2018 Brought a Bumper Crop of Bad Gun Laws to Disobey

Control freaks have turned to dishonest rulemaking and outright censorship in doomed but still dangerous efforts to take people's weapons away.


George Frey/REUTERS/Newscom

Control freaks who want to disarm you doubled-down last year on bad legislative ideas that have a long history of failure. They've also turned to dishonest rulemaking and outright censorship in their doomed but still dangerous efforts to take weapons away from people they don't like and reserve such tools for themselves. (You didn't think the control freaks planned to personally disarm, did you?) A good example is provided by Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, whose office yielded 23 guns to FBI raiders prior to his indictment last week for attempted extortion.

"From outlawing cell phone cases shaped like guns to bans on concealed weapons in places that serve alcohol and broadening the gun offender registry in Chicago, Ald. Ed Burke's aldermanic record has defined him as an ardent supporter of gun control," noted CBS News. "That's why many people did a double take when federal prosecutors announced that investigators had found nearly two dozen guns not in his home but in his offices."

Burke may not have broken any laws by amassing the sort of armory that he would deny to mere mortals, since Aldermen are designated by law as "peace officers" with special privileges.

Burke's behavior calls to mind former California State Senator Leland Yee, who advocated for more gun regulations while peddling them on the black market himself. "As a legislator, Yee supported strict gun control laws and was named to the Brady Campaign's Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll," The Washington Post reported after the one-time lawmaker was sent to prison for weapons trafficking in 2016. It turned out that his advocacy of legal restrictions on firearms sales and ownership was just a slap at the competition.

Not all gun control advocates are trying to disarm their intended victims or cripple competitors. Many are just fearful and controlling.

Through legislation and ballot measures alike, they imposed wider background-check requirements, tighter restrictions on ownership, limitations on magazine capacity, waiting periods, eased rules for seizing guns from owners, and other changes in roughly half of U.S. states in 2018.

Ever-hopeful authoritarian commentators suggest that the political environment for gun restrictions became more welcoming in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February. There a homicidal shooter compounded by "failures by the Broward County Sheriff's Office and school district cost children their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School," as the South Florida Sun Sentinel concluded. The newspaper's extensive investigation found government officials "unprepared and overwhelmed" when it came to protecting people against criminal action—and gun controllers want to respond by stripping private citizens of their ability to defend themselves.

That's pretty much par for the course when it comes to calls for restrictive laws, sad to say. Control freaks repeatedly want to deny people the legal authority to do for themselves what governments can't be trusted to do.

Another thing that hasn't changed is the cluelessness and/or dishonesty of those who would limit our freedom. Washington state's anti-gun ballot initiative ostensibly imposed new restrictions on "assault weapons," but it used a definition so broad that it "includes not just scary-looking, military-style rifles like the AR-15 but a wide range of firearms commonly used for hunting, target shooting, and competitions," as Jacob Sullum wrote last week. Drafters of the initiative either didn't know or (more likely) didn't care that their language was far wider-reaching than they pretended.

So don't be surprised if Washington's new gun restrictions meet with the same defiance that greeted the state's earlier effort to require background checks for private transfers of firearms. Of three states with new background check requirements that were studied by University of California researchers, "only Delaware showed an overall increase in firearm background checks. Washington and Colorado had no changes." The researchers ruefully conceded that "one plausible explanation for our findings is low compliance in our study states." It was a conclusion underlined by very loud and public efforts to kneecap the law in both Colorado and Washington.

A similarly cold reception met New Jersey's recent ban on gun magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds.

"Two sources from within the State Police, who spoke to AmmoLand on condition of anonymity, told AmmoLand News that they both do not know of any magazines turned over to their agency and doubted that any were turned in," wrote John Crump for the publication. "All the local police departments that AmmoLand contacted stated that they have not had any magazines turned into them."

Under the law, the many New Jersey residents owning the millions of magazines affected by the ban are now felons.

Then again, this too is nothing new. "Only four military-style weapons have been turned in to the State Police and another 14 were confiscated," The New York Times reported of the aftermath of New Jersey's 1991 "assault weapons" law. "The state knows the whereabouts of fewer than 2,000 other guns" of the estimated 100,000-300,000 firearms affected by that law.

Now New Jersey officials are desperately floundering, looking to outlaw even sharing information about firearms. The state has banned the distribution of computer design files that would make it easier to make guns at home using 3D printers, CNC machines, or traditional tools, in a move that has clear free speech implications. And yes, state officials would happily apply the ban to books.

"Posting this material online is no different than driving to New Jersey and handing out hard-copy files on any street corner," huffed New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, in as open an endorsement of explicit censorship as you're likely to see from an American official. "The federal government is no longer willing to stop Defense Distributed from publishing this dangerous code, and so New Jersey must step up."

When your authoritarianism is thwarted again, and again, and again, you either concede defeat or you try to tighten the screws. And control freaks almost never concede defeat.

They also never expect the rules to apply to them, as Alderman Burke and Sen. Yee so effectively demonstrate. They see themselves as special, and above whatever rules they would inflict on the rest of us.

