Professor Tim Smith has calculated “The Social Costs of Guns.”Â Apparently if you use “market approaches” to artificially drive up the cost of gun ownership, it’s not really gun control, even though his proposal would cost me thousands of dollars each year. He does a calculation on the social cost of gun ownership. To Prof. Smith’s credit, he admits that the social costs of rifles are actually very low, because they are so rarely used in crime. But at the end he proposes an annual registration fee of $140 per firearm, to cover the social cost they impose.
A lot of people would give up on gun ownership under this scheme, so it’s a political non-starter. It would gut our political power to resist further encroachments, and the registration scheme it would involve would result in massive non-compliance by gun owners. So this is not something that would ever become reality even if it could be passed.