Losing Their Gun Rights With Barely A Whimper

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 1 week ago

American Spectator:

Gun-rights activists often express the view that Americans will not easily give up their rights to gun ownership even if the laws eventually outlaw — or at least greatly restrict — the freedom of individuals to own firearms. The scenario they depict is bleak but simple: When armed agents come to their doors to confiscate people’s arsenals, some of those people can be expected to fight back.

Advocates further assume widespread public support for private gun ownership and expect prominent Second Amendment organizations and Republican legislators to raise hell whenever gun regulations start approximating confiscation.

The experience in California, in particular, suggests an entirely different scenario.

From what I’ve seen, the public often will support aggressive new restrictions. Gun owners will meekly hand over their weapons to agents. Gun-rights groups will quietly protest, but have little sway. Republican legislators will make things worse as they try to prove their commitment to taking guns out of the hands of “criminals.” The erosion of our fundamental gun rights will take place so slowly that few will protest too much.

The latest example involves Proposition 63, a statewide initiative that mandates background checks for ammunition purchases and prohibits the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. The state already banned the sale of magazines that hold more than ten ammo rounds in 2000. As a federal judge explained in a recent ruling, starting July 1, “any previously law-abiding person in California” who owns such a magazine “will begin their life of crime.”

[ … ]

I’ve called this the “infrastructure of confiscation.” Law-enforcement officials are mostly for it, of course. They want to know who owns guns when they are called to a home for a disturbance. “The presence of a legally owned possessed firearm bought to protect the home may get totally innocent people killed by the police who casually use SWAT for drug search warrants especially if they register,” said the late Joe McNamara, the former San Jose police chief and fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

After that tragic Connecticut shooting, the state passed a far-reaching firearms registration law. TV stations reported that gun owners lined up around the block to comply with the new requirements. Of course, that’s so. Most gun owners, myself included, are law-abiding folks, who almost certainly and properly would peacefully follow any new laws that were passed.

Well, he’s certainly right about the infrastructure of confiscation.  Note that if the fedgov knows you have a firearm in the house, any police attention, spurious or not, will most certainly result in danger for you and a dead dog, if you have one.

But as for lining up to turn in weapons, I’m not so sure this analysis is correct.  While some people did, the whole regulatory scheme in Connecticut and New York (SAFE Act) was so onerous that they saw massive non-compliance.  I suspect that the SAFE act will always be used after the fact to add other charges when they have arrested someone for another crime, not for the purpose of door-to-door gun confiscations.

What do you say?  Is this analysis in the American Spectator accurate, or has he missed the boat and failed to understand the resolve of the remaining patriots among us?

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  1. On July 13, 2017 at 11:36 pm, George said:

    The author of that piece makes the assumption that the California mentality is reflective of the entire country. What he (or she) does not seem to realize is that culture and mindset within a nation this large will differ from one region to another in spite of the media’s best attempts to indoctrinate the entire nation to a uniform mindset.

    This is well illustrated by the experience (factual) of some friends of my wife who just last week returned from a missionary trip to West Virginia. We were told by one member of that group that while doing their door to door evangelizing work they were on more than one occasion confronted with a home owner who met them at the door with pistol strapped to their side and told to leave. They were also told by one of the more friendly homeowners, not to go “up the mountain” because they were sure to be shot by the people living there.

    Now granted, this probably has something to do with the clandestine meth lab “industry” in that region, but that defensive and aggressive mentality does seem to be pervasive there and part of the local culture. And culture factors heavily into the anti-gun attitudes of city dwellers as opposed to those who live in a rural area. Then again, California tends toward the extreme on many issues and it is a mistake to think that it reflects the attitude of the entire country regarding any political or environmental topic. After all, isn’t it amazing how many innocuous substances are “known by the State of California to cause cancer”?

  2. On July 14, 2017 at 4:32 am, DAN III said:


    Reading the attached essay, it appears to me the author is fairly accurate in many of his assessments.

    I question the ability of those firearm-owning folks resisting .gov tyranny, to enjoy and practice with the fiirearms they possess. How many available ranges exist in the Peoples Republic of New York ? How many in Kaleefornya ? How does one transport his “contraband” firearms, magazines and ammunition to an area where he can shoot peacably ?

