Is Firearms Confiscation In Our Future?

December 3, 2020
Mike Sampson

President-elect Joe Biden’s gun-control have begun to take firmer shape with his announcement of appointing his deputy chief of staff, Jen O’Malley Dillon. She worked on former Congressman Beto O'Rourke's (D) failed presidential campaign and went into further detail about his AR-15 confiscation plan.

"We are actually the only campaign with a plan...but a plan that supports mandatory buybacks of weapons of war. The assault weapon ban is very, very important and we need to have it, but that only takes weapons of war off the streets in the future, it does nothing for weapons of war that are currently out there," Dillon said.

News reports show that Dillon has expressed her full support for not only banning commonly-owned firearms, but confiscating them from legal gun owners as well. This definitely is in line with the Harris-Biden campaign platform that contains a long list of possible anti-Second Amendment restrictions and new firearms mandates either by Congressional action or executive orders.

Breitbart News reported that Biden’s proposals not only contain a ban on the future manufacture of AR-15s and other firearms the Democrats label “assault weapons,” but also a provision that could require every AR-15 rifle to be registered under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA).

As I have written in previous Gun Talk articles, the Biden plan fails to define how all this would work, what an “assault weapon” or “weapon of war” is, and how the plan would be enforced. O’Rourke during his short presidential campaign said if someone refuses to turn in their AR-15s then “in that case I think there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm…” https://t.co/i0eRK7w63H pic.twitter.com/QdxsBV7Kyr

As part of the Democratic firearms platform, we need to consider that the “plan” also includes a tax or license fee of $200 on many semiautomatic weapons and magazines of more than 10 rounds. I’ve seen estimates that show there are at least 18 million AR-15s in the US (a conservative guess), and with a $200 tax for each one, that totals $3.6 billion dollars in revenue for the federal government. What a wonderful source of funds, and that does not include magazines that have no serial numbers. 

One estimate I saw indicated Americans own 393 million firearms, and “about 40% of Americans say they or someone in their household owns a gun, and 22% of individuals (about 72 million people) report owning a gun, according to surveys from Pew and Harvard and Northeastern.

A Nov. 17 article on Guns.com noted the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) increased the total firearms owned to 434 million and reported:

 “The Modern Sporting Rifle continues to be the most popular rifle sold in America today, and with near 20 million in circulation, is clearly a commonly-owned firearm that is being used for lawful purposes every day in America,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO in an email to Guns.com.

The article also added that NSSF estimates “there are approximately 71.2 million pistol magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges and another 79.2 million rifle magazines capable of holding 30 or more rounds in circulation.” Figure Biden’s $200 tax on each.

Enforcement of the Biden plan certainly offers questions and concerns. Would local law enforcement go door to door with search warrants to confiscate “weapons of war” or issue citations to violators? I doubt too many cops would want to confront an armed homeowner with firearms confiscation in mind, warrant or not, based in part on the fact “domestic” calls often turn violent for officers.

Therefore, if law enforcement chooses not to play that confiscation game, what next? Perhaps then the military or National Guard will get the task of disarming civilian firearms owners. How would that scenario play out in America?

As a Gun Talk reader and firearms owner, you need to become familiar with the Posse Comitatus Act that describes how the military and National Guard could be enforcement tools. The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act of 1807 define and limit the power of the federal government to use U.S. military troops to enforce the law or federal domestic policy within the borders of the United States.

An article notes key takeaways from the Acts that include:

• The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act work in tandem to define and limit circumstances under which U.S. military forces can be deployed on American soil.

• The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the armed forces from being used to enforce laws within the United States, unless authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress.

• The Insurrection Act provides an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act, authorizing the president to deploy both the regular U.S. military and the active-duty National Guard in cases of insurrection and rebellion (my emphasis)

• The Insurrection Act can empower the president to bypass Congress in deploying the regular military on American soil.

• While the rights to assemble and protest are granted by the First Amendment, they can be limited or suspended when such protests endanger property or human life and safety. 

The article reports, “Many legal experts have agreed that the Insurrection Act does empower U.S. presidents to bypass Congress in deploying the regular military on American soil to intervene in cases of civil disobedience.”

Have presidents used the Insurrection Act of 1807 to control domestic incidents? Yes. From 1808 through 1992, presidents have used the act 22 times, including five times by Pres. Lyndon Johnson. If history is any indicator, we again could see this method of dealing with “insurrection” or civil disobedience. 

As Joe Biden has promised, “Nothing is off the table.” In cases of insurrection, rebellion or civil disobedience (refusal to comply with firearms confiscation for example), could or would he use standing federal acts to respond and “legally” seize firearms? If you have read Biden’s “Plan to End Gun Violence,” you already know the answer. Jen Dillon’s view most likely echoes O’Rourke’s take on confiscation too. He declared during a September 2019 primary debate: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Biden and Harris already agree.

Under the Constitution, is ownership of a firearm a “crime?” With the Harris-Biden perspective to remove firearms from citizens, yes, it probably is or will be, but so far the US. Supreme Court does not want to throw out the Second Amendment. Expect Democratic pressure to try that tactic, perhaps with “court packing.”

The times ahead for firearms owners will be treacherous, so do your research and understand the rights you have. Know that confiscation may be “on the table.” If you do not have knowledge and facts to guide your decisions about firearms possession, you will be unable to stay safe, be prepared, and to exercise your powers and rights under the Constitution. ~ Mike

Mike Sampson
Mike now calls Northwestern Arkansas home, but has lived and worked in several states. He has been an independent contractor and consultant since 2006 specializing in risk management, emergency management and training. In addition to work as a law-enforcement planner and technical writer with the Boise, Idaho, Police Department, he has experience in journalism, crop and animal agriculture, dryland farming for 20 years in western Kansas, plant and animal diseases, pandemic influenza, agroterrorism, bioterrorism, food safety and healthcare marketing.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has newspaper and agency writing and editing experience. At Washington State University in Pullman, he earned a master’s degree emphasizing adult education and communications, with minors in mourning dove, chukar partridge, pheasant and mountain quail on the breaks of the Snake River. 

While living in Lander, WY, Mike provided photographic coverage of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt for three years, and got to meet and accompany folks such as Chuck Yeager, Carroll Shelby, Buzz Aldrin, Dale Robertson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf on their hunts. 

In addition, Mike is a Federal Emergency Management Agency certified instructor and has worked and taught for state and federal agencies. He has responded to seven presidentially declared disasters, including Hurricanes Irma and Maria when they struck Puerto Rico in 2017. He also has worked and taught in Africa and Southeast Asia. Check his website at www.sampsonrisk.com.

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