Attempting Gun Confiscation is a Recipe for Civil War
We’d be better off splitting the country than try gun confiscation.
You may not have heard of The Turner Diaries, but it's a notorious book. It has been called "the Neo-Nazi Bible" and not only did it reportedly inspire Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City Federalist Building, but it also allegedly inspired a large number of murders and terrorist attacks. You might think a novel that inspired so much violence and bloodshed must be an extraordinarily well-written, moving piece of fiction. As someone who read and reviewed it back in 2009, let me just say, “Not so much.” It’s not well written, there are no remotely sympathetic characters, and you’re likely to find it deeply unappealing if you’re not a person who sees white supremacist fascism as some sort of utopia.
That being said, once you get past the violence associated with the book and the horrific dystopian world it presents as an ideal (autocratic rule by murderous, white supremacist terrorists who intentionally started a nuclear war with the Soviet Union to help wipe out the population), there are two particularly memorable things about the book, which was written in 1978. The first is that the monstrous protagonist in the book, Earl Turner, dies at the end in a suicide mission flying a plane with a nuke on it into the Pentagon. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that the book helped inspire 9/11, but it does seem noteworthy that a book that has inspired terrorism described crashing a plane into the Pentagon 23 years before it actually happened.
The other thing that sticks out about the book is its description of what started a widespread terrorist campaign that ultimately led to the dissolution of the United States. In the book, the government outlawed guns and tried to confiscate them from an unwilling public. In the book, that was enough to spur violence, widespread resistance, and eventually civil war.
If liberals managed to somehow achieve their great dream of making guns illegal in America, we would probably see similar violence, widespread resistance, and even a civil war in the real world as well. It’s genuinely hard to say if liberals don’t understand this or do understand it, but just have highly unrealistic expectations about how it would all play out. Just as there are some naïve people on the Right who believe a civil war would consist of liberals surrendering after conservatives declared that “We have the food and the guns,” there are probably a lot of liberals who have a childlike understanding of how things would play out after they declared guns were illegal.
In their mind, it probably goes something like this: “We make guns illegal and then send the police out to collect them. Anyone who uses a gun goes to jail. A few bubbas would get into shootouts with police, but they’d be killed, and the world would be a better place for it. Easy-Peasy!”
So, let’s start breaking down why that’s not even close to how it would play out.
First of all, the police would simply refuse to try to collect guns in a lot of areas. It would be wildly unpopular in many parts of the country and extraordinarily dangerous across the board. This is a policy guaranteed to create shootouts and to generate intense hatred from gun owners, many of whom, would know where the police live in smaller communities. Many people have probably heard this saying, but I’m not sure that liberals, in particular, have fully thought about the implications of it:
Yes, it’s true that the criminals won’t give up their guns, but you know who else won’t give up their weapons willingly? Tens of millions of previously law-abiding good citizens who will bury their guns, claim they were stolen, or say they were lost. The long-term ramifications of putting all those previously reliable citizens in a position where they feel compelled to live outside the law has the potential to be dangerous to the stability of the nation.
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It’s also important to point out that expecting more than a tiny fraction of the people who disagree with this policy to die in shootouts with the police is as ignorant as the Redcoats expecting American soldiers to line up and face them in battle during the Revolutionary War. Today, some militia, serial killer, or nutjob who gets in a shootout with the police is looked at with scorn. If those people died while the government was trying to confiscate the public’s weaponry, in many parts of the country they would be looked at as “heroes,” “martyrs,” and as “every men” killed by an uncaring government. People would learn from it as well. Why die in the shootout with 50 cops at your house when there are so many other ways to tilt the odds in your favor? As an example, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo killed 10 people and essentially occupied the entire DC police force for a month back in 2002 with their “Beltway Sniper Attacks.” A hundred well-trained, armed insurrectionists could kill tens of thousands, cause billions in damages, and practically shut down parts of the country if it ever came to that. Let’s hope it never does.