The end result will be jail for a few, some broken lives, and increased conflict between people who want to be left alone and officials to whom that's an entirely alien concept. It certainly won't be a population any more inclined than in the past to obey intrusive laws inflicted by crooks and control freaks.

NEXT: If You Want to See the Future of Political Trolling—and Elections—Look to Alabama

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  1. Until the Left realizes that guns protect against the bad guys who shoot us down like sitting ducks, more will be killed by gun violence and mass shootings… Just look at Maryland where they had a chance to fight back, only 2 dead, and stopped in minutes, versus the 17 casualties in Parkland when they stood and did nothing…

    1. I don’t think you understand the Lieberal mindset. Gun control is about controlling the peons. They know the bad guys will have a field day. Then the Lieberals will pass more laws to get more control. Its a feature, not a bug.

      1. Just read any post by the “Rev;” exhortations for rubes to learn to stay in their place and to listen to their betters.

      2. Clearly you don’t understand the LIBERAL mindset. Gun control is ALL about reducing the number of gun related deaths and injuries. Clearly people who refuse to follow the law and turn in their high capacity magazines are now ‘the bad guys’ and no long law abiding citizens. And pretty much all of the major mass shooting were done by law abiding citizens, up until the moment they pulled the trigger and shot and killed lots of people

    2. Meh, the gun grabbers are so old school they don’t even know how obsolete they are. Try buying a dozen stripped uppers and come talk to me. LOL!

    3. dramatically more people die from people, who before they pulled the trigger, were not bad buys. And there have been very few cases where actually using a gun saved lives. There were armed guards and police at school massacres that didn’t stop things. There was an armed police officer at the nighclub where 50 people were killed. Someday the Right will stop believing their own BS and realize that this country has an out-of-control situation with guns. How many domestic violence situations led to people being shot just because there were guns in the house.

      1. FOT,
        “Good guy with a Gun” debate is irrelevant.

        Do we, or do we not, have the rights of :
        1.) Self Defense?
        2.) Revolt against a government that has exceeded its authority?

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  3. The most common retort I see these days, is that if the government wants your guns they’ll just kill you anyway. Yesterday, I saw explicit comparison made to Ruby Ridge. The gun grabbers and those advocating for it are fully willing to murder you for owning contraband they disagree with.

    When push comes to shove, I think most Americans don’t have the stomach for the wreckless slaughter of their countrymen (though who knows, we have more a stomach than I would hope for war abroad), but I fear more people are going to die to these ideas before there is pushback.

    1. Reckless slaughter on the other side of the world is one thing, even things like Waco and Ruby Ridge seem far away, but taking guns from everyone by force (even a subset of guns like “assault weapons”) would be everywhere, but most don’t think their neighbors own guns, its just those people in Texas or Montana that have them all

      1. Waco’s not exactly far from all of us. It’s just up the Brazos.

    2. Prohibition brought all sorts of wholesale slaughter, yet it took them 15 damn years to repeal it.

      1. I expect modern Americans have somewhat less of a stomach for violence than 100 years ago. It’s less common now, and people seem less able to deal with it. It’s why there’s always these fears of how violent we are now, even though statistically that’s just not accurate.

        1. I hope you are right. I sure hear a lot of people talking a mean game about using force to bring deviant miscreants who disagree with their politics into compliance.

    3. I do love law abiding citizens that only follow laws they agree with. How hypocritical. Also curious, who is talking about grabbing all the guns? Gun control is not banning all weapons. Just more paranoia and lies being spread to scare gun owners. Very sad.

  4. Drafters of the initiative either didn’t know or (more likely) didn’t care that their language was far wider-reaching than they pretended”

    They knew very well how wide their limitations would be

  5. I don’t believe there’s any room for common sense, facts or reason here. The government and their cronies don’t like guns on the hand of citizens. Most Republicans would compromise on just about anything if enough people whined about dead children. This is not a debate. It’s pure and simple oppression and resistance. We’ll never convince the ruling class, as a whole, that guns should be as free as speech. They pose a serious threat to absolute power.

  6. Something something right of the people something something shall not be infringed.

    1. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. So government = people. The right of the government to bear arms shall not be infringed!

    2. Clearly there is no room for common sense, facts or reason here. Can’t argue with that. Our founding fathers specifically referred to a WELL REGULATED Militia (e.g. State National Guard). Not 400 million guns in the hands of people, many with no training, definitely no organization) this is anything but Well Regulated). But even these Legal weapons stand a chance against the US Military, and you wouldn’t be able to unit the entire country to one side. So you are proposing a potential civil war (again).

      1. Its not that there is no room for common sense, facts, or reason here, its simply that you are wrong. Wrong in your facts, wrong in your analysis, and wrong in your conclusion.

        The founding fathers did not mean State National Guard, in fact they did not believe in a standing army at all. Everyone at that time had an “assault weapon” of the day. It was called the musket. Hell, the wealthy had cannons.

