James Kirchick (courtesy foreignpolicyi.org)

“Clinton can joke all she likes about Americans fearing ‘black helicopters’ taking their guns away, but it is no exaggeration to suggest that civil war could erupt on American soil were the U.S. government to attempt anything remotely resembling what was done in Australia.” – James Kirchick in Yes, They Want to Take Your Guns Away [via dailybeast.com]

81 Responses to Quote of the Day: Australian-Style Gun Confiscation Would Trigger A Civil War Edition

      • Just as polarizing as the issue of slavery was, now to is the issue of guns. I have no doubt that the divisiveness of the second amendment is the flashpoint to a second civil war in the US.

        • There is one key difference, however; both slave owners and anti-slavery advocates owned and practiced with guns.

        • I think it would be more like a revolution, because there would not be any battle lines. The combatants would be intermingled in the same neighborhoods, and the war would be the Progressives and their statist government agents against a big part of the populace. Fortunately, we the people have more guns than the anti-gun folks do. Another thing to consider is, although the government has more powerful weapons, they can’t win a war “for the hearts and minds” by using their high powered weaponry against their own people. For example, if Air Force bombers leveled a couple buildings in any city, the public outcry would be deafening.

          We can and will win the 2nd revolutionary war, but not without expending a lot of blood.

          The last revolution in this country was 150 years ago (the Civil War, which ended in 1865, when the southern states rebelled against the aggressions of the north). According to Thomas Jefferson, it is time for another one.

          “What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson

  1. No we wouldn’t.
    Tell the DHS thugs and the millions of illegals who’ll be offered citizen status in exchange for some shock trooper work, to not even bother with the body armor or helmets. We’ll welcome them with open arms and cookies.

    • Doubt that would work.
      Those people are as human as you and me and they were looking to come here for a chance at a better life.
      If the DHS offers them a war of bloody attrition for the reward of waving our flag then they’ll go back to their homelands.
      I mean, would you go and fight in some other countries civil war just to become its citizen?
      It seems to have trouble treating its citizens with respect. You’d probably stay home and hack it out there with your own hardships than take on new ones.

  2. If policy got that bad one not need to turn to violence. Stopping paying taxes would be an easier thing to do and would be much more difficult for the government to deal with. (Too bad so many people have income taxes withheld by their employers though. Taxes other than income (esp. local) would be easier to stop paying.) It’d also be much easier to get large numbers of people to do that than risk their lives (directly) and do something so unpleasant as violence. Loss of 10-20% of it’s income would be disastrous for the various levels of government. It’d be way hard to prosecute that many people and doing anything thing else would probably be too unpopular to be anything but counter productive.

      • Robert E. Lee found out about taxes at the end of the War of Northern Aggression, when his home was seized and his yard turned into a cemetery, Arlington.

    • It’s nearly impossible for most people to stop paying taxes. As you mentioned, most people have their income taxes withheld. If you rent your property taxes are paid by your landlord. If you don’t pay your sales tax you’re not walking out of the store with your purchase. If you don’t pay the ‘universal service fund’ tax they’ll shut your cell phone off. Etc.

      An Australian style gun ‘buyback’ program would lead to massive noncompliance. The authorities would then have their choice between non-enforcement or civil war.

    • Another weakness: government will get a court order to raid your checking and savings accounts as well as your 401k plans. And if that doesn’t cover your “debt”, then government will get a court order to take possession of your car and home. And in those last two instances, the local Sheriff will be helping take possession … and the local Sheriff won’t care how “just” the reasoning was/is to take possession of your car and/or home.

      And that is if government didn’t simply issue an order to your employer to garnish your income.

      I have no idea how debilitating this would be if 20% of the population did it … that could be interesting.

      • What you have to realize is that if there is a civil war, who the hell is going to care about what is in their 401(k)

        If you honestly think that you are going to be part of an uprising, and truly hope to dismantle and replace the American government the global stock market will take a huge, like insanely massive, hit. American currency would be worth little to nothing for you, you will be dead or will have overthrown a government neither speaks well for you using our currency for international trade.

