In gun buyback talk, how do you round up so many weapons?

Yahoo News

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s recent vow to take away people’s AR-15 and AK-47 rifles raised one big question: How is it possible to round up the millions of such guns that exist in the United States?

The number of AR-15 and AK-47s in the U.S. is estimated at a staggering 16 million, creating logistical challenges to take them out of circulation. Many gun owners are also unwilling to turn over the weapons, and if the government offered to buy them all back at face value, the price tag could easily run into the billions of dollars. 

O’Rourke’s pointed declaration during a recent debate — “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47” — stoked longstanding fears among gun owners that Democrats are less interested in safety or finding a middle ground, and just want to confiscate guns. Even some gun-control advocates aren’t so sure that confiscating firearms will work.

“In some regards, this horse is out of the barn,” said David Chipman, a retired agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and now the senior policy adviser for the Giffords group. “For years we’ve allowed these to be sold.”

O’Rourke’s remarks came in the wake of several high-profile shootings, including two in his home state of Texas that involved AR- or AK-style guns, which resemble military-style weapons and generally carry more rounds than regular rifles. A summer of carnage was marked by shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and in a 10-mile stretch between Midland and Odessa, Texas. In all, more than 40 people were killed and about 100 were wounded in the attacks.

The prospect of significant gun measures has faded in recent weeks under the Republican-controlled Senate and President Donald Trump, and Democratic candidates have offered a range of proposals for what they would do on guns if elected president.

O’Rourke believes that most people would follow the law and turn their weapons in under his proposal for a mandatory buyback program and assault weapons ban. He also wants to outlaw high-capacity magazines and expand background checks.

Cory Booker has proposed a similar program that would involve civil penalties for those who fail to comply and hand in their AR-15s. They would not be subject to criminal offenses, however.

There is a precedent for the ideas proposed by O’Rourke and Booker, as difficult as they would be to implement.

The Trump administration recently banned bump stocks — devices that allow semiautomatic long guns to mimic fully automatic fire — and ordered owners to turn them in to be destroyed. But there were only about a half million of those devices, and they cost far less than an AR, which can run upwards of $1,000 or more. The ban was largely based on an honor system, though Washington state did offer a buyback program that quickly exhausted the $150,000 set aside to shell out $150 each device turned in.

In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton enacted an assault weapons ban, at a time when there were an estimated 1.5 million of them in circulation. Existing owners were allowed to keep them, however, and once the ban expired a decade later, sales resumed and boomed.

Machine guns like M-16s were outlawed by Congress in 1986, but they can still be owned under a tightly regulated process. Small numbers remain in circulation, largely because of the restrictions.

Democratic candidates pushing gun buybacks have also pointed to similar moves in Australia and New Zealand. However, the number of AR-style long guns in those countries pales in comparison to the United States, and neither has gun rights enshrined in their constitutions.

Chipman believes an assault weapon ban should be handled similar to the machine gun rules, requiring they be registered and heavily regulated but not confiscated.

“I think it would be far more likely that we would find more of the weapons under comprehensive regulation by the government than sort of a forced buyback ban scenario,” he said.

There’s also the optics of the government taking away guns, presenting another challenge for the Democratic proposals.

The idea of outlawing and then rounding up firearms alarmed many gun owners who believe it will not solve the problem of gun violence and would only serve to take firearms away from law-abiding Americans. They point out that while AR-style guns have been used in some high-profile mass shootings, most gun deaths involve handguns.

“Once you start talking about taking guns away, especially legally owned firearms by responsible gun owners, you’re just going to alienate a whole huge portion of American citizens. They’re just not going to stand for that,” said Chris Waltz, the president and CEO of AR-15 Gun Owners of America. “This is what they feared.”

The marketplace for the guns has shifted as well. Connecticut-based gunmaker Colt announced last week it was ceasing production of AR-15 style rifles for the civilian market, citing a saturated market. The company will keep making the guns for law enforcement, which is a big portion of the market.

Of the estimated 16 million AR-style guns that are in circulation, about half of them are owned by current or former members of the military or law enforcement, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Then, there are the logistics of actually getting millions of firearms handed over. Some law enforcement experts question whether a mass confiscation of firearms could be done effectively or safely.

Even some self-identified liberals who own firearms question the legality of gun confiscation and even the practicality.

“Constitutional rights aren’t based on what you like. What’s the slippery slope of this?” said Lara C. Smith, the national spokeswoman for the Liberal Gun Club, a nonprofit group of liberal gun owners. “If they’re going to take away these rights, what other rights are they going to take away?”

Smith, who lives in San Diego and owns an AR-15, contends that calls for outlawing AR-style firearms are based on ignorance and misunderstanding. The rifles are simply modular, she said, capable of being customized with different grips, adjustable stocks and scopes, for example — features that might give it a military-style appearance, but do not make it any more lethal than any other firearm.

24 thoughts on “In gun buyback talk, how do you round up so many weapons?

  1. “Some law enforcement experts question whether a mass confiscation of firearms could be done effectively or safely.”

    NOPE! It will NOT be safe for any thief, govt. or man on the street to STEAL my property. And there’s a whole hell of alot more me’s in this country.

    Your as*ses will be shot off, period!

  2. The headline itself speaks volumes of the foot in the door techniques they have used to subvert our Rights.

    It’s not and never was open for discussion.

    We’re long past the point of argument, on so many hills.

