I think one aspect of gun control that is all too often overlooked by those who advocate for it is that for gun control to really work, it requires the willing compliance of the gun community. Push too far, and compliance and respect for the law will disappear, and most of the benefits proponents advocate will as well. Not only will the supposed benefits of any new law not materialize, but perceived benefits of current gun control will as well. New York is about to become an example of this, as millions of New Yorkers defy Cuomo’s draconian gun ban and registration law. There’s an old saying that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns, but the unsaid corollary to that is always that we’re all going to become outlaws. Is a situation where millions of people are suddenly made criminals conducive to a health relationship with the law and law enforcement? Is it conductive to people remaining law abiding? Let me provide some examples.
Some of the proposed laws at the federal level would make it a crime to own an AR-15, and would subject to the same scrutiny as the National Firearms Act. At some point, an AR-15 owner who is defying the law is going to find himself answering an important question “If the penalties are the same or similar for having an AR-15 as having an M4, why the hell don’t I convert this thing?” Currently what prevents this is that most people simply lack the skill, and most people who have machining ability, machine equipment, or gun smithing skills won’t do this kind of work. But in a world where the vast majority of semi-auto owners are outlaws the same as someone who has an illegal machine gun, will that hold? Remember, once you destroy respect for the law, a lot of things that currently would never be on the table will suddenly be on it.
Now we also have a number of states and local jurisdictions preparing to jump on the nullification bandwagon, and a lot of these local jurisdictions aren’t just speaking of nullification of new laws, but of gun laws in general. Compliance not only requires our respect, it also requires the respect of local law enforcement, and in many areas of the country, that’s not going to be forthcoming. What’s going to happen when local authorities refuse to investigate or prosecute people for dealing in guns without federal licenses? What are sheriffs and police chiefs going to do when they know almost half the families in their towns are criminals? The federal government does not have the resources, absent willing compliance, to put everyone in jail, and neither does the State of New York.
I will submit to you that if draconian federal gun control laws go through, all respect for gun control that exists now will disappear. There will be massive amounts of non-compliance, both out of outright defiance and out of ignorance. There were people prosecuted in the first wave of assault weapons bans for having things like Marlin Model 60s in their closets, completely unaware they possessed what was now labeled an “assault weapon,” and which had to be registered or surrendered. We’re about to see widespread defiance in New York, and millions of New Yorkers start to realize what the next step is once they are registered. If they are unsure, they need look no further than the city that torments them and their rights.
Gun control advocates really do not understand the fire they are playing with, with much of what is being proposed. How many millions of Americans are you prepared to imprison? How many are you prepared to kill? What is the count of ruined lives, broken families, and ruin are you willing to inflict to try to achieve your rainbow farting unicorn utopia where every gun turns into a flower? Widespread disrespect for the law by millions of Americans is not going to bring that about, and in fact, may only serve to create larger unregulated markets, and far more willingness to engage in law breaking people would not be willing to engage in under normal circumstances.