I might be giving her and her sycophants from ATF too much credit, but the registration scheme in Senator Feinstein’s bill will create a massive group of felons once the registration of firearms would be closed.
One detail that is not in the bill as presented now is how long will the registration process will last. We can safely assume based on what we know of the actual NFA that it will be slow, inefficient and dangerously tilted to screw gun owners. Rumor has it (OK, more than a rumor) that the NFA Branch of ATF does not precisely know how many guns has in its registry nor they are willing to confirm so. Numbers gathered for different sources tell us that “officially” there should be some 150,000 to 200,000 machine guns in file but nobody ever figured out how many machine guns and others qualifying for registration under NFA 34 are out there unregistered. There was many a G.I. who did not know or cared that bringing full weapons back from wars prior to Korea/Vietnam was illegal unless they were registered. Some say that anywhere from one million to 2 million machine guns are in the hands/basements/attics of Americans making the NFA Registry short by 90% or so, plus a total failure.
Let’s go down to brass tacks: As it stands today, it takes the NFA Branch between 6 to sometimes 9 months to accept, process and issue the paperwork for a machine gun, a short barrel rifle/shotgun or a silencer. I don’t think I am wrong in stating that out of the 300 million firearms in the US, 200 million would be within the scoop of Sen Feinstein’s bill and let’s say that the Senator is graceful enough to allow Gun Owners a full year to register the guns (usually the grace periods are 30 to 90 days). Let’s do the math:
200,000,000 guns ÷ 260 days (full year of 5 day working week) = 769,230 guns registered per business day.
547,945 guns ÷ 8 hours (working day) = 96,153 guns per hour. or 1,602 per minute, 27 per second.
The NFA branch also has the reputation to screw up big time with the records but that is not their problem, it is YOUR problem to prove they messed up and fix it without going to jail. A good equivalent is like calling the IRS for a consultation, follow the instructions you are given and then getting nailed with fines and interests because the information was wrong. It is their idea and screw up, but your responsibility at the end. We will be in the same boat.
So it goes without saying that it will be impossible to register that many weapons and give its owners the required paperwork in a year’s time. And again, I don’t think we will get one year to register our weapons at all. So why bothering with it? Because it forces you to either hide your guns and become a Felon-in-Waiting or you shall be forced to turn in your unregistered guns to your local PD for disposal. And it does even more: It effectively kills self-defense with a firearm for the majority of gun owners. “Oh yes sir, you have the right to defend yourself, no doubt about it. But say, Is that gun a semi? is it registered with NFA? May I see the paperwork? Oh darn! It is not registered! I am sorry sir, you are under arrest for violation of NFA 34 which is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and forfeiture of all devices or firearms in violation, and the individual’s right to own or possess firearms in the future.” This is a scheme being used in other countries where strict Gun Control is the norm and it has pretty much ended the idea of self-defense. Nobody wants to end up in the same prison with the criminal he just shot or friends of the criminal if he ended up sucking daisies from the subterranean end. The result? Violent Crime rates skyrocket after its implementation.
But Miguel! If it helps to keep guns from the hands of criminals, it is a sacrifice well worth it! Cute but we already know that Bad Guys really do not care about laws and then we have the case of Haynes v. United States where the Supreme Court indicated that punishing felons for failing to register a gun is a violation of their Fifth Amendment Rights as it would compel felons to incriminate themselves.
I am sure there are many more problems that will come up with having our regular guns registered under NFA rules ($200 tax per gun, I forgot that one) but I expect you have heard from people who have NFA items or at least one or two are readers of the blog. Please add in the comments anything else missing.
(sorry if I sound rambling and dumber than usual. Need sleep and haven’t got any yet. Feel free to correct and improve.)
The big one with the NFA scheme is the approval by your local Chief LEO. THere are plenty of places where police chiefs and others will not sign off on Form 1′s or 4′s. that would effectively prevent people living in these areas from owning any of these firearms. There was talk of this requirement going away, but as far as I know it’s still in place. I’m fortunate in that it’s not a problem for me, but not everyone is so lucky. This could be a major back door way to limit people’s ability to keep guns they already own.