First, outright firearm confiscation has happened multiple times in this country. A prime example happened in California and the SKS rifle. The California DOJ oversaw a registration of SKS rifles, and specifically promised that if the rifles were registered, they would remain legal and would not be confiscated. A short time later, administrations changed and the DOJ used the registration roles to confiscate all of the registered SKS's.
So you can imagine why people don't believe the claim "we aren't trying to take your guns."
Additionally, making somebody's firearms illegal may not technically be the same as kicking down their door and confiscating the weapon, but it is functionally exactly the same. All recent proposed assault weapons bans would ban the AR 15 rifle, which is the most popular rifle in the country over the last several years. If it is illegal, and I have to make the choice to be a criminal, or turn it in (either now or upon my death), it is exactly the same as you coming and taking it. Perhaps what control advocates mean to say is, "We aren't going to take all your guns, yet," but that is a little to honest sounding.
Second, I generally get the impression from control advocates on this forum and anecdotally across the media and among my friends that they have a strange split belief that I can't explain very well. But it basically boils down to a few assumptions that are false and largely contradictory:
1. Weapons in the hands of bad guys are capable of making things so easy that any random crazy asshole can destroy whole cities. The bad guys won't ever miss because of their pistol grips or whatever.
2. The same firearms in the hands of average civilians is unreliable, inaccurate, and the mere fact that it is within a household means that they are likely to accidentally kill themselves and their family, but they certainly aren't capable of using it safely or well.
3. LEO/Military are expertly trained experts that expertly use their firearms in expert ways. And experts. So, they will come and expertly save the day.
So when we get a situation where a guy like Christopher Dorner, who was a naval reserve officer and LAPD officer, we act like he is some super trained special badass.
But the reality is that I have probably fired more rounds this year than Dorner has in his entire life.
LEO firearms training is a joke. I am not familiar with exactly what LAPD requires, but most departments around this country require roughly 50 rounds per year/25 every six months. 100-150 rounds per year when you count a little bit of practice the day before...which I would call a warm up. Most officers do not shoot on their own. Only the people that were "gun guys/gals" before they started working for police departments really train. Without fail, every shooting competition I have ever been to, the police (who keep in mind get to cheat a little bit by using their duty gear), routinely bring up the rear.*
When I go to a public shooting range and I see police officers there, I always curse under my breath because I know I am going to have to seriously watch my personal safety because the state of their gun handling is so bad. The 5 most dangerous things I have ever seen done at a shooting range were all done by police officers.
The average cop shows up to the range twice a year before his two annual qualifications and shoots one box of 50 rounds to "practice," and takes the 25 round test the next day. The POST test (which is the most common qualification test around the country) looks like this:POST
. That is seriously LOL kind of stuff. There are a lot of departments that require less. And frankly, a firearm is probably the tool that a police officer uses the least. They should spend more time training on the radio than on their pistols, but the lack of LEO firearms skill is pretty shocking.
The military isn't much better. To qualify on the M-16 rifle you have to hit 23 out of 40 humanoid sized targets. Doesn't matter where you hit them. Most of the course is fired from a supported position. The distance ranges from 50-300 meters.
My brother-in-law completed basic training in January. He estimated that the entire time he was there, he fired 400 rounds. 400 rounds would be a pretty good weekend for a firearms enthusiast.
*guys like Bob Vogel are obvious exceptions. But he is a sponsored competitive shooter.