Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The book of numbers.

A common scenario I hear voiced on gun fora and elsewhere on the intertubes is that sweeping federal gun bans of the "turn them all in" variety are unlikely, as is some sort of coordinated door-to-door "sweep and clear" gun confiscation, and so how the government is going to take away all the guns is this:

They're going to take away the guns of gun owners a few at a time. A Ruby Ridge here, a "barricaded whacko" there... And pretty soon there'll be nobody left to stick up for you when they come for your guns!

Thing is, they'd need to close off new gun sales at the same time, or they'd never be able to Randy Weaver enough people a day to make up for that day's first-time gun buyers. And closing off all new gun purchases would kinda telegraph the punch, I think.

But suppose they did close off all new gun purchases, and then set about manufacturing a hundred Ruby Ridges and "barricaded whackos" a day. How long would it take?

Well, let's assume the "80 million gun owners" number is reasonably accurate. Given that assumption, even if they did cease all new purchases and confiscated the guns of 100 gun owners a day, the last guy would have 2,192 years to wait before they finally got to him, so it's not like he wouldn't have plenty of warning.

It's something that a lot of people on both sides don't really process: The scale of the gun culture in America. If they want all the guns, they're going to need to get them in some way other than onesie-twosies.


Scott J said...

Thing is for every on you have to take down Waco style there are probably 1,000 or more who will see that and take them down for their date with the band saw.

Still, even if only 1% truly fall into the "from my cold dead hands" group that's 800k of those events they have to do. You have to assume they will take losses. Do they even have enough personnel to deal with the loss rate?

It's rather unpleasant to think about just how bloody it would be. Even more chilling when you realize the barrycades indicate this bunch might just be petulant enough to have a go in spite of how big the butcher's bill is.

Tam said...

Scott J,

That's not the scenario we're talking about here. It's why I provided a link.

Anonymous said...

If ordered by .gov, I think a fairly large numbers of gun owners would just tromp down to the police station and turn in their firearms. What percentage, I would guess more than half, maybe three quarters.

A sizable number of those left would claim to have lost their firearms in canoeing accidents or sold them to Sum Dude. If Uncle started putting the screws to those folks, a second round of firearm turn days would bring the number up even higher.

But as you point out that still leaves a whole lot of firearms in the hands of folks and not a whole lot of people to go and get them.


K said...

If Brown signs the bill, California is set to require registration of any rifle capable of taking a detachable magazine. If the registration is like the assault rifle ban still in force here, you will be charged to register it on a yearly basis. Once it is registered you will not be allowed to pass it on once you die.

If you don't register the gun, then you become a criminal - and are subject to being questioned and arrested at the gun range if you ever take your gun there to shoot.

A "painless" gun ban in progress.

Tam said...

State level is the only way they're going to make traction. Thing is, most states are headed in the opposite direction that Cali and NY are.

For instance, my state loosened up more regs and legalized switchblades this year. We're running out of state-level gun laws to overturn here. Vermont-style carry is probably next on the legislative agenda.

Tam said...


"If ordered by .gov, I think a fairly large numbers of gun owners would just tromp down to the police station and turn in their firearms. What percentage, I would guess more than half, maybe three quarters."

*tears hair out*

The post is very specifically referring to a scenario that does not involve gun bans.

Scott J said...

"That's not the scenario we're talking about here. It's why I provided a link."

Followed the link after commenting. Not sure what I missed but I am still battling a stomach bug.

Something else not in the equation is how much they can accomplished through regulation. For example declaring ownership to be putting children in a dangerous situation and give you the choice between turning them in or having DHR put your kids in foster care.

Scott J said...

Ok, I finally found my clue bat and hit myself with it.

You're referring to what Jon talks about where they just secretly black bag gun owners one by one.

You're right. The numbers simply don't allow for that approach. If they did it would likely be well underway.

SPEMack said...

You got to think that even if they are attempting to black bag guys, and even try to get him, one hard corps gun rights blogger/IDPA Champion is going to clear leather and take down a few bat-men on occasion.

Surely that cost will begin to dissuade your average clock punching until retirement Fed fellow to think about what's he doing.

