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Old February 27, 2013, 09:57 AM   #1
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Registries and the defense against one-

If the Government were to institute a background check that feeds into and is checked against a federally manged registry for a relatively controversial right- say guns, or abortion (as the two that leap off the drawing board at me) what arguments would be used to challenge such a thing? Other than the fact that many but not all in favor of one are not in favor of the other- and noone wants the slippery slope of one to drag the other down with it.

Would this be government intimidation? Invasion of privacy?
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Old February 27, 2013, 10:37 AM   #2
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Not a defense as such, but my first question would be "Where are you gonna get the money for this?".
Secondly, if we were to use abortion as the example, is this retroactive? How many women are really going to tell? And if we use guns, what about my Winchester Model 37 that has no serial number? Will I be required to have one put on it by BATFE? And if so, at who's expense?

As a defense, will I be required to allow BATFE or someone else to come into my home and check all my guns? If so, then I'm going with an unreasonable search of my property.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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Without seeing actual legislation, it's very hard to formulate the appropriate defense(s).
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:35 AM   #4
Tom Servo
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Most people are forgetting 18 U.S.C. 926, also known as the Firearms Owners' Protection Act:

No such rule or regulation prescribed [by the Attorney General] after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary's authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.
Registries are currently illegal under federal law.

That said, how do we prevent one in the future? The argument many use is that they'll lead to tyranny. Comparisons to Nazi Germany come up, we veer into Godwin territory, and you lose the listener.

A better tack is to point out that implementation would be horribly expensive. Consider that Canada's registry was supposed to cost $6 million, all of which was promised to be paid for by registration fees. As of 2004, the actual cost was estimated at over $2 billion.

The registries in Canada, Australia, and the UK have been failures, with compliance in each case hovering around 20%. They simply don't work.

Furthermore, there will be scads of cases in which law-abiding citizens get prosecuted for unwilling violations of the registry.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Friend sent me this yesterday - haven't read it yet.

Langmann, Caillin. 2012. Canadian Firearms Legislation and Effects on Homicide 1974 to 2008, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 27, No. 12. p. 2303.

From the abstract: "This study failed to demonstrate a beneficial association between legislation and firearm homicide rates between 1974 and 2008."
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:44 AM   #6
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For one thing, a registry is still full of unenforceable holes. There are currently hundreds of millions of privately-owned guns in this country and no reasonable way to ensure that they're all registered. I suspect that if a registration requirement were passed, its compliance rate would be surprisingly low much the same as when Canada attempted a long gun registry. Similarly, even if compliance was high, it would be relatively easy for an unscrupulous person to bypass it. If, for example, you wanted to sell a gun to a known prohibited person, all you'd have to do is report the gun stolen after the sale. Afterall, the buyer would already be in posession of illegal goods (an unregistered gun) so what difference would it make if the gun was reported stolen?

More importantly, however, registration opens the door to intimidation of lawful gun owners and abuse of gov't power. The whole fiasco with The Journal News in New York wouldn't have been possible without NY's registration requirement. Likewise, what's to stop an overly zealous or unscrupulous gov't official from conducting ulawful gun confiscations during an emergency such as we saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005? Sure, you'd have recourse through the courts afterward, but that would be of little comfort then and there when the looters are roaming the streets.

Even if not overtly illegal, there are many ways in which gov't officials can harass people if they want to. For example, if you own a firearm that one of your local LEO's doesn't like, what's to stop him/her for pulling you over for whatever minor infraction that he/she can think of/fabricate at every opportunity? Likewise, what would stop an anti-gun appointee in your state or federal tax agency from automatically auditing the income taxes of everyone known to own a certain type of firearm?

The main issue is that a registry of firearms and/or firearm owners would only affect the law-abiding. By definition, a prohibited person cannot legally possess a firearm regardless of how it was obtained. A criminal is not going to register the gun that he's not supposed to have in the first place (and even if he did, we'd be running into 5th Amendment issues), so the only people whose guns the gov't will be able to keep track of are the people who were never the problem to begin with. The crux of the argument against gun/owner registration is that it places unnecessary burden and/or expense on the law abiding while doing little or nothing of substance about the actual problem of violent crime.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:45 AM   #7
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I for one am against any form of federal registration. Such registration has always led to confiscation.
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:34 PM   #8
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Prior to this thread, I've given this topic some thought, and I feel that a potentially valid defense against a federal registry is for several populous states to pass state constitutional amendments prohibiting the state government and local governments from expending any funds to maintain or enforce any registry of lawfully possessed firearms.

It's clear from past SCOTUS cases that the Feds cannot compel state governments to spend money to enforce federal law. This idea is legally much more airtight than dubious laws directly prohibiting federal agents from acting to enforce federal law within a state's boundaries.

The registry would be very expensive for the Feds to maintain if state and local governments are effectively barred from helping the registrars in any way. The failed Canadian registry provides an excellent example of how ineffective a federally-funded registry would be from a cost standpoint, giving fiscal conservatives plenty of opportunity to attack it, without even having to bring up any 2A, 4A, and 5A issues.

In most states, changes to the state constitution require a popular vote at some level, thus preventing a NY-style midnight legislative overturn of the zero-funding law.

I predict that a zero-funding amendment would pass easily in conservative states such as TX. It would appeal equally to 2A activists, small-government advocates, and to fiscal conservatives.
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Last edited by carguychris; February 27, 2013 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old February 28, 2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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Canadian Gun Registry Was (Is) An Expensive Farce

I reside in South Carolina, but I also have a residence in Ontario, Canada.

