Flawed Idea of Gun Registration & 347 Million Plus Firearms

by Greg Camp ; Opinion
AmmoLand News welcomes Greg Camp to our list of the best and brightest Second Amendment contributors.

Firearms Gun Registration
Flawed Idea of Gun Registration & 347 Million+ Firearms
Greg Camp
Greg Camp

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- One of the endemic notions of gun control advocates that flare up after any violence that grabs the headlines is the proposal that all guns must be registered to their owners.

The idea is that if the government knows which guns are in the hands of what law-abiding Americans, the flow of weaponry to criminals would be stanched.

There are multiple problems with this belief. For one thing, the unstated assumption being made here is that the United States exists in a closed system.

And yet, the explicit statement makes this laughable, given the porous nature of our borders. One example of this are the tons of illegal drugs that enter each year.  If our dogs and mechanical sensors can’t keep drugs out, what makes anyone think that we could block machine parts?

Anyone wishing to smuggle in guns would only have to hide them in bales of marijuana.

And the record of registries doesn’t provide hope for their supporters. Canada found that its long-gun registry costs billions of dollars while doing nothing to reduce crime or save lives. A parallel effort at keeping a ballistic database of handguns in Maryland—which is a registry in all but name—also resulted in not one criminal case being solved.

There is also the matter of the number of otherwise law-abiding people who would refuse to participate. Despite the stringency of the NY SAFE Act, including a requirement to tell law-enforcement about the “assault weapons” owned in the state, as Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, put it, the registry “still may be law, but the people of New York state have repealed it on their own.”  Of course, it’s only the law abiding who would have to register their weapons. Under the Haynes v. United States (1968) ruling of the Supreme Court, demanding that felons do the same would violate their right against self-incrimination, since they’re not supposed to be in possession of firearms.

The difficulties with a firearms registry are even clearer when we consider how many guns are currently in the country—the vast majority of which are currently not registered and many of which have changed hands since the original purchase. The study done by Harvard and Northeastern Universities claims that the number is around 270 million, but Gary Kleck’s estimate in 2012, based on sales figures, import/export data, and the like put the total at 347 million, and something tells me that a few guns have been bought in the years since.

But after all the facts are presented, advocates of gun control will trot out the claim that we accept voter registration and car registration, so we should have no objection to registering something else.

Each One, Teach One: Preserving and protecting the Second Amendment in the 21st century
Each One, Teach One: Preserving and protecting the Second Amendment in the 21st century

The problem here is that the claim is an example of the fallacy of equivocation, since not all registries are the same. I’ll acknowledge that the stated purpose of a vehicle registration is to discourage theft, but that doesn’t appear to work, changes in security technology to prevent stealing being instead the thing that keeps cars where they belong, though it should also be noted that car theft has declined along with drops in all types of crime in this country. The registration of vehicles seems to be aimed at raising funds for various state bureaucracies.

Voter registration, by contrast, serves the purpose of verifying the residence of the person in question in the district. And the opponents of voter ID laws point out that attempts to tighten laws regulating the casting of ballots are an effort at suppressing the vote of targeted groups.

The reality of gun registration is that its goal is to make legal firearms ownership more difficult, with the goal of convincing as many people as possible that the bother is too great.

Those who would violate rights need information to make their schemes possible, and those of us who care about gun rights must not give in to this invasion of our privacy.

About Greg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

  • 17 thoughts on “Flawed Idea of Gun Registration & 347 Million Plus Firearms

    1. This may be just a matter of personal experience, but whenever I hear someone bring up the old saw about the common man not being able to defeat our army, I find myself remembering my own experiences in Viet Nam, and the experiences of some of my friends who “fought the good fight ” with the IRA in Armagh (Northern Ireland). Ordinary people all around the world have defeated bigger and better armed and equipped armies repeatedly, as long as they were committed enough to accept the fact that it would take a long time and many casualties to win.

    2. There is also a little discussed, but very predictable, consequence of requiring something as onerous as a national gun registry, which would certainly be widely disobeyed (as even recent history has already demonstrated). That is the rapid deterioration of the normally good relationship between the general public and the police forces. The minute I am required to register my guns, and I decide not to comply with that law, I will have made myself someone who stands in opposition to the police forces, who are, of course, sworn to uphold the laws. That means that I will no longer be anxious to aid them in carrying out their duties, and whenever I must interact with them, I will be more suspicious, antagonistic, less helpful, and less forthcoming. Ask any cop, and you will be told that the primary way crimes are solved, is through the aid of citizens who choose to help the police. Where few are willing to do so, we see the development of neighborhoods like the crime-ridden inner-city areas where most of our national violence today occurs. This will occur on a much more widespread basis if vey unpopular laws are passed, as with the current national situation with unpopular marijuana laws. Carried even further, which would be likely to occur should the government attempt widespread or heavy-handed enforcement of a gun registration law, we would likely see the development of a civil war. We often mistake our Revolutionary War, and our Civil War, with real “civil wars,” but those were actually wars of secession. True civil warfare is more akin to what the world saw going on in Ireland. For example, it is unlikely that I, as an individual, would ever attack government or police forces themselves, as that would be tactically foolish. A far more likely target for individuals would be their “liberal” neighbors, or those anti-gun folks who would be likely to “rat them out,” exactly as occurred in Ireland for many years. It might behoove those who advocate such laws to consider this potential development, should things be carried to the extremes they seem to want.

