The Corner

Politics & Policy

Good Luck Promoting Gun Confiscation during an Era of Booming Gun Sales

Joe Biden, when accepting the endorsement of Beto O’Rourke in El Paso back in early March: “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me,” Biden told O’Rourke on stage. “You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on you.”

You probably recall O’Rourke declaring at a September 12 Democratic primary debate in Houston, “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” to considerable applause.

As our Britney Bernstein observes, in the first six months of 2020, the FBI has recorded 19 million background checks in the system, on pace to blow past last year’s record of 28 million background checks in one year. In recent weeks, Stephen Gutowski has spotlighted the trend of first-time gun buyers, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that 2 million gun purchases by March were by first-time buyers. The New York Times just spotlighted African-American first-time gun purchasers.

A Pew survey in 2017 estimated that three out of every ten American adults owned a gun, and another one in ten lived with someone who did. Thirty percent of 253 million American adults would add up to almost 76 million Americans owning guns.

Gun confiscation is a thoroughly unworkable policy, and probably the idea most likely to spur a violent resistance to American law enforcement. (Not that we haven’t seen plenty of violent resistance to American law enforcement already this year.) The more Americans own guns, the less likely it is that a proposal like confiscation ever gets any serious traction.

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