All the results are in. The science is settled. No bout a-doubt it. What am I talking about? Global Warming? Nope. The Rise of Socialism? Not a chance. My being footloose and fiancé-free? Well, true, but not what’s on the plate here. No, fellow-TTAGers, I’m speaking of us living in the Age of Uncertainty. Well, to be completely accurate AN Age of Uncertainty, since these things seem to come about once every generation or so. You know…integrate…disintegrate…integrate…you get the picture. At this point in our history, it seems that there’s less we can count on (aside from death and taxes), but even those hallowed institutions seem fraught with Heisenberg’s best. (Death panels and sunsetting tax breaks anyone?) Nowhere is this more apparent than in the realm of firearms. And why wouldn’t it be?
In firearms we have the perfect nexus of nigh-on paranoia and uncertainty. The Big O nominates a gun-grabber for head of the ATF (& sometimes E). Will they be adding jackboots to their approved combat uniforms? You’ve got a President that comes from a state vying for the most restrictive gun laws in the country. (Hell, they even wanna get rid of the gun manufacturers in the Land of Lincoln, tax base be damned.) Then there’s all the talk about the “gun show loophole” and documented cases where law-abiding citizens get thrown in the pokey for having once legally owned a gun that was stolen and later used to commit a crime. What’s a gun owner to do?
Well, kids, here’s a newsflash for you. You want an answer? There IS no answer, at least not one that doesn’t include mass protests, armed insurrection, or causes celeb. Sucks to be us, doesn’t it?
Had a buddy of mine ping me last week, asking “are you still writing for that gun magazine?” Well, yeah, other than the fact that it’s a blog and not a magazine. He then asked “are you able to get any guns?” Again, yes I can. But no easier than anybody else. “Well, if you have any you’re willing to sell, I’d like to buy ’em.” Hmmm. No, but thanks for asking.
Now I know why he’s asking. Like millions of other Americans, he’s under the mistaken apprehension that buying a gun through a private sale will somehow keep him off Uncle Sam/Big Brother’s radar. Mmmmmmm…not so much.
First of all, the minute you apply for a concealed handgun permit in any state (well, any state that will let you have one), they run a background check on you, at both the state and FEDERAL level. That means the EFF BEE EYE knows you want to own a gun. And knows where you live. And asks friends and neighbors all about you. And that’s just for a CHL. Imagine the proctological nature of the background check when you go after a permit to own a fully-automatic weapon (not to mention the civil rights you are required to give up – notably search and seizure – when you apply for one).
Second, you know every time you buy something at a store, let’s say Walmart or Bass Pro Shops, and pay with a Debit or Credit card, the stores maintain a database of what you buy. It’s not inherently evil – it’s how they try to understand buying habits, trends, stocking needs, et cetera. Ever wonder why the coupons you get a checkout seem to be related to what you purchase? I mean, if you’re buying formula or baby clothes, you’ll get a coupon for Pampers, and not one for Depends. (Unless you’re the widow of Tony Randall, I suppose.) Do you honestly thing in a world with the TSA feeling you up that the Feds would have any reservation getting ahold of that database and seeing who’s buying what kind of ammo, how much, and how often?
Then remember, every time you buy a gun at a dealer or gun show, you must submit to a “QuickCheck.” The check may not turn up much, but you’re in the system.
The concept of privacy is a myth. If we ever had any privacy before, we don’t now. Not between debit/credit cards, traffic cameras, facial recognition software, data-mining, and dealer FFL record-keeping.
If this teaches us anything, it would be to never SELL a gun where a record exists of you owning it, and keep all your weapons secured to prevent theft. Even reporting a gun stolen doesn’t seem to be enough to keep law-abiding citizens out of the clutches of Uncle Sam, when he wants to do that voodoo that he does so well.
So sleep well, campers. Without eternal vigilance, this place is gonna resemble nothing so much as the U.S.S.R. in the 60s.