        If you honestly think a massive government overthrow is going to happen, you should pull as much money as possible out of anything that is stock market related, buy as much “stuff” as possible to be used as trade goods and services while the economy reconstitutes itself, and no I don’t mean gold and silver, mostly, since those are not worth anything in the short term to people. I’m talking building materials, construction skills, farming skills and supplies, repair and design skills, anything that would have short term use for the local and personal economy, while the economy at large recovers.

        • Ammunition (along with the means to roll your own) is also wise investment, and would likely be widely accepted by survivors of the initial crash as a cash-substitute.
          But you can’t eat 7.62 and it won’t take long for now-abundant wildlife to be hunted into near oblivion, which is why I have chickens & goats; the eggs and goat’s milk will be necessary & highly valuable when the supermarkets vanish.

        • There is only one precious metal, and it comes bored and chambered in your favorite caliber. Gold takes a lousy edge, and makes a crappy shovel. if it comes down to a need for trading in “precious metals” your gold-plated a _ _ won’t be worth a dented can of beans.

      • ^^Exactly!!^^
        If you deal in Federal Banknotes, all the government has to do is print more, which will inevitably make the money you have even more devalued.

        It’s a downward spiral, but is inevitable if much of your assets are intangible such as currency, stocks, retirement plans, etc.

    • I suppose that my main point is that a revolution would not likely or best be started with violence. Non-compliance (with a lot of things), tax avoidance, jury nullification, local law enforcement not carrying out the Feds will, etc. would all be more likely and better ways to start. Sure it’d probably go bad anyway, but the Feds would be more clearly the aggressor and lose more sympathy that way.

      • Gun confiscation *is* violence. By your plan we should already be in the withholding taxes phase. At this rate we aren’t gonna see the boiling frog because the progs can’t sell their idea to enough Americans, its just gonna be aa big old boot.

  3. An Australian style forced “buyback” would certainly not lead to civil war. It would lead to massive non-compliance, but not civil war.
    Civil war will happen when the various welfare programs’ checks don’t arrive on time.

  4. If it did happen, it would be the shortest civil war in human history, the armed against the unarmed. Police forces would troop out to perform their assigned duties for around a week, until word gets around how many have died in that week. Then suddenly they will need to catch up on paperwork. Actual combat will be over in a month, followed by 6 months or so of chasing down the people who caused the war and executing them without even a hint of a trial, a constitutional amendment “decided on the field of battle”, then electing new congresscritters to replace the ones planted in the last few weeks, and we’re off about our business.

    BTW, Aussie friends tell me there was no drop in violent crime after the gun grab, because there was essentially none before it. That’s why there was such outrage over the murders, it just didn’t happen.

    • Not that I disagree, our side being infinitely better armed, but they said the last Civil War would be over in a month too.

    • I think it would take longer. Local police might initially try sending out 2 officers and they would quickly see that mistake. They would then, almost immediately, begin sending 20 man SWAT teams in the middle of the night to bust down doors, throw flash bangs, rough up dozens, and kill a few. I predict that would go on for weeks/months without any coherent response from the good people of our nation. The police would portray the non-compliant gun owners as dangerous, crazed, and violent insurrectionists. Good people would be shocked and in disbelief. They would try to rationalize it and would resolve themselves to ignore it because only a few people were victims and they wouldn’t know specifically who were on the SWAT team to target for legal action or retaliation. Others would talk about trying to take the matter to court (which would take years).

      This would go on unabated. At some point, after local law enforcement successfully terrorized/destroyed several dozen families in a given community, local people — not knowing which specific law enforcement personnel participated in the raids and not wanting to wait around to see if they would be next — would begin offensive actions on ALL law enforcement. Pro-active people would initially take out a few law enforcement officers until law enforcement realized they were the object of a counter attack. Then they would pull back and circle the wagons making it much more difficult for lone attackers to inflict any damage. And if law enforcement did go out on calls, they would go out in large groups in case they were driving out to an ambush.

      Then retaliation would slow down, law enforcement would relax their tactics, and retaliation would ramp up until law enforcement pulled back and circled the wagons again. Wash, rinse, repeat. I think this would go on for about two years and fizzle out in a stalemate with lawmakers potentially reversing their confiscation law.