Anonymous said...

They might be wrong in that approach, but they're certainly not going to lose for lack of trying. It already is underway, on several fronts: using existing mental illness rules to deny or end ownership, brainwashing schoolkids with zero-tolerance policies, and heavy-handed police-state tactics to instill fear.


Matt said...

Consider that of that 80 million, many own multiple guns and if they decide to share one or two extras with people that don't have guns then the number climbes and the problem becomes more difficult.

If it was a turn it in or else ban, then many might turn in a gun or two and then hide the rest as has been done in many other countries.

Matt said...

One other point to illustrate the difficulty of forcibly confiscating guns. This past weekend a SEAL team went into Somalia to snatch a terrorist. They were beat back by the terrorists henchmen, neighbors, villagers etc because the entire area was full of armed people willing to fight. Even elite military teams are not invincible.

mikee said...

I feel a need to remind everyone commenting here that the issue of gun control isn't about guns, it is about control.

Those pushing gun control don't really care about "gun violence" or "gun safety" they care about controlling people, limiting the exercise of inherent rights, with a goal of power over others.

Individual rights is a concept that only just got started recently, back in the 1700s. To lose it so soon after it broke free of the collectivism of the past, and to lose it to more modern and even more evil collectivism, is beyond bearing.

Anonymous said...


Don't tear your hair out. Bald is overrated no matter what Jay says.

I'm still not getting it but my brain is still not particularly motivated to do anything today.


Ed said...

I have been surprised by the number of people I know personally who have declared that they already have or are planning to acquire a weapon or weapon(s) that are not traceable through FFL records. I foresee a booming black market if any organized weapons confiscation effort is perceived, with many weapons intentionally going from the white market to the black market via barter exchange among current owners of record.

Some say "resistance is futile", but not this crowd. They say, "resistance is a persistent attitude, well planned and calmly executed".

Paul said...

Good intentions. That has caused more grief than any two other words.

I would wonder when they count guns how they get to gun owners. It is not 1 to 1. 1 person rarely owns one gun. So what would the math be? 1 to 10, 20, 50 or 100? Even so, a catalyst would be needed. Most of the gun owners are law abiding so as long as Waco and Ruby are law enforcement efforts we are all cool. We should not be, but that is the way it is.

We are the most heavily taxed under represented populace in the history of the US and still, we are marking time.

staghounds said...

How much do a hundred million guns and their ammunition weigh?

As compared to, say, four million people?

Because it took a lot of infrastructure to get a lesser weight of ambulatory, compliant human beings to death camps.

Think of it- every turned in gun will have to be logged, re-logged, checked, stored, transported, and destroyed.

Don't even talk about the justice system. Gun rights activists talk a big game about the "threepers" who would violently resist. 3% of 80mm is 2,400,000.

There are about 50,000 jury trials in this country every year.

If only one out of 1600 gun owners was willing- not to murder, or die, but to get arrested and demand a jury trial, the whole criminal system would lock up.

Especially the Federal system, if they were all charged with Federal gun possession crimes.

Do gun owners have .00002 Ghandi and Rosa Parks among them? Because they, and not Randy Weaver, are the people who would get things changed.

Sigivald said...

Paul said: I would wonder when they count guns how they get to gun owners. It is not 1 to 1. 1 person rarely owns one gun.

I don't know about "rarely".

A whole lot of people who just carry for defense only own the one; they're not "gun people" in the sense most people here are.

(Similarly some hunters only have the one, if they're the kind that hunt one (or two, similar) thing and aren't Firearms Enthusiasts, but Hunters.)

I wouldn't be shocked to find that as many as a quarter or a third of Gun Owners only owned a single firearm.

Those of us with, oh, over a dozen are very much outliers - we just don't realize it as much because we're visible to one-another via the internet and such.

Anonymous said...

Nope. That's not the way it's going to go down.

It is really very simple -- and the mechanisms are all already in place.

Consider: A key portion of the Affordable Care Act hinges on "disease and injury prevention". In fact, controlling health care costs depends on prevention of medical conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, to save money. It is not a stretch to imagine a time when "gun violence researchers" will reach a "consensus" (think climate change) that gun violence is a preventable public health issue. Don't fret, though: the smokers and the fatties will go before us.

