Corpulent Senator Dianne Feinstein announced today she will be introducing legislation early in 2013 to “stop the spread of deadly assault weapons“.
In a nutshell, her idea is to reclassify “assault” weapons, as well as magazines accepting more than ten rounds of ammunition, as Title II Firearms. People who currently own such things will be permitted to keep them. However, those owners will have to register these arms, submit to photographing and fingerprinting, and pay a surcharge for each weapon (if I read the proposed law correctly, each magazine as well). This surcharge, authorized under the decades-old National Firearms Act of 1934, has previously been applied only to machineguns, silencers, destructive devices, and rifles or shotguns with barrels less than 18″ in length. It is the “Federal Tax Stamp” we all know and love costing, at current rates, $200.
Just the threat of this is causing mass hysteria. One of our detectives commented today that base-model DPMS AR15s, which normally go for around $600, are currently being sold for three times that at some dealers. Over at InfoWars, Alex Jones is saying – not to put too fine a point on it – that we are in “deep shit”.
My view is that just because some grizzled hag from the Land Of Fruits And Nuts (California) introduces legislation, it doesn’t mean it will pass. In the current political climate in Washington, D.C., gridlock rules. While the GOP does not have a majority in the Senate, and while the White House is occupied by Obama, the GOP still calls the shots in the House – enough to throw a giant wrench into the works, so long as we keep them properly motivated.
Obama could sign an Executive Order, as some have suggested, to reclassify semiautomatic firearms as Title II weapons under the NFA. However, analysts on both sides of the aisle realize that such a hamfisted act would carry consequences – the least of which would be widespread noncompliance. Challenges would quickly be brought in the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans have signaled they would defund the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which would be responsible for enforcing the measure. As with the previous Assault Weapon Ban, Democrats would lose their jobs en masse.
This is not to say the current regime will not try, and try hard, to reclassify semiautomatics and high-capacity magazines as falling under NFA. They would do so not to reduce violence by maniacs (if that were the case, they’d pass laws allowing lunatics to be more readily locked away). They will try to pass such a law, either by legislation or Executive Order, simply because they are broke, and they desperately need the money.
If you think those in government care – on a human, emotional level – about the children killed by madman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook K-4, think again. I can say that, because I’ve worked for government these past 27 years. Government cares about exactly two things: (1) money, and (2) power.
When legislators in Illinois passed mandatory seatbelt laws some years back, the public mantra was, “Think of the lives we will save”. But during unguarded moments, political figures – hoping to appeal to the dark side of police – privately said, “Think of the revenue you cops will be able to generate for your departments by writing seatbelt tickets. Of course, the State of Illinois gets a cut. But you guys’ll have plenty of revenue left to buy all kinds of new equipment, get pay raises, and so forth, with this law”. I myself believe seatbelts are good things. Call me crazy, but I believe writing legislation for the express purpose of fleecing the public is a bad thing.
In a similar way, I doubt Feinstein is emotionally invested in the deaths of the children at Sandy Hook. No, this harridan sees dollar signs, not dead children. She sees lots and lots of dollar signs that can be used to feed the insatiable monster on the Potomac.
Nobody really knows how many firearms are privately held in American hands, but the best estimates are around 300 million. Let’s say half of those, 150 million, would require a Federal Tax Stamp at $200 a pop. That’s $30,000,000,000 – a tidy sum, even in this era when the word “trillion” is casually tossed about in government circles. Throw in some magazines for these firearms, each requiring a separate tax stamp for lawful ownership, and we’re in trillion-dollar-revenues territory.
Those in government, like Feinstein, have held onto their power for decades and decades because they buy votes. “I’ll give you goodies – checks, programs and benefits,” they say, “as long as you keep voting me back into office”. The problem is, they’re just about out of money, despite running the printing presses full-bore, and despite borrowing heavily from the People’s Republic of China (who is due to cut up our credit card any day now). No more money, no more goodies; no more goodies, no more votes; no more votes, no more “Senator” Feinstein. She’ll be a nobody, working as a functionary for some nonprofit, with no real salary or influence to show for it.
(I was going to write, “She’d be waiting tables at Denny’s” – a humorous exaggeration. But I wouldn’t want to disparage Denny’s waitresses by comparing them to a worthless beast like Feinstein.)
What we as gun owners need to do, in order to ensure this scheme is thwarted, is to keep the heat on receptive political figures of both parties. Yes, there are pro-gun Democrats or, at the very least, Democrats who don’t want to be voted out of office at the midterms.
We need to avoid overly-militant talk, I think. Drudge ran this story today under the headline, “CIVIL WAR”. While this sort of language is fun, because it drives Blue-Staters stark raving mad, it accomplishes very little. A calm, firm statement of, “If this passes, we will not comply with it” rattles them far worse than calls for Civil War 2.0. In the end, you can only govern those who are willing to be governed. When swaths of the country start laughing in Feinstein’s face, because the cops in those places won’t enforce such a law, what can they do?
Personally, I don’t think it’ll pass. Even so, we gun owners need to stay on guard, especially against those reach-across-the-aisle types.