Gun rights advocates worry that an assault weapons ban — like the one proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — would be the start of a slippery slope that would end with a total gun ban in the U.S., as has happened in the UK and Australia.
There already have been some calls for outright confiscation, including from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as well as from other lawmakers. Feinstein says this isn't her intention. But do gun owners have anything to worry about?
Feinstein said on PBS Newshour that she would not attempt to ban and confiscate all guns. But is this political posturing — a falsehood meant to lull Americans into accepting her bill? Can Feinstein be trusted not to attempt gun confiscation, when she has stated that her true wish is for all American's to turn in their guns — if only she could just get the votes?
PBS Newshour's Gwen Ifill asked Feinstein directly about gun owners’ fears of banning all guns.
Ifill: What do you say to people who support the right to own arms that this is the 'camel's nose under the tent' — that the next thing, you'll be after concealed carry weapons, you'll be after other kinds of gun rights?"
Feinstein: Well that's just not true. It wasn't true with the prior bill that was the law for 10 years, and I just think, candidly, 'that dog doesn't hunt.
Ifill: Why shouldn't it be true? Why wouldn't you go after those other laws?
Feinstein: Because it's not what I've done in the past and it's not what I'm doing right now.
Taken at face value, Feinstein isn't going after all guns. However, at the end of the day, she is a politician; which is to say (magnanimously) that a position taken today may just be convenient, or (unmagnanimously) that politicians are liars. Which is more likely in this case? Let's look at a previous comment on record.
Feinstein: If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them — Mr. & Mrs. America, turn them all in — I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here.
Some may believe that confiscation could "never happen here;" after all this is America right? But it has happened here in America — in Chicago, as well as illegally in New Orleans following Katrina. Even abroad, there is historical precedent that registration of guns — as in Feinstein's proposed bill — leads to confiscation, even if down the road. Registration followed by confiscation occurred in Nazi Germany, as well as New Zealand, Australia and Canada (it's interesting to note that both New Zealand and Canada eventually gave up with registries, citing cost and ineffectiveness in aiding police).
Confiscation has happened here; it's happened abroad. Feinstein has stated that if she could get the votes, she'd be happy to have all American's turn 'em all in. She says that's not what she's going after now. This doesn't seem to be a credible claim.