During 2011, the latest year for which FBI statistics exist, 12,664 murders were committed in the United States. Of those, 8,583 involved the use of firearms, 1,694 were committed with knives or cutting instruments, 496 were committed with blunt objects and 726 murders were committed with “personal weapons”, which are defined as hands, fists, feet and other body parts. During that same year, several million law abiding gun owners committed no crimes.
Had these millions of gun owners not possessed any firearms, there still would have been a mind-numbing tally of murders committed with guns. Throughout history, and across all national boundaries, whether possession of a firearm is legal or illegal, one fact stands out– criminals always have guns. Consequently, law abiding citizens are the only people affected by laws that restrict or prevent gun ownership, which brings into question the true purposes of such laws.
Conspiracy theorists hold that any law that treads near the 2nd Amendment is part of a government plan to disarm citizens as part of preparation for a plan to change the American republic into a European style socialist state. At the other end of the political spectrum, left wing theorists pronounce that laws restricting gun ownership by honest citizens reduces the possibility of accidental shootings and of firearms falling into the hands of criminals. Both theories have kernels of truth to them, but both are a bit off the mark.
The seemingly most innocuous proposal by proponents of “gun control” is a federal registry of gun owners. Such a registry is promoted as an important tool in the government’s never-ending effort to protect us from ourselves; more to the point, it would serve to prevent us from protecting ourselves from the government. Conversely, as a means of deterring or preventing gun-related crime, (the alleged purpose of gun control) a federal registry is all but useless.
Only law-abiding citizens would register their guns, so a federal registry would essentially be a list of gun owners who don’t commit crimes. As an after-the-fact tool of crime detection, a federal registry is equally useless. With a few notable exceptions, crimes in which firearms are used are investigated by city, county or state police departments and they already have the ability to trace firearms. Aside from being redundant, a federal registry is likely to be unwieldy, out of date and inaccurate. But even if the data was up-to-the-minute and accurate, more often than not, it would lead investigators to a registered owner from whom the gun in question had been stolen.
Which leads to the obvious question– What purpose would a federal gun registry serve, other than as a tool to identify and ultimately disarm gun owners who don’t commit crimes? None, other than to provide gun-control advocates with a warm, fuzzy feeling that the government had taken action to reduce crime. But that warm, fuzzy feeling wouldn’t last long; it would be shattered by the sounds of gunfire erupting during the commission of yet another violent crime.
Criminals always have guns, and neither registries nor laws restricting firearm ownership will change that.