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More on Registration

Joe notes all the problems with the background check issue, and I would concur that the issue is not about background checks but about registration. We’ve already had defacto registration in the United States since 1968, through the 4473 you fill out with every purchase. But it’s weak tea when it comes to our main concern. With California putting confiscation of registered firearms on the table, that’s going to change the dynamic for many of our people.

Let me offer you a scenario, where a confiscation bill is passed, but they pass it out of the gate, with a failure to do registration first. First, the knock at the door is unlikely, because they don’t know what I have. Sure, they could recall all the 4473s, but I think that would be met with mass civil disobedience. The proper response to such an order would be for gun dealers to take all their 4473s out into the streets and burn them. But would they?

Even if dealers turn in their 4473s, and a registry is compiled from it, you were still free to sell those firearms privately. If the knock does come at the door “Oh, you know, when it looked like they were going to pass that bill, I went to a gun show and sold them all.” Perfectly legal. “Yeah, I checked the guy’s ID, but I didn’t keep any record of who he was.” Perfectly legal. Not that I’d suggesting saying anything to cops who show up at your door, but just to illustrate here.

In the event that private sales are banned, if a California-style confiscation bill is passed, you will have no options. If you answer that you sold the guns without “registering” them, you’re still going to jail. You just admitted to a crime. If you tell them you lost them on a camping trip when your canoe tipped over, well, now you know what “lost and stolen” is really all about. You’re in a no win situation. They know what you have, and if you don’t have it, you’re a criminal. If you do have it, you’re a criminal. You’re screwed.

I am very concerned we’re going to get a private transfer ban rammed down our throats, and if we do, I can only hope it can have enough exceptions tacked onto it such that it does not make for an effective registry. The anti-gun folks have to understand this: we don’t trust you. We don’t trust the politicians. Confiscation is on the table. Your machinations that it is not are soothing lies meant to trick the more gullible among us. They barely avoided confiscation in New York, and now California is floating a bill to confiscate registered firearms. I am very sympathetic to the concern background checks are meant to address, but the whole system would have to be rethought from the ground up before we’re going to agree to apply them universally. It might also help to tell politicians and radicals in your own movement that if you want to have some credibility with “we’re not out to take your guns,” it would help to stop floating proposals that would, you know, take our guns.

21 Responses to “More on Registration”

  1. Miguel says:

    There is a way to “give in” to the Universal Background check avoiding registration: Allow citizens access to NICS. No FFL, no record keeping other than a bill of sale and a NICS approval number on the bill.
    If I am not mistaken, there is an online NICS already in place for FFLs. Just make it accessible to anybody and I would even say charge a small fee for it so the costs of using it are covered.

  2. McThag says:

    Not screwed. Now free to have any gun I want, including a machinegun. All I have to do to confirm that is talk to the local drug dealers. They all have guns, they’re all convicted felons.

  3. Harry Schell says:

    Any banned or unregistered weapon could be seized when a LEO sees it, the owner brought up on charges. The state can go after those who have registered, as it has the time, but you cannot use a banned weapon, even for a lawful purpose, without facing charges yourself.

    This has another dimension. Since you are now a criminal, you will be reluctant to discuss what you have with others. You will be reluctant to travel with the banned weapon, lest an ordinary traffic issue turn into felony charges and seizure. You are guilty, which will color any interaction with LEO’s, not knowing what they know or don’t.

    This tends to isolate people from each other. It makes planning for emergencies more difficult, the formation of a militia in response to any significant threat harder. You are somewhat immobilized, and should develop distrust in LEO’s or any government rep. Having someone do work in your home may be problematic for the amount of space you have to conceal “bad stuff”.

    Damage is done to the fabric of society, and the hold of government increased for the walls one builds to stay safe from seizure and jail.

    Since government can’t get them all, when they do find someone, an example will be made, to the fullest extent of law and the imagination of a prosecutor. They’ll examine your dog to find out if they can add sodomy to the writ. You can bet any family members they can get to will have their homes tossed, in case they are accomplices and also can be charged.

    It’s for the children, y’know.

    Resistance is not futile, but it has a price, general and individual.

    • mattcfii says:

      I agree that registration leads to confiscation. But in my book, hypothetically, confiscation day is the last straw for me. Too many people have the the exact mentality that burying your guns is the response to registration and that just allows allows them to weaken and divide us.

