Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Will "illegal" guns become the new form of "civil disobedience"?

I'm not talking about criminals here, people who intend to use their firearms for stick-ups, or terrorizing former spouses, or for mass killings.  I'm talking about the 99.something % of all the gun owners who have never contemplated much less committed a violent act with their weapons.

These are the gun owners who believe, that, as it has already happened in California, the required records for universal background checks will inevitably become the basis for de facto gun registration and, ultimately, confiscation--as thousands of weapons have already been confiscated (and mostly destroyed) in that state:
Other states may lack confiscation programs because they don’t track purchases as closely as California, which requires most weapons sales go through a licensed dealer and be reported.
(Oops, that does sound a bit like HB 35, doesn't it?)

What happens if they simply ignore the impending Delaware law requiring universal background checks for private arms transactions?

Some of them, for sure, will be cited and charged, even if they commit no other overtly illegal act.  The police or other government agents will eventually "discover" a weapon that was acquired without benefit of a background check, and the hammer will fall pretty hard.  But, curiously enough, I seriously doubt that will lead to an onrush of people turning in their now-"illegal" weapons.

For example, as J. D. Tuccille documents, that hasn't happened in Europe, where "illegal" firearms continue to exist by the millions.  Not even in the UK.

Instead, the folks tried and even jailed on these charges will eventually be seen by a significant percentage of Americans as victims rather than criminals.

So here we have the essential conundrum:  irresistible force and immovable object.

Irresistible force:  the State, determined to track virtually all firearms.

Immovable object:  citizens unwilling to comply with the law.

The old joke about not paying your taxes and going to jail also points out that if everybody in a State stopped pay their taxes, nobody would be going to jail.

If, as I suspect, a significant percentage of gun owners will refuse to comply with such laws, one then wonders how to characterize them.

To proponents of de facto registration, it is easy to suspect, they will be gun nuts, criminals, domestic terrorists, or seditious traitors.  I've seen most of those terms applied to gun owners over the past few months.

To opponents, they will be patriots exercising their constitutional rights via civil disobedience.

And this will all be academic until the first time that there is an attempt to confiscate such a gun that ends up--regardless of whose bad judgment leads to it--in bloodshed.

It's what comes after that which worries me.


delacrat said...


Warrant-less wiretaps confiscated our right to privacy.

Federal Asset forfeiture allows the state to confiscate just about any property it damn well pleases.

Likewise, Executive Order 13224 allows the Potus to "block" your assets.

The development of aerial robots, Somehow granted potus the power to confiscate your life.

With the NDAA, s/he can confiscate your ass, indefinitely, and w/o Due Process of law.

And consider how many of us have had our homes and livelihoods confiscated by the Real Authorities.

The state has the power to confiscate your right to vote.

Consider that all of the above powers of confiscation can be targeted at people who have either been convicted of no crime or have otherwise paid for their crime.

So much has been confiscated from law-abiding Americans already that the power to confiscate firearms is superfluous.


Delaware Watch said...

"If, as I suspect, a significant percentage of gun owners will refuse to comply...." I suspect that the percentage will be much lower than you think precisely because most gun owners are responsible and think that the bodies of bullet ridden children are not emblematic of liberty. They will want the controls that will prevent such tragedies. As for those who won't comply ostensibly for "philosophical" reasons, the epithet "gun nut" applies perfectly to such a socially irresponsible lot.

Thomas L. Knapp said...

Usually when we talk about "civil disobedience," we're talking about an open and public violation of a law that the person believes is bad, for the purpose of publicizing the badness of the law and rallying public support against it.

I don't think this really qualifies as "civil disobedience."

I'm not looking to "make a point" by refusing to ask Uncle Sugar's permission to buy a gun, refusing to register or otherwise disclose my ownership of a gun, and refusing to allow the government to steal my gun.

It's a lot less complicated than that: My guns are my guns, and moral reprobates like Delaware Watch and his pet politicians can't have them. They don't have to like it. It's that way whether they like it or not.

Duffy said...

I have an uneasy feeling that we're heading toward a precipice. The constant meddling in our lives in matters great and small (banning soda) may lead some people to just start ignoring all kinds of laws. You will always have scofflaws but if/when Mr. Middle Class America decides he's had enough and is going to ignore whichever laws he sees fit things could go sideways very quickly. I really, really don't want to see that.

NCSDad said...

Are we seeing this already? We are in regards to the trivial - speed limits, and the death rates on the road continue their downward march. We see it with drugs. Perhaps when middle class joe decides to ignore the law things will be just fine - except we will have created more criminals.

Mike W. said...

And this was hardly the first time we've seen confiscations in CA after they required "registration."

It happened in the 1980's. 1986 I believe after the state retroactively decided that decades old SKS rifles were now "assault weapons" and they now became illegal contraband.

HB35 sets up a registry of all purchases. No good can come of this.

Mike W. said...

Also, I think Delaware Watch seriously underestimates the number of people who simply will NOT comply with registration because they've seen far, far too many instances where registration lead to confiscation.

Delaware Watch said...

Yeah, I hear about these so-called mass confiscations. But the claims always come with either no links or from sources that lack credibility because they rest on bald assertions, deliberate distortions, or no corroborating evidence. You know, paranoid bullshit.

tom said...

"Yeah, I hear about these so-called mass confiscations. But the claims always come with either no links or from sources that lack credibility because they rest on bald assertions, deliberate distortions, or no corroborating evidence. You know, paranoid bullshit."

Delaware Watch, on the other hand, would never resort to bald assertions or deliberate distortions, so he must just be too lazy or clueless to realize that we now have this thing called Google where you can type in keywords such as "california gun confiscation" and get back links to pages like

Mike W. said...

Because I don't think DW's claim should go unrefuted.

Here's a CA statute which confiscated 50 BMG rifles in the state.

And here's the bit about SKS rifles

"Any person, firm, company, or corporation that is in possession of an SKS rifle shall do one of the following on or before January 1, 2000:

(A)Relinquish the SKS rifle to the Department of Justice pursuant to subdivision (h).

(B)Relinquish the SKS rifle to a law enforcement agency pursuant to Section 12288.

(C)Dispose of the SKS rifle as permitted by Section 12285."

Mike W. said...

Here's another example of registration leading to confiscation in Canada.