    The American Spectator essay author states that when authorities come to one’s door to “confiscate people’s arsenals” (“arsenals” – therein lies the rub for me, of the author’s anti-gun mentality) that some Patriots will “fight back”. Should such actions by the badged thugs of the ruling elites come to fruition, it will be too late to defend yourself, your family, pets and property when they’re battering down your door. Should it come to such actions reminiscent of 19 April 1775, with badged thugs stacking up at one’s front door to confiscate privately-owned property, such actions will not be isolated onesy-twosies. It will be a coordinated, confiscation effort on a massive level, executed by a government of tyranny. News, such as “armed agents” executing such a policy and attempting multiple, coordinated raids on law-abiding citizens homes, will travel FAST. Certainly not fast enough for all victims. But, fast enough that many of the 3% will not wait for the stack of badged thugs at their doorstep. The war will be initiated and the few of us left to counter such described tyranny, will grow in number. The “enforcers” of such a .gov confiscation policy will not be the only ones subject to citizen defense. Guaranteed that Patriots will seek out the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for the creation of such policy.

    California is sadly, an extreme example of what happens when the citizenry succumbs to the abuses of those once thought of as public servants. Kaleefornya is also an alarm as to what awaits the rest of fUSA.

    “ALARM ! The redcoats are coming !” They say history repeats itself. Hopefully, not in our lifetimes.

  3. On July 14, 2017 at 5:57 am, Talktome said:

    Sadly, most people just don’t care. Coupled with a large non native population who come from places that restrict firearms ownership, California is a great place to try and pass such an abomination. Like a lab, you get good results on the experiment that may not reflect the reality outside of the lab.

  4. On July 14, 2017 at 8:15 am, Pat Hines said:

    I lived in California from 1992 to 2005, saw the law changes in that time and there were lots of them.

    The big one was the attempt to outlaw all “assault weapons”; rifles, shotguns, and pistols. I won’t go into details about what those firearms were, most folks know or can look that up.

    The important thing is the massive noncompliance that took place. Less than 100,000 firearms were registered, out of an estimated 1,000,000 that were in the hands of folks living in California. All knew that you could buy magazines for your FAL, AR-15, or other magazine fed weapon that hold more than 10 rounds in neighboring states such as Nevada and Arizona. Even Oregon had them available. No ID is required to purchase magazines in those states.

    80% AR-15 receivers aren’t hard to come by, either.

    Back to where I live, the south, I don’t see a movement towards more gun confiscation laws at all, quite the opposite in fact. It’s no accident that many gun manufacturers have moved south, we’re gun friendly here.

  5. On July 14, 2017 at 9:07 am, Ned said:

    It’s happening in California because of legal and illegal immigration. Soon the whole state will vote for other people’s money – not just the cities. Of course you can’t have legal gun ownership when the state is pilfering everyone’s wallets.

    That being said, many Californians are leaving. Some have moved certain guns to others in “legal” states, and I believe more are in (((noncompliance))).

    I was there for around 10 years and left in 94. Those I know who are still there plan to leave within 3-5 years at the max.

    The down side of that is – many states are being Californiacated. Thus the anti-liberty creep moves to other states, and some fence sitters who take things for granted better wake the f**k up. I’ve been advised it’s happening even in Texas – it’s certainly happening here in AZ.

    IMO, California is just the tip of the camel’s nose.

  6. On July 14, 2017 at 10:23 am, Marshall said:


    It is too late to defend against confiscation when SWAT shows up at your front door. Your only choice is hand your guns over or fight to the death. Few will make that latter choice. On-the-other-hand, if a community (i.e. your neighbors) are like minded and help you when SWAT shows up, the choice can change to SWAT leaves in one piece with their tails between their legs or they get annihilated doing some evil politician’s bidding. Making your community a “no go zone” for SWAT to confiscate guns might just work.


  7. On July 14, 2017 at 11:59 am, Joel said:

    I lived in California. It’s not just one place; the north is unlike the south, the interior is unlike the coast. But even in the coastal cities, people aren’t “handing in” their now-illegal guns. There’s been quiet but massive non-compliance all along. The guns and magazines are going to the backs of closets, not getting taken to shooting ranges. It’s common to have 2 10-round magazines for public shooting and 10 30-rounders squirrelled away.

    People might talk about going down shooting, or not, depending on the individual. But what they really do is hide the contraband and move on with life.