      The only way this would end a lot faster is if the good people of a community organized QUICKLY into a LARGE FORCE of something like 1,000 people … and they would need a method to communicate and show up for an unplanned concerted effort within a few minutes of someone issuing the call to arms.

      Of course organizing that many people quickly would be a huge challenge for the simple fact that it only takes one “informant” to sabotage the entire group. If law enforcement can get their hands on a list of participants, they will pick-off the participants one at a time when those participants are most vulnerable.

      • “They would then, almost immediately, begin sending 20 man SWAT teams in the middle of the night to bust down doors, throw flash bangs, rough up dozens, and kill a few.”

        Once that pattern got around, they would begin finding themselves fired on from 3 sides as soon as they got out of the car. And you think they would continue to attack and murder their neighbors under those circumstances? Law abiding citizens last week, still without a record?

        As I’ve said before, there is a significant difference, here, in that everybody who matters, on both sides, is a firearm afficianado. It’s not the same as slaveowners vs not, or whatever, those driving the stupid laws are not about to EVER involve themselves in the enforcement. Without any true believers in the lead, the number of dead required to cause a massive rethink by the enforcement community is way lower. Some police chiefs who double as true believers will find that as they lead their men into action, they are shot in the front and back simultaneously, and then the beer is served.

    • What you said, Larry!

      “Aussie friends tell me there was no drop in violent crime after the gun grab, because there was essentially none before it. That’s why there was such outrage over the murders, it just didn’t happen.”

      If accurate, that extremely relevant factor is, in the U.S., a mostly an unknown component of the Australian disarmament action, and a BIG distinguishing factor when pols like Obama and Clinton try to compare and force the Australian experience down our collective throats.

      That cultural difference should be made more common public knowledge. Whenever the subject of Australia arises in the anti-gun rhetoric, the NRA and sites like this one should vehemently emphasize that difference between America and Australia. It is a huge differentiating cultural factor.

      Whenever the Dems try to suggest the Australian gun confiscation action as one that is realistic or practical for the American people, they must be called out on it for their ‘lies by omission’.

  5. Mr. Kirchick obviously comes from the gun control side. He claims 30,000 ‘gun deaths’ in this country but fails to mention 2/3 of those are suicides. He laments the existence of the 2nd Amendment. Claims Austrailia’s gun confiscation reduced ‘gun deaths’ but fails to mention it had no negligible effect on the county’s overall homicide or violent crime rates. He claims that the pro-gun side is willing to accept 30,000 deaths as the price of individual liberty in the same way pro 1st Amendment people accept the KKK as the price of free speech. He mentions Ben Carson’s thoughts on Hitler disarming his victims, yet it seems he’s never thought of the concept that genocide is the acceptable price to pay for the elimination of private gun ownership for the other side.

  6. Unfortunately Kirchick (who admits he’s not a gun owner) takes many of the gun-control statistics at face value. 30,000 deaths a year from “gun violence” he trumpets, without acknowledging that the majority of those are suicides and would likely happen even without guns.

    He fails to even touch upon the failure of the feds to prosecute the hundreds of gun control laws we already have on the books… such as the 10’s of thousands each year who fail a BG check and are never followed up on… or the people who knowingly commit a straw purchase for a prohibited person and are never prosecuted.

    He also lauds Australia on their successful gun control plan but fails to acknowledge that their overall homicide rate remains unchanged and actually went UP after they enacted their flavor of gun control (for reference he should see what happened with gun crime in NZ which did not enact those restrictions… ).

    In short he strikes me as another “academic” who wants to discuss the issue without actually needling at the “facts” that he is presenting at face value.

  7. I do believe the phrase goes something like “si vis pacem…”

    Non compliance would be first, then the Feds would have to ask themselves: “is it worth my life.”

    Hope their employers know not to send men with families because you know people aren’t going to go down quietly if confiscation starts…

  8. “Perhaps, in a perfect world, the United States would never have had the Second Amendment. But such a country—one not forged in armed revolution against arbitrary rule from afar and founded upon the principle of individual liberty—would not be the United States, with all its virtues and vices.”

