WHAT IF CONNECTICUT PASSED THE MOST RESTRICTIVE GUN LAW IN THE USA BUT LEGAL LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS DECIDED TO IGNORE IT? IS CONNECTICUT PREPARED TO DEAL WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF SCOFLAW GUN OWNERS?
The most extreme gun control proposals seek to make certain classes of firearms illegal to posses, including all those already legally in citizen's hand prior to the law becoming effective. This the is the core of the proposal of CT Against Gun Violence which is supported by March for Change. This proposal seeks to withdraw from the public's hands certain firearms and magazines of greater than 7-round capacity. NO GRANDFATHERING means existing owners will have to sell (out of state), surrender or destroy such items, voluntarily.
Putting aside the constitutionality of such a defacto confiscation (4th, 5th and 14th Amendment arguments), what happens in CT if a significant part of the currently law-abiding public decides to NOT COMPLY with the new laws. I am not suggesting this is a good idea nor am I condoning such a thing. I am just bringing up something I think few supporters of such laws have considered.
Based on research out the the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, it is estimated that there are over FOUR MILLION legal and illegal firearms owned in the state. Of those, approximately 1.5 MILLION are those that can accommodate magazines of greater than 7 round capacity. It is further estimated that these CAGV-illegal mags are owned by over a HALF MILLION RESIDENTS of the state (CT has ~3.5million residents).
So how realistic is it to expect strong voluntary compliance across this significant population?
While it is a national sample, the results of this poll suggest that TWO THIRDS of current gun owners might defy a federal gun ban that is actually less onerous than that being proposed by CAGV and supported by March for Change. And that is TWO THIRDS of legal gun owners and I would venture that it would be 100% of illegal gun owners. Even if half those folks are just blustering, half that figure would be a third of all gun owners. In Connecticut, such defiance or civil disobedience would mean many tens of thousands of heretofore legal and law-abiding gun owners could chose to ignore the law for the sake of being able to adequately protect themselves and their loved ones. Because that can be the only rationale for such defiance since a gun owner could never openly use a banned weapon or magazine at a public or private gun range or shooting club.
OK, may that is all American bluster supported by blind allegiance to the coda of the NRA (a troll named "Peter" on another blog suggested we gun owners are automatons only following the NRAs scripts because we can not think for ourselves). What about those "sensible" Europeans which so many American liberals wish we could emulate? They must be highly compliant with such restrictive laws, registration regimes and surrender/confiscations programs, no?
Well, not so much.
Over a Reason there is a great article written a month ago that looks at the situation in Europe from a statistical perspective using a range of government data sources. Even for me who has read quite a bit on such topics, this was an eye-opener as to how futile such gun control schemes have been over time. For anyone interested in this topic, this is a MUST READ.
I could quote from this article extensively here, but it is best read in its entirety. However, here is a key bit:
According to the Small Arms Survey (PDF) at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland:
Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states. It may appear to some outside observers—especially Americans—that Europeans have blindly surrendered their gun rights (Heston, 2002). The reality is that the citizens of most European countries are better armed than they realize. ...
Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries like the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones. ...
The data behind this are truly astonishing and the lack of compliance spans regions, language, national political orientation and religion.
Now some will point out that even with the non-compliance, the ratio of guns to people in Europe is lower than in the USA and that would be true. But that is not the point, the point is that the rate and breadth of non-compliance is HUGE in countries that are supposed to be "more sensible" and less "gun worshiping" than the USA.
So, given those differences and the "rampant gun culture" in the USA and in CT (albeit to a lesser penetration rate), what will be the level of non-compliance here?
What is this country and Connecticut prepared to do to force compliance?
What will be the societal costs and impact of this on an absolute basis as well as relative to the supposed benefit such laws are to bring?.
So, I will pose a few questions to the good folks at March for Change (which may go as ignored as the others I have asked in earlier posts and comments):
Have you considered the implications of non-compliance with CAGV's draconian proposal if it were to pass into law?
Have you considered the impact on your gun-owning relatives, friends, neighbors, service providers, etc who may choose to defy such a law in order to retain their abilities to adequately defend themselves?
And yes, you "know" far more people who own firearms than you think, they just do not tell you. BELIEVE ME, few people who "know" me know everything about me and I am far from atypical.
Thanks for reading.