Gun registration.

Has gun registration historically been the precursor to gun confiscation?

Depends on how you look at it. It is hard to effectively confiscate weapons when you don’t know who has them; a honor system does not work very well and the alternative of searching lets most of the guns slip through. On the other hand there are plenty of good reasons to register guns, so I doubt that gun registration was only enforced before they were confiscated.

Phage, I am not saying you are wrong, I just want to know: what are some of the “…plenty of good reasons to register guns…”?

Actually, I think it has not been the precursor. To the best of my knowledge, gun confiscation has only taken place in totalitarian states where they basically went house to house and took everything away, or were in nations like China where everyone was so poor no one but the army ever had guns.

Aren’t guns essentially illegal in England, and only kept at gun ranges? I don’t think it is a totalitarian state though.

They’re not illegal but it’s a hellish quagmire of a bureaucratic mess. Obtaining a shotgun certificate (which entitles you only to own shotguns, with a capacity of no more that three shots, with a barrel of over 24 inches in length, a diametre of less than two inches, etc etc etc.) is relatively straightforward. It involves some annoying paperwork, character witnesses, an interview with your local firearms policeman, and an inspection of of your security arrangements. Generally, they insist on a steel gun cabunet bolted to the wall, but essentially, you can have a shotgun licence because you want one. You don’t have to provide a reason for it, but they tend to pretend that you do and make it harder than it needs to be. A shotgun certificate is renewed every five years.

Now a Firearms Certificate is obtained in the same way but with a mess of bureaucratic refinements that even the police can’t work out. They routinely make a mess of these, as a firearms licence specifies what types of firearms (rifles and pistols) you can have, how many of each, where and for what purposes you can use the, even what type of ammunition you can have and how much you can buy. After a few years they relax the restrictions, but it’s still an unmitigated pain in the arse. The legislation is primarily designed to discourage gun ownership.

Pistols are essentially illegal, except for black powder pistols. Oh, and you can have them on a collector’s licence, but not use them. There are a fair few daft provisions like this. Another one is that a Firearms Certificate doesn’t allow you to buy shotguns.

Of course the problem is that none of this has made the slightest bit of difference to the levels of gun crime, which keep increasing. Because criminals are not generally the type of people who bother with the paperwork.

RE: UK gun laws

Is it true that Prince Phillip has a very large and very valuable collection of firearms? I’ve seen this stated in several places but always in the context of class warfare.

It happened in California. Sort of. Californians who registered their assault weapons after March 20, 1992 were sent letters from the DOJ ordering them to “turn it in.”

I say “sort of” because it’s a technicality; Californians who registered their assault weapons before March 20, 1992 were allowed to keep them.

[IMHO]At any rate, you will never see me “registering” a firearm, as such an action would not be in my best interest…[/IMHO]

radar ralf,
There are several that come to mind. What if someone is murdered with a gun and the weapon is found in the woods nearby. The rifling matches the bullet that is in the victim, but… where do they go from there if there is no gun registration? Sure, the owner probably didn’t use his own gun but perhaps it was sold from a pawn shop. There would be records and a description for the police to work with, rather than “Well, it was in the woods, so we are pretty sure the killer had two legs.”

How about if someone breaks into your house and steals your weapon? What do you say, it was brown and black, made mostly of metal? How could you ever find that weapon again?

I agree that gun ownership is a right that must be protected, but it is also important to be able to keep track of guns for the same reason objects have serial numbers. I don’t think anonymity is the best defense against confiscation of weapons, I think that everyone having a registered gun is.

This is a bit specious. I record serial numbers for a large number of my possessions so I could provide them to the police in the event of theft. I don’t need a state or federal registry to save my VCR or computer’s serial number for this purpose, so I don’t really need one for my handguns either.

I don’t have a huge problem with handgun registrations, and I believe motor vehicle registrations are a useful analogy. I’m just pointing out that if you want to argue in favor of registrations, you should avoid obviously false rationalizations because they just feed the paranoia of conspiracy theorist.

First of all, let me apologize for my slow response. I am in Georgia (the country, not the state) and my working and waking hours differ greatly from most folks here. Just before I called it a day yesterday, I wrote a pithy and erudite entry in this thread. I then posted and shut down my machine. Alas, I find today that my brilliant contribution has escaped into the ether, never to be seen again. Dang!

micco, you have said essentially the same thing as I said in my erstwhile post. I used the example of my JennAire oven: when a repair bulletin on my make, model, and serial number is sent out, JennAire always seems to be able to find me. Many appliances, vehicles, etc., have serial numbers that a prudent owner records for safekeeping.

The problem that many gun owners have is that they don’t want their firearms to be registered with the feds. The idea of a “federal registry” makes them a bit jittery.

Can a self-regulating network of firearms owners work? I sure don’t know. It might, it might not. One thing is certain: we as a nation need to solve the problem of easy access to firearms. On the one hand, we have a huge responsibility to stop the violence associated with guns. And on the other hand, we have the legal ownership of guns. We won’t resolve this thorny issue in this forum, but just the fact that we are talking about it in a sane and courteous manner is a good first step.




—Well, maintaining some record of purchases and sales is of interest to every gun owner, if it technically required by law or not: the gun store would want dated proof of sale, in case they sold a gun to you and it was used the next day to murder someone–the police would call around to local stores asking if they sold any of that type of gun and to whom, and the gun shop would want to prove that they didn’t have it at the time–you did… And likewise, if you sold a gun to your neighbor and it was used a week later in a murder, when the police came from the gun store to your house asking about it, you would want to be able to prove that you didn’t have it at the time–your neighbor did. So you can have paper trails without having any centralized databases.

      • I don’t know specifically about Phil’s guns, but the laws in the UK are specifically class warfare: wealthy people have a much easier time legally owning guns than poor people do. One requirement is “land to safely use the weapon on”, which means you either have to own a fair amount of land yourself, or be friends with someone else who does and will allow you on it–but most poor people will not own land, and many won’t know anyone else who does. Another requirement is “lockable storage, secured to a main wall of a building”. If you live in an apartment and your landlord refuses to allow you to drill holes in the wall for a gun safe, then you cannot qualify for that reason–there is no alternative. Furthermore, if you live in an apartment, you are more likely to live in a high-crime area, and Mr Fuddy Policeman may think that a gun in your apartment would constitute a theft danger–and so deny it just because of that. And most infuriating (if it is true-?-I was told so): in the UK, self-defense is not considered a valid reason to obtain a firearm. You have to want it for a sporting reason, not to protect your life.

The UK laws are purely economic-based, designed to keep guns out of the hands of poor people. If the UK government wanted to be totally fair, they wouldn’t base any requirements on economic factors, and they would collect all the applications every so often and draw winners in a lottery, ensuring everyone the same chance of getting a permit. Fairness, however, is not the point–keeping guns from poor people is.