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Who's Likelier to Take Your Guns Away? An Authoritarian Regime

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Goodby Guns--Authoritarian Regimes; designed by Starr
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Gun ownership and support of the Second Amendment are not exclusively Republican. In 2018, "16% of Democrats owned at least one gun, and 28% lived in a gun household," reports Statistica. The right to own guns is also backed by the growing number of Democratic gun clubs. For example, The Liberal Gun Club forthrightly states its mission "to provide a pro-Second Amendment voice for left-of-center gun owners in the national conversations on firearms." The club has 30 chapters in 34 states. Pink Pistols (LGBT gun owners) also champions the right to gun ownership and has chapters in at least 23 states with multiple chapters in several states. In the 2018 midterm election, 82% of LGBT voters cast their vote for Democratic candidates.

But Trump followers and far-right conspiracy theorists have been so intensely focused on promoting the fearmongering lie that Democrats will take away all their guns, when in fact no serious Democratic candidate has ever made such a proposal. Rather, every candidate has proposed only sensible reforms.

The real threat to gun ownership that looms is America's dangerous shift toward authoritarianism. Indeed, history tells us that it's far-right and other authoritarian regimes, not liberal democratic ones which are most likely to take guns away from ordinary citizens.

Let's look at the facts.

In every authoritarian takeover in modern history, restrictive gun ownership laws and regulations were introduced, often with severe penalties for violators. The Spartan Training Group, a special forces veteran-owned business dedicated to "providing Maryland citizens with opportunities to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights safely and legally," notes that "the most murderous governments and despots in the last 150 years limited gun ownership and, in some cases, confiscated firearms from their citizens."

In his article "A Brief History of Repressive Regimes and Their Gun Laws," Journalist Jose' Nià o documents that "gun confiscation holds a special place in the halls of political repression." He points out that at the beginning of the Communist revolution in 1917, Vladimir Lenin proposed an armed people's militia. When he gained authoritarian control in 1918 the policy did an about-face. The Council of People's Commissar not only disarmed the populace, but violators also faced up to ten years imprisonment.

In Nazi Germany, if you were not a registered Nazi Party member or other authorized gun carrier and were found with a gun, you could be shot on the spot. Constitutional attorney Stephen Halbrook adds that "Disarming political opponents was a categorical imperative of the Nazi regime."

Fidel Castro gunned his way into power but once he was in authoritarian control he took guns away from the people, says a CIA document. And the Associated Press reported in 2010 that Cuban agents went door-to-door of those who had sought gun licenses to "encourage them to turn over their firearms."

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Bernard Starr, PhD, is author of The Crucifixion of Truth, a drama set in 16th century Italy and Spain. Starr is a psychologist, journalist, and professor emeritus at CUNY, Brooklyn College. At Brooklyn College Starr taught developmental (more...)

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