After the post about the police recovering stolen guns, a reader contacted me. He pointed out how gun owners tend to be a little paranoid about the government knowing what they own, thus why they don’t report their guns missing.
It’s a fair point. As a community, we tend to try and keep that stuff as secret as possible.
He also brought up mandatory reporting laws, legislation that’s been proposed in various places that would require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns within a certain amount of time.
Now, I have a major problem with mandatory reporting laws. Part of the reason? Well, it’s part of the same reason why I oppose universal background checks.
They’re unenforceable without gun registration.
Take my firearms for example. I’ve mentioned a couple here and there on this site, but I have a number I haven’t. Let’s say those guns were stolen and I failed to report them for whatever reason. How can I reasonably be caught breaking this law?
Without gun registration, I can’t. No one will know that firearm belonged to me. No one will know if it was stolen, lost, sold, or what. Not a soul.
The only people who will ever be punished are those who are honest enough to report their failure to comply with the law. That’s it.
What’s more, I can easily see this as being used to sell registration to the public. “We have to make people register them, so we know how the bad guys got the guns in the first place. This will also make people follow the reporting laws!”
An unknowledgeable public will shrug and think, “Makes sense.” They’ll back the new law easily enough.
Cries by gun rights groups of the potential downsides will be ignored. “You brought this on yourself,” they’ll say. “If only you and your crowd had complied with the reporting laws in the first place, we wouldn’t need to do this.”
The thing is, they don’t know that anyone failed to comply. All they’ll know is that they have guns with serial numbers not reported as stolen. They won’t have a clue just how they got there. They’ll just use gun owners as scapegoats.
Yeah, yeah, I hear the anti-gunners now. They think it sounds paranoid.
However, they say the same thing when we point out how they ultimately want to come for our guns. We’re paranoid because no one would want to do that. Except when they do.
They keep saying we’re paranoid, but we’re not the ones who are looking for any reason to impose new regulations on gun owners. We’re not the ones terrified of our fellow man being armed. We want those same people to have weapons and to have them on their person whenever they want. If we were truly paranoid, if we truly believed everyone was “out to get us,” we’d be screaming for the opposite. We’d want to be the only ones who have guns.
The truth is, we’ve gotten used to looking a few moves ahead. We know for a fact that we can’t look at what’s being talked about now in a vacuum. We need to also look at how this rule can justify the next one.
In this case, mandatory reporting is just an innocuous-looking gateway. Where it can lead is terrifying, and it’s why we should always oppose such proposals.