Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This is What Licensing and Registration are For

And it's why I will never register my firearms (and why I'm still not too happy about having to get government permission to carry concealed.)

A lot of blogs were talking about the news from Taxachusetts last week when they reported that gun permit renewals were down 25% over the last six years, and 30% in Boston.
Gun permits drop 25% in Bay State

Culture shift, fees are cited
Normally I don't include the photos from these stories, but in this case, I will:
Obviously Massachusetts has taken a page from Maryland's playbook. Continuing:
The number of licensed gun owners in Massachusetts has declined by more than a quarter in the past six years, a falloff driven by restrictive laws, higher licensing fees, and cultural change, according to police officers and gun owners.

The drop is especially dramatic in the eastern part of the state and in urban areas. The number of licensed gun owners fell at least 30 percent in Boston, Springfield, Quincy, Fall River, and Waltham. It dropped at least 20 percent in more than 220 of the state's 351 communities.

The number of licensed owners climbed in about 40 mostly smaller communities in the central and western parts of the state. It also rose in a handful of eastern suburbs and cities, such as Weston and Brockton, according to data from the state's Criminal History Systems Board, which tracks licensed gun owners.

Overall, the number of people in Massachusetts with a license to carry a weapon has declined from about 330,000 to about 240,000 from 2001 to 2007. Over the past three years, the number of licensed owners has declined by 15,000.

While some law enforcement officials praise the decline, police, politicians and antigun advocates caution that there are still plenty of illegal guns on the streets, contributing to a steady pace of violence.
Well THERE'S a shocker.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: These laws can disarm only one group - the law-abiding. Note that the piece blames part of the decline on "cultural change." They're correct. I'm willing to bet that many gun owners are leaving. Let me quote The Geek with a .45 on his 2003 decision to depart from New Jersey for the (relative) freedom of Pennsylvania:
We'll be starting the house hunt after the first of the year. With the miniGeeks, we need a bigger place anyway, and shortly, this will all be a bad dream.

The thing is, I don’t think that’ll be the happy end of the story. I think the story is just beginning to be told.

As I mentioned to Kim, there is a hidden exodus that you won’t read about in the papers:
“People are moving away from certain states: not because they've got a job offer, not because they want to be closer to family, but because the state they are living in doesn't measure up to the level of freedom they believe is appropriate for Americans. We are internal refugees.”
The fact that things have gone so far south in some places that people actually feel compelled to move the fuck out should frighten the almighty piss out of you.

Ten or fifteen years ago, I would've dismissed that notion, that people were relocating themselves for freedom within America as the wild rantings of a fringe lunatic, but today, I'm looking for a real estate agent.

It is a symptom of a deep schism in the American scene, one that has been building bit by bit for at least fifty, and probably more like seventy years, and whose effects are now visibly bubbling to the surface.

Just open your eyes and take a long look around you.

If you're an informed firearms enthusiast, you know how much has been lost since 1934.

Even if you lay aside gun rights issues, let me ask you some questions.

No, on second thought, let's save the 50 questions for another posting, for now, lets just ask one:

When was the last time you built a bonfire on a beach, openly drank a beer and the presence of a policeman was absolutely no cause for concern? Hmmm?
I can't help but wonder if Mr. Edward Arsenault wishes he'd joined that "hidden exodus" some time ago. His right to own a firearm rests only on the whim of a licensing board.

Still, regardless of the fact that these laws disarm only the law-abiding, the opposition sticks to its endless mantra that it's the number of guns that's responsible for the carnage:
"Fewer firearms on the street makes life safer for everyone," said Robert F. Crowley, Quincy's police chief. "The average citizen who has a gun 24-7 I don't believe has the experience, knowledge, and training to know when and if they should use a firearm."
To paraphrase somebody, your belief does not negate my rights.
Many attribute the drop to a 1998 state law, the Massachusetts Gun Control Act, and subsequent changes, which dramatically changed the gun licensing landscape by increasing fees and making it more difficult for people with old legal problems to renew their license.

It now costs $100 for a six-year license for a handgun, shotgun, or rifle. It costs $25 for a six-year permit for a chemical repellent, with no renewal fee. A lifetime permit for a rifle used to cost $2. It can take about two months to get a license.

"People come in to renew and are shocked it's $100," said Keith MacPherson, deputy police chief in Waltham.
The power to tax is the power to destroy. As I have also noted, this is how it worked in England, as well. Make legal gun ownership expensive and onerous and the number of legal owners will decline. Increase the onerousness, and the decline will increase. It's not worth the hassle to most people for whom guns are just (at best) recreational devices used about as often as a tennis racket. (Got one of those in your closet?) Once the number of legal owners declines far enough, the rest of the population becomes apathetic towards protecting the right to arms - and that right, for all practical purposes, ceases to exist. It's $100 every six years now? Why not make it $100 annually? And you can only apply to renew on each third Wednesday of the month between 8:00 AM and 4:00PM (but not between 12:00 and 1:00). You must appear in person with a notarized copy of your birth certificate (a new copy for the file each year.) Certified check or money order only, and it must be for the exact amount - which will change by a few cents each year. Processing fees, you understand.

What, that's not a "reasonable restriction"? Says who?
Other New England states do not appear to have experienced a similar drop, although comparisons are hampered because permitting and records differ widely.

Limited data show that the number of nonresident permits have increased by more than half in Maine and have more than doubled in New Hampshire since 2000 and 2001, respectively. Pistol permits are down slightly in Rhode Island and are up slightly in Connecticut.

