Why Do Gun Owners Fear Registration? Ask a DREAMer
When the Obama administration announced its plan to offer a limited amnesty for undocumented immigrants who met certain conditions, immigrant rights advocates were ecstatic. Or, at least, many of them were.
In exchange for registering themselves with the federal government under the auspices of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the so-called DREAMers could get a work permit and remain in the country without fear of deportation. They could pay their taxes, and do many of the types of things that citizens do, all in exchange for letting the government know that they’re in the country illegally.
Some advocacy groups who work with immigrant populations had reservations about the program, though, and they warned that by alerting the government to their presence in the US, the DREAMers were opening themselves up to easy identification and deportation should the political winds change and a sufficiently immigration-hostile administration take power. But such mass deportation was considered unlikely, and maybe even a little crazy… up until it wasn’t.
Regardless of where gun rights supporters stand on the issue of illegal immigration and DACA, they should get a sympathetic chill down their spines when contemplating what registration with the feds is costing the DREAMers. What is happening to this population is an analog of what gun owners fear will come of a national gun registry.
If all firearms are registered in a centralized federal database, then American gun ownership is suddenly at the mercy of shifting political winds in a way that it just isn’t if nobody knows who has what.
Sure, on most days the idea of a national gun confiscation effort seems a little out there. “Nobody is coming for your guns,” we’re told again and again (even while we’re also told that certain types of guns should be banned).
But think about the following scenario: Hillary Clinton has just been elected to a second term in 2020, having run once again with gun control as a major plank in her platform; the national long gun registry that she passed during her first term in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting has been supplemented with data purchased from the same commercial data brokers who sell our every online move to social media platforms and online retailers, so that it has a nearly complete catalog of every lawfully owned American long gun, whether the owner voluntarily registered it or not. Then another mass shooter takes to the streets with an AR-15 and sets a new body count record.
Can you really imagine that an AR-15 ban and confiscation wouldn’t follow under such circumstances? I don’t think this is at all a stretch.
I think the warning that gun registration will lead to confiscation is just like the warning to the DREAMers that registration would lead to deportation — ridiculous until it suddenly isn’t. And on the day that it isn’t, there’s no way to go back in time and unregister. The door is closed, and you’re stuck with the consequences.
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October 9, 2017 at 09:50PM