Instapundit links to a piece by Declan McCullagh at the CBS News site, Sorry, Mandatory Gun Registration Is Constitutional. Instapundit comments:
Though I disagree with that as policy, that’s probably right. I could certainly construct a chilling-effect sort of argument that would be no more unfounded than many other constitutional doctrines that are “good law” today, but I’m not sure that such is really compelled by the Constitution. On the other hand, that the 1792 Militia Act required people to prove that they owned at least one qualifying gun is not necessarily support for the notion that you must account to the government for every gun you own.I'm forced to admit that I agree with the good professor. If the .gov wants to know if I have at least one "qualifying gun," I'll be more than happy to tell them. I have a CCW, so they already have reason to believe I own at least one handgun (and I write this blog, so they know I own a lot more than that, but not how many in total, and not by serial number.) But if they want a list of everything I own, not only "No," but "HELL NO!"
And why? Because I fully concur with the sentiment expressed by Charles T. Morgan, the Director of the Washington, D.C. office of the ACLU in 1975 House testimony on a gun registration bill:
What the administation's and Congressman McClory's bills . . . call for is a whole new set of Federal records. . . .That's all it's good for.
I have not one doubt, even if I am in agreement with the National Rifle Association, that that kind of a record-keeping procedure is the first step to eventual confiscation under one administration or another.
A while back someone (Tam, I believe) proposed an excellent illustration of the futility of registraion and licensing as a crime-control measure: Take a standard 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. Fold it in half and tear it along the fold. With a pen, write "License" on one piece and "Registration" on the other. Hand the piece marked "Registration" to the supporter of such laws, and say:
You are the government. That's my registration. This piece of paper in my hand is my license, and this pen is my licensed, registered firearm. Explain to me, using only these three items, how licensing and registration will prevent me from criminally misusing my firearm.Yes, registration may very well be Constitutional, but it is useful for only one thing: eventual confiscation. There are already something on the order of 300 million firearms in private hands in this country, the vast majority of which are not registered. Canada has a two billion dollar boondoggle on its hands trying to register a tiny fraction of that number of rifles and shotguns, and it is still being plagued by massive non-compliance.
If it's tried here in the States, I will be among the non-compliant.