Restrictive and cumbersome gun regulations in some states may make non-offenders feel like common criminals. States, such as California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, are prime examples of places where strict gun laws put into place by state-elected officials make obtaining guns legally harder than ever. Loose interpretation of the laws that govern firearms has ignited much debate.
Laws are a system of guidelines and rules enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. As to what particular behavior has a need for control often is up for debate. Society enacts most laws to ensure the safety or well-being of its citizens, such as the traffic laws observed every day. Others govern the financial set of standards related to banks and businesses. Then there are those regulating social conduct by imposing penalties on behavior, punishing offenders who endanger or threaten the health and safety of the public or an individual. Some states have laws that make it more difficult than ever for law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns.
California’s Unfriendly to Guns
One of the most restrictive gun-law states is California. That state begins by making a list of “California-approved” firearms. Officials must test and inspect those firearms to ensure they have state-mandated features before adding the guns to the California-friendly list. Additionally, California has a list of banned firearms that the state defines as “assault weapons” and military lookalikes.
And if you actually find a suitable handgun or long rifle, California caps the magazine capacity off at only 10 rounds. To buy a state-compliant firearm in California, you must pass a written test to get a Handgun Safety Certificate. As of Jan. 1, 2014, that also applies to long rifles. Once you obtain the certificate, gone to a licensed dealer and purchased a handgun, there is a 10-day waiting period. Aside from the hoops to jump through to get your firearm, if you finally do, you must register the sale and serial number with the Department of Justice (DOJ). And as of Jan. 1, that includes long guns.
In October 2013, Gov. Gerald Brown signed AB 711, banning the use of lead in hunting ammunition. Officials said this law protects the condors, which feast on carcasses left by hunters. Nothing comes easy for firearms owners in California.
Waiting Game: Illinois Piles on Paperwork
Until recently, Illinois residents had to abide by tougher gun laws. On January 5, 2014, that state began accepting applications for concealed-carry firearms. That makes Illinois the last state in the country to allow residents to have carry permits. But to legally possess a firearm or ammunition, residents must have state police-issued cards. Illinois has issued the Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) to residents since 1968. To obtain a FOID, a resident must pass a National Instant Background Check System (NICS) and Illinois Department of Human Services checks to prove he or she has not been mental institution patient within the past five years or been adjudicated as a mental defective. Legally, the state must grant a FOID card within 30 days of the date of receipt of the application, unless the state disqualifies the applicant.
Once an Illinois resident has obtained a FOID card, there is a 72-hour waiting period for handgun purchases and a 24-hour waiting period for long guns. To purchase ammunition, an individual must show a FOID. With purchases, a dealer must check with the Firearms Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP) to verify that a FOID card is valid and perform an additional background check. Firearms purchased from a licensed dealer must include gun locks of some sort, unless integrated locking systems already are installed. Illinois is not as harsh as California, but there are processes, applications and identification cards that restrict firearms and ammunition and require potential owners to complete much paperwork.
New Jersey Requires Permit to Buy Ammo
In New Jersey, a resident must have a Firearm Purchaser Identification Card (FPID) to buy long guns or handguns. One consolation is that the FPID card is a lifetime card. For handgun purchases only, a resident also must get an additional permit from the Chief of Police. That permit expires after 90 days, and you must have one for each handgun you buy. Background checks through the State Bureau of Identification and New Jersey State Police, along with multiple references and additional application questioning, are mandatory for each handgun purchase permit.
Although some handgun ammunition may be used in select rifles designed to fire the caliber—such as .38 special, .22 LR, .45 Colt, and so on—the purchaser must have an FPID card to buy handgun-caliber ammunition. Hollow-point ammunition is not restricted from purchase, but you cannot carry it outside of your property or house or leave with it from a target range (N.J.S.A 2C:39-3F). You can transport it from a store to a dwelling and from home to a range. There are exceptions for hunters who want to use hollow-point ammunition. They can buy and own hollow point for hunting but not for personal defense use.
