Yesterday, my Daily Wire colleague Matt Walsh wrote a terrific column in which he accurately noted that a prospective mandatory gun “buy back” program — such as that which hapless former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) has harrowingly proposed for so-called “assault weapons,” on the infinitesimal chance America is so doomed that the bumbling bloviator is elected president — is “just another name for confiscation.” As Matt succinctly put it, “It’s a bit like calling armed robbery a ‘compelled donation.’ The latter characterization wouldn’t hold up in a court of law, and the ‘buy back’ ruse shouldn’t hold up in the court of public opinion.”
Of course, to buy something “back” would be to linguistically imply that the underlying item in question was in the possession of the purchaser to begin with. That is factually false in the case of mandatory gun “buy back” programs — the overwhelming majority of gun owners in the United States acquire their weapons via mutually beneficial transactions with private merchants.
But not only is it factually false to suggest that the government ever owned our guns in the first place — it is also logically perverse in the extreme. As the Constitution’s Framers understood quite well, a free citizenry possesses firearms precisely to serve as a meaningful civilian check on the power of the state and to disincentivize the government from ever overreaching in tyrannical, authoritarian fashion. Viewed from this perspective, so-called “assault weapons” are nothing less than the 21st-century technological analogues of the single-shot muskets that served the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord. As National Review’s David French has articulately put it, “for the Second Amendment to remain a meaningful check on state power, citizens must be able to possess the kinds and categories of weapons that can at least deter state overreach, that would make true authoritarianism too costly to attempt.”
Put another way, yes, leftists, we need our AR-style rifles.
Given this background — given the historical purpose of the Second Amendment, in the 2003 words of former Judge Alex Kozinski (a son of Holocaust survivors) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as that of a “doomsday provision … designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed” — I have a very simple message for O’Rourke, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and all the other members of the Orwellian menagerie that comprise the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential field:
No. I will not oblige. My staggeringly awesome so-called “assault weapon,” replete as it is with multiple sights, numerous “high-capacity” magazines, and hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, is the ultimate guardian of my life and liberty. It is, in Kozinski’s “doomsday” scenario, the final fail-safe mechanism that, if all else were to fail in America and tyranny or anarchy were to reign, still gives me a chance to defend home, hearth, family, and self. It is the weapon that the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, much like oppressed people living under totalitarian regimes the whole world over, wished they could have had. Such weapons are — here, there, and everywhere — the ultimate guardians of a citizenry’s freedom.
As Augustine once said and Martin Luther King Jr. famously emphasized in his timeless missive from his Birmingham jail cell, it is the natural law tradition that “an unjust law is no law at all.” And while opening the Pandora’s box that is natural law reasoning is always a dicey proposition, our constitutional system has perhaps no more paradigmatic example of a positivist decree that flouts the natural law than a would-be commander-in-chief opting to unilaterally seize from a free citizenry the very arms intended to keep the government at bay and maintain the citizenry’s freedom. After all, as Kozinski concluded, “However improbable these [tyrannical government] contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”
Indeed. Molon labe.