Thereafter, American gun owners will face a stark choice: give up the guns or give up health insurance for your family. "Until you eliminate a clear and preventable injury vector, your annual ACA enrollment form will not be processed."

Why send SEAL teams to make martyrs, when you can suffocate undesirable behaviors via the massive regulatory State?

Alien said...

@Staghounds - trials aren't necessary, think "pre-trial detention." That would, of course, require about as much infrastructure as the 1940s German rail and detention systems. And this isn't 1940s Germany.

Tam has a point - do the math. I was in a discussion with a youthful, gung-ho LEO some time back about this, and I pointed out that, first, with 80 million gun owners, were the exchange rate 1:1, we'd still have over 79 million left when the LEO count went to zero. Second, it's highly unlikely the exchange rate would be that low, and third, that math assumes every single LEO remains on the front lines to participate in the exchange rate.

I'm sure there's a breaking point someplace in all this, but I do not profess to know where it is or what will push things beyond the tipping point, nor do I know that it's guns that will perform that function.

Anonymous said...

They'll do it by putting a vice tax on the possession of arms. If you don't pay it, everyone will think you are an unreasonable crackpot. Then they'll legally garnish wages until turning in your guns seems like a reasonable alternative. They'll strangle people with their purse strings until they get their way.

P. Henry said...

Random thoughts to consider in this discussion:

What two groups of people own a lot of guns, practice with them regularly, and are really big supporters of the constitution? Cops and the military.

IF a ban were to occur, how likely do you think it would be to be successful?
See the success rate of "The War on Drugs" for the answer.

Who threw out a bunch of tyrants because of too many onerous laws? Oh yeah, our forefathers.

What group of people enjoys and practically makes a national sport of getting rid of governments that they absolutely hate?

Oh yeah, us again. Enough said.

Virginian said...

What two groups of people own a lot of guns, practice with them regularly, and are really big supporters of the constitution? Cops and the military.


Sorry, did you just claim cops are big supporters of the Constitution? I'd say that charitably speaking, many police officers have been subsumed into a culture of law enforcement very far removed from the ideal of peace officers in a federal republic.

When I'm less charitable, I'd say that a healthy percentage of cops rank somewhere between "retard equipped with several deadly weapons" and "sadistic lover of violence".

I've no doubt that any cop reading Tam's blog is one of the good ones, but I'd say they're very much in the minority at this point.

Bull3t said...

Ill repost a thought I offered on a different blog.

Looking at England and Australia, we have to remember that their "gun ban" didn't start in the 1990s, although it certainly accelerated in that decade.

No, the anti's slowly reduced the guns in circulation over time, gradually. As you astutely observe, there's not enough cops, trucks, furnaces, or money to buy back and catalogue 300 million guns. There aren't enough resources to even process half that amount.

So, the other side has no choice but to play the long con game. By increasing license fees, paperwork, and general hassle, alongside gradual social modification of the society from a pro-gun to an anti-gun bias, the guns are slowly whittled out of the population one or two at a time.

Eventually, by the time policy is enacted to "turn in the guns" there's only a slim number left to catalogue. There's no need to go door to door when your kids and grandkids will hand over the goods willingly.

Frank W. James said...

When it comes to gun confiscation by the Federal authorities, all those own and possess legal NFA devices will be the canary in the coal mine.

1. They are (comparitively speaking) few in number.

2. The authorities know where they live and what they have.

3. Socially and politically they are hard to defend....no one really NEEDS a machine gun, silencer, destructive device, silencer, etc.

4. The law and plans are already in place in times of national emergency for FEMA to confiscate them.

Thus they will be the dry run for bigger things on down the pike...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Anonymous said...

You have to create the social conditions wherein the people DO NOT WANT firearms.

That is what has happened here, in England.

There is a stigma attached to firearms ... to an interest in them ... to notions of self-defence ... to anti-State sentiment.

At the same time, there is veneration of the military and the police. All part of this dangerous, authoritarian mindset that fosters obedience.

