Buzzfeed has run an article on the fact that NRA is “campaigning against the threat of a national database of firearms or their owners. But in fact, the sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners.”
If they were like most groups that operate in DC, they’d consider themselves to have something like 33 million members (or however large their non-member contact list is), but are we supposed to be surprised by this? I only wish NRA was adept at using the types of sophisticated data mining techniques I’ve read about at work with the Obama Administration, but I’ve never gotten the impression their information technology capability even rose to close that level of sophistication.
Pretty clearly Buzzfeed is trying to damage NRA with this article. The fact is NRA would be stupid not to try to get lists of permit holders in states that have yet to make those lists private. It’s worth nothing that of the two states mentioned int his article, NRA has pushed for privacy laws in Iowa and passed the privacy laws in Virginia, the two states mentioned in this particular article.
But the biggest failing of the article is to assume that gun owners are opposed to gun registration for registration’s sake. We’re opposed to it because it gives officials a convenient list to come knocking on doors once the end game is reached, like they’ve done in New York City already. I’m really not concerned that Wayne LaPierre is going to come knocking on my door demanding I turn in my guns, and even if he did, NRA doesn’t have a list of every gun I own. I’m very concerned Diane “Mr and Mrs America, turn them all in” Feinstein would be quite willing to send government agents around, likely at gunpoint for dangerous folks like us, to collect them.
I’m far less concerned if someone knows I’m a gun owner, versus whether they know what guns I own. We already have de facto registration in this country via form 4473, but one reason the 4473 was preferred over a centralized registry is that in a desperate situation, 4473s are (well, mostly) local, in private hands, and can be effectively burned. Even absent that kind of civil disobedience, any list the government compiled wouldn’t be comprehensive anyway, because there are still legal avenues to transfer firearms without the 4473. In short, without a registry of guns, any confiscation effort will be futile, and will certainly be very incomplete.