As America ponders gun control, one of the more salient points I have heard is indisputable and potent in its brevity: Gun control laws hinder the obtaining of illegal guns like drug laws control the obtaining of illegal drugs.
The truth is, throughout all this talk of “should we…,” not enough people are asking, “can we…?” The answer: No, banning guns has never worked.
Banning guns creates criminals from law-abiding citizens.
In a piece written by J.D. Tuccille of Reason.com, the process for obtaining a legal firearm permit is discussed. The hellish ordeal Tuccille describes gives a clear picture of why illegal guns continue to flow throughout society- because government has no interest in working with people to achieve honorable ends; they only wish to control them.
“The sales clerk at the gun shop was helpful—he should have been. I paid a premium to have my paperwork submitted to the proper city paper-pushers by experts retained by the store. Although the term was never used, I assumed that meant the store made use of New York City’s peculiar breed of middlemen known as ‘expediters’ to get the permit processed. Eternally controversial, expediters are known for their detailed knowledge of the city’s byzantine regulatory procedures, their working relationships with bureaucrats, and their willingness to grease palms to make sure clients are given favorable consideration.
Even so, I waited. And I waited. And I finally blew my stack.
As the saying goes, I knew a guy who knew a guy. It took an email, a phone call, and a friendly meeting, and for less than 300 bucks, I was the proud owner of a semi-automatic variant of an AK-47—the famed assault rifle of the old Soviet bloc and of guerrilla fighters everywhere. It was legal in much of the United States, but strictly verboten in New York City.
And it cost me about a third of the ultimate price of that legal pistol.”
As is common in corrupt dictatorships, the means of getting special consideration from government bureaucrats is greasing palms. To exercise his Second Amendment rights, Tuccille had to pay off a middleman to get him what was already guaranteed to him in writing. And then, when the process became too ridiculously long, he went to the black market- the better game in town.
“As it turned out, the illicit rifle was not only cheaper and easier to obtain than the legal pistol, but the seller was much more pleasant to deal with than the cops administering the official process. The police officers at New York City’s One Police Plaza, once I actually got into the place, were flat-out rude. They weren’t abusive as much as surly in a special bureaucratic way, backed up by the implied threat that they could punish back-talk with a simple nudge of your papers into the trash can. I bit my tongue, but everybody has their own limit. A ‘customer’ at an adjoining desk in the cramped warren stood up, announced loudly that rather than put up with this treatment he’d buy his gun on the street, then stalked from the room.”
The right to keep and bear arms is a guaranteed right, not subject for further debate. It is deplorable that to exercise this right, one must not only ask for permission from the government, but must also pay them to ask for permission. Even worse, the process has become so convoluted that the man who wishes to exercise his right must pay a person to advocate for them in their quest to pay the government to ask for permission to own a firearm. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
For a frame of reference, British subjects threw the Boston Tea Party as a protest of a fairly minor tax on the importation of tea. The Stamp Act, one of the so-called “intolerable acts,” was a modest tax on official stamps to be used on documents. We waged a revolution based, in part, on a principle that each man was sovereign, that government intrusion had become too unbearable. And now, we face crushing taxation, limits on speech, a government prone to retribution for dissent, rampant violations of privacy and a government that looks to curtail our right to bear arms while insisting that they are not.
I advocate not that revolution is the answer; I merely suggest we no longer support the incremental adding of links to the chain of tyranny to which we have all become too accustomed.