    The key paragraph of the article cited and an insightful observation of why we people of the gun, and other freedom loving citizens, will never acquiesce to draconian confiscation by the government, local, state or federal, and also why collectivist utopian progressives can never understand our determination to resist their efforts to ever so incrementally impose their will upon us and make us essentially serfs of the state.

    We are by our very nature a freedom loving, independent, population of patriotic Americans who value and cherish the precepts of our U.S. Constitution, and all it stands for. We will forever resist efforts by Democrat liberal utopian thinking progressives to enslave us to their socialist ways. There is WAY too much at stake; our freedom.

    • … we people of the gun, and other freedom loving citizens, will never acquiesce to draconian confiscation by the government, local, state or federal, and also why collectivist utopian progressives can never understand our determination to resist their efforts to ever so incrementally impose their will upon us and make us essentially serfs of the state.

      While I support the sentiment, I hate to point out that the facts do not match your statement.

      How many millions of people acquiesced and handed over their personal gold to the federal government in the 1930s when a Presidential executive order illegally demanded their gold? How many people in the 1930s went to Washington D.C. with torches and pitchforks after passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934? How many people showed up in Washington D.C. with torches and pitchforks in 1942 when the U.S. Supreme Court said that our Constitutions’ interstate commerce clause empowers the federal government to restrict/ban an Ohio farmer’s right to grow as much wheat as he wanted on his own land for his own personal consumption? Where was the march on Washington D.C. after passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968?

      Where is the march on Sacramento, California, to raze the capital in response to all of their unconstitutional firearm laws? Heck, we cannot even seem to organize 500,000 people to, on the same day, simply send a letter to the State Assembly Speaker in Sacramento demanding that California repeal all their unconstitutional firearm laws. If we cannot organize 500,000 people to simultaneously take 5 minutes to write a letter and drop it in their mailbox, what makes you think people will take the much more difficult and dangerous action of using force of arms to push back on their state legislature?

      • Frankly, yours is a California problem. As a born and raised Californian I’ll gladly point out that California breeds some of the most passive and non-confrontational people on the planet. You (we?) are all so bothered/worried by/about upsetting the sensibilities of someone else that nothing is ever actually said or done. The can is kicked and it’s ALWAYS a problem to be discussed but never tackled, regardless of the issue. California is a microcosm for what plagues America.

        I evacuated nearly six years ago; I VERY rarely miss it, and will never go back. My children have learned to speak their minds and stand up for their convictions rather than acquiesce to the lowest common denominator. I’d say you have my sympathy, but you don’t. You made your bed, suck it the f*ck up or get out.

        • While I have never lived in CA except for a brief stint leaning to fly a -135 airframe in Merced, I have progressively decreased my willingness to even enter the state, over the past 30 years. Next Feb, I will be in San Diego for a week visiting my college roommate from 1964-68, that will be the first time I’ve set foot in CA in 12 years, though I’ve been in most states and quite a few foreign countries during that time. CA is genuinely unpleasant to me, and way too expensive tossed into the bargain. And when I get there, I will be strapped, CA can kiss my ass.

      • @ uncommon_sense:
        “will never acquiesce” does not solely contemplate all out civil war as the only form of resistance to draconian governmental action. There are other kinds of ‘resistance’, though non of it is as attractive to simply being left alone.

        Lack of organization is indeed a big problem on the pro-gun side of the equation, just as it is on the anti-gun side were it not for paid, unemployed activists. But even in CA I have not seen the antis put on big public protests for their cause. That’s probably because this states dominant political party already supports and sponsors increased anti-gun restrictions of all flavors in CA.

        I am frustrated at the resigned acceptance by so many gun enthusiasts of what is forced upon CA citizens by the Democrat politicians. Yet I personally know gun owners who vehemently object to further anti-gun measures being created by the legislature yet who can’t be moved to fill in the boxes in a letter writing campaign from the NRA or FPC, or even forward an email seeking to organize support against the gun controllers.

        Very frustrating-and disheartening.

        Repositioning to another state may be the only expedient option to get out from under the progressive liberal thumb here in CA. My wife has mentioned the Texas coast for retirement.