"We saw a big increase after 9/11," said Sergeant William Gomane of Maine's State Police.
Right, when some people figured out that they were responsible for their own protection. But it didn't really sink in with the majority of the population.
The law in Massachusetts was changed in 1998, and in later years, so that anyone convicted of a violent felony is disqualified from ever obtaining a state license. Those convicted of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony are also disqualified for five years following conviction or release. People convicted of assault and battery on family members, or crimes involving drugs or guns, are also disqualified.
This is an expansion of U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 44, Section 922 (g) (1) in which anyone "who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" no longer has a right to arms. Note that you don't have to actually receive a sentence of more than one year, the charge just has to be one that can result in a sentence of more than one year.

Apparently stealing a chicken at age 9 qualifies.

It makes you wonder what else does, too, doesn't it?
"A slew of people are now prohibited," said Dennis Collier, a police captain in Revere.
You betcha!
Even before the new law, license applications were filed with local police chiefs, who have some discretion for granting or denying licenses. For instance, a person whose state and local background check shows he or she has been on trial for violent crimes, but not convicted, can be denied a license by the chief.

With even tighter restrictions, some gun owners have been infuriated, considering it an unjust and a transparent attempt to deny honest hard-working residents their right to own a gun.
But not infuriated enough to cause them to do a Marvin Heemeyer. Not yet, anyway.
Edward Arsenault, 70, of Fairhaven, was turned down for his license renewal earlier this year because he had been convicted in juvenile court of stealing a chicken from a chicken coop when he was 9 years old, in 1946.

Arsenault said he barely remembers the incident.
Seeing as it happened only sixty years ago, I can't imagine why he would have problems remembering it. It should have been seared, seared into his memory! Obviously someone with that kind of mental defect should be denied access to something as dangerous as a firearm!
"I have no problem with gun control or background checks, but let's not get ridiculous," said Arsenault, a gun license owner since the 1980s. "Something done when someone is 9 years old carries over until they are 70? We're not talking about robbing a bank; we're talking about stealing a chicken."
No, we're talking about guns - a talisman of evil to some people, and a reminder to others that some of us still believe in the concept of personal sovereignty. Remember, "when dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his peril." Here's a hint, sir: It's already gone way past ridiculous, because people like you "have no problem with gun control."

But you do now, don'tcha?
He appealed the ruling to New Bedford District Court in April and won, at least partly thanks to Fairhaven Police Chief Gary Souza, who testified on his behalf. It was the first time in more than four years on the job that Souza stood up for someone who had been denied a license, he said.

In Boston, the number of licensed owners fell from 7,577 in 2001 to 4,374 this year, a drop of 42 percent. In the same period, gun licenses in Cambridge dropped 25 percent to 782; 71 percent to 484 in Brookline, and 33 percent to 1,150 in Newton, state records show.

"We're pleased that the number of gun owners has decreased in our city, but the real issue is illegal guns, and we need more laws to deal with illegal guns in our cities," Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said in a statement.
No, Mayor Menino, the real issue is violent criminals, not the tools they use.

But it's so much easier to blame an inanimate object, isn't it?
Mayor James E. Harrington of Brockton, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national organization, said that while it is good fewer firearms are around, the bigger problem is guns that make their way to the street illegally. He would like more restrictions on bulk out-of-state sales of guns by dealers.
What, he wants to make it super-duper illegal? I assume he's talking about multiple handgun sales. Handguns that can't be sold to someone from out of state? And that multiple purchases of which are reported - by law - to the BATF? (Which seems to do fuck-all with the information.)

What "more restrictions" would he like? I love these vague ideas that the gun-control people keep touting.
John E. Rosenthal, founder of nonprofit Stop Handgun Violence, said the drop in ownership is primarily because of the law, but might also be because of increased awareness of gun safety and violence. Maybe "moms who are the primary caregivers are concerned about guns in the home and maybe they are influencing the men in the home," Rosenthal said.
Right. Sure. It's the "civilizing influence" of nurturing mothers.
The drop did not surprise Andrew Arulanandan, a spokesman for the 4-million-member National Rifle Association.

He attributed the reduction to higher fees. "When you add additional taxes on any universe of people, there are going to be people who are forced to give up whatever pursuit that is being taxed. The victims here are the people with limited means and not the criminals. The criminals won't stand in line to . . . pay the tax."
They don't stand in line at "gun buybacks" either.
Don Hunt, owner of Hunter's Trading Post, a gun shop in Weymouth, thinks the dropoff is partly because of negative media stories, which he said poison young people's minds toward firearms.

"This is not a gun sport friendly state," he said.
And it's getting less friendly by the month, too.

It's all part of the plan.
Attitudes toward firearms vary widely. Many people in rural areas and in the western part of the state enjoy hunting and guns.

In Chester, nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires, "the joke is, you don't live in Chester unless you own a gun," said Police Chief Ronald Minor. The town of 1,300 has about 185 licensed gun owners. Owning a gun "is like second nature, like having a car," Minor said. "It's just a different way of life."
Well, they'd better get used to the idea of not owning a gun when the overwhelming majority of their mostly-urban neighbors decide that there is no right to arms worth protecting, and their civil masters in the legislature - who know pretty much where every legally-owned firearm in the state is - demands they give them up.

And are then surprised by the fact that the "illegal guns" are still out there, and in ever-increasing numbers.

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