Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thoughts on Gun Laws

I had to do a little searching today through the ATF’s website to make sure I don’t run afoul of an obscure, subjective, little regulation that if I only slightly violated would land me in a Federal prison for five to ten. It’s not the first time I’ve searched the site or read laws, regulations, rules and/or ordinances.

It won’t be the last time I’ll search these laws, but this time it set me to thinking about a post I made last week regarding Wal-Mart stopping gun sales in selected stores. Serendipitously I read Alphecca’s current “Weekly Check on the Bias” and learned that Wal-Mart’s decision is based largely on the hassle of dealing with regulations.

There were several comments to my post (linked above) and a follow up that argued the merits of guns being sold in specialty stores versus being sold in department stores. Commenters hashed that one out quite well. While I prefer to buy guns in a gun store, I still believe it’s bad for us gunnies to have guns sold only in one type of outlet.

In my post, I described how regulations have forced gun sales into gun stores so that gun-fearing wussies can avoid even the sight of those eeevvillll guns. It wasn’t always this way. I’ve never lied (here) about my age. I’m 50 years old and I remember gun counters in Sears, and ammo and gun sales in hardware stores. But I was 13 years old when all that changed. Someone who is under 40 (or so) has no recollection of such times.

The Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 created a sea change controlling gun sales and even ammo sales. Gun dealers had to get Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) from the ATF. States and even localities passed their own laws and zoning restrictions. A department store manager or owner had to weigh costs and risks of selling guns or removing gun counters. Wal-Mart is just one more in a long list of outlets that have stopped or greatly reduced gun sales.

With the increase of these laws, we are more and more hemmed in. If government ever wants to stop gun sales completely, it will take only a few changes in laws, regulations, or enforcement to convince even the most steadfast gun store owners that they need to find a different business or face jail. The risk and hassle could become too great.

Similarly, individuals face similar problems also exasperated by state laws. If you want to sell a gun to a friend or a family member, you'd better do it right no matter your intent. If you want to take a gun into another state to target shoot or if you have one hollow point cartridge in your possession you’d better go to the right state.

Lawmakers have put us in this position, but it’s not entirely their fault. Lawmakers answer to the people and anti-gunnies keep getting elected from states that support their gun control nuttery. In a state like Massachusetts, anti-gun laws are popular. Even we gun owners aren’t innocent when we want to pass laws that support bans on scary rifles or other legislation.

We gunnies have become a minority; albeit a strong one, but a minority nevertheless. Each year our ranks are whittled away one gunnie at a time as old age takes us or when a gunnie sells his or her guns simply because they’re too big a hassle to own. That’s the goal of anti-gunnies and unless we can stay strong and united, they will win over time.

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