Rep. Don Beyer: 'Just Silly' to Talk About Gun Confiscation

By Susan Jones | May 10, 2016 | 10:27am EDT
(AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "No one out there is talking about disarming the American people," Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said on Tuesday. "It's almost just silly to think that you have 350 million guns -- how would you even begin and and why would you want to do that?"

Beyer, interviewed on CSPAN, also said the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms "from the militia perspective," but he also said, "There's nothing in the Constitution that says gun manufacturers have a right to manufacture guns. That's a -- you  know, you can maybe leap to that, but they are not mentioned in the Constitution."

Beyer recently introduced legislation to strengthen the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by exempting its director from Senate confirmation and by removing other "limitations" on ATF's operations. He discussed his ATF Enforcement Act Tuesday morning on CSPAN.

"So many of us are trying to find ways forward on gun safety," Beyer said, noting that 30,000 people die annually from gunshots. "And we struggle about ways to go forward, especially in a Congress where the majority of members, at least in the House, are paying great attention to what the NRA says."

Beyer said there is nothing in President Obama's recent executive orders that prevents someone from selling a gun or giving your gun to your brother or leaving guns to your heirs.

"And certainly, I don't see any legislation, any executive order, anything that seizes a gun from any American." Beyer said the notion of gun confiscation is "just a myth."

But a CSPAN caller reminded Beyer that Democrat Hillary Clinton, on the campaign trail in New Hampshire in October, called Australia's gun confiscation law an example "worth looking at."

Beyer said he assumes Clinton was just "being polite to someone who asked her a question about it," not that she was making "a commitment or an agreement."

"You know, I think we should be looking at every country to see what they're doing, positive and negative," Beyer said. "Not that what Australia did would ever work in this country -- culturally, historically we're so different."

Australia in 1996 instituted a mandatory gun buy-back program for semi-automatic and automatic weapons.

In October, Hillary Clinton noted that Australia acted after a mass killing, and "they believed, and I think the evidence supports them, that by offering to buy back those guns they were able to, you know, curtail the supply and to set a different standard for gun purchases in the future."

Clinton also said she thinks "it would be worth considering" doing something similar "on the national level" in the United States -- "if that could be arranged."

"So I think that's worth considering. I don't know enough details to tell you how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australian example is worth looking at," Clinton said at the time.


Immediately after discussing Hillary Clinton's comments, Beyer told CSPAN: "On the Second Amendment, by the way, we have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, um, from the militia perspective. There's nothing in the Constitution that says gun manufacturers have a right to manufacture guns. That's a -- you know, you can maybe leap to that, but they are not mentioned in the Constitution."

Beyer said his bill would enforce current gun laws "by making sure that the ATF is robust."

Asked to define robust, Beyer mentioned more funding and more ATF agents.

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