Gun Laws & Legislation

NRA President Jim Porter: Connecting the dots from registration to confiscation

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By James Porter II, NRA President

No matter how dishonest a “scientific study” might be on the issue of gun control, as long as it supports the agenda of the gun-ban movement, it gets massive loyal media attention.

But the inverse of that rule is true as well. If conclusions on various gun control schemes don’t fit the gun-ban end-game, they just don’t exist. Their game is to assure that the members of the public remain “no information” voters when it comes to the truth about gun control.

Such is the case with an internal white paper proffered by the deputy director of the National Institutes of Justice (NIJ), the U.S. Justice Department’s think-tank. The report’s conclusions are huge.

The remarkable internal analysis did receive attention from bloggers and conservative media largely based on a well-executed video done by Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. The study bears amplification here.

Written by NIJ’s Greg Ridgeway, Ph.D., the document dissects all of the current gun control schemes pushed by the gun-ban crowd.

Titled “Summary of Select Firearms Violence Prevention Strategies,” the January 2013 paper sums up many of the standard gun control schemes, but draws some damaging conclusions.

Given the radical anti-gun tilt of President Barack Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, Ridgeway’s findings sharply differ from the administration’s gun-ban “commonsense” nonsense.

The importance of his analysis comes with connecting the dots.

Among his major conclusions is the necessity to transform universal background checks into universal gun owner registration, and from there, to registration as the central means to enforce a gun ban. On universal background checks—the gun-ban crowd’s current flavor du jour—the NIJ deputy director determines that “Effectiveness depends on the ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration. …”  (emphasis added)

Ridgeway fails to mention that “straw purchases”—whereby individuals who can pass a background check illegally obtain firearms for those who cannot—already constitute a 10-year federal felony along with a host of other federal criminal charges and these “straw purchases” are almost never prosecuted.

Ridgeway reckons that “The challenge to implementing this more broadly is that most states do not have a registry of firearms ownership.”

The registration-to-confiscation leap is highlighted with his discussion of Australia’s massive civil disarmament.

Among the “strategies” Ridgeway covers are “gun buybacks,” which he says are “generally ineffective.” However, the 1990s forced civil disarmament in Australia, he opines, “is an exception” because “It coupled the buyback with a ban on certain weapons and a nationwide registration and licensing program.” (emphasis added)

Those “certain weapons”—forcibly taken from thoroughly law-abiding licensed gun owners who had duly registered them with the government—included all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and all pump-action shotguns—700,000 private arms in all. Everything from Ruger 10/22s to fine Winchester Model 12s were cut, torched and turned into scrap by a government that gun owners had trusted with licensing and registration. In a follow-up confiscation, licensed Aussie handgun owners were robbed of their property by a second “buyback,” this time of registered pistols and revolvers. The equivalent number of destroyed firearms in the U.S. would number 40 million.

Ridgeway’s NIJ coverage of Australia is paramount since President Obama has embraced what he called “transformation” for the U.S., saying “In the United Kingdom, in Australia … they mobilized and they changed.”

Yet for all of this, Ridgeway admits the Australian private firearm destruction program “appears to have had no effect on crime. … ”

As for so-called “assault weapons bans,” Ridgeway says, those firearms “are not a major contributor to U.S. gun homicide … an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence.”

In all of this, he makes the point that registration is the means to remove guns from private hands once government declares them to be prohibited.

And that’s where we come full circle in connecting the dots. Let me define in legal terms what universal background checks amount to for individual gun owners. Such a law would criminalize all now-legal intra-state transfers of firearms between law-abiding individuals like us, if those transactions were not submitted for federal government permission.

Universal background checks, especially given the lawless nature of the Obama administration, are the platform for gun owner registration.

We must never allow that “commonsense” lie of universal background checks to become law—not now or ever.

James W. Porter II is the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association. His column appears in American Rifleman and American Hunter. Join the NRA and receive a $10 discount on your annual membership – click here.

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