Did you know that the Pennsylvania State Police have been keeping records of firearms transfers going back as for as the beginning of the last century?
State police have kept records on all transfers of handguns (both private and through dealers) since 1931 and thus already have a registration system for them. Records on handgun purchases through dealers go back to 1901. The new regulations would add in the private transfer of long guns as well as a $10 fee per gun per year as well as fingerprinting and citizenship verification.
Gun-control advocates have long claimed that a comprehensive registry would be an effective safety tool. Their reasoning is straightforward: If a gun has been left at a crime scene, the registry will link the crime gun back to the criminal.
Nice logic, but reality has never worked that way. Crime guns are rarely left at crime scenes. The few that are have been unregistered — criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind a gun that’s registered to them. When a gun is left at the scene, it is usually because the criminal has been seriously injured or killed. These crimes would have been solved even without registration.
Registration hasn’t worked in Pennsylvania or other places. During a 2001 lawsuit, the Pennsylvania State Police could not identify a specific crime that had been solved through the registration system from 1901 to 2001, though they did claim that it had “assisted” in a total of four cases but they could provide no details.
That’s because registration isn’t about crime. It’s about confiscation. Eventually.