Some liberals may think they could get around that problem by simply prosecuting anyone found defending themselves with guns. In some parts of the country, that would work, but again in many places, the police would refuse to cooperate, and you’d see a lot of jury nullification. Of course, there would also be tremendous pressure on the governments of red states to simply refuse to cooperate on that front at all, no matter what the federal government said. You might think that the people wouldn’t be willing to go against the Supreme Court in that situation, but it certainly could happen. In fact, if liberals got rid of the legislative filibuster and stacked the SCOTUS to ensure gun confiscation, you could be absolutely sure it would happen. Under those circumstances, the Supreme Court would lose its legitimacy and yes, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if most red-state governors simply defied any rulings they didn’t like.
In The Turner Diaries, the government dealt with this mess by deputizing left-wing goon squads to do their dirty work. This might have seemed completely implausible at one time, but after seeing liberal cities across the country deliberately holding the police back while #BLM and ANTIFA rioted, burned, and looted at will in 2020, it doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. Pretty clearly, there are elements of the Left that view ANTIFA, BLM, and in some cases, just run-of-the-mill criminals as their Brownshirts. So, someone like Kyle Rittenhouse or the McCloskeys in St. Louis might face politically motivated prosecution for defending themselves, but the criminals that menaced them were given a free pass because they had the right political leanings. If things did go that way, let’s just say that the life expectancy of members of goon squads sent into Republican states would probably not be that great, which would be just the way people in red states would like it.
From here, it’s important to note that as Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has rather famously pointed out for years, conservatives understand liberals a lot better than liberals understand conservatives. That probably goes double when you’re talking about something like gun culture, which many liberals are completely unfamiliar with. It may not do any good, but it’s worth explaining some things that a lot of liberals may not understand.
First of all, there is a deep and abiding distrust of big government on the Right. To conservatives, the 2nd Amendment isn’t ultimately about hunting or safeguarding yourself from robbers, it’s about protecting yourself from a government that could quickly and easily become tyrannical. Memes like this ARE NOT out of step with the general sentiment about guns on the Right:
Now, keep in mind that the Left has been largely taken over by amoral radicals who view everyone who disagrees with them as Nazis and white supremacists. Twenty years ago, even if they had the power to do so, few people on the Right would have believed that Democrats would stick them in camps or massacre them. Could we say the same today about Eric Swalwell, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Hillary Clinton, and the other sociopathic lunatics guiding the ship on the Left? The question for people like that isn’t so much, “Is it right?” or “Is it good for the country?” it’s, “Can we get away with it?” The fact that over 80 million Americans have guns undoubtedly does more to deter potential tyrants in 2022 than our oft-ignored Constitution.
Do you want to take law-abiding people and put them in a position where they feel compelled to become criminals? Do you want to convince people who love their country that the Constitution is dead, our time as a Republic is ending, and we’re about to descend into tyranny? Do you want to put millions of people who believe their guns may be the only thing standing between them and getting forced onto cattle cars into a situation where they have to give those guns up or fight? Do you want to take good citizens of the United States and make them feel like they’re potentially in a battle for survival with their own government?
Just to be perfectly clear, I am absolutely not in favor of another civil war and I have strongly discouraged anyone from romanticizing the idea. It would be a nightmare to endure. However, when people glibly talk about gun confiscation, they are toying with a potential civil war. It’s not a good idea and it’s not a game. It’s extraordinarily dangerous and it could very well lead to the end of the country. In fact, if it came right down to it, this country would be better off splitting up than trying to confiscate guns from the population.
The author makes several key points about the reaction by conservative gun owners to gun confiscation. This group could not be considered insurrectionists, as the govt has moved against the people in violation of the Constitution, a grounds to defend the Republic from a domestic enemy. But, I digress. The gun owners would not take this fight to the local police. The people would selectively "remove" those responsible for gun confiscation. A deck of cards of bad actors promoting this tyranny. Of the millions of owners, thousands are snipers, who would drain the swamp in a day. The military would take back the Republic and begin tribunals for those that were not drained by snipers. But, I would rather split the Country, rather than go through this process.
I wouldn't expect to read anything but grounded common sense, reasoned argument, and persuasive prose from you on this subject and you did not disappoint.