    3. And of course never mind that the ‘progressives’ continue to claim that they have absolutely no way to determine how many people are in the USA illegally (cited number is ‘usually’ 11 million) or where they happen to be at any time yet they ‘think’ that they can figure out where 347 million firearms are. SMH, the biggest reality check ever will NOT give them a modicum of common sense……………….
      BTW, these are the same folks who are adamantly against voter registration/proof of residency.

      1. Yeah that 11 million figure has been floating around for the last 12-13 years? It’s probably at least 4X that amount by now……Just check Social Security payouts!

      2. “… no way to determine how many people are in the USA illegally” ?? The solution is actually quite simple…

        Over twenty years ago, when the “mad cow” epidemic was scaring hell out of people, the Department of Agriculture looked for “patient zero” (the cow that began the problem). They were able to trace the exact trace down the exact cow, in the exact stall, on the exact farm where the disease began.

        So, just give every illegal immigrant a cow!!

    4. Obviously those on the left want you to forget History. The Nazi German gov’t registered guns in 1933. I 1938 they came and seize all the firearms. In the next 6 years over 11 million people were exterminated. I could go on with examples of the Soviet Union, Turkey, Cambodia, Guatemala…But I think anyone with a brain gets the picture.

      1. Well, that leaves out the anti-gun leftist, progressive, liberal commie Dems. They have been dumbed down to the point that they find common sense and critical thinking incomprehensible.

    5. Canada spent 2 billion dollars and managed to register 7 million firearms(about 1/3 of the firearms in the country), that’s $286.00 per firearm. That times 115.66 million firearms(about 1/3) is a staggering amount of money. Americans are not nearly as complacent as Canadians so it’s unlikely they would even get 1/3rd registered. Obama certainly wasted enough money, which only shows they left has no regard for the taxpayer. Quebec is been given the go ahead to start their own gun registry, so will soon become the petri dish fo North America.. Wait for it!!

    6. I know common sense eludes these gun controlling people. Every person I know has a collection of firearms either passed down from family members or bought in different states through PPT’s. All legal. There is no way these firearms will be turned in or registered. Look at New York, by all accounts many people have decided to not comply, the same is true for California, Australia and Canada.

    7. What you seem to miss with your comments of BILLION-DOLLAR boondoggle long gun registries in Canada is the same thing good old Ted Kennedy and h clinton pointed out about the Canadian medical system: Americans can better implement a crappy idea/system – which is why we now have obamacare. Thank you democrats. Anything else you want to screw up? And now, the poor Canadians and other foreigners who could not get timely and/or effective medial care in their country can’t get it here either.

    8. Greg,

      I am in the middle of writing an article about the gun-grabbing Phil Murphy, the democRAT candidate for governor in New Jersey, and plan to steal a few of your well-crafted thoughts/terms above, with of course proper recognition….;)

    9. More important, registration is a threat to the right of the people. Part and parcel of which is the gov’t cannot know where all the guns are, otherwise is subverts the balance of power between people and gov’t. And that’s what the right is about: power.

      1. As evidenced by Paul Revere’s ride. On 18 April 1775, under orders from the British military commander in Boston, General Gage, British troops deployed to confiscate the firearms and munitions in the hands of the colonists. Paul Revere, and others, spread the warning in order that the colonists not be disarmed. The following day, April 19th, British troops were confronted by armed colonists at South Bridge, Concord, where a shot rang out, initiating the first battle of the revolutionary war with “the shot heard ’round the world”.

        1. The “shot heard round the world” is generally held to be the first few rounds that were fired earler that same day at Lexington, where a snaller contingent of Redcoats ordered Catpain Parker’s Lexington Militia to “lay down your arms and disperse”. No one really knows for sure who fired the first round, but it seems the sound of that one round set off a ragged volley from the Regulars. Eight men of Lexington were killed, six more injured. The Militia did return fire, a few rounds sent toward the intruders. They DID disperse, but did NOT “lay down their arms”.
          Once having dealt with the carnage, Captain Parker’s remaining soldiers set out later in the day, taking up a strong defensive position along the Concord Road and waitied for the certain return of Gage’s forces. From their excellent position Parker’s men were able to inflict considerable harm upon the retreating Lobsterbacks as they passed the area on their desparate retreat back to Boston. That hillside is still today known as Parker’s Revenge. On that day the “stupid farmers with their squirrel guns” took nearly one third of Gage’s officers out of action, and many more footsoldiers. It was one of the earliest uses of “asymetrical” or guerilla warfare anywhere, and the tactic became well employed in many of the battles were fought in the ensuing years. Whenever any “learned man” trots out tohe worn out old saw about “how can the common man, armed with typical homeowner’s weapons, have a chance against a well equipped and well trained modern military force (so give it up already you’re doomed before you start)” I remember the story of that day…. and how common farmers and homesteaders routed the greatest, best trained and equpped, and most experienced military force on the planet, inflicting VERY heavy casualties upon them. Gage’s report to the King is interesting reading.

      2. Yes, because the true purpose of the protection of the natural, pre-existing right to keep and bear arms is overthrowing tyranny. They MUST disarm us it. it is ALL about power. The time to take up arms is approaching, sadly.

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