In the ongoing fevered debate over gun control legislation, registration of firearms is a key flashpoint. “Progressives” insist that nothing could be more reasonable and benign than simply requiring every firearm and firearm owner to be registered with some government entity. Thus, they argue, bad guys could be screened out and guns used in crimes could be traced to help catch the criminals. They denounce as paranoid, delusional nonsense the concerns of gun owners that registration would lead to eventual confiscation.
In a “Fact Check” at Time.com intended to dismiss “The Gun Registry Red Herring,” Michael Scherer notes that President Obama’s “Now Is The Time” gun plan issued on January 16 does not call for a federal gun registry. However, the Time piece does acknowledge that in a 2001 interview Obama, then a state senator, stated: “I’ll continue to be in favor of handgun law registration requirements and licensing requirements for training.”
It is reasonable to believe that President Obama still holds to those views and is, at this point, taking a slower, more pragmatic, step-by-step approach to get momentum going in the direction of more expansive firearms restrictions.
Leaving that reasonable speculation aside, however, it is clear that gun rights advocates are far from delusional in suspecting that gun registration might be used to actually confiscate firearms that had previously been deemed legal. First of all, there is the historical record in one country after another. In the past century alone, fascist and communist regimes have used gun registration (oftentimes enacted by previous democratic governments) to identify gun owners and implement confiscation. In Canada, Australia, and many countries of Europe, gun registration has led to confiscation in recent years. It is happening here in the United States with state laws, as the recently passed legislation in New York State amply demonstrates.
Then, there is an abundance of statements from the militant gun control activists and the organizations they lead calling for outright bans and confiscation.
Nevertheless, disregarding this palpable evidence that the anti-gun lobby does indeed desire, and intend, to outlaw private firearm ownership (or make it so costly and onerous as to be impractical), the pundits and commentators of the liberal-left media would have us believe that only crazy yahoos would suspect that anyone seriously intends to infringe on the Second Amendment.
The anonymous Daily Kos blogger who goes by the moniker GrafZeppelin127 says in a January 25 posting entitled “Gun-Strokers' Self-Esteem Issues”:
One of the things that makes what passes for "debate" on gun laws, gun policy, gun control, gun safety, whatever you want to call it, so difficult is that so many of those who proclaim their opposition to these things always frame it in a way that pits them against things that are not happening, that no one is proposing, that no real person actually wants and that have no real chance of actually happening....
This, I think, is what a lot of this hysterical freakout over "gun-grabbing" is about, when no one is actually grabbing or proposing to grab anyone's guns.
We get a torrid lambasting of the supposedly ignorant gun-toting Bubbas from Justin Gibson (a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual activist, according to his linked Facebook profile) in his Tumblr blog entitled, “Guns are Just the Latest Symptom of the Right's Anti-Obama Delusion.” Gibson writes:
The current outrage and unfathomably ignorant claims from gun-fanatics that President Obama is sending federal forces to confiscate their precious firearms is a microcosm of the past four years of teabagger claims their liberties and freedoms are being trampled asunder....
The delusional conservatives’ real issue is they still cannot accept the results of the last two general elections, or the will of the people, so they fabricate imaginary sleights against the Constitution, their freedoms, and for the past month, belief the President is coming to seize their guns.
Well, President Obama may not be “coming to seize their guns” just yet, but plenty of other politicians are already going down that road. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted during a December 17 radio interview that confiscation is "one option" under his state’s new legislation.
In Iowa, Democratic State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer went on the radio to call for “radical changes” and said he favored a ban on semi-automatic guns — not just so-called “assault rifles,” and said the government should "start taking them" from owners who refuse to surrender any of the newly prohibited firearms.
As reported in the local newspaper:
In an interview, a fiery Muhlbauer said it is time to act with "radical changes" on gun laws and other issues to protect schoolchildren from shooting sprees like the one last week in Newtown, Conn.
"We cannot have big guns out here as far as the big guns that are out here, the semi-automatics and all of them," Muhlbauer said. "We can't have those running around out here. Those are not hunting weapons."
He added, "We should ban those in Iowa."
Muhlbauer, who did not list the specific weapons he wants outlawed in The Daily Times Herald interview, said he would like to see the ban implemented in a retroactive fashion.
"Even if you have them, I think we need to start taking them," Muhlbauer said. "We can't have those out there. Because if they're out there they're just going to get circulated around to the wrong people. Those guns should not be in the public's hands. There are just too big of guns."
In California, State Senator Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, has reintroduced legislation (SB 47) that would criminalize ownership of many formerly legal firearms. Owners would have to either turn them in or have them confiscated. His similar bill, SB 249, failed last summer, but with political impetus from exploitation of the Sandy Hook shooting, he is hoping to push this one through. And that is just a start; other anti-gun bills are also pending in the Democrat-controlled legislature. Sen. Yee’s chief-of-staff, Adam Keigwin, has stated that California should ban all guns, even bolt-action hunting rifles.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, perhaps the biggest gun in the anti-gun lobby, has often tipped its hand in the confiscation direction. In its annual scorecard for state gun control laws it grants “Extra Credit” points to states in which law enforcement uses firearms registration records to “disarm” categories of citizens that have been retroactively declared “Prohibited Handgun Possessors.” Here is the Brady description from their 2011 State Scorecard:
Disarm Prohibited Handgun Possessors: State law enforcement matches firearm records with prohibited person records to identify, disarm, and prosecute illegal firearms possessors.