When in Canada, I instruct new shooters, instruct handgun safety class instructors and give Range Safety Officer Courses and Evaluations.

I have enough CWP's for about 41 states and I also have a the Canadian Firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence--which takes months of classes, paperwork and background checks to obtain.

As well, along with all legal gun owners in Canada, I am run through the Canadian Police Information Computer every day. So I have FBI, SC SLED, County, CPIC, and Interpol clearance, but this is not enough to carry a firearm for self-defense in Canada.

Obtaining a carry permit in Canada is impossible--and listing self-defence as a reason for obtaining a restricted firearm (handgun) will disqualify you from having any kind of firearms licence. This is not the law--it's a bureaucratic decision made by Liberal-appointed bureaucrats.

I need separate printed authorizations from The Ontario Provincial Police to:
a) take my unloaded, locked, cased, trunk-locked handgun to my registered range.
b) take my handgun to a gunsmith
c) take my handgun to a retailer for trade-in or sale
d) pick up a handgun from a retailer and take it home
e) take my handgun to a U.S. border crossing or airport and back to my Canadian address.

My ammo purchases are recorded at the retail premises. Like the gun registries, this info is a gold mine for gun thieves.

Of course, criminals exempt themselves from this system.

That said, here's some info on the Canadian gun registries:

Handguns have been registered since 1934. None of the thousands of handguns possessed and carried by criminals are registered. For example, gang-related gun crime in Toronto is endemic, with three 15 yr old boys gunned down so far this year--along with the other gang shootings.

Several police officers have been gunned down because a computer check of the dwelling showed no registered firearms. Criminals do not register their guns.

The Long Gun registry was just scrapped--after costing Canadians $2,000,000,000. (Canada has 1/10th the U.S. population). It was incomplete, rife with errors, and hacked over three hundred times.

After it was scrapped, tens of thousands of Canadians got their shovels.

Does the U.S. Federal Government have hundreds of billions of dollars to set up a gun registry?
“One cannot legislate the maniacs off the street... these maniacs can only be shut down by an armed citizenry. Indeed bad things can happen in nations where the citizenry is armed, but not as bad as those which seem to be threatening our disarmed citizenry in this country at this time.” Jeff Cooper
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Old February 28, 2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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Does the U.S. Federal Government have hundreds of billions of dollars to set up a gun registry?
The answer is so obvious that I won't even bother.

My hunch is that if a serious nationwide registry proposal actually comes to the table, it will come in a form similar to the PPACA- states will be offered incentives to set up their own registries, while states without registries will have the registry set up by the Feds, with some sort of financial penalty such as the withdrawal of some DOT funds.

The clever thing about my zero-funding amendment idea is that it would undermine such a proposal before it even comes to the table. With the possible exception of House representatives from zealously anti-2A districts, no sane senator or representative from a zero-fund state will back such a proposal, because doing so would be a de facto vote to forgo the incentive funds. No elected official wants to face reelection while having to explain why he/she voted to forgo funding that other comparable states or districts get automatically.

IOW it would force the Feds to operate much of the registry themselves, thus forcing them to take full responsibility for the cost and the inevitable problems such as privacy breaches.
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Old February 28, 2013, 01:14 PM   #11
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Sure. But prevention is the best cure.

If the facts about the registry to the north were better known south of the border, any move toward any kind of a firearms registry would be quashed.

I published my posting here so that readers would see the insanity the gun ban crowd managed to institute up north.

All of the worst features of all the states--except for a total handgun ban--are encapsulated up north.
For example, handgun mags are limited to 10rds, and rifles are limited to 5 rds.
Handguns with barrels shorter than 4.1" are prohibited.
And, not only are background checks intensive, but one's spouse, significant other and past significant others--back a number of years--must give written permission for the applicant to get a PAL.

All this came in when a cabal of civilian-disarmament fanatics gained control of the agenda after a college massacre in Montreal. The Liberal government in power was reluctant to pass the legislation outlined above, but a couple of zealots rammed it through. These zealots, Alan Rock in particular, were egged on by Wendy Cukier.

You may recognize Wendy's name because she was number two at IANSA, the international gun ban org aligned with the UN. Her boss, Rebecca Peters, is the Australian who put in their crippling gun control laws.

If you search the CVs of these people, the name "Soros" crops up, along with the Canadian billionaire civilian disarmament fan Maurice Strong--big at the UN--who happens, the last I heard, to live in Communist China.

More recently, the left-wing Mayor of Toronto, with an economics degree from Harvard, (Gee, didn't BHO go there?) closed shooting ranges on city property---two with safe records going back more than eight decades, and made firearms discharges except from police and military illegal with the city. After almost losing the lucrative TV and movie industry, he had to make an exception--exactly as Cuomo must do in NYS now. Even more recently, a left-wing city councilor wanted to ban...bullets.
I'm telling you, this civilian disarmament movement is international.

Personally, I think all these people have each other on speed dial. The RCMP list of banned long guns has been taken off their site, so we can't compare that list with Feinstein's list, but I have a suspicion.

Again, take a look at what happened up north so that you can plan tactics down here.
“One cannot legislate the maniacs off the street... these maniacs can only be shut down by an armed citizenry. Indeed bad things can happen in nations where the citizenry is armed, but not as bad as those which seem to be threatening our disarmed citizenry in this country at this time.” Jeff Cooper
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