The president of the National Rifle Association Thursday warned that gun control advocates have their eye on a national registry of all firearms that would be used to force legal owners to sell them to the government.
David Keene told reporters, "we have been, continue to be, and will continue to be very opposed to any kind of a national gun registry system for several reasons. The historic reason, of course, is that that is a precursor in many cases of confiscation."
While he noted that Washington's biggest gun control advocate, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, didn't include a registry in her sweeping proposals, both she and fellow anti-gun politician New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a forced buy-back of guns is their goal.
"Both Governor Cuomo and Senator Feinstein suggested that if they could just get everything registered, they could have what they call forced buybacks, which is, 'I know you own that shotgun and now you are going to sell it to the government.' That's confiscation," Keene said at a briefing organized by the Christian Science Monitor.
In December, Feinstein said, "We are also looking at a buy-back program." Cuomo said "Confiscation could be an option."
A day after the first major gun control hearing on Capitol Hill, Keene added that in the end there will likely be no major new anti-gun laws passed, despite the emotion prompted by the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"I think that our opponents think this time is different in the sense that they hope that they can use emotion to achieve an anti-firearms agenda that they haven't been able to achieve in the past," said Keene, a longtime Washington observer and former head of the American Conservative Union.
But, he added, "I am convinced that as these things are discussed, that we're going to come out about where we've come out in the past. And that is people who misuse guns should be prosecuted and guns should not be kept out of the hands of law abiding American citizens, not just because they have a right to own them under the Constitution but because as a policy question they should be allowed to own the firearm."