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.