Saturday, December 5, 2015

Heretofore Otherwise Law-Abiding Gun Owners

I use that rather longish phrase to introduce a contra-intuitive notion:   the people we always thought of as 'most likely to obey the law' have changed their attitudes, their positions relative to the law, and their willingness to be bullied.

In times past, legislators could pass laws and be relatively certain that the bulk of the population would honor the law with their obedience even as the criminal element took the opposite tack.   It appears that is no longer the case.   It appears now that — at least as far as gun control laws are concerned — the overwhelming response is not obedience but defiance.

The State of Connecticut, reacting to the Sandy Hook incident, passed a severe assault weapon registration law.   It forbade the sale or possession of AR-15-type and AK-47-type rifles except for grandfathered units properly registered by the deadline for registration, January 1st, 2014.   Also included in the ban/grandfathering were so-called 'high capacity' magazines, those holding more than ten (10) rounds.   Banned units that were not going to be registered had to be surrendered to police for destruction or moved out of state.   CT State Police estimated 370,000 rifles were subject to the ban along with 4 million magazines.

As of the deadline for registration, CSP had received about 47,000 registrations for rifles and about 38,000 registrations for magazines.   That is, 13% of the firearms and 1% of the magazines.   Unless the original estimates were badly out-of-whack, Nutmeggers have decided they'd rather be felons than register their hardware.   The heretofore-otherwise-law-abiding have become law-breakers.

The following year, New York did the same thing, passing the NYSAFE Act in the dead of night over the objections of elected officials who demanded the legislature follow its own rules and give New Yorkers adequate notice of impending legislation.   They needn't have worried.   Barely 10% of New Yorkers have registered their firearms, the other 90% having decided, it seems, to be criminals themselves.

In Oregon, ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg poured a truckload of money into a ballot measure demanding background checks for all transfers (not just sales) of firearms.   That is, I'm at the range sighting in my newest hunting rifle and the girl next to me says "Nice rifle.   Mind if I try it?"   As soon as I hand it to her, we have both become criminals because no BGC was done for the 'transfer'.  

Two months after that became law, the Washington State Gun Collectors' Assn held a widely-advertised 'no BGC gun show' at which — observed by police standing close by — several thousand blatant, in-plain-sight violations of the law resulted in zero arrests.

This is a very bad sign — for governments.   The surety in legislators' minds that all they had to do was vote in order to see their decisions carried out — that surety is gone, and it won't easily be regained.   In the meantime, sheriffs in those states are refusing to arrest citizens for failing to register, and the state police organizations are too understaffed to be of much use in enforcing the diktats.   The status quo is that these laws might as well not have been passed for all the effect they've had.

Viewed from another angle, the picture doesn't even look that rosy:   when you have citizens who have always in the past been the strongest supporters of 'law and order' now lining up in opposition to it — because they see it as the perfect antithesis of law and order — it has to make a legislator wonder what response the next law will get.   How long before the peasants, armed with pitchforks and torches, storm the castle looking for a head to chop off?

And it was all so unnecessary.   It is estimated that 100 million American gun owners have 350 million guns and 200 billion rounds of ammunition.   If those American gun owners were a real problem — if they were a problem worth attacking — there wouldn't be just dozens dead at this school or that post office.   There would be thousands dead every week in paroxysms of slaughter that would reduce us to third-world-status in a trice.   That hasn't happened, and a thinking person must wonder why it hasn't if all those bitter clingers are as dangerous as the New York Times seems to think they are.

The answer must be — because it can be naught else — that your average heretofore otherwise law-abiding American gun owner isn't someone to fear.


You can, of course, change that whenever the spirit moves you.