the enterprise. An operation on par with the Australian buyback — claiming one-fifth of American guns — would mean tens of thousands of police officers collecting some 60 million guns. It is, on some level, simply unimaginable.
But perhaps gun-control advocates can propose something smaller — something more targeted.
Before Elliot Rodger killed six and wounded 14 in a shooting spree in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 2014, his mother and a social worker raised concerns with the police. But because Rodger had broken no law, there was nothing law enforcement could do.
After the rampage, California lawmakers passed a measure allowing family members to seek court orders seizing guns from disturbed people before they can hurt anybody. Similar laws are in place in Washington, Indiana, and Connecticut. And legislators in 18 other states, including Massachusetts, considered so-called “extreme risk protective order” legislation this year, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Laura Cutilletta, legal director for the Giffords Law Center, says Devin Kelley, the Texas church killer, would have been a “perfect candidate” for an order of this kind. “People knew that there was something going on with him,” she says. “He was sending threatening messages to his mother-in-law. . . . He had [committed] domestic violence and animal abuse.”
Cutilletta says restraining orders and other measures designed to deprive the most dangerous people of guns — like background checks and tighter restrictions on domestic abusers — are more politically viable, and legally defensible, than gun confiscation. And they can have an impact, she says: States with tougher gun laws have fewer firearm-related deaths.
Still, even if we find a way to keep guns out of the hands of people who have engaged in disturbing or violent behavior — no small task, given all the stories of the troubled shooters who slipped through the cracks — it will only get us so far.
The United States’ astronomically high rates of firearm violence aren’t rooted in some unique American propensity for derangement and delinquency. Studies show our levels of mental illness and basic criminality are on par with other wealthy countries.
Other common explanations, like the social fissures created by our racial diversity, have been debunked by researchers, too. The only explanation left — an explanation borne out by a number of careful studies — is the sheer size of the American arsenal. There are 310 million handguns, shotguns, and semi-automatic weapons in American homes, garages, and waistbands.
Ultimately, if gun-control advocates really want to stanch the blood, there’s no way around it: They’ll have to persuade more people of the need to confiscate millions of those firearms, as radical as that idea may now seem.
David Scharfenberg can be reached at 
Gun Confiscation: An Evil Wind Blows in America
By Chris W. Cox
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Gun Confiscation: An Evil Wind Blows in America
There’s an old saying that the Devil’s greatest triumph was getting people to believe he doesn’t exist.
Firearm confiscation is like that.
Stamped with a gold seal, the order came as more than 100,000 Americans braced themselves for the landfall of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, a Category 5 storm. This was not the first time the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) had faced the threat of a serious hurricane on the way. But the reality in this case was far graver for the USVI’s law-abiding gun owners.
For Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp’s order of Sept. 4, 2017, put them not just at the mercy of nature but of those who would exploit the chaos of the storm to victimize the vulnerable. Mapp activated the National Guard “to maintain or restore public order, and to guarantee the safety of life and property.” But he went further, shockingly decreeing, “The Adjutant General is authorized and directed to seize arms, ammunition … and any other property that may be required by the military forces for the performance of this emergency mission … .”
Forced confiscation of Americans’ lawfully-owned firearms – a phenomenon one gun control advocate referred to as “a paranoid delusion manufactured out of whole cloth by the National Rifle Association” – became an imminent, undeniable threat.
Mapp’s order embarrassed the gun control lobby, because it said too much about what they really want and their cynical willingness to exploit every possible circumstance to get it. If the Second Amendment’s individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense has any value, it surely must be in an emergency where first responders are overwhelmed and good citizens have no choice but to protect themselves.
But whenever America’s nerves are set on edge, gun control opportunists hope to exploit the tendency of some to reject the harsh reality that they could find themselves in a situation where the emergency services they take for granted are simply not available. 
That sort of determined helplessness is essential to the gun control mindset. It’s why gun control advocates deny – despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary – that ordinary citizens can effectively use guns in emergencies. It’s why they insist that a gun in the home only increases the occupants’ risk. It’s why they call any suggestion of arming someone threatened by a bigger, stronger, or more aggressive assailant “victim shaming.”   
It’s why any gun control measure is said to be justified if it could conceivably “save just one life,” but any example of a gun actually saving an innocent life is dismissed out of hand as a freak occurrence.
But gun control advocates also hope that they can shame or silence their opposition when exploiting human tragedy. Is it really time to press the legitimacy of Second Amendment rights when a small island community is under threat of being battered by a Category 5 hurricane?
You bet it is, especially when having or not having a gun could be the difference between life or death for an innocent person.
