This morning, Talking Points Memo posted the sixteen most recent covers of what the NRA describes as its "first pure news magazine," America's 1st Freedom. Here's one cover from just before the November election:
When I saw this cover, I wondered how, according the NRA's "first pure news magazine," Obama would come for NRA members' guns. Now that he's won reelection, is the article's prediction in any way realistic?
So I found the article (here and here). Is it plausible?
In a word: no.
The article's author, Dave Kopel, imagines Obama winning a narrow Electoral College victory in November 2012. Then:
Two weeks later, a pair of U.S. federal agents in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, were murdered. The killers were never apprehended, but the extensive ballistic evidence at the crime scene showed that the guns used in the murders were a .223 rifle and 9 mm pistol, both semi-automatic firearms. (Many years later, it would be revealed that those particular guns had been trafficked into Mexico as part of "Operation Fast and Furious," but this fact was not known at the time.) President Obama requested airtime from all the major TV networks to deliver a major policy address the next evening.Let's stop right there. Two federal agents are killed on the border -- and on that pretext, the president makes a major prime-time policy address, carried on all the networks. (Apparently all of America has magically become as obsessed with border security as the the typical right-winger.)
In this address, what the president announces is nothing less than a complete rewrite of the federal government's gun laws, all to be changed via "emergency regulations" and (presumably) executive orders. From the president's speech:
"As I speak, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is issuing emergency regulations prohibiting the import of all handguns and 'assault weapons.' Current federal laws give me the power to ban the import of firearms that are not suitable for sport, and these weapons are suitable for nothing except murder.Overnight, many previously permitted weapons have become illegal. Overnight, anyone seeking to purchase most other weapons faces high taxes and years-long waits:
"As for the domestic manufacture and sale of such weapons, manufacturers and consumers will have to go through the same procedures currently applicable to machine guns and silencers. Pursuant to the National Firearms Act of 1934, the NFA, these weapons are being classified as 'destructive devices.' Legally speaking, that means that they are 'similar devices' to weapons such as grenades, rockets, missiles and bombs. As I have long said, 'assault weapons' 'belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.'
"I have repeatedly told you that I support the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld the Second Amendment right to own handguns. My orders fully comply with Heller. In that case, Mr. Heller sought to own a .22-cal. revolver, and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Thus, the ATF's new regulations will not apply to .22-cal. revolvers...."
Millions of people filled out the paperwork to begin their applications to purchase a handgun, a semi-auto, a 12-ga. shotgun or a muzzleloader. Those who eventually completed the process, which required a $200 transfer tax, being fingerprinted by local police and an authorization form signed by the police chief or sheriff where the person resides, received a letter from ATF that the waiting time for ATF to process the application would probably be several years.What's more, current owners of such weapons must register, get fingerprinted, and obtain police permits. This happens in every state in the union, instantly, with no legislative input at the state or federal level.
The NRA and individual gun owners sue -- but apparently there are no competent pro-gun lawyers in America, and the all-powerful Holder Justice Department swats away the suits like so many flies. Congress tries to stop the president, but he vetoes all its bills.
The UN gets involved. The EPA gets involved. The Supreme Court (with four new Obama appointees) gets involved. Mike Bloomberg gets involved. George Soros gets involved. And soon, needless to say, there's basically no more private gun ownership in America.
We're told this is "a worst-case scenario ... Whether [Obama] will actually do so is, of course, unknown right now." In other words, according to the author and the NRA, this could actually happen. This is actually plausible.
This is insane. I know right-wingers enjoy this sort of apocalypse porn, but this could not possibly take place -- not without massive pushback. And it's all supposed to happen because two federal agents were killed on the border? We can barely get gun control bills passed at the federal level, or in any state apart from New York, Colorado, and (maybe) Connecticut, after 26 people, mostly little kids, were massacred in Sandy Hook.
And remember that cover line. It wasn't speculative. It was:
How and When Obama Will Come for Your GunsThis is as crazy as birtherism or 9/11 trutherism. It should be the sort of thing that gets published and read only on the fringes of society. And yet the organization that publishes this is the organization that determines America's gun agenda.
Imagine if no election law could be passed in this country without the imprimatur of a powerful lobbying organization led by Orly Taitz. Imagine if the Centers for Disease Control were powerless to respond to any epidemic in a way that ran afoul of Jenny McCarthy.
That's where we are on guns.