Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The thousand-and-first cut.

While a common staple of firearms fora on the internets is discussion of some fantasy scenario where the federal government waves a magic wand and declares all privately-owned firearms illegal and then "Blue Helmeted UN Troops" (usually Bulgarians, for some obscure reason, although Gauloises-puffing Frogs are also popular) come door-to-door, confiscating guns, and then our heroes can't go to work on Monday because they're too busy saving the Republic! Hooray!

On the federal level, actually, gun rights in the U.S. have been making grinding progress in the right direction since the nadir of '94, with the anti-gunners not having a single real national legislative or judicial victory to show since then.

Things are more divided at the state level, with most states moving in a direction of more liberal firearms laws, while others continued to become more draconian and hostile to gun ownership after 1994.

In those states, owning a firearm is a pain: the types of guns which can be lawfully owned are tightly circumscribed, and permission to own guns at all has to be sought and paid for via the mechanism of a Firearm Owner's ID Card or similar permission slip. The business of selling firearms is difficult even beyond the paperwork-laden nightmare imposed at the federal level, with all manner of extra state-level fees and regulations imposed on the small businessmen that operate gun stores.

The whole process, while ostensibly for public safety, has the end result of making gun ownership and shooting and buying and selling such a pain in the tuchas that, more and more, people say "Why bother?"

And so the number of legal firearms owners in these places drops, reducing the number of people who see guns as anything other than tools of criminality, which makes further tightening of regulations easier, which cuts down on the number of legal gun owners even more... Until you wind up here, and not one single Gauloises-smoking Blue Helmet was required. And you still have to go to work on Monday.


Robb Allen said...

I've always said the way to kill off the 2A isn't to ban guns, but to make their use so fraught with legal peril that people voluntarily give up.

Even on our side there are plenty of people who are OK with the background checks, CCW licenses, FOID cards, etc. Because the marketing has been very successful that guns are tools of the thug-trade and that these items prove you're not a thug. It's a lie of course. What proves I'm not a thug is the fact that I am not a thug.

Sadly, the "market to thugs to get people to dislike them" thing doesn't seem to put a dent in baggy pants sales.

Captcha - CHING!

The Duck said...

yep pretty well sums it up

ajdshootist said...

You put that very well,I have had a FAC over here in the UK for 42 yrs i worked in and for a Gun shop for 10yrs,in May this year i put in for the renual of my FAC it took the Police 2mnths to do mine and when i got THEY had left off 6 guns i already own and have in my gun safes,
par for the course "they could not organise a piss up in a brewery" is a term that comes to mind,since the Goverment Banned Handguns armed crime has gone up over here by around 150% hense if all guns are banned only Criminals will have guns as Duh they dont obey the law!

Anonymous said...

I agree that if there is ever an end to the private ownership of firearms it will be because it became out of fashion not because Yves and Igor parked their BMP on your front lawn.

Saying that I never was very fashionable on my best day and it would appear most folks around here are not impressed by trends in LA, NYC, Paris or London.


Anonymous said...

Change the culture, change the world.

Or, as Professor Reynolds sez, "the courts will not go where the culture has not."

Shake those bowcasters in their faces.

Shootin' Buddy

Weer'd Beard said...

Yep. There has been many a time when I've taken somebody to the range in Massachusetts and they took a shine to a particular gun in my collection. They ask how much I paid for the piece. I tell them and they say: "Oh, that sounds reasonable", then they ask what they need to do to actually BUY that gun and they say "Oh, I guess I'll just keep coming to the range with you, then"

That being said people who are concerned with their safety are willing to jump through a LOT more hoops.

Meanwhile I've talked to a LOT of people who lived in free states who weren't very concerned with gun rights who had a gun or two lying around at home.

Here in Mass simply owning grandpa's duck gun, the price in permits and fees quickly eclipse the price of the guns owned.

That's why most Mass gun nuts own LOTS of guns. You're either a hardcore gunnie with a large collection, or you own no guns at all.

Anonymous said...

What's even sadder is when the Marlboro-smoking blue-hats actually did roll up their Bradleys onto our front lawns (a la post-Katrina New Orleans), we didn't even get to live out our fantasies of the apocalyptic shoot-out. Everybody just quietly turned them in.

So either way, we're screwed? I need another wookie suit.


Jim said...

