In the ongoing fevered debate over gun control legislation, registration of firearms is a key flashpoint. u201CProgressivesu201D insist that nothing could be more reasonable and benign than simply requiring every firearm and firearm owner to be registered with some government entity. Thus, they argue, bad guys could be screened out and guns used in crimes could be traced to help catch the criminals. They denounce as paranoid, delusional nonsense the concerns of gun owners that registration would lead to eventual confiscation.
In a u201CFact Checku201D at Time.com intended to dismiss u201CThe Gun Registry Red Herring,u201D Michael Scherer notes that President Obama's u201CNow Is The Timeu201D gun plan issued on January 16 does not call for a federal gun registry. However, the Time piece does acknowledge that in a 2001 interview Obama, then a state senator, stated: u201CI'll continue to be in favor of handgun law registration requirements and licensing requirements for training.u201D
It is reasonable to believe that President Obama still holds to those views and is, at this point, taking a slower, more pragmatic, step-by-step approach to get momentum going in the direction of more expansive firearms restrictions.
Leaving that reasonable speculation aside, however, it is clear that gun rights advocates are far from delusional in suspecting that gun registration might be used to actually confiscate firearms that had previously been deemed legal. First of all, there is the historical record in one country after another. In the past century alone, fascist and communist regimes have used gun registration (oftentimes enacted by previous democratic governments) to identify gun owners and implement confiscation. In Canada, Australia, and many countries of Europe, gun registration has led to confiscation in recent years. It is happening here in the United States with state laws, as the recently passed legislation in New York State amply demonstrates.
Then, there is an abundance of statements from the militant gun control activists and the organizations they lead calling for outright bans and confiscation.
Nevertheless, disregarding this palpable evidence that the anti-gun lobby does indeed desire, and intend, to outlaw private firearm ownership (or make it so costly and onerous as to be impractical), the pundits and commentators of the liberal-left media would have us believe that only crazy yahoos would suspect that anyone seriously intends to infringe on the Second Amendment.
The anonymous Daily Kos blogger who goes by the moniker GrafZeppelin127 says in a January 25 posting entitled u201CGun-Strokers’ Self-Esteem Issuesu201D:
One of the things that makes what passes for “debate” on gun laws, gun policy, gun control, gun safety, whatever you want to call it, so difficult is that so many of those who proclaim their opposition to these things always frame it in a way that pits them against things that are not happening, that no one is proposing, that no real person actually wants and that have no real chance of actually happening….
This, I think, is what a lot of this hysterical freakout over “gun-grabbing” is about, when no one is actually grabbing or proposing to grab anyone’s guns.
We get a torrid lambasting of the supposedly ignorant gun-toting Bubbas from Justin Gibson (a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual activist, according to his linked Facebook profile) in his Tumblr blog entitled, u201CGuns are Just the Latest Symptom of the Right’s Anti-Obama Delusion.u201D Gibson writes:
The current outrage and unfathomably ignorant claims from gun-fanatics that President Obama is sending federal forces to confiscate their precious firearms is a microcosm of the past four years of teabagger claims their liberties and freedoms are being trampled asunder….
The delusional conservatives' real issue is they still cannot accept the results of the last two general elections, or the will of the people, so they fabricate imaginary sleights against the Constitution, their freedoms, and for the past month, belief the President is coming to seize their guns.
Well, President Obama may not be u201Ccoming to seize their gunsu201D just yet, but plenty of other politicians are already going down that road. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted during a December 17 radio interview that confiscation is “one option” under his state's new legislation.
In Iowa, Democratic State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer went on the radio to call for u201Cradical changesu201D and said he favored a ban on semi-automatic guns u2014 not just so-called u201Cassault rifles,u201D and said the government should “start taking them” from owners who refuse to surrender any of the newly prohibited firearms.
As reported in the local newspaper:
In an interview, a fiery Muhlbauer said it is time to act with “radical changes” on gun laws and other issues to protect schoolchildren from shooting sprees like the one last week in Newtown, Conn.
“We cannot have big guns out here as far as the big guns that are out here, the semi-automatics and all of them,” Muhlbauer said. “We can’t have those running around out here. Those are not hunting weapons.”
He added, “We should ban those in Iowa.”
Muhlbauer, who did not list the specific weapons he wants outlawed in The Daily Times Herald interview, said he would like to see the ban implemented in a retroactive fashion.
“Even if you have them, I think we need to start taking them,” Muhlbauer said. “We can’t have those out there. Because if they’re out there they’re just going to get circulated around to the wrong people. Those guns should not be in the public’s hands. There are just too big of guns.”
In California, State Senator Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, has reintroduced legislation (SB 47) that would criminalize ownership of many formerly legal firearms. Owners would have to either turn them in or have them confiscated. His similar bill, SB 249, failed last summer, but with political impetus from exploitation of the Sandy Hook shooting, he is hoping to push this one through. And that is just a start; other anti-gun bills are also pending in the Democrat-controlled legislature. Sen. Yee's chief-of-staff, Adam Keigwin, has stated that California should ban all guns, even bolt-action hunting rifles.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, perhaps the biggest gun in the anti-gun lobby, has often tipped its hand in the confiscation direction. In its annual scorecard for state gun control laws it grants u201CExtra Creditu201D points to states in which law enforcement uses firearms registration records to u201Cdisarmu201D categories of citizens that have been retroactively declared u201CProhibited Handgun Possessors.u201D Here is the Brady description from their 2011 State Scorecard:
Disarm Prohibited Handgun Possessors: State law enforcement matches firearm records with prohibited person records to identify, disarm, and prosecute illegal firearms possessors.