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.