There are a lot of reasons to oppose gun registration. One of those is that on a long enough timeline, every registration scheme turns into confiscation. There are those that have done so and those that will. Obviously, some disagree with my prognostication and think it will never happen, which is fine. I don’t mind them being wrong.
But there are other reasons as well, including the fact that the registration collects private information of gun owners.
We’ve been told repeatedly that there’s nothing to worry about. Yet in California, a new law will give gun owners there plenty to be concerned over.
Califoria Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law last week A.B. 173, which among other things gives various academics, most of them very likely to be hostile to private gun ownership, access to all the information California collects about the state’s buyers of guns, gun parts, and ammunition.
The law says that an assortment of government info about gun possessors “shall be available to researchers affiliated with the California Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis for academic and policy research purposes.” Furthermore, “At the department’s discretion…information collected pursuant to this section may be provided to any other nonprofit bona fide research institution accredited by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for the study of the prevention of violence.”
Yes, the law also insists that “Material identifying individuals shall only be provided for research or statistical activities and shall not be transferred, revealed, or used for purposes other than research or statistical activities, and reports or publications derived therefrom shall not identify specific individuals.”
Still, whether or not the resultant research as published names a specific person, a gun owner might understandably not be thrilled that people in the business of coming up with reasons why no one should be allowed to own guns (largely true of people in the “gun violence research” field) can easily know their name, address, and all the weapons, parts, and ammo they bought legally. What’s more, nothing in the law as written applies any stern level of oversight or punishment over misuse of the information.
And let’s be very clear, academia itself is very hostile toward the Second Amendment and private gun ownership. We’ve seen that over and over again. There’s absolutely no reason for any California gun owner to feel safe and secure with their private information galavanting around the computers of people who are actively hostile toward them.
What I don’t understand is why?
There’s absolutely no benefit to academia to know the identity of California’s gun owners. They don’t need to know that Joe Smith has guns specifically, so why approve that particular release of information to anyone?
The answer is actually pretty simple. They just didn’t care.
See, gun owners are second-class citizens in places like California. Rights to things like privacy are vacated the moment you register a firearm. In their minds, the good of the many outweigh the good of the few or the one, so they simply don’t care if gun owners are uncomfortable with their private information shared all over the place.
Oh, they include some language about how it can only be used for statistical purposes, but since criminals get guns in spite of California’s extensive gun control laws, lawmakers should be well aware of just how little that phrasing actually means in the grand scheme of things.
So yeah, I see it as a case of them simply not caring.
I wonder how many gun owners will find themselves targeted in some way in the coming years. Will California admit they screwed up? Somehow, I’m skeptical.