        Time will tell.

  9. I can assure you gentlemen that in the event of an Australian style gun buyback the Northwest would secede from the Union. Montana, Idaho, and Washington wouldn’t take it lying down and as the few states that are self sufficient there wouldn’t be much to hold them in. Once they left others would follow suit.

    • “Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States cannot make it without Texas”

      – Sam Houston

    • I’ve pointed out before, and I would like to follow the theme at this point, that regardless of the location of the seat of government (Washington D.C) or the politicians who have been elected to work there, if the ONLY part of the Constitution they are willing to follow, after taking an oath to defend same against all enemies, foreign and domestic, is the election laws and they continue to degrade our Constitutionally protected rights and liberties, then it is THEY who have seceded, along with all the states who support them. The rest of the states, those that continue to support the Constitution as it was written and in the spirit it was intended, constitute the Union and IMO are fully qualified to divorce themselves from the rebel states and reform the Union as it was intended, following the Constitution.

      We are not they rebels, THEY are.

    • We’d have to find all the guns at the bottom of Lakes Pend O’Reille, Flathead, Chelan and lost in Puget Sound first.

    • Washington seems to have drunk the Kool-Aid. Still, the situation you describe does not require secession, simply noncompliance, especially if secession would be accepted by the state! On day one of the “buyback”, report zero guns turned in, “guess our state doesn’t own any!”, and call off the waste of time. Then, if anybody comes to your door to inspect for guns, shoot him until he’s dead, and deny everything. Assert it was the government spies in the bushes who killed that poor chap. And on, and on. There is no reason to just give up and let the fruitcake cowards have their way, didn’t we all create all manner of havoc as kids? Do it again, only this time with blood in your eye.

  10. New York and Connecticut are already at the precipice of this impasse. There are millions of newly minted patriots (felons) with unregistered “assault” weapons and “large” capacity magazines. The crickets from the liberal left is deafening when it comes to arresting these criminals and confiscating their illegal weapons. Where’s the outcry from all of the anti’s?

    • Some of the antis have taken to the editorial pages pushing for arrests. But most politician antis have patted themselves on the backs in front of their constituents and moved on. To them and the Democrats in the general public, results are not important, it’s just important that they’ve “done something.” After all, outside of gang bangers and those unlucky enough to live in those areas, America is remarkably safe and the public doesn’t really have to deal with “gun violence” anyway. The true leftist ideologues are off to the next increment toward eventually building the legal framework and cultural shift to let them kick in doors for when they finally feel like they can get away with it. Then, enforcement will be selective, of course.

    • The SAFE act isn’t being enforced because their is no reason to enforce it. Politicians are in the business of getting elected, and getting their friends elected. By passing the law their liberal constituents are happy since they think their government “did something” about “gun violence”, and thus they are happy with their elected officials. Remember, these voters think laws magically make things happen. Actually enforcing the SAFE act will only cause problems by further antagonizing gun owners/conservatives and possibly even some liberals, who might be disturbed once they start seeing their friends and neighbor swatted.

      Perhaps after another high profile shooting their would be some enforcement, but I doubt it. Enforcing the law would be much too problematic. They would more likely pass another meaningless law.

  11. Well, not here in New Mexico. We’d just do what we’ve been good at for a century – staying off the radar. Noncompliance would be the norm – and no sheriff in this state would try to enforce such a law – and when things got crazy in surrounding states, we’d hunker down, try to stay invisible, and go grab some chile.

    Protecting the Bill of Rights is critical, of course, but if it was a good year for chiles, we’d go quiet and much on burritos-better-than-you-could-EVER-imagine and wait for the good guys to win. You have to have priorities.

  12. Always with the “less guns = less gun violence” well duh, a community with no swimming pools has an astounding lack of drownings in swimming pools. The real question is did the OVERALL level of violence drop to which the answer is nearly always ‘very little or none at all’ and in come cases the overall violence rises as the strong overpower the disarmed weak and the thugs just switch to other methods.

    So if a community is only and specifically worried about “gun” violence… well there you go. Personally I’m more concerned with addressing plain old violence in all it’s forms and that usually means dealing with the root cause… criminals.

