When they outlaw guns … will you be a gun outlaw?
Uncomfortable conversation or not, I think all responsible gun owners need to come to terms with some important truths. We’ve been told for a long time that “no one’s coming to take your guns.” But President Biden recently announced multiple extreme gun control actions. These actions could require law-abiding citizens to surrender lawful property and push states to expand gun confiscation orders. And these actions could criminalize gun owners.
It’s Happened Before
Craig Butterworth, the general manager of West Orlando Firearms Training (and a USCCA Instructor), who hails from the United Kingdom, recently spoke with me about these concerns. Although he was in grade school and high school when several of the pivotal instances occurred, he recalls the events that led to the disarming of law-abiding gun owners in England.
In 1988 the British government passed the Firearms Act, which banned semi-automatic rifles above .22 caliber. “Then in 1997, they really kicked it into high gear after the Dunblane massacre, a school shooting in which 16 [students] were killed,” Craig stated. “All handguns were gone in about six weeks. No one pushed back; no one said, ‘No.’ That’s not the British way! The people just rolled over and gave up all the guns. Of course, there was a gun registry at that point. So it was very easy for them to know where to go, pick up the guns and get rid of them.”
It Could Happen Again
So, what happens if (and when) they do come to take our guns? Have you thought about what you will do? Have you made a decision, and have you come to terms with it? Many people in the firearms community refer to the mysterious “boating accident,” in which all firearms were lost. But we all need to seriously consider our real course of action.
When testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in 2019, competitive shooter and DC Project founder Dianna Muller stated that if another “assault weapons” ban becomes law, she will not participate.
“Please don’t legislate the 150 million people just like me into being criminals. It has happened. You’ve already done it,” Muller told the committee, referring to the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks. “I was a bump stock owner, and I had to make a decision: Do I become a felon, or do I comply?” Should the government pass a ban on firearms such as the AR-15, Muller declared, “I will not comply.”
I realize that this can be a tough decision. But remember why we have the Second Amendment in the first place — to protect us from a government that would choose to infringe upon our right to keep and bear arms. Consider what Thomas Jefferson wrote, “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.” Or what about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comment in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Gun Outlaw? You Decide
Comply or not, whatever you choose, be sure to weigh the risks and the benefits. And be prepared to face the consequences. As Craig hauntingly but profoundly warned, “Get up, wake up and get passionate.”