      Not registering prevents you from starting in the political fight and practicing with that firearm until finally come for it. I understand that registering means they come for me sooner, but since I’m waiting my first NFA item, that is already a given. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean an instant raid. California can’t even go after all the felons they know have guns, the NFA database does have holes. I don’t think they can find everybody or even attempt to get everyone at once. It will give time for a hopefully peaceful response and others to prepare and dig up their guns. As the cliche goes if it is time to bury your guns, it’s time to use them. “First they came for the Jews…” and first they come for the still registered “assault weapons…”

      This will divide us publicly, but you guys that don’t register better be there to back us up with all your unregistered stuff and have better upped the firepower since you are no longer confined by the law. I would agree more with the whole “I just won’t register” line of thought if it didn’t make me a criminal and force me underground well before where I think most people will draw the line. Most people will take Sebastian’s line of thought, they won’t register and they’ll go in hiding instead of forcing the issue (which I believe should be peaceful public protest and civil disobedience but self defense is a human right).

      The problem with sticking your head in the sand and losing all your firearms on a boat trip is that having an unregistered gun will be a felony. A decent number of 4473s, NRA membership (you still should be a member to prevent all this), internet gun forum/blog posts, or East German style informants (nosey neighbors, anti co-workers, family members) will quickly be enough probable cause for a search warrant with this weakened 4th Amendment. They will find many of you and your hidden unregistered guns (actually they will come for some of you first but you will be painted as criminals and the remaining legal owners will be limited with what we can do). Of course, no longer being on the legal side you can then go to the blackmarket after that. But, how are you going to confirm function and gain proficiency with these new to you firearms of questionable functionality? Plus there was that trip to Club Fed…

      Now, I do think no one in New York should register right now, there is still a lot of legal fight left. But if it comes to that on a National level, I’d be registering because the rest of you will be trying to lay low and leave the political fight. I’d be waiting to the last possible second to do that, hoping SAF pulls it out, but I’d still stay on the legal side.

      I’ll be out there they fighting politically after registration because so many of you will then be out of it. It will be a lonely fight that will be a losing one with how little support I will have. Remember that many people underground kills the industry and its support.

      While I believe our true strength is our grassroots, you will all be underground seeds. Our sunlight, fertilizer, and water of NRA, industry, and pro gun rights politicians will be gone. I will be one of those few wilted blades of grass, ready to be cut down. The rest of you better sprout up fast before all is lost.

      It’s a good thing that is all hypothetical!!! Now is the time to stop them. With the darkness of registration, how it really ends is the antis get their long game to just run out the clock as gun culture slowly dies due to the division killing our lawn. Why cut the grass when you can just wait for the drought?

  4. Bryan S. says:

    Luckily, if / when confiscation happens, we dont need a Paul Revere to hop on a horse. We have a much better communications network.

    The question then… does California become the next Lexington?

    • HSR47 says:

      Disrupting the communication system isn’t really all that difficult, especially short term.

      Add to this, that they’d likely simultaneously serve search warrants and super-duper-secret gag orders. View the post on TTAG from earlier this week about the alleged raid on a kitchen-table FFL: They ambushed him while he was driving on the highway, drove him back to his home, and then tossed the place.

      As for the next Lexington, it seems to me that New York would be the more probable epicenter of activity; Confiscation hasn’t passed in CA, but it *has* passed in NY.

      • Sebastian says:

        TTAG is a naughty word in these parts. We think they are arrogant pricks who are more interested in making money than they are in being a real part of the online gun rights community.

        • HSR47 says:

          Like it or not, their readership is massive, they have tons of content, and of late they have made seemingly significant steps to attempt to normalize firearm ownership. Their “I’m a gun owner” series is significant in this regard, because it proves that we are a very diverse group, not only in terms of gender/ethnicity, but in terms of other political beliefs.

          Frankly, I don’t care how you feel about Farago on a personal level. I certainly see much of what you dislike about the way he runs things, but he has seen the example of Recoil magazine, which combined with the draconian nature of the proposed legislation we are facing seems to have moderated his fuddish tendencies.

          To paraphrase Morgan Friedman, we don’t need to throw the bums out, we just need to make it profitable for even the scoundrels to do the right thing. To this end, Farago may be a Fudd and an asshole, but he appears to be intelligent enough to give people what they are clearly demanding, and he clearly wants to ensure the continued profitability of his enterprise.

          At this point, we need every friend we can get; we must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. Our enemies are revealing themselves across the country, and we can no longer afford to sit and bicker among ourselves.

          • Sebastian says:

            I’m not making war on TTAG. I mostly ignore them. But they pissed a lot of people off in this community by taking content, swiping photos, taking credit for things that were the efforts of the community as a whole. I also don’t really appreciate their style of trying to be edgy and provocative. I’d also point out they often get things very wrong. Not just on opinions, but on factual matters. And that’s just what I come across generally. I don’t read TTAG on a regular basis.

            That said, I agree Farago is a man who knows how to run a blog and web site. I just don’t want the baggage that seems to come with him. There are plenty of other large, commercial players in this market I have nothing against and get along fine with.

