Unintended consequences

Good intentions are not good enough. In real life you need to look at the risks as well as the intended rewards of what you and your government do. Gun registration may sound like a good thing to some people but what if the registry became accessible to the bad guys?

Maybe this is what it looks like:

FIFTY firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition have been stolen from registered NSW gun owners in the past 16 days, prompting fears the firearms registry has been compromised.

Gun dealers and victims said the registry would be a gold mine to criminals as it contained details of the types of weapons, where they were stored and addresses of owners.

Registration increases the value of unregistered guns and increases the chances of theft (“creation” of unregistered guns). The registration list itself becomes a target because of its value in finding guns to steal.

Registration of firearms is only good for one thing… confiscation. And that confiscation could be thieves looking to make a buck or thugs getting a government paycheck. It doesn’t really matter. Don’t let them register your firearms.

12 thoughts on “Unintended consequences

  1. Same goes for the bastards that publish carry permit data. Few people have a permit and DON’T have a few guns.

    For criminals it becomes a shopping list. Sure I’ll shoot an intruder in my home….but what happens when I’m at work?

  2. A few years back, around the time the AWB started, there was a rush of publicity about “clean” firearms that had no paperwork tracing back to the current owner, and preferably one or more previous owners.

    It is still possible to purchase a firearm without having a paper trail leading directly to you, the current owner. Private sales still exist, and paperwork in most states is not required for them.

    Is there any real benefit to “off the book” sales, beyond staying off a potential registry? I ask because the subject has not come up in gun publications recently, to my knowledge. Like the “How to Bury an AK and Then Find It Again” articles, which seemed to be promoted by PVC pipe manufacturers, publicity on guns free of paper trails seems to have disappeared, except for anti-gunners who still rail about “gun show loopholes” or those mythical “internet sale of machine guns.”

  3. I’m not a lawyer, but my two cents…

    Regarding firearms that would be hard to trace, the only viable method is a slow process which has been ongoing in which lots of people buy multiple guns through FFLs and then later privately sell a few of them to non-prohibited people (i.e. this is NOT a straw purchase) and not enough of them to be a business practice that requires an FFL. Flood the market legally and make it logistically impossible to track down many firearms and their owners. This is why anti-gunners scream to “close the gun show loophole” which is in reality, the unregistered private sales.

    The gun I buy today that I get bored with and I sell to my friend becomes too difficult to trace. Simply, I’m not telling my friendly BATFE agent who I legally sold it to and soon it will be sold to someone else and so on. They simply do not have the man power to go from person to person to track them all down.

    Problem is, I am dubious that the NICS check actually destroys the records and gun shops/FFLs could at some later date be compelled to turn over all of their data to the Feds through some new law which would ID many firearms owners. Of course, the real threat is a new Supreme Court that reverses course and ruled that the Second Amendment does not apply to citizens and orders the turn in of all non-governmental firearms which could scare a lot of people into surrendering them (or start a civil war).

  4. No surprises here, the guy who used to be in charge of the Canadian Firearms Registry was able to hack into the registry database in roughly 15 minutes. If you google for Canadian gun registry and hacked, you’ll end up with quite a few hits.

  5. I hate to burst bubbles, but:

    It’s not a straw purchase ONLY if they are purchased with NO intention of transferring them to a specific person later on.

    (There are a couple of exceptions for transfers to immediate family members, but no mention of this is made on the relevant part of the 4473 form. Since that form is signed under penalty of perjury I wouldn’t even risk buying it to give as a present, even under that exception. If I were to do that, I’d give them the money or a voucher so they could buy it themselves.)

    Someone buying several guns and looking to sell them later to persons yet to be determined is DANGEROUSLY close to dealing in firearms without a license, and if they are all the same kind doubly so. The ATF does not look kindly on this sort of thing, and it’s a major Federal felony. They will structure a pattern of such actions over time into evidence of intent to do so.

    Someone selling one to a friend once in a while is fine, but I personally wouldn’t even do that very often. Personally, I don’t care–on principle, it’s none of my business–but that’s the world we live in and I like fresh air and the freedom to choose my own roommates. I’ll buy, but I’m VERY reluctant to sell this way.

  6. Thank you for the clarification Publius. You rock!
    No one wants to get into trouble legally, after all we are the law-abiding citizens and the good guys here!
    So, please let me retract my previous comment/musing and modify it greatly.

    If GREAT numbers of people buy more than one firearm (to increase the reserve) and there are still those rare and legal private transfers occurring, then we eventually get substantial numbers of “difficult to trace” firearms out there with our decent citizens.

    Ideally, I would love to see nearly every citizen owning a firearm and then BATFE would become (more) irrelevant.

    Given we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-100 million firearms owners in America, I suspect a good percentage of them were obtained by private transfers and would be difficult to find by BATFE. That is, unless there is some national firearm registration (or confiscation) authorized in some future draconian anti-gun legislation. Something like in former Great Britain where you had to turn ’em in by a certain date or else!

    I think a crucial point is to not make it easy for the tyrants-in-training and the wannabe-despots by ever allowing for a registry. Registries are just too tempting to our politicians to use for confiscation. The blood of innocents from a long list of countries where civilian disarmament resulted in genocide is not to be ignored or repeated.

  7. Let’s not forget home-made guns.

    I once heard that guns are easy to make, and in an attempt to check that claim, I found “cncguns.com”, that describes how the site owner made various guns using CNC technology. For about $5,000, you could set up a shop with a mini-lathe, a mini-mill, and supporting tools, and you can start making your own guns. You can make other things as well!

    Yes, the price is a little steep, but it isn’t completely out of reach. And you would run into similar issues that Publius described, if you wanted to sell them. (It isn’t legal, unless you can demonstrate that you made them for personal use, and then *later* decided to sell them.) But, all in all, it’s yet another option for making unregistered guns, and a decent one as well–you can learn an important and useful skill, that applies to things beyond gun-making!

  8. Can anyone comment on the local manufacture of firearms if they are not sold across state lines?
    Basically, are FFL intermediates required if a person/company only sells to same state residents?
    Of course, never sold to prohibited, or suspected to be prohibited, persons.

    I wonder if this is one way of circumventing BATFE.
    These would be touted as firearms for local consumption only.
    There was apparently a state looking into this, but I have heard nothing more regarding it.

  9. @Braden, read up on The Firearms Freedom Act. Proponents claim the Federal government does not have the authority, typically claimed via the Interstate Commerce Clause, to regulate such firearms. The Feds claim they do because the components of the firearms (even if it was just the metal ore or the electricity used to make the firearm) crossed a state boundary. The question is being explored in the courts.

  10. Thank you Mr. Hoffman. I appreciate this information and you have a fantastic blog.

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