NJ Newspaper calls for Mandatory Gun Buybacks

Anti-gun politicians and media types use terms like “common sense” and “reasonable” gun restrictions when the unspoken agenda often is to eliminate as much gun ownership as possible.

But over the weekend, the largest and most influential New Jersey newspaper ran an editorial calling for “mandatory” gun buybacks, meaning gun confiscation with a token payment to the gun owner.

The New Jersey state Assembly had recently passed legislation calling for nine voluntary gun buyback events per year, but the Newark Star-Ledger says that’s not enough:

The biggest problem with this approach, though, is that it tiptoes around the one reform that could really make a difference, but that Americans would never accept: Mandatory gun buybacks. That's what Australia did, after its own version of Newtown.

Following a mass shooting in Tasmania that left 35 dead, Austrialia banned semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns, and required all the newly banned weapons to be bought back by the government. This cut the number of gun-owning households by as much as half.

The mandatory buybacks were also accompanied by a uniform national system for licensing and registering firearms. Gun owners have to present a "genuine reason" to buy a weapon. A claim of self-defense isn't enough unless you have an occupational need to carry a gun.

Lamenting the fact that Americans would not support such an idea, the editorial writer opines that

As a nation we remain wedded to the delusion that gun ownership stops crime…

…So do all the voluntary gun buybacks you want. But until they are mandatory, and our society can see past its hysteria over "gun confiscation," don't expect it to make much difference.

A number of news outlets in recent years have proclaimed that the 1996 tightening of Australian gun laws had beneficial effects, while others are not so sure that the tightened Australian rules had any effect on already declining violent crime and suicide rates.  From a 2008 report in Time magazine:

… newly elected Prime Minister, John Howard -- just two months into his eleven-and-a-half years in power -- seized the chance to overhaul Australia's gun laws, trampling all opposition to make them among the strictest in the developed world. "I hate guns," he said at the time. "One of the things I don't admire about America is their slavish love of guns ... We do not want the American disease imported into Australia…”

But 12 years on, new research suggests the government response to Port Arthur was a waste of public money and has made no difference to the country's gun-related death rates.

President Obama, who always seems to be working “under the radar,” just this summer praised the Australian gun control regime, which led National Review to observe:

In other words, the president of the United States just praised a government for forcefully removing all semi-automatic firearms (i.e. a remarkable number of the guns in America and the majority of those sold today) from its citizenry. 

With gun confiscation schemes already underway in neighboring New York and Connecticut, New Jersey would be fertile ground for the gun banners, especially considering that only Governor Chris Christie’s veto stopped a legislative gun ban in New Jersey last year.

While President Obama works on gun control “under the radar” and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls for “common sense” gun control laws, at least the Newark Star-Ledger isn’t mincing words about its intentions.