Firearms legislation is a funny thing in the United States. In 1775, the 10th Regiment of Foot of King George took a march in the countryside on a mission to seize privately held arms and munitions. These red coats, as they were called, were held up at a little village of Lexington by local militia members and the rest is history. Since the 2nd amendment was added to the US Constitution, there have been several public laws and acts that have come and gone to limit it. Some of these, like the black codes of the 1860s, the ten years long Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), and the 1994 Brady Bill has largely been overturned. Others, like the National Firearms/Gun Control Acts of 1934, 1938, and 1968 along with the establishment of the ATF (now the BATFE) in 1972 remain.
Overseas our English-speaking cousins are not so lucky. In Australia and Great Britain, personal ownership of firearms has been severely regulated in recent decades. In these countries as few as 5% of the population still retains a few arms limited to registered rimfire rifles and shotguns to approved permit holders. Even air guns are severely regulated. It should be noted that violent crime has been on the rise in both countries. It would appear that where firearms are made criminal, only criminals would have firearms.
Canada, our great neighbor to the north, has been struggling with the bear of trying to register every firearm. All this seems to have accomplished is spending $2 billion in public funds over the past 12 years for little gain.
In the past few years, democratic congressional representatives have introduced sweeping legislation such as HB1022. This bill would have reinstated the old AWB with new improvements. Other efforts to place serial numbers on individual rounds of ammunition (thus driving up cost and regulatory fees), and another attempt in HR6257 to reinstate the expired AWB.
These bills have been defeated in committee discussion, and conservative tea party republicans are sure to vote against them when they come up again. However, it makes sense that eventually, some of them will slip through. What remains to be seen is what is coming. The Urban Agenda of the current administration, if reelected, maybe amped up and we could very well see AWB 2014 right around the corner.
The time to act is before the legislation is introduced. Register, help campaign for, and vote for 2nd Amendment friendly politicians in your area. Call and email your representatives and senators to let them know how you feel. Teach a kid the joy of safe shooting. Keep your life out of the newspaper by being a responsible gun owner and not a yahoo.
Besides your time spent in helping prevent bad legislation, it does not hurt to be on the lookout for good deals in targeted firearms and accessories. As time has shown in the past few decades, money spent on quality magazines, clean ammunition in popular calibers, spare parts, and items such as unfinished lowers is not money wasted. Of course, do not go overboard and be part of the problem. Buy what you can afford and hold on to it.
With the swinging pendulum of liberal and conservative elections using gun control like a beach ball at a rock concert, the future is uncertain for gun owners in the US. Today's rumors have some base in past truths, keep that in mind.