Democratic lawmakers have taken up the call from President Joe Biden by introducing new gun control legislation. This has included bills that could ban high-capacity magazines, introduce new background checks and possibly limit the sale of ammunition.
Even if passed, would any of these measures actually do anything to reduce gun violence? Or is this a case of closing the barn door after the cows are long gone?
As the Reuters News Agency recently reported, there are now about 121 firearms in circulation for every 100 residents according to data from the Geneva-based research group Small Arms Survey. Reuters cited another study, conducted by the RAND Corporation think tank, which also found that fewer Americans now own more guns. According to RAND just one in three U.S. households owned a firearm in 2016, which was actually down from nearly half in 1990.
However, it should be noted that the latter number could be out of date following the surge in gun sales last year, where there were more than five million first-time gun owners. Likewise in recent years, firearm ownership has been steadily rising among minorities, women, and younger adults.
All this boils down to one indisputable fact: there are a lot of firearms in the United States. As in nearly 400 million guns total.
Liberals across the country as well as Democratic lawmakers only see the negatives with the increase in firearm ownership. They see more guns used in violent acts, but the fact is that even as gun sales have hit record numbers – showing no signs of slowing down – that crime hasn't kept pace. Moreover, in the past twenty years as crime has gone down, the number of guns in private hands has gone up.
Because gun ownership is so strong in rural states, gun control likely doesn't stand a chance of passing the United States Senate, which requires a supermajority of sixty votes to advance most legislation in the 100-seat chamber. Even as the Senate is split, and Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote, it is unlikely any measures that could seriously damage the Second Amendment would pass and make it to President Joe Biden's desk.
Likewise, some Democrat lawmakers may not support a gun control measure if they are up for re-election in the 2022 midterms, at least not in states where guns could be seen as a hot button issue.
Another problem for any gun control measure is that it is simply unclear how many guns are out there. A mandatory buy-back, such as the ones that Australia instituted, has been suggested, but it likely wouldn't successfully disarm the nation.
Australian authorities had to deal with less than five million guns. In the first year of the program, Australia purchased about 650,000 firearms in the buy-back or about twenty percent of the county's privately owned guns. The United States has close to 400 million guns, potentially more. Thousands of now "illegal" guns have been handed in "Down Under" in subsequent amnesty programs in the years since the initial buy-back – a fact that is rarely highlighted as it shows how far from a success the initial buy-back program actually had been.
Given these facts, it is easy to see that many Americans would likely risk breaking the law than potentially be outgunned by criminals who won't hand in their guns. But making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens could just be part of the liberal plan. Take away their guns, make them felons and take away their right to vote. It almost sounds too ominous to be true.
Fortunately, the gun owners may have numbers on their side. Not just in the number of guns in their possession but the fact that the Constitution ensures they have the senators to keep such legislation from reaching the president's desk.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.