Don’t Count On American Compliance With Gun Confiscation
There are well over 130 million American hard-core gun owners, who own in excess of 390 million firearms, & over 90% of those firearms are un-registered. So, in a nutshell --- the US Government doesn't know where 390+ million firearms are located, much less who owns them.First, non-compliance with gun-confiscation laws has been widespread even in countries that don’t protect the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Second, Americans are already notoriously non-compliant with strict gun-control measures in states that have enacted them on a smaller scale.
Third, the firearms and magazines that gun-control advocates wish to confiscate simply are not a driving force behind homicides—and America’s lawful gun owners know it. People rarely respond well to being scapegoated, and otherwise law-abiding gun owners aren’t likely to prove an exception to this rule.
Americans Are Notoriously Non-Compliant With Gun-Control Laws
If significant and widespread non-compliance is so common in countries without America’s gun culture or constitutional protections for civilian gun ownership, it would be almost laughable to presume Americans would be more compliant with overbearing gun-control measures.
After all, civilian gun possession is deeply ingrained in the American psyche, as is an aversion to gun confiscation. The American Revolution itself officially ignited over an effort by King George III and his military generals to disarm the colonists; the battles at Lexington and Concord began because the British were coming to seize the colonists’ powder stores and render them defenseless against the armed enforcement of tyrannical laws.
Non-compliance with British gun-control mandates was widespread before and during the war. The Second Amendment was passed in large part as a counterbalance against government impulses toward tyranny, and an assurance against government attempts to create select militias with which to oppress a citizenry disarmed through arbitrary or burdensome gun-control laws.
➤ It is hardly surprising, then, that even today, many otherwise law-abiding Americans fail to comply with laws they perceive as arbitrary infringements on their Second Amendment rights. Consider, for example, what happened when New York, in 2013, banned the future purchase of commonly owned semi-automatic rifles and required current owners to register their estimated 1 million “assault-style weapons” with the state.
➤ Despite the threat of serious criminal penalties for non-compliance and extended periods of “amnesty,” by 2015 fewer than 45,000 firearms had been registered. In other words, it appears that tens of thousands of New Yorkers continue to simply ignore the law.
Similar rates of non-compliance have been observed for constitutionally suspect confiscation laws in other states; in fact, after New Jersey banned the civilian possession of standard magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, an investigation failed to discover a single instance where one of the state’s one million gun owners turned a prohibited magazine in to law enforcement authorities, as the statute required.
New Jersey and New York are states that historically have subjected their residents to much stricter gun-control measures relative to the rest of the country. If non-compliance is so widespread in states where residents are used to being subject to arbitrary and overbearing gun laws, there is no reason to believe that residents in more gun-friendly states would rush to turn in their rifles and magazines just because the federal government mandated it.
Lawful Gun Owners Know Their Rifles Aren’t the Problem
This widespread non-compliance can be explained by America’s historical aversion to gun control. But it can also be explained by the reality that Americans are increasingly aware of how gun-confiscation laws turn them into scapegoats without actually addressing the real problems.
Why? Because lawfully owned semi-automatic rifles are fundamentally not a driving force behind homicides in this country, or anywhere else.
Nearly two out of every three deaths by firearms in the United States are the result of suicide. In cases of suicide, neither gun type nor magazine capacity ultimately matter; moreover, while it is true that the U.S. has a fairly high rate of suicides committed with firearms, our overall suicide rate is relatively unremarkable compared with many countries with much stricter gun-control laws.
Semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15, are responsible for only a fraction of 1% of all gun deaths in the U.S. every year, while rifles of any kind account for about 3% of all gun homicides.
And finally, a majority of crimes committed with guns in the U.S. are carried out by individuals who are already prohibited from owning firearms—not by lawful gun owners.
In other words, lawful gun owners in the U.S. are not the problem. Confiscating their rifles and magazines is not a genuine, good-faith policy solution to save lives.
The rule of law has always been an important foundation of American society. But it is shockingly naïve for any politician or organization to expect millions of American gun owners to simply turn in to the government the very types of bearable small arms protected by the Second Amendment. It is even more naïve for them to believe that, even if we were to double the rate of compliance seen in other countries, there would be a profound effect on gun-related deaths in the U.S. because of it.
There are, of course, ways to further reduce violent crime and gun-related deaths in the U.S. States can and should, for example, continue to invest in adequate mental-health treatment for their citizens, in stopping the flow of illegal gun trafficking and in ensuring that more law-abiding citizens can defend themselves in more places.
But, if the government wishes to confiscate the guns of peaceable citizens, it should be prepared to find most Americans unwilling to comply—just as they were in 1775.