Greg Taggart’s commentary on central gun-owner databases (CGODB) addressed many excellent issues regarding gun registration.
All of these arguments, including his examples, are valuable to use in persuading people who favor gun-control and registration the error of this twisted little piece of government policy so beloved of the hoplophobes and hoploclasts. (But he misses some important things: read on below!)
Using the info to teach about liberty
One of the best ways to use these things is the so-called Columbo gambit (named for the long-ago TV series detective). Ask questions – nice innocent questions – of someone, rather than stating our own position and letting them attack our reasoning.
So, we don’t say, “Here is why gun registration is useless and why it makes things worse. Reason A, Reason B,… etc.”
Rather ask, “Why do you believe that gun registration would be effective in reducing gun violence?” When they reply “because it helps cops find people who use guns to commit crimes” or “it keeps guns from getting stolen,” you can challenge THEIR reasoning, with the facts and concepts that Greg has summarized.
But on to other things.
Thoughts on the last commentary
As I stated above, I think that Greg overlooked some things. So let me share a story.
Last week, two men got into a fight over a debt. When the police showed up, they found one man dying of a gunshot wound, and the other man there with the gun. There was also a “blunt instrument” lying next to the dying man in the alley. The man surrendered the gun without incident. The evidence supported his claim that the other man was beating him with the “blunt instrument” – his blood and bruises and such, both on him and the “blunt instrument.” He was obviously in fear of his life, and that State allows for self-defense using deadly force in such a case. But the police arrested him and he is now in jail, without bond.
Why? Because the man was a felon: he had committed a drug felony for possession of some kind of drug. Therefore, it was illegal for him to have a firearm (or pretty much any other weapon). Never mind that his conviction denied him a basic human right. Never mind that a mala prohibita (a crime because it is against the law, according to the law) prevented the man from defending himself against a mala in se (a crime because the act is wrong in itself). Supposedly to “protect society” the felon has no right to defend himself, to keep himself from being killed. And these days, more and more crimes are felonies – even if they have NOTHING to do with violence or illicit use of guns.
To put it bluntly, the right of self-defense (including the right to keep and bear arms) is NOT “given by the Constitution” but by God: it is an inherent right because we are humans. There is nothing in the US Constitution (maybe some States do) that restricts that human right and denies it to a felon, any more than being convicted of perjury (lying officially) takes away a person’s right of free speech.
Another thing to think about:
There are many other advantages to the State – to government – to having gun registration. And to criminals in general. Here are a few.
For one thing, it makes it easier not just for the cops, but for other criminals, to steal guns. Databases – especially modern electronic databases, are notorious for being hacked. Both by outsiders AND by especially corrupt insiders: the very IT managers themselves. Paper databases were almost as vulnerable, especially when copiers became common.
For another, it makes it easier for governments to tax people. How? By taxing things. “You must pay your annual fee just to have that gun,” they tell people. Like property taxes, you don’t really own anything that you have to pay money for, time and time again, just for the privilege of owning it.
But one key reason that governments benefit from gun registration is fear. First, there are many people who naturally fear having to deal with the government any more than absolutely necessary. So they do not arm themselves as they should. Second, the database provides a ready-made mailing list to constantly strike fear into gunowners: “are you properly storing your weapon?” and “are you threatening your children’s lives?” and many, many more ways to terrorize people. Closely related to that, the database is a tool to “mobilize” people – that is, to instigate and act as an enabler to people who are hoploclasts and hoplophobes (gun-haters and gun-fearers) and turn them into activists. “Did you know that there are fifty addresses within two blocks of YOUR house where people have guns!?” And then provide the actual addresses and names in some cases. This tactic has been used in California for years to intimidate people signing ballot initiative petitions.
Again, please share your thoughts on how to explain while our right to defend ourselves is so critical and threatened.