  5. Asdf says:

    I will agree to background checks on private transfers as soon as the government accepts the full burden of proof that a background check was *not* performed. And the government should make NICS available to everybody at no additional cost (all taxpayers should foot the bill as all taxpayers benefit from it). Under no circumstances should any serial number be tied to any name – let the government conduct operations to catch people in the act of transferring firearms without background checks if they want prosecutions, period.

  6. Andy B. says:

    All of these comments about what government can/cannot/should not do with Instant Background Checks gave me a flashback:

    Many years ago we were having a coffeepot bull session at work about mail privacy. Someone stated “the government cannot just go opening your mail. . .” One of my coworkers, who had been born and raised in a communist country, roared with laughter. “You Americans are so stupid!” she blurted, “You really believe a tenth of a millimeter of paper is going to stop a government from finding out what it wants to know?”

    Right now we have a government that for more than a year vacillated about whether or not a piece of paper existed, in which was stated they believe they have the legal right to selectively execute American citizens without trial. And you believe words on paper are going to prevent them from misusing an ever-expanding NICS system?

    I suppose people get tired of me ragging on our Pennsylvania system, so I invite any knowledgeable Pennsylvanian to comment on what the law allegedly prohibits our State Police from using the PICS system for, versus what they actually use it for; and what the PA Supreme Court had to say about that.

  7. Kevin Highland says:

    Illinois requires that I keep records of any private transfers for a period of 10 years. I can’t sell to an Illinois Resident that doesn’t have a Firearms Owner ID Card.

    • Bryan S. says:

      My friends in NJ tell of a couple warehouses of 55 gal drums… full of registrations up there. Its not kept computerized, from what I know.

  8. Try this: they want to keep criminals and prohibited people from having guns.

    We want to be sure that good people can always get guns without bureaucratic delays or mistaken denials.

    The only way to meet both these demands is to refuse universal background checks while keeping a closer eye on prohibited people.

    I suggest adding a prohibited stamp to the driver’s license of anyone who cannot legally buy or own a firearm. The seller should always check the buyer’s ID when they sell a gun. If the prohibited stamp isn’t there, they’re good to go. Jot down the date and the DL number, and you have your proof of a background check — without bureaucratic nonsense and with no possibility of registration.

    No registration required. No bureaucratic bottlenecks.

    Did you know it’s taking a year and a half wait time to legally own a gun in some counties in NY?! That’s not acceptable, especially when it comes to exercising the most basic of all human rights — the right to protect your own life.

    • Weer'd Beard says:

      +1 Kathy!

      The best solution is to simply add a “NICS Clear” endorsement to all Driver’s licenses and state IDs which will be changed in the event of felony charge.

      Further this will save employers who do background checks on new hires, as the endorsement will show that their background is clear of any serious issues.

      Also the de-facto FFL/ATF registry is 100% illegal, so any “olive branches” put in a centralized background check bill can’t be trusted.

    • HSR47 says:

      I think the best way to accomplish this is to put a NICS status check notation (go or no-go) on *all* government issued forms of photo identification, perhaps with an option to opt-out, in which case a standard NICS check would need to be run to purchase firearms.

      The option to opt-out is, in my opinion, necessary in order to stop lawsuits against such a measure. In the absence of an option to opt-out, the judicial system would, no doubt, either demand that one be created, or overturn the entire NICS-status-on-ID provision.

  9. “The proper response to such an order would be for gun dealers to take all their 4473s out into the streets and burn them. But would they?”

    You imagine that the dealers would be offered a choice. I would hate to see law abiding FFL holders held at gunpoint by and forced to hand over all their Form 4473s to citizens for destruction, but I would not stop it from happening either.

    I would be shocked, shocked, to see FFLs abused in such a manner. But at least these FFLs could honestly testify later that they did it under duress.

    • Andy B. says:

      I don’t want to imply that I don’t recognize reality, but people who accept privileges from the government in the form of licenses and permits (and yes, I have a bunch of them) are making a deal with the devil that is always liable — or assured — to have downsides. We should not be shocked, shocked! when they eventually manifest themselves.

      • HSR47 says:

        I’m not sure you read his comment carefully enough:

        He’s implying that, should the government dictate that all FFL’s hand over their stored 4473’s, that WE THE PEOPLE should move to confiscate those documents first, by force.

        Therefore, we ensure some degree of safety from government molestation, and the FFL’s maintain some degree of plausible deniability.

  10. Billll says:

    I notice that the most draconian efforts are being undertaken in one-party-rules states, all blue.

    Registration should be the red line. California has confiscated registered guns in the past and is currently doing it again. New York has done it in the past and is talking about doing it again. Fool me once…

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