Saturday, October 4, 2008

Artist: Barwa Peter

By Howard Nemerov

October 4, 2008

RENO - Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday he is “a strong supporter of the Second Amendment” and will not try take Americans’ guns away if elected.

“I believe it’s an individual right,” he said in an interview following Tuesday’s speech at [University of Nevada, Reno]. “Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear from an Obama Administration.”

But, Obama said, he is for “some common sense gun safety laws.” He said that means keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and children.

“And we need a system that makes sure we can trace guns back to the original owners and dealers.”[1]

What Obama isn’t saying is that in order to “trace guns to the original owners” we must enact national gun owner licensing and registration for each gun purchased. Such policies have both historical and future significance.

Brief History of Registration Leading to Confiscation

There is documented evidence that registration and licensing leads to confiscation, often with horrible unintended results.

In 1928, the Weimar republic enacted firearms law which required licensing; these were available only to “persons of unquestioned trustworthiness.” Those not entitled to possess firearms were ordered to surrender them immediately. Entire classes of people–– such as gypsies––were automatically denied.[2] Eventually, the Nazis used the 1928 Weimar law to disarm Jews, beginning the well-documented Holocaust.[3]

In 1870, the British government proposed a gun licensing bill creating a national firearms registry.[4] A series of ever-stricter regulations culminated in the Firearms Act of 1997, which banned handguns and placed severe limits on other firearms ownership. Interestingly, the Home Office withheld its own research which discredited the need for this ban: constabulary areas with higher firearms ownership rates had lower rates of firearms homicide.[5]

Between 1995 and 2006, Britain’s violent crime rate increased 29.2%, led by a 75.6% increase in rape.[6] Australia is another gun ban country with licensing and registration, as well as severe restrictions on gun ownership.[7] Between 1995 and 2006, the violent crime rate increased 39.1%, with assaults increasing 46.7% and rape increasing 21.4%.[8] In the United States, about 5 million guns are sold each year.[9] Between 1995 and 2006, the U.S. violent crime dropped 30.8%, and rape decreased 16.4%.[10] Women are now raped about twice as often in the UK and nearly three times as often in Australia. Today in the UK, criminals can buy whatever gun they want, and handguns are the most desirable because they are light and easy to conceal.[11] The Home Office’s concealed report was an accurate but dark prophesy.

Return on Investment: The Future of Registration

In politics, it is often difficult to determine why a person supports a policy. Fortunately, numbers speak louder than words: In this case, follow the money to understand Obama’s support of registration.

One of Obama’s biggest donors is the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Meagher and Flom, LLP, which contributed $340,264 to his presidential campaign as of September 2, 2008.[12] Skadden, Arps represents the inventors of a “firearm safety system,” patent number 6499243, which adds a biometric activator that links a gun to one owner. The “Summary of the Invention” section of the patent application notes:

The safety system further makes use of a person’s fingerprint data, which is a unique personal property that is highly suitable for tracking and control.[13] [Emphasis added]

Sidley Austin LLP has contributed $350,302 to Obama.[14] Sidley Austin represents the inventors of the “Gun identification kit,” patent number 7380706. This invention provides a way for every gun to have a spent cartidge case made available for entry into a ballistic “fingerprint” database. Of course, such a database is useful only if all firearms are entered into it:

Because the vast majority of publicly owned firearms have not been used in the commission of a crime, they will not show up in [such a] database. It would therefore be desirable to provide a means for increasing the number of firearms for which…information and data is available.

The inventors’ solution to this? Pass a law mandating that every gun is registered (serial number matched with shell casing and owner data, all permanently recorded):

One means of populating [such a] database would be to mandate that ballistic information be obtained and entered into the database for all firearms.[15]

Registration and licensing have consistently proven ineffective in combating crime. Two of Obama’s major campaign contributors represent clients who would earn fortunes from firearms registration. As has been said before, follow the money if you want to divine a candidate’s true motives.


1- Geoff Dornan, Obama promises support for gun owners, Nevada Appeal, October 1, 2008.
2- Stephen P. Halbrook, Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews, Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, No. 3, 483-535 (2000), pages 487-9.
3- Ibid, pages 504-505.
4- Joyce Lee Malcolm, Guns and Violence: The English Experience, Harvard University Press, copyright 2002, pages 117-9.
5- Ibid, pages 204-205.
6- Crime incidents cited from Crime in England and Wales 2006/2007, Home Office, pages 36-42. Rates calculated using population estimates from UK Statistics Authority.
7- For discussion of Australian gun regulation, see Reuter and Mouzos, Australia: A Massive Buyback of Low-Risk Guns, 2002, page 125
8- Crime incidents cited from Brian Pink, Recorded Crime - Victims, 2006, Australian Bureau of Statistics, June 6, 2007, pages 8-9. Rates calculated using population estimates from Population by Age and Sex, Australia, 2006.
9- Small Arms Production in the United States, National Shooting Sports Foundation, 2008.
10- Table 1 - Crime in the United States by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants, 1988–2007, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
11-, Duncan Campbell, Firearms: cheap, easy to get and on a street near you, The Guardian, August 30, 2008
12-, Open Secrets, Barack Obama, Top Contributors, Center for Responsive Politics
13-, Firearm safety system, Patent #6499243, patent issued December 31, 2002
14-, Open Secrets, Barack Obama, Top Contributors, Center for Responsive Politics.
15- Gun identification kit, Patent #7380706

© 2008 Howard Nemerov - All Rights Reserved




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