And the subject of guns aside, Mr. Last offers another lesson:

"I have been paying the 2.5% VAT since it went up to 20%.”

Just something to keep in mind as our American leaders hustle for the "fair" tax which will be only (some tiny) per cent.

See also: "loss leader."

Michael Bane said...

1) I thought it was the Belgians who'd be in the blue helmets! Bulgarians? Should I go to a 165-grain bullet?

2) You're right.

3) On the plus side, the culture has "tipped"...we're winning the culture war...back in those dark days of '94, we were deathly afraid that we were fighting a holding action, trying to save what we could...different days now!

Michael B

Tam said...


"(a la post-Katrina New Orleans)"

I don't know about your state, but in mine we promptly made that kind of nonsense illegal.

Tam said...

"1) I thought it was the Belgians who'd be in the blue helmets! Bulgarians? Should I go to a 165-grain bullet?"

...and Michael Bane just won the internets for today. :)

Tam said...


Yup. Like motorcyclists in Alaska, gun owners in MA, NJ, CA, etc. tend to be pretty hardcore, simply because it's practically impossible to be a "casual, apolitical gun owner".

elmo iscariot said...

One of the most effective discouragements here in Jersey isn't even a law.

The law requires an applicant for an FID to supply two "character references", who are asked to vouch for the applicant. It's left to the individual PD to decide exactly how to go about getting those vouches, so each makes its own questionnaire to send out. They ask all kinds of creative questions about alcohol consumption, temperament, affiliation with hate groups... My local PD's sheet used to ask if the applicant is "prone to volcanic outbursts of anger".

Somewhere along the line, the NJ AG decided that if the local PDs were going to ask self-selected friends about a potential gun owner, it sure did make sense to ask his employer, too. With no basis in the state's law (but backed by a highly deferential state supreme court that doesn't take kindly to uppity subjects whining about their "gun rights"), all PDs now send their usual questionnaires to applicants' employers before approving any permit. In a state that's gone well out of its way to demonize gun owners, in a larger corporate culture obsessed with liability and afraid of workplace shootings, I've known more than a few people who were willing to jump through all the other hoops, but weren't willing to risk career damage if that questionnaire happened to land on the desk of a panicky HR drone who had the ear of a stridently anti-gun manager.

Note that you have to go through the whole process over again when you get the "pistol permits" necessary for each individual handgun transfer. So if you want to build any kind of collection, your boss is going to get a stream of notices from the cops asking if he's sure you should be stockpiling such an arsenal.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about your state, but in mine we promptly made that kind of nonsense illegal.

Texas. We got a similar law here, too, thank goodness. But did they ever really have the authority to confiscate them in the first place? Tyrants have no need of laws.


Anonymous said...

"A man should carry around exactly two items: a wallet and a phone. If you routinely tote anything more than that, you just might be a woman."

I place a knife, a gun, and a flashlight higher on the list of things to carry than a phone.


AMB said...

That's a real damned shame. I lived in East Anglia for awhile and stayed briefly with a family who lives in Bury St. Edmonds. It's a beautiful little community full of delightful people.

Pity it'll be hard for the go plug ducks out on the Broads, now.

Tam said...


"But did they ever really have the authority to confiscate them in the first place?"

Under the State of Emergency Laws as they existed at the time, they sure believed they did. Not being a Louisiana attorney, for all I know, they had specific statutory authority under state law to stop gun sales or confiscate weapons in a disaster area. They do (or did) in lots of states.

That has been remedied most places now, both via specific legislation and the almost certainty of a legal ass-kicking in the post-Heller courts.


Heh. That was stuck on my clipboard from replying to a post over at Atomic Nerds.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"(a la post-Katrina New Orleans), we didn't even get to live out our fantasies of the apocalyptic shoot-out. Everybody just quietly turned them in."

Probably not representative of what would happen nationally. I'd guess that most of the people who would have resisted appropriately also had the good sense to plan ahead and had bugged out before it became an issue. So, by the time the Marlboro-smoking blue-hats actually did roll up, there weren't many left who were willing to fight.

Borepatch said...

It is death by a thousand cuts, but not in the way that most folks realize. It's a part of a bigger picture.

The Massachusetts gun laws were part of our decision to head back south, but only a part. Insanely high taxes, restrictive zoning that leads to insanely high housing costs, crushing business regulation, and a Nanny State culture where ever flunky feels entitled to stick his nose into your every private detail were part of the decision, too.

