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Cohen Yearns for ‘Abolishing’ Right to Own Handguns

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen ably demonstrates why gun owners and Second Amendment supporters do not believe their opponents when they say they just want “sensible” gun control measures:

The liberal agenda once included confiscating handguns and abolishing the right to own one — never mind the right to carry one at all times. In his book “Living With Guns,” Craig Whitney excavates the fact that in 1969 a presidential commission called for the confiscation of almost all handguns — and the prosecution of those who would not comply. The commission was headed by Milton S. Eisenhower, the brother of the former president and no one’s idea of a left-wing radical. (He was the former president of Johns Hopkins University.)

Much has changed since then. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a respected anti-gun group, used to be called Handgun Control. The name itself shows how far things have come. The goal of handgun control, not to mention elimination, is now out of the question. The Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision certainly put it out of reach, but even before that, a Milton Eisenhower-type call to seize all the guns would have been met with derision. The once sturdy and sensible liberal goal had become an embarrassment.

Gun-control advocates insist they have no intention of banning guns, seizing them all, and prosecuting those who refuse to turn over tools they purchased with their own money, or family heirlooms, over to the government . . . even though they wanted to do precisely that a generation ago. Today Cohen calls that approach, of suddenly criminalizing millions of Americans who have never fired a shot in anger, “a sturdy and sensible liberal goal.”

Because we can never have a society free from violence, those who seek the abolition of private gun ownership will always have some tragedy they can point to as justification for one more law restricting the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns — all the while ignoring that criminals don’t care whether their possession of a gun is legal or not.

As for the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, it was a 5–4 vote. Who knows if some future Court, with a slightly different membership, might rule otherwise, and declare that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to own a firearm?


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