Admission: Registration Is the “First Step” to Confiscation
Most of the gun grabbers are politically astute enough to realize that any frontal attack on the Second Amendment is politically untenable, because it will immediately arouse concerted opposition and will result in political retribution at the polls. So, the strategy is to conceal the real endgame goals and attempt piecemeal “reasonable” concessions that will not seem too painful, or that will immediately affect only a fraction of gun owners.
A recent article for the Daily Kos, the news and opinion blog site considered to be the Bible by many “Progressives,” provides one of the candid admissions by the Left that their real end goal is a total monopoly of gun ownership by the government. Entitled, “How to Ban Guns: A step by step, long term process,” the December 21 column by Daily Kos writer “Sporks” says:
The only way we can truly be safe and prevent further gun violence is to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing. This is the only thing that we can possibly do to keep our children safe from both mass murder and common street violence.
That’s pretty all-inclusive. Sporks would like to see that happen immediately, but,
Unfortunately, right now we can't. The political will is there, but the institutions are not. Honestly, this is a good thing. If we passed a law tomorrow banning all firearms, we would have massive noncompliance. What we need to do is establish the regulatory and informational institutions first.
Sporks then lays out precisely the game plan that many in the anti-gun lobby are already pursuing. This is obviously aimed at counseling and consoling the frustrated anti-gun militants and convincing them to adopt a more patient, gradualist mindset, with the objective of attaining what now seems politically unattainable. First the gun-grabbers must identify where the guns are and who possesses them. Sporks writes:
This is how we do it:
The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them. Canada has a national firearms registry. We need to copy their model. We need a law demanding all firearms be registered to a national database. We need to know who has them and where they are. We need to make this as easy as possible for gun owners. The federal government provides the money and technical expertise, and the State police carry it out. Like a funded mandate. Most firearms already have a serial number on them, so it would really be a matter of taking the information already on the ATF form 4473 and putting it in a national database. I think about 6 months should be enough time.
See how reasonable they are; they’ll make it easy and convenient, and they’ll even help pay for it (with your own tax dollars). Sporks continues:
Along with this, make private sales illegal. When a firearm is transferred, make it law that the registration must be updated. Again, make it super easy to do. Perhaps over the internet. Dealers can log in by their FFLs and update the registration. Additionally, new guns are to be registered by the manufacturer. The object here is to create a clear paper trail from factory to distributor to dealer to owner. We want to encourage as much voluntary compliance as possible.
“Now … we can do what we will”
For the impatient activists who want a total ban immediately, Sporks reinterates and expounds:
So registration is the first step. Now that the vast majority are registered, we can do what we will. One good first step would be to close the registry to new registrations. This would, in effect, prevent new guns from being made or imported. This would put the murder machine corporations out of business for good, and cut the money supply to the NRA/GOA [National Rifle Association/Gun Owners of America]. As money dries up, the political capital needed for new controls will be greatly reduced.
Yes, registration is just the first step to the ultimate goal, which, as Sporks said, is “to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything.” In the meantime, he has some additional interim measures:
There are a few other things I would suggest. I would suggest an immediate, national ban on concealed carry. A ban on internet sales of guns and ammunition is a no brainer. Microstamping would also be a very good thing. Even if the only thing it does is drive up costs, it could still lead to crimes being solved. I'm willing to try every advantage we can get.
Sporks accentuates the need to “drive up the costs,” which has been used successfully in other countries in disarming the civilian populace. The government propaganda machine and its allies in the media will go into overdrive to demonize gun owners. And, Sporks says, hunting should also be targeted for increased vilification:
We must make guns expensive and unpopular, just like cigarettes. A nationwide, antigun campaign paid for by a per gun yearly tax paid by owners, dealers, and manufacturers would work well in this regard. We should also segway [sic] into an anti-hunting campaign, like those in the UK. By making hunting expensive and unpopular, we can make the transition to a gun free society much less of a headache for us.
So much for the anti-gun advocates who insist they have no intention of going after guns used for hunting. Gun rights champions realize that hunting is an ancillary right; America's Founders intended the 2nd Amendment as the ultimate check and balance against tyrannical government, protecting all other rights. The gun grabbers though, have sought to split hunters off from the Second Amendment stalwarts by offering false assurances that their guns are not being targeted. Sporks' admission, together with current legislative pushes, should cause hunters who have fallen for that line to take notice. Sporks concludes:
I know this seems harsh, but this is the only way we can be truly safe. I don't want my kids being shot at by a deranged NRA member. I'm sure you don't either. So lets stop looking for short term solutions and start looking long term. Registration is the first step.
Tell Pres. Obama and democrats in congress to demand mandatory, comprehensive gun registration. It's the only way we can ban guns with any effectiveness.
Those who are committed to the 2nd Amendment can thank Sporks for having inadvertently contributed a major service to the preservation of the right to keep and bear arms. With this column he has openly stated the real sinister agenda behind the more “reasonable” benign-sounding proposals of the anti-gun lobby. He has admitted to all of us “gun-toting Bubbas” that our paranoid “delusions” are firmly grounded in reality. And that should go a long way in steeling the resolve of all constitutionalists to redouble their efforts against these attacks on liberty and those elected office holders who support them.