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Firearm Confiscation in the United States

Firearm confiscation isn’t something that only happens on foreign shores.

We’ve had more than a couple instances of firearm confiscation within our own borders, and every example follows a disturbing trend:

The US Government has used (and continues to use) gun control as a way to wield power over racial minorities and those with inconvenient political opinions.

It’s time for a history lesson.

Firearm Confiscation at Wounded Knee

The Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890 was one of the US Government’s first attempts to disarm the Native Americans.

The Lakota’s lands were being seized.

Their main food source, bison, were already hunted nearly to extinction by English settlers.

And when the Lakota began to resist the men who were forcing them out of their homes, killing their people, and destroying their lives, the government ordered that they be disarmed.

Though the exact details of Wounded Knee are somewhat unclear due to conflicting historical reports, the results are indisputable:

US cavalry slaughtered hundreds of Lakota, including unarmed men, women, and children.

This was not a battle.

This was a massacre of an inconvenient racial minority in order to steal their land and resources.

And it was sanctioned by the US Government.

The Birth of Modern Gun Control – Black Codes

While not strictly a firearm confiscation, the roots of gun control lie in yet more racism.

martin luther king memorial is a symbol of human rights, the black codes that led to firearm confiscationBefore the Civil War, the Slave Codes made it illegal for black people to own guns, vote, assemble anywhere, or even learn to read or write.

After the Civil War, the Black Codes replaced the Slave Codes to continue to restrict Freedman and keep them subjugated.

The main purpose of the Black Codes were to get black people back into slavery:

Minor infractions would result in enforced involuntary servitude…

Also known as slavery.

Free men and women were restricted from leaving their plantations, forbidden to assemble or practice religion in groups, and, you guessed it, barred from owning weapons.

Interestingly enough, these laws might also be the origin of business licenses, since blacks had to obtain licenses from white people in order to begin any kind of business.

Even today, some of the effects of those laws restricting black people’s rights echo through our culture.

It wasn’t long ago that we were marching to stop the government-enforced separation of races…but that’s another blog post.

Internment Camps – World War I

Let’s jump ahead to the first World War.

You probably know about the Japanese internment camps of World War II, but did you know that at least 4 internment camps were built by the US government during WWI?

Germans were classified as “enemy aliens” (who were prohibited from owning firearms) and rounded up for imprisonment just for being German or German-American, even those that were already US citizens.

Anyone who was German-born, even if they were no longer a German citizen, was soon forced to register and carry identification with them everywhere.

They were tracked, restricted, and detained.

During this time, the government “confiscated” hundreds of millions of dollars in German property, which ultimately helped to finance the war and the camps where undesirable citizens were kept out of the way.

Expressing dissent was a quick way to find yourself behind barbed wire in a camp if you were German, and behind bars in jail if you weren’t.

And we haven’t gotten much further today.

We don’t call them “enemy aliens” anymore.

We just put them on the “terrorist watch list” and do the same thing.

Internment Camps – World War II

Germans were still interred in the second World War, but you probably know more about the Japanese Internment Camps because those are actually mentioned in public schools.

american citizens have been victims of fear, racism, firearm confiscation, and internmentIt started with a general fear and distrust of the Japanese.

That led to restrictions for anyone of Japanese descent, including a prohibition from owning any “potentially dangerous items” including firearms, curfews, and an impressive label that inspired even more fear: The New Enemy.

Then it progressed to home seizures and raids.

Of course, the raids and seizures included firearm confiscations if anything was left.

After all, those guns were now illegally owned because the owner was Japanese.

And then we forced innocent people into prison camps, stole their possessions, and used their personal property to fund it all.

As an interesting side note, this, like most of the grossly discriminatory laws mentioned in this post, was made law by executive order.

A Disturbing Pattern

Firearm confiscation in the United States has repeatedly followed the same pattern:

  1. The political climate creates fear around a particular racial/national group.
  2. That group is given some kind of name to make them scarier, like savages or enemy aliens.
  3. Once an Us vs. Them mentality is established widely enough, the government issues restrictions to that group’s personal rights, including their gun rights.
  4. If nobody steps in to stop the momentum, that group of people, along with any political dissenters, is forced to forfeit their property (and perhaps their lives) which finances further actions.

But we’re sure there’s nothing else to worry about.

It’s not like there’s a lot of fear of a particular racial group that we’re at war against.

And it’s not like we’re assigning scary names to people like Domestic Terrorist or Political Extremist.

Surely, people with dissenting political opinions aren’t finding themselves included on anything like a Terrorist Watch List that has the potential to strip them of liberty, property, and life.

Oh, wait…

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