Amid the push to further restrict guns, liberals have seldom stopped to investigate the facts of gun crimes or the practical effects of the laws they propose to chip away at Second Amendment-protected rights.

One study that gun grabbers should take a hard look at was issued in January, after the Newtown shootings, by the National Institute of Justice, the research wing of the Department of Justice. The report argues that so-called “assault weapons” are not a major contributor to crime and laws restricting them will not have a substantial impact on gun-related deaths.

The study points out that the types of guns erroneously called “assault weapons” in most legislation are widely owned because of their usefulness for hunting, target shooting and defense.

They also are rarely used in crimes, the study finds. Further, the sort of mass shootings that draw all the media attention only account for on average 35 firearm deaths per year.

The NIJ study also calls into question the effectiveness of gun buybacks, finding that most of the guns turned in were unlikely to be used in crimes in the first place, and purchasing of new guns often occurs with the cash provided to participants.

Another favorite tactic of gun grabbers, limiting the bullet capacity of magazines, is also ineffective because ammo magazines are durable goods and are widely owned.

Like guns themselves, the report can be used for good or ill, unfortunately. A close reading of many of the findings shows that typical gun law bans are ineffective because they don’t affect existing guns and magazines.

Read closely, the study might make the case for forced confiscations in the minds of liberals.

The gun grabbers don’t need any more encouragement to imitate their heroes, such as Chairman Mao. In Washington state, a bill was introduced recently to the Senate that would ban sale of semiautomatic guns with detachable magazines. Regarding existing guns that were legally owned before the law might go into effect, however, the bill authorizes warantless searches of gun owners’ homes.

“In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall … safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection,” the bill states.

The greatest fear of people who believe in defending their rights under the Second Amendment has always been that the government, either federal or state, would move to confiscate legally owned weapons in the name of “public safety.”

And every time gun control comes up, the liberals who are almost invariably the instigators, promise there will be no confiscation. Supporters of the Washington bill say the home-search provision was a “mistake.”

But bills like that in Washington, along with unexplained facts like the Department of Homeland Security stocking up on enough ammunition to fight an Iraq-scale war for 30 years, don’t exactly make citizens want to trust in the government’s good intentions.

With President Obama’s re-election, we seem to have reached a turning point. Liberals have always tried to chip away at people’s rights.

But the hubris flying around Washington, D.C., and liberal-dominated state capitols across the country seems to have brought things to a place where the Left no longer feels compelled to hide its intentions and barely feels compelled to explain them.

And that place is the one the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment.