"It's something that will never happen here," they say. Those rational human beings, standard citizens who pay their bills, love their kids, and go to work every day when asked about gun confiscation. After all, it was the British marching on Lexington and Concord in 1775 to capture legally owned stocks of firearms on the King's orders that rather ruined that whole colony thing. We just don't bode well with the concept.
But wait, what you don't know is that it is happening already. It's very legal, and very formal, but it does happen.
Cali's Gun Repo Squad
On the sunny West Coast, the California Department of Justice currently employs 33 armed law enforcement agents whose sole mission is to seize firearms from people who the state deems no longer capable of owning them. The names on the list include people who are newly convicted felons, mentally unstable, or have protective orders (aka restraining orders) against them. It's simple, since all legally owned guns are registered in the state with DOJ, whenever your name comes up in shady connotations, one of these agents gets a phone call to go pick up your stuff. It doesn't matter that the guns were legally obtained, it matters that you can't have them anymore.
According to a March 21 article in Business Week, last year agents seized about 2,000 weapons, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,000 high-capacity magazines. Furthermore, every single day another 15-20 names are added to the list of people that the CDOJ agents have to go visit. If you do the math that is no less than 5500 Californians that get a knock on the door in the middle of the night each year.
California Plan Going Nationwide?
California is currently the only state that does this but gun control advocates are already calling this a 'model for the nation.' Of course, to make it work, this would require nationwide gun registration. Nevertheless, as long as you don't break the law, you have nothing to worry about, right?
New York $500 Gun Tip Hotline
On Thursday March 14, 32-year-old Benjamin Wassell of Silver Creek, New York became the first man arrested for violating the new state SAFE Act law. Wassell's apparent crime? Selling 2 semi-automatic rifles and 300 rounds of ammunition. A Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq and suffers from brain injuries, he sold the guns to an undercover state police agent. The guns had been legally obtained and Wassell had a clean record, but he is now looking at seven years in the NY state pen.
While it's unclear where and how state police made contact with Wassell, it may have something to do with New York's "Gun Tip Line" (1-855-GUNS-NYS). Set up quietly in February 2012, the line is run by the New York State Police and offers a confidential reward of $500 for anonymous tips received from the public about illegal guns. While this line in now over a year old, it was only recently catapulted into the media spotlight-- the same week that Wassell was arrested.
Cloaked in a cloud of 'only the best intentions' this type of line is unsettling and can lead to false accusations for personal revenge, blackmail, and even as a practical joke. If taken at its worst, it's a haunting reminder of human history. Even if you shrug and say that 999 out of 1000 people would never 'drop a dime' to rat out a legitimate gun owner, there is still that one that will do it every day of the week.
In Hitler's Germany, the Gestapo only had one agent or informer for every 2,000 citizens, and you see how well that worked out.