Letter Re: Why Civilian Disarmament in the U.S. is Just a Statist Fantasy

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013

James,

The Internet is replete with potential gun confiscation scenarios. Many people voice the opinion that this confiscation will take the form of armed troops going house to house searching for guns. This would be a potential source of revolution, would demonstrate the true nature of government and would result in the deaths of many of the regimes ostensible supporters.
I'll make the assumption that The Powers That Be are not stupid (evil, probably, but stupid, no). Since they are not stupid, and can foresee the difficulties with house-to-house searches, they will use other methods. Let's explore some of these methods.

Before we start that, we should be aware of the massive data gathering efforts that many government agencies have undertaken, and the abilities they have gained, in recent years. I don't think it is unlikely that the government knows, or can know quickly, with varying degrees of reliability, who a majority of gun owners in this country are. It is true that most of
the actual records of who own what are in the form of 4473s in individual gun shops. It is possible for the BATFE and related agencies to swoop down on gun stores and confiscate these records and, while it would take significant effort, convert them to electronic records. These records, when combined with all of the other data and methods that the Business Intelligence community has developed over the years, would create a database of gun owners with a pretty high reliability in my estimation. Even without the 4473s, combining credit card information (remember when you bought those M1 Garand bandoleers with your MasterCard a couple of years ago?), the intact database of background checks, explicit firearm owner databases (as in Illinois), State Police concealed carry information and the plethora of other data stores that exist, a comprehensive set of firearm owners could be put together. It does not have to be perfect! It doesn't even have to be that close. It will be your responsibility to prove that you don't have any firearms, not the other way around.

Now that the government has this information, what should they do? Ship in troops from West Africa and start invading peoples' homes? No way. Firstly, the demonization of gun owners will continue. Unabated. It will intensify and become part of our daily lives. Guns are bad. Gun owners are sick. Mentally ill. Crime is their fault. They endanger all of us. Continuous,
methodical, overwhelming messaging from all corners of the media.

The actual 'confiscations' will begin pleasantly enough. Guns (or some overwhelming subset of guns) will be made illegal (whether by actual congressional bill or executive order, it doesn't matter). 'Take you guns to the local police station and have them checked off the list'. No questions asked. Easy. Many people will simply comply. A letter in the mail asks nicely for you turn in the Ruger SP101 you bought on X date at Y gun store in Z city. Ruger sent it back after a repair to this address in 2008...yada yada yada. More compliance.

When the initial turn in period ends, penalties will begin. More friendly letters in the mail. Fines assessed. Jail time threatened. More compliance. Then, an amnesty. Turn them in, no questions asked. More compliance. Then maybe a so-called 'buy back'. Free gas cards, gift cards, cash. Who knows?

In parallel to all this, of course, are the exhortations to the public to turn in non-compliant gun owners. Turn them in for rewards. Turn them in for reduced prison sentences. Turn them in for a pat on the head. Your civic duty and all that.

See, now that you are demonized in the eyes of the public, and an actual criminal in the eyes of the government, then all of governments resources can be applied to you with impunity. No one except other criminals will stand up for you. And no singular event will affect many people at once, never enough to cause more than a few to take an actual stand. Anyway, who
would you stand up to? Who would you shoot? When a law is passed making it illegal for banks to engage in any transaction with suspected gun owners, what will you do? Shoot a teller when your account is closed and your funds confiscated? Your mortgage called? How about when they assess a fine of, say, $250,000 and require employers to garnish all wages until the fine is paid. You going to shoot someone in HR for complying with the law? What about when Child Protective Services abducts your kids right out of their public school? Your kids go to school one day, then, poof, they're gone. You want them back - no problem - turn in your guns. Electricity turned off at your house? Yup, new law enacted. How long can any of us operate with no income, no bank accounts, while attending to an eviction and attempting to get your kids back? What will you do to get your kids back? Remember, it will be your job to prove that you don't have any guns or ammo. "C'mon, prove it, let us search your house, tell us who your buddies are"....you get the idea.

You see, there are countless ways that the government can make us 'voluntarily' give them up. The pressure will be overwhelming and, given how long they have been considering this, probably much more expeditious than I am making it sound.

In any case, the VERY LAST THING they will try will be the midnight raids. Everyone and anyone will be your enemy before that occurs. There will be no one individual to strike out against. The giant, gray miasma of society will be your enemy. Ignorance, lethargy, apathy. How do you fight that?

And government has all manner of resources, time, people, money, to address this problem.

My two main points are these: First, if the government has people who are even reasonably smart (they do) and they are earnest about solving the problem of identifying gun owners (they are) then the technology to do this should not elude them. Second, busting down doors is expensive, risky and provocative, and they will use all of the tricks at their disposal to avoid it. - Michael W.
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