Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gun registration by any other name . . .


. . . is still registration - and registration, historically, has usually been the first step towards confiscation.  That's why most US gun owners are opposed to it.  Nevertheless, with the Obama administration reportedly preparing to require at least some, possibly all, private gun sales to go through the same background check process as dealer sales, we're looking at a de facto registration process.  After all, how will law enforcement be able to determine whether or not a background check was conducted before transferring a weapon without being able to check the firearm's serial number against a database of such transfers?

(Yes, I know Congress has mandated that the records of firearm transfers conducted through the NICS instant background check system should be discarded and destroyed within 24 hours . . . but if you believe that a copy isn't being kept somewhere, then I have this bridge in Brooklyn, NYC that I'd like to sell you.  Cash only, please, and in small bills.  Do you really think those who seek to exercise ever greater control over us will allow such useful information to be discarded, the intentions of Congress be damned?  Consider that the Supreme Court has insisted we have a constitutional right to privacy.  Tell that to the US government, why don't you?)

Many firearms owners have gone to great lengths to ensure that their primary defensive battery is not registered or 'papered' to them.  They've done so through private purchases;  some have also exchanged their own 'papered' weapons at swap meets for similar firearms owned by other individuals, so that both parties now have guns that they didn't buy and aren't recorded as having been transferred to them.  I think this has been a worthwhile precaution in the light of attempts by anti-gun forces to impose greater restrictions on the transfer of firearms.  If any agency now attempts to interrogate gun owners on the basis of, "You're on record as having bought this firearm, of this make and model, with this serial number, from that dealer on that date.  Where is it?", the owner can legitimately answer that he sold it or otherwise disposed of it some time ago.  No, he didn't bother to record the name and address of the purchaser, or the date and location of the transaction.  He wasn't legally required at the time to record such information, so even if a retroactive requirement to do so is mandated, it won't be practically possible to fulfil it.  Too bad.  So sad.

I'm also expecting attempts to make it more difficult to buy ammunition in bulk, either over the Internet or at stores, and probably to reimpose magazine capacity restrictions as well.  I think the current Administration will probably try to stretch executive powers to the limit in bypassing Congress to impose such restrictions, as well as requirements for the transfer of firearms.  I'd normally hope that Congress would balk at such measures and refuse to approve them . . . but after the current majority 'caved' and allowed a disastrously spendthrift budget to pass for the coming fiscal year, I'm not so sure they won't 'cave' again and simply accede to the Administration's plans.  It's up to each of us to prepare accordingly.

Gun owners simply have to accept the reality that the majority of the US population now lives in urban and suburban areas, where ideas of freedom and constitutional rights are greatly eroded under the stress of communal living and a necessarily more intrusive local government structure (without which those areas would probably be impossible to govern or run efficiently).  That colors their attitude towards firearms as well.  The average resident of a liberal/progressive city such as Chicago, or New York, or Boston, probably doesn't attach any great importance to the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.  Those of us who do are fighting against demographics, trying to maintain the supremacy of constitutional rights against an increasing number of people who believe in majority rule irrespective of what the constitution says.  It's going to be an uphill battle, particularly as millions of immigrants and illegal aliens are admitted who don't share our constitutional perspective, because they've never had it outside our borders.  We'd better be prepared for that reality.

Peter

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't like what you are saying. Sometimes the truth is hard to accept. Most people in urban areas will give up freedom for what they think is security.
I don't have any guns left. I had a boating accident and all my guns went to the bottom of the lake. Too Bad.

Billll said...

The next time a magazine capacity limitation or AW ban is proposed, make it a point to go to the hearings and ask the bills sponsor this. Since there is an exception* to the possession of magazines and firearms whose only purpose is to "spray fire and kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible"** for the police, perhaps the sponsor would like to enlighten us as to the task he/she has in mind for the police that they would need this capacity.

*There always is.
**Their words, not mine.

Gail said...

Scary but very similar to Stalin's actions and they voted him in too!

Uncle Lar said...

The 1994 AWB (under Clinton by the way) passed with a ten year sunset built in. The gun banners knew in their hearts that it would prove so effective that it would be renewed without challenge. Instead FBI and CDC studies proved that it had little if any effect on crime or public safety. And too, the Democrats took a terrible beating in the '94 mid term elections as a result of its passage.
Now the gun banners are apparently hoping that the nation's collective memory has faded and they can once again push onerous and ineffective gun control on the people. Onerous and ineffective in that no matter what laws they pass they always have maximum effect on honest citizens who are inclined to obey whatever laws apply. Criminals and terrorists oddly enough don't seem to follow the rules, damn them.
Whatever executive orders come out from der Leader in the next few months, pay close attention to the exact wording, particularly as to whether it reads "sale" or "transfer." Sale would mean a business transaction, while transfer would include gifts, inheritance, or if interpreted strictly, simply handing a gun to a friend to shoot at the range.