And so the NRA didn’t blink in 2005 when coming to the aid of Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans who were being forcibly disarmed by local officials. First responders had been overwhelmed by the demands of the storm, and residents who had not evacuated their homes were effectively dealing with anarchy.
Incredibly, the response of Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Eddie Compass in that situation was to order the confiscation of firearms from lawfully-armed residents. A camera crew infamously captured the shocking sight of a frail woman being slammed to the ground in her own home by police officers enforcing the post-Katrina order. For many, this became an indelible image of the very sort of violent firearm seizures that some claim could never happen in the U.S. 
The NRA successfully petitioned a federal court to halt the New Orleans confiscations and to issue an order requiring the return of the seized firearms. Yet not until 2008 did the NRA and New Orleans come to terms on acceptable procedures for return of the unlawfully confiscated property.
The NRA also promoted legislation in the wake of Katrina to prevent government officials from using their emergency powers as a pretext for disarming the citizenry. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which contained an NRA-backed amendment modeled after legislation introduced by then-Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.). The provision, now codified at 42 U.S.C. § 5207, prohibits persons acting under color of federal law, receiving federal funds, or acting at the direction of a federal employee from seizing or authorizing the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms during a state of emergency. Most U.S. states now have similar laws.
But firearm confiscation and the measures that enable it, including firearm owner licensing and firearm registration, are still the lodestar of the gun control agenda.
In June, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California blocked a California law that retroactively prohibits possession of so-called “large capacity” magazines that Golden State residents had originally obtained lawfully and in good faith. As Judge Benitez explained in his opinion, “On July 1, 2017, any previously law-abiding person in California who still possesses a firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds will begin their new life of crime.” He also remarked on how California has used “incrementally more burdensome restrictions” that threatened to render constitutional rights “meaningless” if viewed in isolation and not as part of a broader regulatory scheme.
California and other states are also embracing firearm confiscation via so-called “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPOs). Not content with creating increasingly broader categories of statutorily prohibited persons, these states are empowering courts to issue orders for the seizure of guns from people who aren’t captured by these categories already. That is, people who have committed no disqualifying crime, have no serious charges pending against them, have never been subject to a court-ordered commitment or incapacity finding, and aren’t drug addicts or subject to domestic violence protective orders. In some cases, ERPOs can be issued and executed before the accused has even had a chance to respond to the petitioner’s allegations.  
California and New York also crosscheck gun licensing or registry databases with records of disabling convictions or court orders and, with no judicial involvement whatsoever, send squads of heavily armed police officers to collect firearms from their owners. In some cases (like the one I wrote about last month), mistakes occur. In others, they also take away firearms from other household members who aren’t actually prohibited.
California Department of Justice Special Agent Greg Cameron, who participated in that state’s seizures, believed that most of the targeted people posed no public safety threat and didn’t even know they were prohibited.  “It’s embarrassing,” he said. “It does absolutely nothing to curtail crime.”
But the activists, politicians, and pundits who support gun control don’t care if laws or confiscation efforts focus on dangerous people. They see no value in “ordinary people” having guns, so every disarmed American is a victory, however small. And every time they take away one gun, they hope to make it that much easier to take away the next.
As for the USVI, the NRA swiftly condemned Gov. Mapp’s order and pledged to take any legal action necessary to vindicate the Second Amendment rights of his constituents. That message apparently hit home.
The next day, Gov. Mapp appeared before a national audience on the Tucker Carlson Show and offered a convoluted explanation of the order’s intent, notwithstanding the plain words on the page. Ignoring the word “seize,” Mapp claimed it simply meant the adjutant general could purchase arms at retail without normal procurement procedures if the National Guard’s own equipment proved insufficient for its mission.  “This is not about seizing anybody’s personal property,” he argued.
How a seizure order is not about seizing property is anyone’s guess, but obfuscation has always played a central role in the ongoing assault on our rights. 
To date, we have no information that any untoward action has, in fact, occurred under Gov. Mapp’s Sept. 4 order. Yet the NRA remains committed to standing with the people of the USVI and anyone else who is threatened with unconstitutional firearm confiscation.
And in a broader sense, the USVI seizure order should give us all pause when anti-gun legislators and regulators discuss the need for firearm registration or licensing as just another “common sense” measure to combat gun violence.  With a full licensing and registration system in place, Gov. Mapp’s seizure order would have been administratively easy to carry out had not he been forced to recognize the illegitimacy of his position and backtrack the order on national television.
America’s law-abiding gun owners must remain ever vigilant of any attempt to undermine our firearms freedom, especially when elected officials use extraordinary events to curtail our rights in the name of “public safety."  Because if you don’t believe gun confiscation can happen in America, the next storm may well catch you unaware.
Why so many Americans think the government wants their guns
By Max Ehrenfreund
January 8, 2016
Many Americans fear the government will take away their guns. (Jason Miczek/ Reuters)
President Obama wouldn't even let Anderson Cooper finish Thursday night when the CNN anchor pointed out that many Americans think that the federal government intends to confiscate their guns. It's just a conspiracy theory, Obama said.
"Is it fair to call it a conspiracy?" Cooper asked during the town hall on firearms held at George Mason University and broadcast live. "A lot of people really believe this deeply."
"What are you saying?" the president replied. "The notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can impose martial law is a conspiracy. Yes, that is a conspiracy. I would hope that you would agree with that."
It may be just a conspiracy theory, but Cooper was right that many people think mass gun confiscation is possible. And by dismissing this view so quickly, Obama might have actually increased its appeal.
In a poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS News in October, 52 percent of respondents said it was at least "somewhat likely" that "stricter gun laws will eventually lead to the federal government trying to take away guns from Americans who legally own them."
CNN conducted two surveys of gun owners in 2013 on this question. In January of that year, a narrow majority of gun owners -- 53 percent -- said they felt the federal government was trying to take away their right to own a firearm. In April -- after Obama and Vice President Biden had spent several months fruitlessly trying to convince Congress to expand the background-check program -- that figure had increased to 62 percent.
Those figures show why Obama's sharp words to Cooper on Thursday night might have been counterproductive.
"His response is very dangerous," said Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist at the University of Miami. "The term 'conspiracy theory' is one that’s often used to delegitimize your opponents, and it's a very dangerous term."
That's because one reason that people believe in conspiracy theories is that they already think they are politically marginal, that they lack power and legitimacy in the public sphere.
With his colleague Joseph Parent, Uscinski examined letters sent to the editor of the Times since 1980. 
They found that, when a Republican was in the White House, the conspiracy theories espoused by the writers had Republican and corporate villains. When the president was a Democrat, the villains were communists and Democrats.
In other words, people tend to believe conspiracy theories when they feel like they're losing. Fully 79 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say their side loses more than it wins in politics, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, compared to 52 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
Whether Republicans really do lack political power is another question.
"They control the Senate. They control the House. They control a lot of state governments and governors' mansions," said Kyle Saunders, a political scientist at Colorado State University. Indeed, Republicans hold 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers, more than ever before in GOP history.
That broad political representation is one reason that it's difficult to conceive of a mass gun confiscation by the federal government. Confiscation is a much more radical gun-control policy than the bill to expand an existing background-check program for people who want to buy guns, which failed in Congress in 2013 due to opposition from gun-rights advocates. Even if Congress did support it, confiscation would be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a right to keep handguns at home.
There also are practical reasons that gun confiscation on a large scale is highly improbable anytime in the foreseeable future. Since there are at least 310 million civilian guns in the United States, it isn't clear how the government would go about collecting them all, particularly if their owners didn't want to give them up. When Australia instituted a mandatory buy-back program to encourage residents to cooperate with a new law banning certain types of weapons, the government paid owners about $360 a gun -- and that was two decades ago. Since there are so many guns in the United States, a similar buy-back program here would be outrageously expensive.
But all the same, many Republicans seem to have a feeling of powerlessness.
"It's just the idea that President Obama is a Democrat," Saunders said. And his comments about guns could exacerbate that feeling.
"What he's really trying to say is 'Those people are crazy, they shouldn't be listened to, they have nothing to add to this conversation," Uscinski said. "That's not healthy, for a president to dismiss a large group of people as nuts."
Guns are a way that those who fear Obama and his policies can feel like they have a measure of control over their own situation. Advocates for gun rights often claim that weapons will be needed so that citizens can fight back against the federal government, and sales of guns have skyrocketed 
since Obama took office.
"It's about power," Saunders said.
If firearms represent power, then they are also a symbol of the very thing that people who endorse conspiracy theories feel they lack. It wouldn't be surprising if people with conspiratorial tendencies bought more guns or if they were particularly anxious about the chance of losing them. And Obama's refusal to acknowledge those anxieties might just increase his audience's feeling of powerlessness.
Scott Clement contributed reporting.
