WALSH: Calling Gun Confiscation A ‘Mandatory Buyback’ Is Like Calling Armed Robbery A ‘Compelled Donation’

AR-15 semi-automatic guns are on display for sale at Action Target on June 17, 2016 in Springville, Utah.
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Democrats have ramped up their extremist anti-gun rhetoric in the wake of the mass shooting in Odessa, Texas over the weekend that left seven dead and dozens injured. Of course, as usual, the gun debate misses the point. The shooter on Saturday was a psychotic lunatic who previously failed a gun purchase background check, had called the FBI many times over the years to leave incoherent messages, and finally snapped after being fired from his job. It appears that this tragedy was entirely preventable, had already existing laws been followed and red flags been heeded.

Adding more laws on top of the mass of unfollowed or ineffective ones will not achieve anything. The shooter in Dayton, Ohio last month was known to keep a list of people he wanted to kill and rape. It should not have been necessary to take everyone’s guns away in order to forbid that particular dangerous nutjob from obtaining a firearm. In the same way, a nationwide gun control initiative is not needed, and would not be the most effective means, to disarm a paranoid weirdo whose favorite hobby is rambling to the FBI’s answering machine.

But Democrats are not interested in effective solutions. Hence former Vice President Joe Biden’s call for a ban on magazines that “hold multiple bullets” — as opposed to magazines that contain just one bullet, I guess — and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-TX) proposal of a “buy back” program. Here’s how the congressman explained this idea to reporters:

“Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, will have to sell them to the government. We’re not going to allow them to stay on our streets, to show up in our communities, to be used against us in our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our Walmarts, our public places.”

“Will have to sell them” is the operative phrase here. In an op-ed in USA Today a few weeks ago, O’Rourke called this a “mandatory buy back.” Nobody loves euphemisms more than Democrats, and this is no exception. A mandatory buy back is just another name for confiscation. 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.

First of all, where does the “back” in “buy back” come from? If you buy something back from someone, that means you are the one who originally owned, and then sold, the thing in question. But most American gun owners weren’t given their firearms by the government. They bought the guns, fair and square, from private sellers. In a “buy back” scenario, the government would be “buying” what it never owned to begin with. There is no “back” in such an arrangement.

Second, there is no “buy,” either. The word buy, by definition, means: To acquire possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of by payment, especially money. In O’Rourke’s system, the government would acquire possession of so-called “assault rifles” not by payment, but by legal decree. The money is just a symbolic consolation prize after the fact. If it was anything more than symbolic, the “seller” would have the power to negotiate the terms of the sale and ultimately pull out if an agreement can’t be reached.

Third, these “buy back” transactions become an even bigger farce when you consider whose money is being exchanged. The only money the government has is what it takes from the taxpayer. During a “buy back,” the state would be “buying” your guns, against your will, with the money it also took from you against your will. Imagine going to a flea market and trying to pay a vendor with the cash you stole from his wallet when he wasn’t looking. That’s what this is like, except at least the seller at the flea market has the right to decline your generous offer. Gun owners under an O’Rourke administration would have no such right. And if a seller does not have the ability to say no, then he’s not selling. He’s being robbed, plain and simple.

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