  3. LOL 16 million. I’d put the number closer to 25 million and up when you account for the home built ARs, AKs, and pistol caliber carbines.

    Article II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL not be infringed.

    1. Is it more like, and can someone check this out: Average it out the last 10 years, background checks of 1.5 million every month, 10yrs x12= 120 months x 1.5 million = 180 million background checks x 5 guns = 1.8 billion.

      1. Sounds about right JoeSTP. Now when it comes to the amount of ammunition well that’s a whole other ball game. I am over 50k and one of my neighbors has 55 gallon barrels full of .308 and 45 acp.

  4. The “gun buy-backs” are coming.

    O’Rourke saying “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47” was just a way of bringing the topic into public debate. He had nothing to lose by saying that, because he wasn’t going to win any elections anyway. (and he also has to do as he’s told)

    This is just like Ocasio-Cortez proposing her “Green New Deal”. It was outrageous when she said it, but by making the suggestion, she allowed for others to offer “compromise” solutions that will begin the process of codifying parts of the U.N.’s “Agenbda 21” into U.S. law.

    The NWO must disarm Americans for their plans to succeed, and they’re not going to stop because 9-11 was the beginning of their “end game” from which they have no retreat. They’d like to see Americans give up their guns peaceably, because that will allow the continued theft of resource wealth, but if the buy-back plan doesn’t work, they’ll move to more violent options. (invasion, internal war, or both)

    All off these major societal changes they’re looking to make always begin with someone’s outrageous suggestion that begins the debate, and slowly makes the proposal more acceptable to Americans over time.

    O’Rourke’s outrageous claim was just a way of starting the discussion that will be in the news everyday until Americans get used to the idea.

  5. What’s the saying now?

    ‘I considered selling my guns back to the government but after a Bachground Check I determined the buyer has a history of violence and is mentally unstable. Too big a risk to everyone

    1. I like it, although I’d drop the “considered.” Just flat out NO, “the buyer has a history of violence and is mentally unstable. Too big a risk to everyone.

      I’m gonna use it.

      1. I have a great meme I wish I could share. I used a caricature of an animated Pelosi, holding an AK47, screaming ‘GOD WILL DESTROY YOU IF YOU DON’T LOVE ISRAEL, and I added the above statement below her pic.

        If someone knows how to post it, let me know and I’ll share for all to use.

  6. Just in case you tyrants are still wondering

    NO is still the answer
    Come and try and learn the reasons why the answer is still NO

    Oh and just in case you were wondering

    Y’all don’t even have the authority to do a dam thing about it

  7. “The number of AR-15 and AK-47s in the U.S. is estimated at a staggering 16 million, creating logistical challenges to take them out of circulation.”

    Who’s doing the estimating?

    I’m bettin’ double that.

    “O’Rourke believes that most people would follow the law and turn their weapons in under his proposal for a mandatory buyback program and assault weapons ban.”

    No he doesn’t.

    And you can’t ‘buy back’ something you didn’t sell in the first place.

    Short drop with a sudden stop for these TRAITORS.

  8. Let’s see.. you think you’ll be able to buy OUR guns from us, with billions of dollars stolen from our country by Traitors just like you!!! LOL Not Happening! And if you come to try to grab em, you’ll be enjoying a nice half dollar sized hole in your torso or head…. geniuses! Also I believe your holding an arsenal of weapons that belong to us… that you’ll be returning shortly!!! F*ck you very much!!

  9. “Then, there are the logistics of actually getting millions of firearms handed over. Some law enforcement experts question whether a mass confiscation of firearms could be done effectively or safely.”

    This is not the question. The question is, how many of these LE Experts and their current “serving” officers et fkn al. really wish to roll the dice and see which ones of them go home in body bags, DOA?. also, it is with malice aforethought that they are being sent to their demise with the intent to murder any resistors to such conceptual confiscation schemes.

    And again this and other articles or discussions are useless and whether pro or con are meaningless. The Government, has no authority to have a discussion or conversation about our unalienable rights. Any of them!

  10. “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

    I think I am going to post this under my Bill of Rights for the clientele to enjoy.

    1. Martist, that would be the perfect follow up under the BofR’s. REAL for for thought. Curious about your clientele; hopefully they aren’t brain dead.

      1. I am a tattooist owner/operator and some are leo king’s men. It’s nice to get paid to hurt people, sometimes. 🙂

        1. Oh, ok. I’m not sure of the mind set of those that get tattooed. Hopefully, they are open minded to reality.

          That should have been “food for thought.”

          1. Many are. Some aren’t? Either way, we’re engaged in dialogue and many young people see things aren’t right or as they should be. Some 18 years old, some 80 years old. But a lot of people are fed up and I won’t shut up about what is OURS and they do realize there is only ONE way they’re gonna get it. They’re done with “voting” and they know it’s feckless. I simply do my damndest to point them to the Trenches and a full understanding of the LAW if their eyes and minds are open. A lot of good people and some shitebricks too, but you can’t catch fish if you don’t throw out a line. Sometimes it’s even a life preserver. I’ll not win any popularity contests with it, but I don’t really give a rat’s arse anymore about that kind of thing. I simply want Americans to have what’s theirs and live as free as they’re supposed to; raise free American children and enjoy life with our natural human Rights. Mine are lost to me due to the indoctrination of the state and I honestly don’t want anyone else to ever suffer that, so I will live vicariously through those that want a future for their children and their efforts. We got this 🙂

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