Max Ehrenfreund writes for Wonkblog and compiles Wonkbook, a daily policy newsletter. Before joining The Washington Post, Ehrenfreund wrote for the Washington Monthly and The Sacramento Bee.  Follow @MaxEhrenfreund
Canadian government stiffens firearm laws as gun-related killings spike and U.S. smugglers get creative
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in December to introduce stricter laws that would 'get handguns and assault weapons off our streets'
Washington Post
February 16, 2016
THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick
MONTREAL – Canada bans most guns and has a minuscule number of gun-related homicides a year. But, worried about smuggled firearms from the United States, its government is preparing to stiffen its already tough gun laws and step up border surveillance.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised new regulations and a string of measures to counter gun smuggling, which is regarded in the United States as a dangerous problem underscoring much looser firearm laws.
The move comes as police have discovered an increased number of high-powered handguns, semiautomatic and automatic weapons in Canadian cities.
Since 2005, Toronto has had the worst of it. As gun battles broke out across the city between rival street gangs that year, innocent people got caught in the crossfire.
Jane Creba, 15, was killed when gang members began firing through Christmas holiday crowds downtown. The high school student became a symbol of what came to be known as the Year of the Gun.
Homicides in Toronto spiked to 80 in 2005, from 64 in 2004, and the majority were shooting-related. About 70 percent of the guns used were handguns and automatic weapons smuggled from the United States, police say.
Since then, the number of shootings has decreased, but the danger still lurks. How many trafficked guns cross the border is unknown. But the Canadian Border Services Agency said there has been a continued increase in gun seizures. In 2012, agents seized 226 illegal weapons (mostly handguns). By 2015, that figure had risen to 316.
Toronto police last month responded to the threat posed by high-powered firearms by announcing that the city’s 17 precincts would acquire 50 semiautomatic, short-barreled assault rifles, raising fears about the militarization of Canadian police.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters in December that police had seized 11 machine guns, adding that he was worried about officer safety.
Yet compared with the United States, the incidence of gun violence in Canada is almost minute. The latest figures, from 2014, show only 156 gun-related homicides in Canada compared with 10,945 in its more populous southern neighbor.
What alarms Canadians is that recent figures show an increase of 21 gun-related killings in 2014, a rise of 14 percent.
Trudeau promised in December to introduce stricter laws that would “get handguns and assault weapons off our streets.”
The country’s 5,526-mile border with the United States makes smuggling into Canada a relatively easy game, particularly in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River regions.
Yet smugglers still employ some deviously clever tactics.
Get handguns and assault weapons off our streets
In one recent investigation, Toronto police discovered that Canadian smugglers were attaching handguns and GPS devices to the undercarriages of vehicles owned by Ontario residents attending sports events in the Detroit area. The smugglers then tracked the cars back into Canada, where they removed the weapons without the vehicle owner’s knowledge.
In Quebec, police traced more than a dozen handguns used in gang-related killings to a man in Burlington, Vt., who had ordered them legally through the mail and then sold them to smugglers who took them across the St. Lawrence River into Canada.
“Unfortunately it is easier to get a gun illegally in Canada than it is to get one legally,” said Blair Hagen, executive vice president of the National Firearms Association.
Handguns in Canada are mostly forbidden – with an exception for certain types used for target shooting. So are machine guns, silencers and large magazines. Semiautomatics are heavily restricted.
To obtain a gun license, Canadians must go through extensive background checks that include criminal-record and mental-health checks as well as interviews with family members and former spouses. The application process can take up to six months.
Nothing in the Canadian constitution even remotely implies a right to own a firearm. Still, Canada is a nation of about 2 million registered gun owners — mostly hunters — who own an estimated 10 million to 20 million firearms. Many of these guns are in remote northern communities such as La Loche, Saskatchewan, where a teenager has been charged with using a rifle to kill four people last month.
Canadian gun ownership is dwarfed by the estimated 357 million firearms owned by Americans, more than the U.S. population, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report and Washington Post estimate.
The Canadian government’s proposed measures would include spending 100 million Canadian dollars – about 72 million U.S. dollars – annually to investigate gun smuggling. The money also would be used to install devices at border stations to “detect and halt illegal guns from the United States.”
Unfortunately it is easier to get a gun illegally in Canada than it is to get one legally
These could include hand-held X-ray devices or much larger machines that a vehicle would drive through. Canada already uses these devices for containers and commercial vehicles in its busier border stations.
In addition, the government has promised to pass a measure requiring gun importers to engrave the import year and country of manufacture on their products. Officials say this would help police identify trafficked firearms and move quickly to plug holes in border surveillance.
Gun lobby groups say the proposals would make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to possess guns while doing nothing to stop crime.