Hard to explain, but the anti-gun sentiment is so deep and so prevalent; I can't imagine it ever being reversed.

Americans do seem more resistant to the propaganda and the moral outrage which is whipped-up after a killing. Good luck to you ... but I think you'll have to settle this question at the point of a sword.

Wombat said...

As with the fellow above, I have witnessed the slave mentality bloom like fungus in my nation.
Australia used to have a pioneer spirit but in '96 we were struck a fatal blow by the anti-gun lobby and within a year all law abiding citizens had to register their guns or surrender them. This registration, and even the loss of our semi-auto long-guns was survivable. What wounded us fatally was the "lawful reasons to acquire a firearm" trap.
We may own a firearm for hunting, target shooting or collecting purposes. Not to defend yourself or your nation.
No big deal, right? Just lie.
Except everybody that buys a gun to protect themselves and lists "hunting" has to hide that fact like a criminal. You can't "talk shop" regarding home or national invasions, in person or online, lest one of the new breed drops a dime on you and the state's police commissioner snatches your guns and your license. By the by, the "new breed" are the newer generation of shooters that have already succumbed to the indoctrination of our traitorous version of the NRA, the SSAA, who gleefully peddle the mantra that guns are only for sport, largely because they control most of the target ranges and their employees man the mandatory indoctrination classes required to get your license.
Never, ever, EVER allow the gun grabbers and the quisling gun owners to hijack the context of firearms ownership and shift it to "sports shooting".
I'd give up all my pistols to have just one double barrel shotgun with no strings attached.
Now I read news stories about "one percenters" and I wonder who the idiots are. The men who live free and wear the consequences or the law abiding slaves.

Don't you Yanks dare pick up a shovel to bury anything other than your enemies, foreign, and ESPECIALLY domestic.

CB said...

There are 900,000 gun toting CONSTITUTIONALLY SWORN LEOs in the nation. Most of them wont show up to fire on their friends, neighbors and family, and of the ones who show up to violate their SWORN OATH....they gotta sleep sometime... And how many gun owners are there??? A lot more than that....
It's my guess that, forbid it Almighty God, some .gov BOOB "just following orders" is going to hit a trip wire that will cause a stomach flipping revulsion in the general population. Like the line in the movie, "Patton";
"When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do." And based on the antics of fedgov in recent days, this nation is perilously close to a BOOB event.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Following up on Farmer Frank, the next group would be those who have their CHPs.

So if the NFA people being hit wouldn't be enough of a Warning, I'd think the Revocation and/or Confiscation of the CHP Holders Firearms should be enough of a Warning.

Of course, the "But I only use it for Hunting!" crowd might still not get it....

But I think that if the Federales do make a Big Push for Firearms Confiscation, they'll be a heck of a lot more things happening in Society that they might be a little 'Busy" to go door-to-door looking for those Evil Black Smith Top-Breaks!

Bruce S. said...

Seems that making ammo very expensive or unobtainable would be an easier way of dealing with the "gun problem". For instance, you could have the .gov buy up vast quantities of ammo, or you could have calibers such as the lowly .22 become almost impossible to get, or you could propose onerous taxes on ammo, or you could attempt to ban substances such as lead...oh, wait. Confiscate their powder and ball and those pesky rebels will fall into line. Uh, right.
Most likely will be a gradual brainwashing of those in the public indoctrination system to fear and loath guns, coupled with slowly reducing the numbers of new shooters, coupled with high priced and hard to obtain ammo and eventually the bitter clingers will die out.

Danne said...

There's no need for them to be confrontational about confiscation. It will occur via obamacare.....don't ya know guns are a health hazard? They'll begin by accessing BATF records of firearms purchases and assess ANYONE that has purchased a gun and outrageous increase in premiums for their obamacare unless/until you submit to a home inspection proving you don't have any guns. Viola, no violence needed!

Crustyrusty said...

Our local PD recently went the opposite way of a lot of departments I'm hearing of: they ditched all the ersatz tacticool shit and went back to real uniforms, complete with cop hats (!). I think most of them weren't down with all that SWAT mentality anyway.
Granted, this is in KY and things are different here... hell, people open carry and are pretty much ignored. The cops here don't seem to have gotten the "civilians are the enemy" mentality.