  8. On July 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm, dave said:

    Connecticut saw – as I recall – 37 thousand people register their AR-15s. The state’s Office of Legislative Research estimated there were from 300,000 to a half million AR-15 in the state, with no estimate for any other rifle that may have met the conditions of the ban like AKs. That’s a compliance rate of between 12.4% and 7.4%.

    When the state passed a magazine ban and registration scheme a year later, the rate of compliance was even worse. By that time everybody knew better. Some guys registered magazines they didn’t own – e.g. on fellow I know registered 2 dozen, but had only 4.

    With compliance rates like that, I doubt there will be any confiscation efforts. They just won’t know where those other 250-450,000 rifles are, and they aren’t risking the chance. Besides, putting that many (mostly) men in prison would blow the state’s welfare budget sky high, and they are near bankrupt now – not to mention the overtime pay for SWAT teams to do the confiscation. And if only one cop got shot at each door bust, in no time at all the state would be out of law enforcement personnel who would be able to work – most of whom would never take another ‘confiscation’ assignment.

    Can ‘non-compliance’ with a ban be something that they can pile on if you ever get their attention for anything else? Sure. But there are 20,000 laws on the books, and part of a cop’s job is to find stuff to arrest you for if you get their attention. (Don’t Talk to the Police ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE) This is merely one more.

  9. On July 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm, Comrade X said:

    I live of the left coast north of Cali.

    IMHO the whole left coast is lost in the big cities at least, unconstitutional laws are also being passed in both Oregon and Washington. It may all come down to the constitutional sheriffs in the counties, I know of quite a few in my state who are on record of not enforcing unconstitutional laws.

    But there are cities and feds out there that will. So you can at least vote with your feet and move to counties where the sheriff won’t come knocking and as for some people I know if it the feds, they better understand one thing; there are still Americans who believe in the old saying of “Liberty or death” and that goes for dogs too!

  10. On July 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm, LarryArnold said:

    Certainly California is whimpering, and perhaps there are sighs in the other handful of states who are passing anti-gun laws. OTOH the Texas 85th Legislature ended up passing 14 very pro-gun laws, while the anti-gun bills submitted never made it out of their first committee.

    Nationwide, for every state that restricts carry licenses there are now nearly two states where you no longer need a license to carry concealed.

    But for some inscrutable reason that isn’t msm/Spectator “news.”

  11. On July 14, 2017 at 6:30 pm, Steve Allison said:

    Background check filings were (by law) ordered destroyed after 6 months.
    The first ones filed were still present after 2 years and I would bet they are all being kept forever!
    If you have ever filed one, that weapon purchase is known to at least two fed. agencies.

  12. On July 14, 2017 at 8:23 pm, Will said:

    The authorities asked us to register and the citizenry responded with massive non-compliance and the creation of 80% lowers and non serial numbered builds. Therefore, we will not “meekly turn over our weapons to agents” when asked. Attempting forceful confiscation will be met with even greater creativity. Ask yourself: Do you want to
    live in a country where the authorities can just walk in and take you’re means of self defense? Well, none of us are moving, are we? Suppose every swinging dick that owned an AR walked to the street corner and started shooting cop cars. All leo in the lower 48 would be on foot within 24 hours. Then what? Are we going to see armored columns going town to town confiscating? BS, they would eventually be shot to pieces as well without air support. One of many things that makes Americans unique is that we will NEVER give up our guns. Didn’t happen in 1775, won’t happen in 2025 either.

  13. On July 15, 2017 at 11:46 am, Ed said:


  14. On July 15, 2017 at 9:23 pm, Bill Robbins said:

    The State of CA is unprepared to implement the gun laws that the CA legislature passes. CA has missed its own deadline for getting an “assault rifle” registration system up-and-running. CA has asked for more money to add more employees to “accelerate” the delayed program. Nor is CA is not prepared to implement background checks for ammo purchases. CA is run by politicians that pander to immigrants from countries that have no understanding whatsoever of the American heritage of gun ownership. The politicians will destroy anything traditionally American to get votes.

    Plus, CA is the laboratory for all of the DNC’s most radical experiments with programs and policies designed to overturn the Constitutional rights on which this country was founded. Whats happens in CA will be rolled-out in other states.

