Earlier this week, Northam indicated a shift in his support for gun confiscation. He now alleges that he will support a grandfather clause accompanied by registration. Most people seem to already understand this, but for those that do not, lets highlight why grandfathering and registration of firearms is not an acceptable compromise.
1) One of the first issues is with the term “compromise” itself. Compromise should mean both sides get something. Unfortunately, when it comes to firearms, the term “compromise” seems to always mean giving up rights without receiving anything in return. This is not compromise. This is the death of civil liberties by 1000 cuts. Temporarily pausing the confiscation of weapons for those that register them is not a compromise.
2) Think this through. If tomorrow, King Governor Northam attempted to force State Police, the National Guard, or anyone else to confiscate “assault weapons” where would they start? There is no feasible way to accomplish this task. What would they do? Start tracking down people from postings on Armslist.com? Use social media posts to profile people? Check credit card statements for anyone buying 5.56 or 7.62x39 ammunition? There is truly no discernible way to accomplish confiscation right now. Unless- Unless you could convince the citizens to voluntarily tell you where the weapons were. Allow them to keep what they already rightfully own in exchange for a promise that they will not be made felons overnight. Do we really have faith that this list will not be turned against us in the future? Do we now trust the government not to abuse this list? Lets not be naïve.
3) This is not a unique plan. Multiple jurisdictions, from Australia, to European countries, even to states like New York have granted gun owners “amnesty” if they “voluntarily register” their weapons. This amnesty has lasted only until the winds of change again blow, and the registration lists are used as the base for mass confiscation. One need look no further than the Nazi gun registration-then-confiscation plans to understand where this path leads.
4) Federal law will NOT protect us. Multiple people have cited the following passage from the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) for the proposition that gun registration is unlawful under federal law.
“No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.”
Unfortunately this law has some loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. First, it does not apply to registration laws in effect before the 1986 FOPA law was passed. This means that pre-existing registration laws (*NFA*) remain valid. Secondly, it applies only to records required to be kept “under this chapter.” This means that records not originating under the chapter may be kept and formed into a registration. Finally, it restricts Federal registration, and prevents federal registration from being cloaked as state by state registration, but does NOT actually prevent individual states from implementing a registration plan.
5) Registration will also come dressed as universal background checks. I have even seen a prominent Virginia (and allegedly pro-gun) attorney blog saying that Universal Background Checks are a “good thing” and will “make everyone safer.” This is categorically not true. Not only does evidence from states with mandatory background checks show their ineffectiveness, but they also increase the prosecution of otherwise law abiding people and create a systematic way through which registration may be a reality in the future.
6) Who are we to negotiate rights away? Imagine if George Washington himself said “let’s compromise. Don’t tax me without representation, and I won’t oppose this taxing scheme on future generations.” That is directly analogous to what is currently being proposed with firearms. Do not fall for it. Consider not just yourselves Virginia but consider future generations. If history is any indicator, our children and their children will need tools to fight tyranny just as much or more so than we do today.
In closing, I want to thank all the Virginians who are showing up and fighting for their rights. I have felt more patriotic in the past couple of weeks witnessing the spread of 2A sanctuaries grow and standing side by side with other Virginia patriots making our voices heard. Now is the time to hold the line. No compromise!