Rusty Gunner said...

The problem with the background-check-as-registration meme is that NICS (at least over the phone, I never used software) asks exactly one question about the gun: "Type of firearm?", and the available answers are Handgun, Long Gun, and Other. That's all, and that tells them almost nothing about what you bought, how many you bought, or since we phoned in background checks before touching the register, whether a sale was completed at all. In most of the country, even if the NICS data is retained it tells them only that on date X person Y was talking to a FFL, not whether you have any firearms now. Even money whether a judge would issue a warrant based on that.

As to whether NICS flushes personal data after 24 hours, they certainly behave as if they do for "Proceed" resolutions, the NICS examiners don't appear to have access to any data older than that. "Delayed" checks stay open until there's a resolution and "Denied" resolutions are at least reasonable suspicion for an investigation, if not probable cause to arrest so would be retained.

The 4473 form is retained by the dealer for 20 years and may be destroyed after that, unless the dealer leaves the trade in which event his records are turned over to the gummint, and it's a pretty safe bet they go to a document repository somewhere and sit in the dark until some investigator needs to trace a specific gun. We got a request for a 4473 about every other month.

I don't like the whole NICS abomination any more than anyone else but as a backdoor registration scheme it is remarkably poorly designed.

Jonathan H said...

This administration has a history of talking bigger than they act; think back to speeches by both the President and others (attorney general, etc), when compared to the actions of the ATF, executive orders, etc, they don't actually do what they say they want to.
Having said that, while this administration could effectively clamp down on private sales by declaring all sellers to be "in the business of" selling firearms, I doubt that will happen - my best guess is that the ATF will define how many sales per year is 'in the business of' selling firearms and requires a license. Given their past 'squishiness' as mentioned above, I suspect the numerical limit, if there is one, will be relatively high - I would be surprised it it was under 20. Personally, I understand the concern of defining a business but think it should be a long term number or multiple year rolling average to account for selling a lifetime's collection or unplanned expenses that require many sales to pay for.

In response to Rusty Gunner, above, when I have filled out the 4473, the dealer has filled in model and serial numbers on it. I have also read multiple dealers discussing recent visits from the BATF where agents brought a scanner and scanned every one of their 4473's for vague 'quality' purposes which sounds to me like an excuse to create a registry.
I trust the government as far as I could throw them - considering I work for the government (NOT in anything LE related), that isn't very far!

Peter said...

@Rusty Gunner: I think that was the old system. When I've undergone the checks here in Tennessee, they've also asked for make, model, caliber and serial number of the firearm. I find that extremely intrusive . . . but what can you do? (Except buy privately, of course, which I try to do if at all possible.)

JohninMd.(HELP?!??) said...

And the black market will grow exponentially, among those (like me) who will NOT give the State of Maryland my fingerprints to simply purchase a handgun, or a "restricted" shoulder arm such as an AR or AK. Or even some "scary" shotguns. Thank-you, Martin O'Malley, you stupid, statist socialist weasel. That this bad joke thinks he's Presidential material is laughable, until I consider the current resident of 1600 Penn. Ave.....

Rolf said...

I always thought that asking "why do you expect this law to be more effective than the ones banning recreational drugs that have made our streets so safe?" or something to that effect was a good start.

raven said...

If it gets to the point they are sending letters or police to confiscate a gun that was purchased and registered, if you can't produce the gun, you will be going with them. If you are lucky. The nazi's just shot people if they could not produce the weapon on the list.

Jon said...

Yeah. They start (trying) to confiscate handguns, I don't think it will be pretty. I have talked to a number of people (can't seem to remember their names) who have basically said that they will not turn the guns over, but they can come get the guns after they are done with them, if anyone is left.

It won't take that much resistance to make it unworkable.

I suggest they start with some of those states like Connecticut, where a lot of people are now felons for failing to register their guns. See how well that goes.

Anonymous said...

Gun control will be incremental. They will ask for the 'BAN IT ALL !', than capitulate with a ban on hi capacity autoloaders. This time with no sunset as Uncle Lar pointed above. Limits on the amount of ammunition - safe storage of firearms / ammunition - how many firearms you are allowed to own - etc. And again. And again. Until the gun owner realizes how far its progressed.