By Timothy Wheeler, MD
Long-time observers of gun control politics know to be worried when politicians resurrect the old scheme of gun registration. They know the average citizen has no clue that time and time again, government lists of gun owners have been used by armed government agents later to confiscate their guns. NRO contributor Dave Kopel has described some of the more infamous gun registration-for-confiscation schemes.
Right here in California it’s happened again, this time with Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s AB 174. Bonta’s January web site announcement says it all:
“Among the gun-control bills being rolled out by Assembly Democrats are a pair from a freshman East Bay lawmaker [i.e. Assemblyman Bonta] to tax ammunition and perhaps move toward confiscating banned assault weapons [AB 174].”
One of California’s complex gun laws allowed owners of certain popular modern rifles (“assault weapons”) to keep them if they registered them with the state. The California Department of Justice consequently has detailed records on 77,103 owners of these grandfathered, legally owned guns. Bonta’s bill would have ended the exemptions and outlawed the guns retroactively. It would have instantly created 77,103 new California criminals unless the owners allowed police to seize their guns, with or without compensation.
This week the danger to gun owners was averted—for now—when Assemblyman Bonta agreed under pressure to amend all the gun confiscation provisions out of his bill.
Gun control opponents are ridiculed as paranoids when they object to gun registration proposals, a perennial favorite on the gun banners’ wish list. It’s only registration, right? President Obama promised us “I am not going to take your guns away,” didn’t he?
Recent history tells us that isn’t true.
—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.