Tony Bernardo, executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and its lobbying group, the Canadian Institute for Legislative Action, said the proposals to imprint firearms with the information is simply a “system to harass the Canadian industry and it will add to the cost (of a gun) by a couple of hundred dollars.”
Australia’s 1996 Gun Confiscation Didn’t Work – And it Wouldn’t Work in America
by Mark Antonio Wright       
October 2, 2015
Sitting atop some results of the Australia gun-buyback program, September 8, 1996 (William West/AFP/Getty)
Within hours of the gunfire falling silent on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon Thursday, President Obama stepped up to a podium and declared that America should follow the path of our Anglosphere cousins to reduce gun violence. 
“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,” the president said. “Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.” 
“Australia” is Obama’s preferred euphemism for that most cherished of gun-control ideals: mass confiscation of the citizenry’s weapons. 
You will notice that the president doesn’t exactly spell out what following Australia’s model would entail. He speaks instead of “commonsense gun-control legislation,” “closing the gun-show loophole,” and “universal background checks.” 
In the last 24 hours, New York magazine, CNN, and NBC have also sung the virtues of the Australian model. 
But the Australian 1996 National Agreement on Firearms was not a benign set of commonsense gun-control rules: It was a gun-confiscation program rushed through the Australian parliament just twelve days after a 28-year-old man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle in the Tasmanian city of Port Arthur. The Council of Foreign relations summarizes the Aussie measure nicely: 
The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course. 
The council’s laudatory section on Australian gun-control policy concludes that “many [read: gun-control activists] suggest the policy response in the wake of Port Arthur could serve as a model for the United States.” 
Two questions should be asked and answered: (1) Did the post–Port Arthur laws lead to a clear reduction of gun violence, and (2) What would an American version of the “Australian model” look like? 
Gun-control activists claim that the Australian model directly resulted in a pronounced fall in the gun-suicide rate and the gun-homicide rate. But these claims are disputable. 
In August, Vox’s German Lopez wrote a piece that included a chart attempting to show a causal relationship between the Australian gun-confiscation regime and a reduction in the Australian suicide rate. “When countries reduced access to guns, they saw a drop in the number of firearm suicides,” Lopez wrote.
I noted at the time that: 
While the chart does show a steady decline in gun-related suicides, the reduction occurred at the same time as an overall reduction in the Australian suicide rate. What’s more, firearm-related suicides had been declining in Australia for nearly ten years before the 1996 restrictions on gun ownership. Vox’s own chart does not appear to show a causal link between gun control and a reduction in suicide rates in Australia. 
Moreover, a look at other developed countries with very strict gun-control laws (such as Japan and South Korea) shows that the lack of guns does not lead to a reduced suicide rate. Unfortunately, people who want to kill themselves often find a way to do so — guns or no guns. 
Did the Australian model at least reduce gun-related homicides? 
That is hotly disputed. 
University of Melbourne researchers Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi concluded their 2008 report on the matter with the statement, “There is little evidence to suggest that [the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program] had any significant effects on firearm homicides.” 
“Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears,” the reported continued, “the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.” 
A 2007 report, “Gun Laws and Sudden Death: Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference?” by Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran similarly concluded that the buyback program did not have a significant long-term effect on the Australian homicide rate. 
The Australian gun-homicide rate had already been quite low and had been steadily falling in the 15 years prior to the Port Arthur massacre. And while the mandatory buyback program did appear to reduce the rate of accidental firearm deaths, Baker and McPhedran found that “the gun buy-back and restrictive legislative changes had no influence on firearm homicide in Australia.” 
Would an American version of the “Australian model” perform any better?
In all likelihood it would fare worse. The Federalist’s Varad Mehta set down the facts in June
Gun confiscation is not happening in the United States any time soon. But let’s suppose it did. How would it work? Australia’s program netted, at the low end, 650,000 guns, and at the high end, a million. That was approximately a fifth to a third of Australian firearms. There are about as many guns in America as there are people: 310 million of both in 2009A fifth to a third would be between 60 and 105 million guns. To achieve in America what was done in Australia, in other words, the government would have to confiscate as many as 105 million firearms. 
And an American mandatory gun-confiscation program — in addition to being unconstitutional — would be extraordinarily coercive, and perhaps even violent. 
There is no other way around it: The mandatory confiscation of the American citizenry’s guns would involve tens of thousands of heavily armed federal agents going door-to-door to demand of millions of Americans that they surrender their guns. 
That. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen. 
If the president and gun-control activists want to keep saying “Australia” in response to every shooting in America, they should at least be honest about what exactly they are proposing. 
—Mark Antonio Wright is an assistant editor at National Review. @MAWRIGHTJR
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