In an op-ed published in USA Today, Swalwell (D-California) proposed a $15 billion buyback program for “assault weapons,” as well as criminal prosecution of anyone who chooses to keep their guns.
“So basically Swalwell wants a war. Because that’s what you would get,” airborne veteran and gun pundit Joe Biggs commented on Twitter – to which Swalwell replied that the government would win such a war, because it has atomic weapons.
Biggs was referring to a multitude of things when he made the comment that Swalwell wants a war. There are many gun owners who are Democrats as well as Republicans, and they would show their displeasure and concern over the government passing a bill that would punish them for not handing over their guns. As voters, the Democrats risk losing future elections, they also face the fact that there are gun owners who will not hand over their guns, so what will they do then, knock on their doors and demand them, that would not end well.
“And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit,” the congressman Swalwell wrote.
And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 16, 2018
“So our government would nuke its own country in order to take guns? Wow,” Biggs shot back.
Conservatives, gun rights advocates and veterans chimed in, bashing Swalwell for what they saw as a willingness to use nuclear weapons against Americans in the name of gun control.
I saw Lex Luthor was trending and assumed it had something to do with Swalwell's intricate plan to use nuclear strikes to bring an end to deer hunting.
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) November 16, 2018
"NUKE THE NRA is a bold 2020 slogan, Cotton, let's see how it works out for him." https://t.co/xkaAHZVVpe
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) November 16, 2018
Have you ever considered that typing words and putting them on the internet may not be your strong suithttps://t.co/K1AB0VbJAX
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 16, 2018
Some even pointed out that the loyalty of the military should not be assumed in such a scenario.
Swalwell’s defenders were quick to defend him, explaining that what he really meant was that –contrary to what the Second Amendment says– guns were useless as a form of protection against government tyranny, since the government had nuclear weapons. The congressman himself tried to reframe his comment as sarcasm.
America’s gun debate in one thread.
1) I propose a buy-back of assault weapons
2) Gun owner says he’ll go to war with USA if that happens
3) I sarcastically point out USA isn’t losing to his assault weapon (it’s not the 18th Century)
4) I’m called a tyrant
5) 0 progress
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 16, 2018
A Marine bomb technician responded with some sarcasm of his own.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to take this moment to officially endorse Rep Swalwell as the 2020 Democratic Presidential nominee. https://t.co/CePXmAzQ4s
— Johnny (Joey) Jones (@Johnny_Joey) November 16, 2018
The California congressman isn’t hiding that he is calling for a gun confiscation program modeled after Australia, which in 1996 outlawed long guns and rounded up over 660,000 weapons. Most recent research indicates that American civilians own approximately 393 million guns.
Swalwell, who was just re-elected to a second term representing California’s 15th district, located in the San Francisco Bay area, gained fame as one of the more outspoken Democrat advocates of the “Trump colluded with Russia” conspiracy theory.
Eric Swalwell is simply an idiot who has built a large social media #Resistance following by being the member of Congress willing to issue the most inflammatory, reckless & extreme decrees about Trump/Russia: the easiest way to get noticed in Dem politics: pic.twitter.com/jyRSF56UXx
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 16, 2018
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) says he was being “sarcastic” when he talked of nuking gun owners who refuse to comply with his confiscatory plans banning “assault weapons.”
On November 16, 2018, Breitbart News reported that Swalwell defended his proposed “assault weapons” buyback program by saying that if gun owners defy the ban, “the government has nukes.”
Swalwell was going back and forth on Twitter with reporter Joe Biggs when he referenced the nukes, and his statement was in response to Biggs pointing out that Americans will go to war with gun grabbers before giving up their firearms. Swalwell responded, “And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.”
The NRA quickly seized on Swalwell’s “inflammatory and divisive rhetoric,” suggesting his might-makes-right attitude would only bolster the resolve of U.S. gun owners:
.@RepSwalwell suggested using nuclear weapons against Americans who oppose his gun control agenda. This includes forcing Americans to give up their semi-automatic firearms. This inflammatory and decisive rhetoric will inspire gun owners to fight harder to protect their rights. pic.twitter.com/FcpwoSqtYO
— NRA (@NRA) November 17, 2018
Swalwell responded to the criticism by suggesting he was only kidding about nuking gun owners. He tweeted that he “sarcastically [pointed] out USA isn’t losing to [Joe Bigg’s] assault weapon.”
Swalwell could not believe that he was called a “tyrant” over the comments.
On May 21, 2018, Breitbart News reported Swalwell telling Tucker Carlson that Americans should be forced to handover their commonly-owned semiautomatic rifles and those who fail to comply should face criminal prosecution.