Part of this year’s annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, which officially kicked off Friday in Houston, will encourage attendees to imagine a terrifying firearm-free alternate reality where the U.S. government has thrown gun owners into prison.
The vision comes from author Rob Olive, who is among 10 celebrities and pseudo celebrities from the worlds of conservative politics and punditry being given the chance to sign books and meet fans at the gun lobby’s major shindig. Other authors include former government types like Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Ambassador John Bolton and Col. Oliver North; as well as a conservative commentators like rocker Ted Nugent and talk show host Glenn Beck. Olive may be the only fiction writer getting the NRA spotlight this weekend.
He will be on hand to sign copies of his book, “Essential Liberty,” which is billed as a “thriller” that describes a future where federal agents confiscate guns and throw the owners in jail. According to Olive, the book is fictional, but depicts a perfectly plausible scenario based on the current direction of the country.“I don’t think it’s a big stretch to get there and so I’ve intended the book to be sort of a warning, maybe, you know, a shot across the bow,” Olive told TPM by phone Thursday. “Something to wake up those of us who are liberty-minded and, specifically, you know, Second Amendment proponents to actually wake up and do something.”
The back cover of Olive’s book describes it as “an action-filled, thought-provoking work of fiction about governmental overreach and the abuse of power” that is “seemingly ripped from today’s headlines.” “Essential Liberty” opens with the scene of a man being taken from his home by agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as his stunned wife and children watch from their dinner table. It continues with one of the protagonists burying a cache of weapons in an underground vault.
Though these scenes might seem dramatic, Olive argued many real-world politicians are eager to enact similar measures.
“Gov. Cuomo in New York has said that confiscation is an option. That’s a quote from him in an interview. … One of the most powerful governors in the country saying that outwardly,” Olive explained. New York City Mayor Mike “Bloomberg would certainly love to do it. There are many members of Congress who’ve said they’d do it if they had the votes. So, it’s not a question of what they want to do, it’s a question of when they’re able to do it.”
Olive said he believes the first step towards the government taking people’s guns is background checks, which would then open the door to comprehensive lists of all gun owners. A measure that would have expanded background checks and that failed in the Senate last month included an explicit ban on the government keeping lists of gun owners. But that didn’t soothe Olive’s concerns. He said the possibility of legislation to make additional background checks is “far from dead.”
“Universal background checks could easily become universal registration if those records were kept. Right now, they’re supposed to be destroyed, but if those records were kept, that could easily be a registration list,” said Olive.
Describing himself as an “amateur historian,” Olive is a gun owner who has been a member of the NRA since his teenage years. His thoughts on the possibility of a nationwide gun ban have been echoed by the gun lobby.
“Essential Liberty” was published in July 2012, so he said this year’s annual meeting will be the first NRA event where he will promote the book. The May 2013 issue of America’s First Freedom, the “official journal of the NRA” contained a glowing review of the book that described it as a “fantastic” novel that provides “perhaps the most realistic and chilling picture yet of what firearm confiscation in the United States might look like.”
“Throughout history, the licensing of gun owners and the registration of firearms have almost always led to confiscation in one form or another,” the review began. “It’s hard to imagine our fellow law-abiding citizens being hauled off to prison for refusing to relinquish their rights under the Constitution, but that’s exactly what might happen if certain legislators and ‘advocacy groups’ get their way.”
Along with the book signings, the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting will also feature a “Stand and Fight Rally” with Beck and speeches by former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).