Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NY: Delayed Enforcement: A Common Strategy

Guns seized decades after implementation of firearms law in Britain

It has been a common tactic of disarmists, statists, leftists or whatever name you wish to apply to those who desire the concentration of power, to incrementally acrete more and more power to the government.  The founding fathers of the American republic knew that there was a natural tendency to do this, as laws, once passed, are extremely difficult to repeal. One of the reasons this is so is that it is easy for authorities to simply not enforce unpopular laws.  This removes the incentive to repeal them, but allows them to be available for whatever purpose the authorities desire when they decide to use them.

This is often the case with firearms law.  The important thing for the disarmists is the get the law passed.   Enforcement is secondary.  They must establish the principle that the state decides who may be armed, and who may not.  Because these laws are seen as illegitimate by people who are knowledgeable, enforcement is often delayed.  Once enough time has passed that opposition has died down, enforcement is stepped up, as politics and propaganda dictate.

Enforcement of British laws was slowly tightened and intensified over decades, as documented by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm in her scholarly work,  Guns and Violence, the English Experience.

In the  United States, the 1934 National Firearms Act NFA was rarely enforced for decades.   Initially, the act only applied to firearms transported across state lines.   Then the courts, through a number of increasingly bizarre rulings, expanded federal power through the commerce clause to include virtually all commerce.  By 1994, the NFA was used as the pretext to raid the Branch Davidian religious commune in Waco, Texas, although the actual reason for the raid was later given as child abuse, for which the federal government has no authority.

A New York case is a recent example.  From foxnews.com:
A plan by police in Buffalo, N.Y., to begin confiscating the firearms of legal gun owners within days of their deaths is drawing fire from Second Amendment advocates. 
The plan is legal under a longstanding, but rarely enforced state law, but gun rights advocates say, with apologies to onetime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston, it is tantamount to prying firearms - some of which may have substantial monetary or sentimental value - from the cold, dead hands of law-abiding citizens

In California, the ban on certain semi-automatic rifles was later ruled to include many that had been excluded previously, by the state Attorney General.  Now the law forbidding possession of guns by certain groups of people is being aggressively enforced, as computer generated lists of "prohibited" persons are turned over to special firearms confiscation squads.

The pattern is that the law is passed, it is not rigorously enforced, and then, years or decades later, enforcement is pushed, with the solemn pronouncement that the law has been on the "books", and is sanctified by age.

Some gun owners scoff at the passage of laws that they deem "unenforceable".  They do so at the peril of future generations.   The law may be unenforceable and unpopular now, but that can change with technological innovation and the control of the educational system.

It is no accident that so called "Universal Background Check" laws require the recording of firearm information such as make, model and serial number.  This information is spurious to a background check.  Any system that requires it is obviously setting the stage for a future registration system.

Definition of disarmist

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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