As we’ve written here countless times in the run-up to the election, Slow Joe’s Everytown/Giffords-produced gun control platform was the most radical anti-gun rights agenda in the history of American politics. One of its primary features was a combination of a ban on the manufacture and sale of new civilian “assault weapons,” a buyback of currently owned guns, and NFA regulation and taxation of scary black rifles and “high capacity” magazines for those who elect to keep their property.
As the Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski wrote earlier this week, that kind of crushing regulatory burden would cost gun owners about $34 billion…if Americans decided to comply with it.
But that wouldn’t happen. The federal government would get neither the guns nor the money nor the personal information of every assault-weapon owner. It would only get to choose between ignoring widespread resistance and going out hunting for civilians who’d kept unregistered guns, hoping not to end up with another Waco or Ruby Ridge.
Think I’m being melodramatic? Take a quick tour through some recent gun-control efforts that required enforcing the law against everyday civilians, and not just businesses that traffic in firearms.
In 2013, Connecticut tried to force the registration of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The government estimated there were almost 400,000 of the former and 2 million of the latter in the state, but the following year, the number of registrations totaled only about 50,000 and 40,000 respectively.
Laws requiring background checks on private sales of used guns have fared little better. One study looked at laws in Washington State, Colorado, and Delaware, and found that in the first two of those states, the background-check law didn’t even increase background checks.
In Washington, there was a well-documented public “I will not comply” rally at the state capital, at which firearms were openly transferred between private parties without background checks. There were also gun shows where non-compliance was encouraged and public calls from profirearm organisations to not comply with the state’s new CBC [comprehensive-background-check] policy. . . .
Many county law enforcement officials in Colorado reportedly stated they would not enforce its CBC law, and some retailers were declining to process background checks for private party transfers. Washington law enforcement agencies announced there would be no arrests for selling guns at the non-compliance rally and gun show. Preliminary data from a study of two Eastern states suggest that willingness to prosecute violations of such laws can vary substantially.
Meanwhile, in my own state of Virginia, the threat of a Democrat-controlled state government recently prompted many counties and localities to declare themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” where local authorities would not take part in enforcing any unconstitutional gun laws.