Connecticut Laws Create Civil Disobedience
One of the most recent disturbing gun laws was Connecticut’s registration of “military style assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines. Firearms owners have to fill out an Assault Weapon Registration Form (DPS-414-C) and a High Capacity Magazine Declaration Form (DESPP-0788-C); both forms must be completed in the presence of a Notary Public. The state passed the registration law April 2013, following the Sandy Hook school tragedy. The deadline for owners’ registrations was December 31, 2013. Since the bill’s passing through in February 2014, the state has received an estimated 48,000 applications from a total of about 350,000 firearms. Most owners have simply ignored the required registration by exercising civil disobedience. Could Connecticut take the same turn of events as Colorado did in the passing of its strict gun-control efforts and choose to recall its officials? It is very possible, but for now, it is just disobedience.
Restrictions Affect Law-Abiding Citizens, Not Criminals
Do these laws really impact criminals or simply hinder law-abiding citizens? Of course they hinder law-abiding citizens. Most of the gun laws are based on the supposition of the elite that I will have mine and you will not. Lest you think we have not been indoctrinated, look at the facts. New York City had the most horrific of the old-time gun laws. The Sullivan Law was widely seen as selectively enforced to keep the poor in line. For decades in New York City and Chicago, the only people who could obtain gun permits were mobsters. Practically every member of the member of Capone’s crew had a permit, and Capone had a reserve police commission for many years. Politicians and judges of the day, and many today, are the crooked timber of the human landscape. When considering the actions of the majority of judges, remember politicians appoint them. One objective of most judges and attorneys is to build up favors with each other. In my opinion, the practice of law is an art all its own that is not connected to the public good. In 1732, an illustrious Scot, General Oglethorpe, settled a wasteland now known as Savannah. He strictly forbade lawyers and slavery. He was later overruled at the cost of the country.
Of course, there are decent men in every profession, but when it comes to gun laws and those who pass them, I think they are painted with a broad stripe. That stripe is well familiar to anyone who has studied the history of our people. By our people, I mean Americans. We came to America on different ships, but we are all in the same boat. My own ancestors are Scots, with Native American and an uncle Patillo thrown in. The English are not models of tolerance. It is arguable that the Jacobite rebellion was the first shot of the American Revolution. Soon after, the English passed Draconian laws that disarmed most of the colonies, and particularly the Irish and Scots. The point is—the fight against gun control is not simply about gun control. It is about an assault on freedom. We sometimes calls the anti-gunners Communist or Socialist, and not without reason. Look to history and the ones who have destroyed entire cultures. The National Socialists destroyed the entire European Jewish Community, a rich heritage. Many people and races of all types led to Berlin after World War II because they saw it as a Mecca of freedom and tolerance. The Nazis crushed that Mecca. In China, the Communists destroyed the art and culture of a millennia. The Irish, at one time, practically ceased to exist under English rule. If they will hang women men and children for the wearing of the green, will they hesitate to execute you for your guns? Of course not. In all creation, there are two powers that have completely destroyed civilizations. The first was the power of God, which decimated Sodom and Gomorrah, Pompeii and Krakatoa, and everyone died. The culture did not rise. The Stalinists in China, North Korea and Russia accomplished much the same, but none were as efficient as the second destructive power—the Nazis. How much of our heritage is being destroyed? Unlike our current regime, I believe that America and Americans are exceptional and that our heritage is a wonderful one, inspired by God and the finest ideas of man. After all, you do not see the refugees going the other way.
Across America, the police are now employed as yard police and will ticket you for an untidy lawn. In my opinion, the worthies do not fare well when facing real criminals. It is much easier for them to enforce repressive ordinances than to fight real crime and formidable criminals, which is another reason I believe we must be armed. Our government servants are no longer servants but an elite that seeks to see us serve them. How many freedoms have we lost in the previous decades? The only bright spot in some regard is the gun-rights front, with the growth of shall-issue states and the grass-rights movement. It is not about guns at all; it is about control. The aristocrats’ line is: “I have mine, the hell with you.” Remember the work of our founding fathers. When they founded American and wrote the Constitution, there had been nothing like this country for a thousand years. There was no freedom in the world, only monarchy and despotism. The founding fathers looked back to the golden age of Greek democracy. The world said it would not work. The next step, in a world sense, was the French revolution. Today the French are citizens, the Brits are subjects and Americans are citizens. A Greek with a sword was a citizen, otherwise a slave. Always remember that.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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