Fmr. Obama Senior Adviser Calls for Gun Confiscation 'Similar to the One Australia Instituted'

Dan Pfeiffer: 'The Second Amendment is in many ways an anachronism'

Barack Obama and Dan Pfeiffer / Getty
Barack Obama and Dan Pfeiffer / Getty
October 11, 2017

Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, called for the United States to implement an Australian-style gun confiscation program in an article published Wednesday.

Obama previously said in 2016 that the United States should consider following the example of Australia, which enacted a "mandatory buy-back" of guns and created a gun registry. Pfeiffer echoed that view in Wednesday's article, published on Crooked, a media site founded by three former Obama staffers. Pfeiffer argued Democrats should propose such a program and outlined an extensive regimen of gun restrictions that Democrats could support, advising they stop "insincere pandering" to gun owners.

"We are nibbling around the edges instead of proposing bold, meaningful solutions," Pfeiffer wrote. His suggestions included implementing a national gun registry, mandating "smart-gun technology," and rolling-out a buy-back program similar to Australia’s.

Pfeiffer accused Democrats of being "brainwashed" into expressing support for the Second Amendment and the culture of gun owners.

"Democratic politicians have been brainwashed by political hacks like me to begin all of their statements about guns by declaring support for the Second Amendment and a deep affinity for the cultures of hunters and sportsmen," Pfeiffer wrote.

He suggested Democrats’ failures only indicate they should ramp up their ambitions on gun control.

"The Democratic gun control strategy fails because it is defined by this poverty of ambition—the determination never to look beyond fear of political repercussions," he wrote, going on to propose a series of unprecedented actions to curtail gun rights in America.

Pfeiffer justified his position, not by calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment as some recently have done, but rather, by saying the Second Amendment does not actually protect an individual's right to own a gun.

"The interpretation of the Second Amendment that prevails on the far right today was reverse-engineered to pander to fantasists," he wrote.

He rested his case on his broad criticism of the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision, but he said, regardless, the Second Amendment is outmoded.

"The Second Amendment is in many ways an anachronism, framed before the age of drones and cruise missiles, when a well-armed civilian militia have actually been capable of turning back a foreign invasion," Pfeiffer wrote. "Times change. This is not Red Dawn. You are not Patrick Swayze. Chill out."

While some have argued the Second Amendment was only intended for defense against foreign invaders, the interpretation has not held up in the Supreme Court. Instead, the Court has interpreted "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" literally. Nonetheless, the former Obama advisor is confident that retaking the courts will let Democrats move beyond the "ridiculous" precedent regarding the Second Amendment.

"It is certainly true that our short-term policy positions must pass the Heller test, but it is also a major strategic error to confine our vision to a Supreme Court decision that many legal scholars find ridiculous and many generations of judges would find astonishing," Pfeiffer wrote.

Pfeiffer comes to the conclusion that Democrats would be politically wise to stop trying to win over so-called gun voters by pandering, like they do now.

"None of this is to say that Democrats should write off ‘gun voters,’ but we should stop trying to win them over with insincere pandering on the gun issue," he wrote.

"We have failed to date because we have failed to make robust, courageous, and honest arguments to the country," Pfeiffer added.