Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Opinion Columnist

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February 14, 2013
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HOFFMAN: How the road to gun confiscation unfolds

What many Americans consider "common sense" efforts to curb gun violence and ownership of military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines is met by much criticism and the claim that it is merely the first step toward confiscation.

The rhetoric sometimes seems to border on hysteria, and the "facts" and "quotes" mere fabrications to bolster an argument. There really should be a rule that if you are going to disseminate information be it a quote, a picture or a fact it should be accompanied by sufficient citation allowing the average reader to verify its veracity. Otherwise people on both sides of the argument are descending into the bowels of a propaganda campaign they claim to be sworn to oppose.

It is doubted that anyone or any side will claim that our current system is functioning. There are claims that hammers kill more than firearms, that the problem is medications do not control behaviors, etc., but there is little acknowledgment that the system is broken. We have had limits on the sale of military assault rifles previously without progressing to confiscation and we can again. Yes, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to bear arms is just that, a right, but please read the entire opinion as it also ruled that restrictions were not without merit.

There is overwhelming support for bans on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and universal background checks. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible. However, there are too many who are "straw buyers" for non-qualified purchasers; there are too many unlicensed dealers who sell literally hundreds of guns per year without any knowledge of the buyer. There are too many private and gun show sales to whomever appear with cash in hand. It has become true that some "legal" gun owners have indeed become outlaws. Again, it has become a situation where the actions of a minority impact the majority.

Those who fear confiscation may be the very ones who create it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is the scenario we may see unfold. As some gun owners become increasingly incensed at the self- induced fear of confiscation they shall become increasingly more blatant in their demonstration of open carry laws. They will voluntarily become armed patrols at our schools and neighborhoods. They will become more aggressive in their use of weapons for self-protection and push the boundaries of make-my-day and stand-your-ground laws. In short order many will become more fearful of them than the danger they claim to defend against.

The American public will become more vocal in their desire for some form of gun control and shall organize into a force eclipsing the NRA. Congress will finally take some action which, at a minimum, will bar future sales of assault rifles, high-capacity clips and expand background checks. Some gun owners will escalate their displays of arms at greater detriment to their cause. The American public will become increasingly concerned and continue to demand action.

These same gun owners will pursue legal action proverbially "all the way to the Supreme Court." The court shall rule that the Second Amendment does not provide a blanket right to all forms of firearms and shall explicitly, at a minimum, rule against gun ownership of these assault rifles. Ownership at that point will become illegal and those guns subject to confiscation. This will be a reluctant conclusion resulting from the demands not of gun control advocates, but from the action of gun owners.

We are at a crossroads. We need to find a path toward mutual understandings and agreements on how to curb gun violence. Just as the right to free speech does not allow one to yell fire in a crowded theater, the right to bear arms does not need require that we fortify our schools, malls and cities to protect us against those who do not bear arms responsibly. One right does not have supremacy over other rights. If it is true that more guns mean a safer America than all those armed guards should already be unnecessary.

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Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 14, 2013 07:47PM Published Feb 14, 2013 07:44PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.