EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of articles on gun rights. Each addresses a common anti-gun trope.

“Oh, please! No one wants to take your guns away!”

When gun rights defenders resist calls for more “sensible” gun regulation, it’s inevitable that someone will cough up this… well, to call it an argument would be extremely generous. It typically carries a condescending, scornful, pat-on-the-head tone, as if a wise elder is talking to a young, naive and ignorant hothead.

It’s also a flat-out lie. While it is certainly true that some people who think we need more gun laws don’t think about full prohibition, a whole lot of anti-gun folks do want to take your guns away. Anyone who suggests admiration for Australia’s gun buy-back program, as Hillary Clinton did, wants to take your guns away. Anyone who says we need an “assault weapons” ban wants to take your guns away. Anyone who is shocked at the idea that advocates of a particular political position might conceal their true intentions or flat-out lie to further their agenda is naive at best.

Here are the words of Sarah Brady, then-Chairman of Handgun Control, Inc, in 1994 (wherein she echoed the organization’s goals from 20 years earlier):

Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn’t matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who today insists she does not want and never did want to take your guns:

If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an out right ban, picking up every one of them, Mr and Mrs America, turn them all in, I would have done it.

Huffington Post contributor Dan Agin offered an obnoxious screed that epitomizes the nasty condescension behind this lesson’s quote:

… too many people would rather kiss guns than kiss other people.

The Los Angeles Times, nearly 25 years ago, editorialized their true beliefs:

You will not feel safe, your children will not be safe, until there are almost no guns on the streets and in homes. No guns, period, except for those held by law enforcement officers and a few others, including qualified hunters and collectors.

Democratic Congressman William Clay, speaking about the then-pending Brady Bill, in 1993:

We need much stricter gun control, and eventually we should bar the ownership of handguns except in a few cases.

Mayor Barbara Fass of Stockton, CA in 1991:

I think you have to do it a step at a time and I think that is what the NRA is most concerned about, is that it will happen one very small step at a time, so that by the time people have “woken up” — quote — to what’s happened, it’s gone farther than what they feel the consensus of American citizens would be. But it does have to go one step at a time and the beginning of the banning of semi-assault military weapons, that are military weapons, not “household” weapons, is the first step.

Senator John H. Chafee, in 1992:

I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns (with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed target clubs)… It is time to act. We cannot go on like this. Ban them!

And in 1997:

I believe all handguns should be abolished.

Congressman Bobby Rush, 1999:

My staff and I right now are working on a comprehensive gun-control bill. We don’t have all the details, but for instance, regulating the sale and purchase of bullets. Ultimately, I would like to see the manufacture and possession of handguns banned except for military and police use. But that’s the endgame. And in the meantime, there are some specific things that we can do with legislation.

Congressman Major Owens, 1993:

Mr. Speaker, my bill prohibits the importation, exportation, manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer, receipt, possession, or transportation of handguns and handgun ammunition. It establishes a 6-month grace period for the turning in of handguns. It provides many exceptions for gun clubs, hunting clubs, gun collectors, and other people of that kind.

Prominent journalist Michael Gartner, president of NBC News:

There is no reason for anyone in the country, for anyone except a police officer or a military person, to buy, to own, to have, to use, a handgun. The only way to control handguns use in this country is to prohibit the guns. And the only way to do that is to change the Constitution.

Rosie O’Donnell:

I would like to dispute that. Truthfully. I know it’s an amendment. I know it’s in the Constitution. But you know what? Enough! I would like to say, I think there should be a law – and I know this is extreme – that no one can have a gun in the U.S. If you have a gun, you go to jail. Only the police should have guns.

Gun control activist Josh Sugarmann:

… immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act … [which] would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns.

Senator Joe Biden, in 1993:

Banning guns is an idea whose time has come.

Senator Howard Metzenbaum:

I don’t care about crime, I just want to get the guns.

The New York Times, in 1975:

The only way to discourage the gun culture is to remove the guns from the hands and shoulders of people who are not in the law enforcement business.

