Friday, October 21, 2016

Registration and Privacy

Many people, even those who are considered conservatives, believe that all guns are registered. And further, they think the registration is a federal law! Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no national system to register guns. Federal law prohibits the use of the background check system (NICS) to create a database or system to register guns and their owners.
The National Firearms Act of 1986 banned transfer and possession of machine guns. You can own them, but you must go through a background check, licensing, and registration to own them.
I say that military weapons are already registered and regulated. Other than a handgun, I never shot a weapon in the military that was not a select fire automatic weapon. A semi-automatic weapon is not a military weapon. Anyone who tells you they are has no knowledge of military firearms and is misleading you.
The ATF maintains the registration system of NFA guns. The ATF wants more freedom. They want to be able to share information with law enforcement to fight gun crime. As much as I want these agencies and all of law enforcement to succeed at what they do, they, and we, must understand that the Constitution ties their hands somewhat. To make their job easier we would have to give away some rights of privacy. I don’t think we should scrap the Constitution so that law enforcement will have an easier job. The ATF can't require gun dealers to conduct an inventory to account for lost or stolen guns; records of customer background checks must be destroyed within 24 hours if they are clean enough to allow the sale; and trace data can't be used in state civil lawsuits or in an effort to suspend or revoke a gun dealer's license.
The terrorists in San Bernardino had an Apple i-phone. The FBI thought they might find evidence or connections in that phone to other domestic terrorists. They got the proper warrant to search the phone but they couldn’t get in the phone because of the encryption. They tried to order Apple to find a way through that encryption. Apple said “No” and they were going through some legal things. Basically, the FBI was trying to force Apple to do their job. That type of lazy police work makes me mad. How can you force someone to do your work?
This is the way I feel about law enforcement who want their job to be easy at the expense of my God-given rights.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for law enforcement in this country. I think they are top notch. But if they are the best, they will find a way to do their work without trampling the rights of those they swear to protect. They should not expect others to make their job easier. No one should stop them at their work, but the work they do is sometimes difficult within the law. It might be seen as limiting them. And yes, it is. Other countries don’t have some of these restrictions. Other countries also don’t have the freedoms that we enjoy.
Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." He understood the fight for freedom and what it took to have our Constitution. He also realized that citizen’s rights are above any security we might want or even need.
Some politicians, some law enforcement especially at higher levels, need to understand this. They work for us. We are not subservient to them. Often I hear politicians talk about “sensible gun laws” and often they are not sensible. Also, even if a law is made, the people need a check and balance in place so that bad leaders in the future won’t be able to oppress or use the law to enslave or subjugate the people. I know that some politicians and even some people, don’t believe that would ever happen. That is a false pretense to work from.
In Salem, Oregon, local resident Manuel Martinez testified against gun-control measures. The Cuban-born Martinez spoke calmly but firmly about the dangers of gun control, incorporating his experience in Communist Cuba.
Martinez began by noting: “I oppose any manipulation, any regulation, elimination, or disruption of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”
Drawing upon his experience in Cuba, he recalled: “In 1959, a revolution with individuals, malicious individuals, masquerading as Democrats… established a regime, a dictatorial regime, in my nation, called Communism, Socialism, Stalinism, Marxism and whatever other ‘ism’ you want to [call] it.”
Martinez noted the regime stripped the populace of its arms, even though:
[The right to bear arms] is a God-given right – it is not given by anybody, it’s not given by any group. It’s the same thing as freedom, which is a God-given right, and no one, absolutely no one, has the authority to take it away. To cease to defend the Second Amendment, and my God-given right of freedom, will cease only with my death.
Martinez then recalled his own first-hand experience, choking up and holding back tears:
I’ve been through it, I’ve been there. You people don’t know what freedom is because you never lost it! You haven’t been tortured, you haven’t seen the assassinations, you haven’t [seen] mothers begging for the lives of their sons not to be killed because [their sons] want to be free. And they killed the mothers and they killed the sons.
He also warned that infringing on the Second Amendment would “open” this nation to the possibility of a dictatorial state, noting:
If we tangle with the Second Amendment, we are open the same way that Cuba was open for Communism, [as well as] China, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, on and on…. Gun control does not protect anybody – does not protect the citizens, does not protect the people. The only reason for gun control is for the government to protect [itself from] the citizens, so that the government can… manipulate the people and subjugate them. That’s what happened in Cuba…. “
Cuba is just one country. There are many that demand their citizens to disarm. In 2010 Cuba gave their citizens amnesty for the guns that they had. They could register them without problems. They wanted all their guns registered in the name of safety and security. The current government remember that they toppled Fulgencio Batista in 1959 with an armed revolution. They want to know where the guns are. After Castro took over they used a list of those who sought gun licenses to go door-to-door and “encouraged” people to turn in their guns. This is from the Havana Journal.
A list is not a good thing.
When you purchase a gun you go through a background check in the NICS (National Crime Information Center). Someone who doesn’t really know much about guns or law enforcement will write an article about background checks and tell you the info in these checks are erased in 24 hours. Yes that is true. But what they don’t know is that there is a log of the check. It has in that log who or what was checked, which agency checked and, if the officer is using an in-car computer, which officer did the checking. With this information coupled with other information makes some good evidence that has been used to catch bad guys. The data base does not exist, but the log does. Basically, it’s not a database of registration or ownership, but it is information that can be used to trace people.
This is when the liberal “rose colored glasses” attitude starts to come into play. People who have no concept of reality in how things work, and what actually happens in the real world think “This could never happen here!” I agree that it won’t happen here, but only if the checks and balances that the founders put into place are kept intact and not treated as “antiquated.” Those who balk at our government ever over stepping or over reaching have never had anything happen to them that would make them think different. It’s the same with those who think they don’t need to worry about their security because the police are there. Nothing has ever happened to them to actually need the police.
I think that to always think that the worst can never happen in the United States is foolish. I’m not sure it will happen. But I know that in small ways these things have happened. We have crime and corruption. We have dealt with disasters that have rendered our comfortable “rule of law” ineffective. During a national “disaster” the government could step in according to executive orders. This is not a liberal thing, it’s a government thing. “That would never happen here” you say. If it would never happen here then why does the executive order exist? Obviously US Presidents agree that it could happen.
Registration is the same dark path. I want to help law enforcement as much as possible but not at the expense of the Constitution. I’ve taught my children to never talk to the police. I know that is not very cooperative but I believe no good can come of it. If police have evidence then they have it. They either have a case or they don’t. If I’m a witness I will have to be very careful as to not inadvertently implicate myself right into the crime. I know that sounds mistrusting and I guess it is. Most police are good, honest people, but there are some that just want to “solve” the case. Lawyers are not quite so honest. Their job is to defend someone even if the know they are guilty. I don’t trust very many lawyers.
Registering guns would help law enforcement, no doubt. But it would hurt citizen rights and privacy. We should care more about our rights, our God given rights, than about making law enforcement have an easier time. Some things are more important than others. I don’t like people who burn the flag, but I will defend their right to do that with my life, as I have sworn to do.
Semper Paratus
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