Phelps said...

Something that some people have mentioned but is getting glossed over is the idea of combat effectiveness. We have about 900K LEOs in this country. First, in any combat organization, you need at least 3 support for every man on the sharp end. In modern organizations (like our cops) you can be on that being at LEAST 5:1. So right there, your actual "raiding force" is down to 150K (and probably much, much less once desertion and refusal are taken into account.)

So, say you have your 150K ninjas. A force becomes combat ineffective at around 10% losses (the classic decimation.) At that point, you've got so many holes in your unit roles and so many people dealing with the wounded that you have to be cycled back. That means the entire police force breaks down at 15K casualties (not necessarily deaths -- cops in the hospital aren't fighting either.)

So call 15K the magic number. Go with the 3% number on gun owners, you have 800K who will actually fight. Out of the 97% that won't fight, you'll have no problem drawing out the logistical train of five others that the cops have, and probably more like 15-20 giving material support. Already you have 800K vs 150K, and the 800K is fighting a guerilla fight, where the 10% decimation number really doesn't apply.

That means that if 1 in 5 of the guerillas manages to even seriously wound a cop, the cops lose. And they only need to score as high as 1 in 5 if EVERY SINGLE COP STAYS IN THE FIGHT and doesn't dessert, quit or refuse to follow the orders.

The cops cannot win. Period. The numbers can be quibbled over, but the scale cannot.

Anonymous said...

BATFE could use Tams for their Tango watchlist...so vigilant. Of course when the cat's on vacay...


CB said...

Phelps at 12:47 got it.

Anonymous said...

SPEMack said...
You got to think that even if they are attempting to black bag guys, and even try to get him, one hard corps gun rights blogger/IDPA Champion is going to clear leather and take down a few bat-men on occasion. -unquote.

"Clear leather"? No one in their right mind attempts a "fair gun fight" against positioned, armored, wired-up, 12x your number team. Hell no. You blow away the whole stack with a few pre-positioned claymore devices in the obvious "stacking up" place you have provided. Run, and know you got your licks in first.

That would be a serious demotivator for "normal guys" when variations on this theme begin happening.

Anonymous said...

Oppress me and my family but do so with the knowledge that all rules are nullified by your behavior. Translation: Come for my rights and those of my family and i'll be at YOUR place. Count on it. No need to hunt me down.

Anonymous said...

I think the gun banners' best case scenario is something like what happened with drunk driving or smoking.

Incrementally make it more expensive and difficult. More and more hurdles. "Oh, you have a gun permit? That's going to mean a 100% increase on your health insurance." Bury the ranges in red tape. Pile on the paperwork and bureaucracy.

In the meantime, mount an aggressive campaign through the media to make gun ownership completely socially incorrect.

Eventually the barriers to new young gun owners will be so high, they'll take up hang gliding instead - and the old gun owners will die off.

Obviously this scenario won't do anything to stop mass shootings or violent crimes, but that's not what the gun banners care aobut anyway. They're against gun culture, and this is their program for eliminating it. I hate to say it, but I'm afraid it is likely to work in the long run.

Carmel IN

Wombat said...

The U.S. of A has no "long run". Not in its current form at any rate.
Your currency is about to dissolve into green paste, at which time all the ghouls of default will crawl out of the woodwork and turn your nation into a house of horrors.
How quickly you all right-the-boat is the only question left. That, and what the new normal will look like...

Anonymous said...

I think Anon 1:08, Anon 5:15, and Anon/Alath 3:24 have the most likely scenario in mind, and that is: Demonize, absolutely, gun ownership via brainwashing in gov't controlled schools and the "problem" will go away with the demise of the older generations. It's been happening for at least the last 40 years and the effort seems to be progressively accelerating (pun intended) because it appears to be working - all because we let it happen. I fear this probably won't end well for the republic, but still maintain some hope for an eventual turn-around in general attitude. I think the present behavior of our dear leader is starting to alert more and more to the undeniably hostile attitude our gov't has toward "we the people." Kentucky Jones.