Monday, May 09, 2005

Gun Confiscation and its Prevention

American Drumslinger (AD--and may not be work safe) put up a post last Thursday that I just read today. TriggerFinger linked to it and other bloggers may have linked it as well. AD’s post deserves all the attention it can get and I have added ideas of my own. So, go read his post and then come back here.

In case you didn’t click, here’s a summary. AD discusses how our government might confiscate arms. He points out that gun owners expect a hunkered down, “From My Cold Dead Hands, shoot-out as Federal agents bust down our doors.

Instead, he thinks that government will start by passing a ban with a grace period for compliance. The grace period will come and go and then government will use its computers to locate gun owners. They’ll send you a friendly letter asking to clear up their information. They’ll follow up on what you send and after a number of steps send Federal agents to your home with search warrants. They will do so perhaps while the IRS is auditing your taxes. (AD makes a minor error here when he said the BATFE is part of the Treasury Department, it was moved to Department of Justice about a year or so back.) After your appointment with your friendly IRS agent, you’ll be arrested in the parking lot or at home depending on what they find—and they will find your guns and/or ammo.

I think AD’s absolutely right on governmental procedure. The government has access to more information than we can imagine. Private databases are just as bad and eventually (if not already) our government will link these into one vast web. If you buy ammo at Cheaper than Dirt or other places, they’ll see who bought it using credit card or hacked company databases. If you always pay cash for ammo and guns, someone still has enough information to make you a “person of interest.” For instance, a seller you found in the want ads decides to cover himself and asks you for ID or jots down your car’s license tag. He may present that record to government agents when they come to him for a gun traced to him, the one on your hip.

Another thing that is happening now hinges on societal change. More people are living in cities than in rural areas and city dwellers don’t see guns in positive lights. They make it harder for people to buy and own guns, to shoot them, and to hunt. If Sarah Brady and her ilk make buying and owning a gun too onerous, fewer people will buy them. The fewer people who buy them, the fewer people who will resist “common sense” gun control. And, the fewer people who hunt, the fewer people need guns, which Sarah Brady will tell you are only for hunting or similar “sporting purposes.”

They make guns harder to buy guns through restrictive laws:
First, fewer places sell guns because they restricted how Federal gun licenses were issued. Hardware stores and other historic outlets don’t want to hassle with licensing. Zoning laws make it harder to operate or open a gun store.

Second, they add government checks as they did with the Brady Act; states may have even more onerous rules—looking at you Massachusetts.

Third, they make it hard to find appropriate places to shoot. Ranges are being challenged constantly on noise and now lead contamination.

Fourth, they make hunting expensive and concentrate it to only a few public lands. It used to be, you could save money hunting, but now licenses, fees, and gas cost more than a trip to a supermarket’s meat counter.

The fewer people who own guns, the easier it will be to confiscate them.

Many people on our left and right coast already view gunnies with fear and suspicion. They will welcome confiscation and because they probably don’t know any one who owns guns they will sleep well at night.

I don’t have any suggestions on how to handle AD’s confiscation scenario, but I have a couple of ideas that may slow our nation’s slide into gun-fearing wussidom. Become active in pro-gun organizations. Let our government know that we too are a powerful voting block. Even if you do not hunt, get the cheapest hunting license you can (many states have a “small game license” for a nominal fee). A state government’s not going to reduce hunting opportunities if 40% or more of its people are licensed hunters.

Finally, recruit just one person to gun ownership. If your spouse doesn’t own a gun, get him or her out to a range. If a co-worker talks wistfully about shooting BB guns in Boy Scot camp, get him to your nearest range. Learn all you can about your area’s gun rules, laws, regulations, and restrictions. Become politically active and fight unfair laws. Finally buy a gun as a gift, but make sure you follow all those regulations you learned about.

In short, recruit people to gun ownership. The more of us who own guns, who are politically active, with strong pro-rights organization, the less likely AD’s nightmare will come about.

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