It's all part of the same "Don't do X unless we tell you it's OK" attitude.

But where the cuts come into the picture are when the census comes around again, and Massachusetts (and California, and a lot of the very Blue states) lose Congressional seats. I'm not the only one leaving.

I think we may be seeing Darwin's Law coming to bear on the Nanny State. All of those states are in deep trouble, and it all springs from a common source.

Borepatch said...

Let me amplify that last comment. The "Massachusetts Miracle" was the 1970s replacement of old factory companies with new high tech ones. Digital Equipment Corporation, Apollo, Polaroid, etc. Route 128 was styled "America's Technology Highway".

Not anymore. The computing companies are all long gone now. Biotech was supposed to replace it, but that industry is struggling, and has only generated a tenth of the jobs.

Meanwhile, Atlanta passed Boston by in population, and by now probably in high tech jobs. Austin isn't there yet, but the trajectories are unmistakeable.

The top-down control that the good people in Massachusetts have seen fit to impose has basically killed entire new fledgling industries, preventing them from emerging.

The astonishing scope of this is underlined when you consider that the incubators of new tech include both Harvard and MIT. And you STILL don't get it.

It's been quite amazing to watch.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Funny. Since the RKBA movement is gaining strength, these Anti-Gun Minority States seems Hell Bent on keeping their Anti-Gun Laws. Of course, this can change through the Courts and/or the Vote, if a Majority of their Citizens would give a Damn. But until their Political Masters are removed, if you continue to live in those States, you put up with those Laws.

As of yet, the Anointed One hasn't put in Internal Immigration Control, like the USSR had, so if one really can't stand living in those places, move away.

"Easy for you to say! I have a Job and a House, and my Family grew up here and..." yes, there are all kinds of reasons why one won't move. But unlike the Civil War, there is no Lincoln waiting in the wings, trying to preserve the Union because some States chose to enslave People. So if you want Freedom from the Anti-Gunners, it's on you. Or apply for British Citizenship.

Bill Quick said...

I envy that British town. They're just now losing the last gun shop in their tiny burg.

San Francisco stamped out the last gun shop in a town of 3/4 million more than a year ago.

Borepatch said...

Not to belabor the obvious, but there's a similar post over at Volokh.

Anonymous said...

That's California in a nutshell. I probably shouldn't even refer to myself as a law abiding gun owner anymore because I can't keep track of the laws they pass each year. Doubtless I'm breaking at least one at any given moment.

The bastards never let up and when they die or hit their term limit, it seems like there are two more just like em in the primary.

Henry Bowman said...

Well, yes, the UK is a lost cause… but in the US, the places that are still getting stupider are now getting smaller and more insular. Illinois used to be surrounded by states who hated freedom almost as much -- now they're practically the "last morons standing" in the midwest. Massachusetts and New Jersey have been able to crank up the tyranny ratchet because the people they pissed off have already moved to places like Arizona, Florida, and Texas -- so much so that they're starting to lose congressional seats because they're bleeding people. Pretty soon, the people left in these places will be freezing in the dark with their hands in each others' pockets, and then it's Collapse of the Soviet Union Part II. Save the good bourbon for the toast.

Anonymous said...

"I place a knife, a gun, and a flashlight higher on the list of things to carry than a phone."

OK, I can see the gun or the knife, but a flashlight? Your cell phone can act as a flashlight in a pinch.

jetaz said...

craig, you phone must be a hell of a lot brighter than mine. And not having a flashlight strapped to my pistol, having one in my hand is nice.

wv: hebask; No, I'm afraid I don't. My flashlight isn't powerful enough for that, but thanks.

jetaz said...

I promise that I know how to use possessive pronouns.

Unknown said...

Please for Christ sake please help me
I need your help and support to help PAY MY Tuition Fees. I need your only 3 to 5 minutes approximately

What you have to do is
1.go to and search "Kwotz-Golden Words of Life"
2.then visit my blog from the the search results.
3.Remain on the page i.e Kwotz for one minute or so and do some random surfing
4. click ONE of the ads that appeals to you from AdChoices and visit there.
5.remain on that page for one minute or so and do some random surfing.
and that's it.

NOTE: Only ONE click is needed.
I will be grateful to you.
May God Bless You.