And in 1993:

Gun violence won’t be cured by one set of laws. It will require years of partial measures that will gradually tighten the requirements for gun ownership, and incrementally change expectations about the firepower that should be available to ordinary citizens.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, in 1992:

Yes, I’m denying you your rights.

President Bill Clinton, in 1993:

We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to own handguns and rifles that we are unable to think clearly about reality.


If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government’s ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, 1998:

If it was up to me, no one but law enforcement officers would own handguns.

California Governor Gray Davis, 1997:

Guns have a place in the theater of war, they have no place out on the streets.

Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, 1986:

You know I don’t believe in people owning guns, only the police and military. And I’m going to do everything I can to disarm this state.

Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, 1994:

I want to make it as hard as possible. Gun owners would have to be evaluated by how they scored on written and firing tests, and have to pass the tests in order to own a gun. And I would tax the guns, bullets and the license itself very heavily.

Vice President Al Gore, 1999:

These automatic, semiautomatic handguns and assault weapons, they really have no place in our society.

Get the idea? Still think that “no one wants to take your guns away?”

But, perhaps, these folks simply need a dose of reason and rationality. Consider, a couple truly Orwellian counterexamples:

Ann Landers, Director of Handgun Control, Inc:

No one has the right to destroy another person’s belief by demanding empirical evidence.

NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 2008:

Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

Colorado Senator John Morse:

People who own guns are essentially a sickness in our souls who must be cleansed.

Now, lets roll the history reel back just a bit further.

Heinrich Himmler:

Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA – ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the State.

Adolf Hitler, 1938:

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.


One man with a gun can control 100 without one …. Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms.

Adolf Hitler, quote from Mein Kampf:

If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.

Adolf Hitler, 1933:

This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!

Consider that last quote in the context of this remark by Attorney General Janet Reno from 1993:

Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal.

Political solons from Lenin to Hitler to Machiavelli to the Founding Fathers understood that disarming the populace was a necessary prelude to imposing one’s political will. Historically, this has been achieved incrementally, including nibble-by-nibble restrictions, and universal registration followed by confiscation. This includes:
– Turkey, 1911
– Soviet Union, 1929
– Germany, 1938
– China, 1935
– Guatemala, 1964
– Uganda, 1970
– Cambodia, 1956
– Rwanda, 1994

These confiscations were followed by government mass murders that took 70 million lives.

Think it can’t happen here? Don’t be so naive. There’s nothing magical about America that makes our government unique, as I discuss in GRL 999.

If you believe in gun rights, gun control advocates hate you. They think of you as a rube, a fool, a redneck, a deplorable, a bitter-clinger, an ignoramus. They have no qualms about lying to you if it advances their agenda. Their prescriptions are always “common sense” incrementalism. No one needs weapons of war, so ban “assault weapons.” Handguns are more dangerous than rifles, so they should be more heavily regulated. Concealed carry should be licensed/permitted, and concealed-carry pistols should be registered. Semi-automatic guns aren’t necessary for “legitimate” uses, so restrict them. We need to know where the guns are, so register them all.

But, noooo! None of these common sense restrictions mean that they want to take your guns away. They’ll be perfectly content and consider their mission accomplished if you simply agree to them.

Until the next Bad Thing happens, and they tell you more restrictions are necessary. The “exceptions” that many of the quoted gun-grabbers spoke of will become “loopholes” that must be closed. Make no mistake. The end goal is nothing less than a full ban on civilian ownership of guns.

Fact is, there are oodles of gun laws already on the books, added incrementally since the first major legislation in 1934. Has any prominent gun control advocate come out and said “we have enough gun laws on the books?” None that I know of.

Fact is, people do want to take your guns away. The quotes I shared here are but a small sample.


Gun rights lesson #198: Yes, they want to take your guns away. Yes, they are lying when they claim they don’t. No, they have no compunction about lying thus. They don’t respect you or your pro-gun beliefs in the slightest. They say terrible things about you, to your face and behind your back.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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