Connecticut news outlets report long lines as the
deadline looms for state residents to undergo the registration
process that will magically render their firearms and
standard-capacity magazines legal, in contrast to those evil,
forbidden, yet identical, guns and mags that remain unregistered
after the turn of the year. Thousands of registrations have been
recorded, yet whether that counts as substantial compliance with
the law depends on something that’s unknowable: how many objects
subject to the law are in the state. As I’ve written before,
however, defiance of such laws is the historical norm.
Long lines extended again from Connecticut State Police
headquarters in Middletown Tuesday morning as gun owners raced to
comply with new gun laws that go into effect on Jan. 1.
New gun laws were enacted after the tragic shooting at Sandy
Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December 2012 that took the
lives of 20 first graders and six staff members. Tuesday is the
year-end deadline for gun owners to register certain assault
weapons as well as high-capacity magazines. …
As of Christmas, 25,000 people had registered assault weapons
and 17,000 registered high-capacity magazines, Malloy said Monday.
That number is sure to rise after hundreds of people waited in line
on the final two days of 2013, rushing to meet the deadline.
25,000 registered “assault weapons” with hundreds more to go?
But Governor Andrew Cuomo in (much larger) neighboring New York
estimates the number of similar weapons in his state at
one million, while a widely ignored 1991 ban in New Jersey on
the arbitrarily defined category of weapons was estimated to apply
100,000-300,000 such guns, before the
politics-fueled buying frenzies of the last two
I’m willing to bet that 25,000 registered assault weapons
represents a minority of the firearms that are legally required to
be registered under the law. Considering that the vast majority of
“assault weapons” use magazines restricted under the new law, and
that most people purchase multiple magazines for their rifles,
17,000 registrations in that category should be seen as wildly
That shouldn’t be surprising at all, since
defiance of registration laws, let alone confiscations, is the
historical norm in the United States, Australia, Canada,
France, Germany … Politicians made that particular bed by being
abusing registration records to seize recorded weapons, or
otherwise letting even tolerable governments degenerate into the
sort of regimes that make you wish you had a gun.
In a white paper on the results of gun control efforts around
Gun Control and the Reduction of the Number of Arms,
Franz Csaszar, a professor of criminology at the University of
Vienna, Austria, wrote, “non-compliance with harsher gun laws is a
common event.” He estimated that Germans registered 3.2 million of
17-20 million affected weapons when registration was implemented in
that country in 1972. Austrians, he says, registered perhaps a
quarter to a third of weapons subject to a similar law in 1996.
When California imposed “assault weapon” registration in 1990,
The New York Times
reported “only about 7,000 weapons of an estimated 300,000 in
private hands in the state have been registered” at the time the
grace period came to a close.
So take those “long lines” in Connecticut with a grain of salt.
Government officials are capable of turning a dinner party into an
extended, bureaucratic ordeal. But they can’t make compliance with
intrusive and repressive laws seem like a goood idea.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/31/take-a-grain-of-salt-with-those-long-con