Most of them won’t admit it, but the holy grail for the Gun Control Industrial Complex™ (short of full blown confiscation) is registration of all privately-owned firearms. Their pretzel logic holds that if only we knew who has all the heaters floating around out there, gun crime will somehow magically be reduced. Don’t bother peeking behind that particular rhetorical curtain, though, because gun-grabbers can’t really tell you why registration would convince a criminal to give up his evil ways and follow the straight and narrow. They just know it will. It has to, right? For some reason. But whether or not any bad doods actually experience road to Damascus conversions . . .
The bigger problem with registration is that the databases on which those dreams of gun control-induced peace, tranquility and unicorn flatulence hang would be run by . . . government employees. Yep, basically the same genus of, uh, dedicated public servant who ostensibly collect and protect our most closely-held secrets are the ones who will be tasked with keeping tabs on your gats.
And gee, that just hasn’t worked out particularly well. No matter where it’s been tried. As an example, consider the experience of our neighbors to the great white north. Our Canuckian brothers and sisters from another mother ginned up their own wonderfully ambitions long gun registration scheme a while back. The first problem they ran into was that it was wildly more expensive than its proponents billed.
When the registry was being sold to the public, it was estimated to cost about $2 million a year. Actual tally: about $65 million per annum, and growing. A government program that costs more than advertised? Say it ain’t so!
Oh, and then there’s the whole problem of the registry’s efficacy. Or lack thereof. Even the vast majority of the Canadian public, despite being fed a relentless diet of pro-registration government and media agitprop knew it did absolutely nothing to reduce crime. So against almost all experience with government programs anywhere on the globe, they’ve actually scrapped it.
“Hold your horses there, you pro-gun whack job,” I hear the civilian disarmers say. “That’s only one example.” Fair enough. Here’s another one. We take you now to the gun violence-free paradise that is Great Britain. Specifically the county of Yorkshire.
Bungling police staff at South Yorkshire Police have finally copped to a huge snafu in their firearms database after spending the last two months writing to thousands of firearms licence holders. The letter simply requested they “update their details”. Bosses have blamed the database snafu on the actions of a sacked administrator.
Translating that theregister.co.uk article into English, it seems that the local constabulary’s had some trouble keep their “firearm and shotgun” records up to date. Incorrect entries, updates never made at all. Nothing that will surprise anyone who’s ever been to the Post Office or DMV. So when the brass figured out their National Firearms Licensing Management System info was pretty much worthless, what did they do?
Chief Superintendent Odell told the paper that after discovering the scope of the problem, firearms licensing bosses wrote to all 9,000 firearm and shotgun certificate holders in the county earlier this month, claiming the force’s records were being “audited”.
Yep. They wrote to the county’s gun owners asking for help. Just updating our records. We’d appreciate your cooperation.
The letter to the county’s gun owners, which The Register has seen, did not give any indication that the police had effectively lost control over the database of firearms and their owners. Nor did it mention that the police first noticed discrepancies eight months before writing to owners. It said:
We are currently undertaking an audit of all firearms and shotguns held within South Yorkshire and would appreciate your co-operation with this matter. I would be grateful if you could complete the table below with the details of firearms or shotguns you currently possess and return this information … to enable us to check these details against our records.
Even though The Register’s article seems to be a standard news piece as opposed to a commentary, it was enlightening to get author Gareth Corfield’s opinion on the whole mess:
The NFLMS is a prime example of pisspoor government IT procurement. Following the Dunblane tragedy of 1997, Lord Cullen recommended the introduction of a single, national computerised system for monitoring legal firearms ownership.
After a delay of almost a decade the system was initially rolled out in 2006, following a litany of “technical problems”.
Anyone who’s dealt with a government bureaucracy of any size at all won’t be shocked by any of that. Next time you raise your plastic cup while soaring 30,000 feet above the ground, try not to think about the FAA’s air traffic control system that’s remained pretty much unchanged in the last 40 years.
So, does that mean if the US ever imposes a firearms registration system (other than the current ones the ATF and NSA don’t like to talk about) we don’t have to worry because it will be so wildly inaccurate as to be useless? Not quite, Bunky. While employees of the .gov never seem to pay for their egregious cock-ups, you can be damned sure gun owners caught in their web of inaccuracy and false information won’t get off as easy. Ask any English gun owner:
“If I didn’t inform the police that I’d sold one of my rifles they’d prosecute me,” said 55-year-old Simon Wright of Northamptonshire, “my firearms certificate would be revoked and I’d get a criminal record. But there won’t be any comebacks for the police in this case. I’m just lucky enough to be covered by a different force’s licensing department who take pride in their work.”
Uh huh. But maybe the scariest thing from The Register’s article is the fact that, when trying to cover their collective ass and shore up their leaky, bogus record keeping, the South Yorks coppers only had to write 9,000 letters to (known) gun-licensed households. That’s out of a total population of over 1.3 million. Yikes.