  15. On July 16, 2017 at 12:16 am, Antibubba said:

    As a Californian, I both agree and disagree. What we’ve learned to do is comply with the letter of the law, while completely detouring around the intent. The biggest gun forum here is Calguns ( http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/index.php ); look up “California-compliant assault-style rifles” for enlightening and occasionally humorous workarounds. Every half-serious gun own owner is an amateur lawyer. Our gun rights groups are well-funded and fight for every inch. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “As California goes, so does the country”. Well, this is the front line. Shall we retreat, and make your state the new front? Move? Flee, you mean. Leave the fight to someone else? If we roll over, you’re next.

    California has more gun owners than any other state. Despite restrictions, we buy more guns than you do. There’s much to like living here (much not to as well). Guns are only a part of it.

    If you want to help, there are several rights groups here you can contribute to, like Calguns and CRPA.

  16. On July 16, 2017 at 9:35 am, revjen45 said:

    I chose to move/”flee” since the DPRK is a 1-party Communist country and too far gone to save. The relief was equivalent to taking a dump after driving 500 miles. Kali gun owners are fighting a rear guard action. WA State is not lost yet so I choose to live where it still may be possible to derail the Left’s juggernaut. Living in WA also means having a CCW since ’92 which would not have been the case in the DPRK. If national reciprocity passes I may visit people in the DPRK but for now there’s nothing there worth going there to see.

  17. On July 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm, Nunya said:

    I agree with Antibubba wholeheartedly. Living in CA doesn’t mean I don’t cherish my rights as a human being, it means that I spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours a year so we can fight against these laws. I do it at the ballot box by organizing with like-minded people in my community and contacting local, state and national elected officials and working to get pro-2A candidates elected. In the court-rooms (if the Supreme Court would just do their job and pick up our cases) by donating time and money to campaigns to challenge the new laws (which is at least temporarily holding back enforcement of any of the new crap that was pushed last year. Most importantly on the range mentoring new shooters, providing them with actual first hand knowledge so they can draw their own conclusions and not just go with what the anti-gunners push in the media. You don’t hear about many of these things because of the prejudices in the media, but they are happening across the state, and in other states that disrespect the Constitution like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington. All of these things take time, just like it took time for the anti’s to get us to this point. The hope is if we can change the minds of some of the voters, work hard to make sure no anti-gun politicians get into office at the local level so they can’t work their way up to state and national level offices, and the courts actually side with the Constitution then we will all, that includes every state in the union, will be better off in the long run.

    Those of you in free states that laugh at those of us who have to fight for our rights can go to hell with your “I got mine so screw you” attitudes, your demeaning attitudes and bullshit are just as bad as the liberals here in CA.

    Those of you in states like Washington, who for years was considered free but are now being taken over by the same types who have been screwing CA should be working with us to stop the insanity here before it comes in full force to your state.

    Those of you in other bastions of liberal insanity like MA, HI, NY, NJ and CT keep up the good fight, we are with you and in the end the Constitution will win out, we just have to keep fighting for it.

  18. On July 16, 2017 at 6:47 pm, DAN III said:


    “There’s much to like living here….”

    I’m certain many citizens of the former East Germany and former Soviet Union felt the same as you.

    Packing up one’s bags is easier said than done. Good luck to you !

  19. On July 16, 2017 at 9:08 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    So who here among my readers has the attitude “I got mine so screw you?” Who here among my readers has ever laughed at such things as having to fight for recognition of God-given rights? Who here among my readers have every done anything regarding this issue other than ponder whether to move or stay, and what is of the biggest strategic advantage?

    Who are you telling to “go to hell?”

  20. On July 17, 2017 at 8:19 am, bud said:

    I moved into CA in the early 70s and moved out in the early 80s. I remember having to present ID to purchase ammo. Was that a fed or state law? Whatever it was, it’s gone now. Laws change.

    Ludicrous housing prices drove me out, not gun laws (they hadn’t really gone bat guano crazy yet), and I appreciate those living there fighting the good fight, but you could not, literally, pay me enough to move back. I have turned down jobs that almost doubled my salary (accounting for COL, an effective 60% increase) that would require CA residency.

  21. On July 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm, R.L.Wurdack said:

    Things change. I bought my first handgun in Northern CA, (Ruger MK I) in a hardware store for $47, no paper. The erosion of rights since then is phenominal. The frog is being slowly boiled. Still have it and the receipt, BTW. Looks like the partisans on both sides are locking down their positions waiting for someone with a match to find the fuse.

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You are currently reading "Losing Their Gun Rights With Barely A Whimper", entry #17403 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published July 13th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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