  13. I get this guy’s point and agree that both sides sugar coat their arguments to varying degrees, but he’s not enough in touch with reality on the civil war over confiscation. Real life is much more boring than that.

    More likely, if that were to happen in such a clear cut way it would be a slow burn. Massive non-compliance, until it’s just considered a joke. Much like it is in Mexico.

    Super-impose the recent horse poopie in CT and NY on top of this scenario and nice dose of 55 mph speed limit and you’ll get a more accurate reaction to this unlikely scenario.

    I personally would lead some masked locked and loaded molon-labe protests. There would be some schtuff like that going on.

    I worry more about a more slow and sneaky way of achieving the same goal over decades. This is a generational fight, peeple’s. I hope you’re teaching your children to pick it up when it’s their turn. I will be teaching mine.

    The cute little 2A activists.

    • Exactly.

      Those who oppose us aren’t about to risk a civil war. If they are, then that’s more of a classic blunder than starting a land war in Asia.

      So, they take the incremental path. A little here, a little there, coupled with an overall demonization of guns (cloaked in the guise of disdain for all things related to the South and Midwest) and over the course of a century, no more guns.

      They’re willing to go this route, so we need to be willing to counter it.

  14. +1 Larry. May I add everyone who participated on the gubmint side would put a target on their friends and loved one’s back. And lots of cops and army dudes would defy orders. Hell we had a civil war just from a PERCEIVED
    threat resulting from Lincoln’s election…and look what happened at the Bundy ranch. A lot of us old guys would resist rather than be enslaved…

  15. There would not be a civil war and we would not need thousands of armed resisters. A couple of hundred of people could burn down the local 7-11, trash a Walgreens, steal a bunch of flat panel TVs from a nearby electronics store, form a group called #gunlivesmatter, and before you know it we’d be invited to the White House where a bunch of sleazy politicians would be kissing our collective asses. And we wouldn’t even have to give back the TVs.

  16. “Enemies Foreign and Domestic” by Matthew Bracken is a pretty good representation of how I think things would go.

  17. Too bad there is not the same level of passion applied to reversing the destruction of our 4th and 5th amendment rights.

  18. The government knows that taking the guns away from citizens all at once would trigger a revolt, so they will do it on an individual basis. Soon, merely jaywalking will cause you to lose your gun rights. This way, there is no rallying point for everyone to gather around.

  19. And they are right. It would trigger a civil war. Today.

    But what about tomorrow? With Progressives controlling education, they need do nothing more than keep the issue alive and wait for our children or grandchildren to willingly give up their guns. When that happens, it will be our fault for abandoning the real fight today.

    • Those same kids watch Hollywood movies, listen to rap and hip-hop, and play first person shooter video games.

      And guns are very cool in all of those…

      They don’t have the ability to make guns as un-cool as cigarettes.

      Because guns *are* cool…

  20. Would it really be that terrible of the union ended? obviously some states would ban together.

    I just want the constitution to be the law of the land as intended.

  21. Sure would be nice for some website to accumulate and make public every LEO from the lowest deputy in Outer Podunk,Idaho all the way up to the honchos in the washington offices. Last known addresses, photos, anything that is public domain. I’d contribute to that GoFundMe effort.

  22. I find the idea of a civil war unlikely as I simply don’t see confiscation ever actually happening. You may eventually have some idiot in congress suggesting it’s implementation. You may have the President saying it will be included in some Constitutional reach around program. What I don’t see is any sort of wide spread effort to actually carry out the plan. Who in their right mind signs up for that job? It’s going to have to be lightning quick to be able to work as if you draw it out the second it starts people will just hide their stuff. There aren’t that many people in the army and all the combined police forces in the country. That’s assuming they would all participate, which they won’t.

    • If people “hide their stuff”, we have lost. That’s what the Aussies did. Instead, “load your stuff”, and make ready. “Come and take it!” is the order of the day, and it will be over before sunrise.

  23. Well if it comes to that point, it sounds like a great time to build a couple unreg’ed SBRs and find something to do with the couple of F/A AK FCGs I have laying around.

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