Which is why he made sure no one in China could access that political power. Throughout history and well into the modern world, gun control legislation heralded the death of democracies. Usually, it preceded an attempt by the government to take full control of people’s lives. Weapon bans frequently led to human rights abuses, including massacres and sometimes outright genocide.
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It’s almost as if they don’t remember the lockdown. Granted, it was for the sake of public health ….in the beginning. Still, once the United States government began restricting travel and requiring the entire population to take a COVID vaccine designed in just a couple of days, as was the case with Moderna, many Americans began to view this as an abuse of government authority, especially when some who took the “life-saving” vaccine died from COVID anyway.
A government gets away with whatever its people allow. A recent attempt to ban semi-automatic firearms across the state of Illinois was met with widespread resistance. 88 percent of the state’s counties refuse to enforce the governor’s mandate, and they can because of the Second Amendment. Additionally, sheriffs work for their communities, not for the state.
Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. Many historical and current dictatorships had their start when they stripped firearms from their citizens and robbed them of their right to rebel against injustice.
In the 1920s, during Germany’s post-WW1 Weimar Republic, a law was passed that mandated every gun-owning citizen to register their firearms with the government. The bosses in the upper echelon of the republic authorized the confiscation of any arms considered “threats to public safety.” Although law-abiding Germans obeyed and registered their weapons, leftist thugs like the communists and the Nazis, who were yet to come to power, blatantly refused to comply.
When Hitler’s government took power, he used the Weimar Republic’s firearm registration list to track down and seize arms from every communist, Jew, and undesirable person in Germany. This left them defenseless when the Gestapo herded them into concentration camps to undergo the most horrific human tragedy the 20th century had ever seen.
The pre-Soviet Russian Empire was a lot like the Wild West. The Cossacks, nomadic people who roamed the steppes and much of Ukraine, were servants to nobody but themselves. They repelled Muslim raiders from the empire’s heartlands and lived off of mercenary work, as well as occasional raids of their own. They were free to purchase guns and sometimes made firelocks of their own, occasionally even casting their own cannons.
The article “How Russians lost their own 2nd Amendment The right to bear arms” by Russia Beyond describes how even city dwellers had a fondness for firearms, especially if they were foreign. German Mausers and American Brownings were plentiful and cheap, and even the lowliest street sweeper, whose salary was a meager 40 rubles per month, wouldn’t need to break the bank to buy a new Browning Hi-Power, costing just 18 rubles and 50 kopeks.
This all changed when the Soviets took power. Similar to Mao, Joseph Stalin said, “The only real power comes out of a long rifle.” Communists said they were creating the purest democracy known to man and that everyone would be equal; however, during the Russian Civil War in 1918, only soldiers possessed guns. The Bolsheviks conducted a mass gun confiscation campaign, threatening ten years of prison time for anyone who concealed a firearm. Only members of the Communist Party were allowed to have a weapon; even then, it could only be a single firearm.
Civilians were only allowed to possess firearms for self-defense again in 2014, but only if they could get through the logjam of registration paperwork to get a gun in the first place.
In a case of supreme irony, the very people who invented gunpowder have some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. Under the Qing – the last Chinese dynasty before the communist takeover – ordinary individuals were permitted to own either .50 caliber matchlock muskets or foreign guns like Winchesters and Mausers for self-defense as long as they were registered. The Qing recognized their army and militias could not be everywhere all the time. Since bandits and criminals were everywhere, they permitted their citizens to use the same firearms issued to their military – this was common sense.
More importantly, the Qing allowed their people to bear arms because of past experiences. The last time they attempted to exercise gun control laws, only law-abiding citizens turned in their firearms, while outlaws and highwaymen kept using theirs. The Shunzhi emperor, lamenting the decision of his gun ban, wrote:
Recently, we have heard that the people have no weapons and cannot repel aggressors. Bandits on the other hand can profit, and the good people have to endure bitter and poisonous misfortunes. Now we think that the weapons and armor which the people originally ought not to have had, and which were strictly forbidden in the past, such as muskets, fowling pieces, bows and arrows, knives, spears, and horses, ought now to be retained in their possession and not forbidden. Return to their original owners those weapons which were initially turned over to the officials.
If only California, New York, and Illinois had the wisdom of the emperor…
Of course, not all good things last forever. 300 years after the emperor rescinded his gun ban, Mao and his communists took over.
He was quoted as saying, “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party must command all the guns; that way, no guns can ever be used to command a party.”
During the revolution, Mao understood the power of the local militias and firearm-carrying bandits and convinced them to unite under the red flag to fight against nationalist forces in the name of communism. In the midst of their revolution, the communists required the masses to register their firearms and get permits to ensure they would only be used for self-defense.