        Weapons are used for a defense of life scenario hundreds and thousands of times every day. The stats on that are provided by the FBI. They are well documented.

        I do not believe I’m telling you anything you do not know. I’m merely saying, we aren’t failing to engage with you with facts, common sense and reason, we simply have no “common ground” with your beliefs.

        Its would be akin to a “Flat earther” arguing with a “round earther” in the 20th century. It is just a waste of time.

    3. That something something I assume you are referring to is is a WELL REGULATED Militia, whose rights shall not be infringed..

  7. Just another example showing that hoplophobes are fucking idiots, fucking liars, or both.

  8. Posting this material online is no different than driving to New Jersey and handing out hard-copy files on any street corner,” huffed New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, in as open an endorsement of explicit censorship as you’re likely to see from an American official.

    I can’t wait for the youtube video of someone doing this in front of Grewal’s offices.

    1. Indeed it is not. And that is the reason that a law to that effect will be overturned when challenged in federal court; probably immediately but, that failing, by the circuit or supreme court upon appeal.

      CNC data for gun machining, most likely including for machining parts for fully automatic weapons, have been widely available for a considerable time. It is far to late to seize and destroy them, and anyone who says differently is lying or delusional.

      Among the problems with law in the US (and almost certainly in many other places) is that they are too numerous, too easily evaded without imposition of a hard police state, and often opposed by too many. That was the fate of alcohol prohibition, the drug wars, and, so far, the anti-gun crusade.

      That last one has the additional problem that serious restrictions are plainly, for anyone with who can understand what they read and a passable understanding of US history, prohibited by fairly plain language in the US Constitution. There may be space for “common sense” firearm regulation, but we won’t find it without attending to the facts (of firearm ownership, support for it, and its place in US experience and lore) and to constitutional limits and due process: the government may not restrict rights of citizens (often “persons”) without clear and supportable reasons that convince a large majority, nor without individual consideration of the specific person and the particulars of the restriction.

  9. You didn’t think the control freaks planned to personally disarm, did you?

    Nope. And that’s what they really mean when they say “We don’t want to outlaw all guns! That’s just scaremongering!” They plan to leave a loophole so that their bodyguards are still heavily armed. And nobody else.

  10. I hope for a bright future, but I just don’t see it. Every purchase I make is with an expectation that I will not be able to do that at some point, quite possibly sooner than later.

    Nothing in the entire history of the world has remained in place for more than a few centuries; at what point will this country be torn asunder, and we will dwell in our respective corners, according to our tribe?

  11. Gun control is a wise and noble cause.
    Hitler had gun control.
    Stalin had gun control.
    Mao had gun control.
    Castro had gun control, and you don’t see those countries with a lot of gun violence in them…unless their dear leaders want it.

    1. Facts are a funny things. Even though people like you like to ignore them. First gun control does not equal banning of all of guns. Guns were banned in Germany after they lost WW1. In 1928, relaxed gun restrictions and began using a firearm licensing scheme that allowed Germans to possess firearms. In 1938, Hitler passed a law restricting Jews from owning guns. BTW, there were roughly 500,000 Jews out of a total population of 67 million. Or .75%.


  12. Why would anyone expect a NJ resident to turn in a magazine rather than sell it out of state?

  13. And in other news, Nevada’s new gun-banning governor was just sworn in today…
    “When I’m governor, we’re gonna ban assault rifles, bump stocks, silencers. We need to take action. And now is the time to take action.”

    1. “I like taking guns away early,” Trump said. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

  14. We will have no peace on this issue until it’s widely recognized that Americans are the worst people in any First World country.

    While that may sound shockingly absurd to some, consider this simple fact: guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And since Americans kill their fellow Americans at a vastly greater rate than the citizens of any other country do, the only possible explanation is that we Americans are the worst people in the First World.

    1. Keep pushing for this. You’ll be surprised at just how much “killin” Americans can do when they get pi$$ed off enough.

      As for the rest of the world.

      F em. They could all disappear and the world wouldn’t lose a thing.

      It is America that made the modern world.

      The rest of the world has just been free-loaders.

    2. White Americans commit murder at about the same rate as white Europeans.

      Different countries have different amounts of diversity.

  15. Gun article and no Hinh? Someone send the cops to his house to check if he is ok.

    1. He’s not “ok” when he’s here, why would you think he’s any different at home?

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  17. Thanks for writing this piece J.D. TC!

  18. I’m still banned from Twitter for telling a would-be gun-grabber (and burglar) he’d be shot if he broke into my home. Twitter’s attitude is that those who defend their right to do what the Supreme Court, itself, says they can do are “threatening” those who want to do what the Supreme Court, itself, says they may not do.

    Tweet to @Jack Dorsey that his policies currently support crime! Which, per federal law (18 U.S.C. sec. 2) makes HIM the criminal!

  19. Liberals are more concerned with the “rights” that emanate from penumbras, namely a woman killing her baby and a gay men getting a “marriage” license to celebrate that he likes to engage in anal sex with other men, than they are enumerated rights to guns and private property.

  20. That’s because liberals may be evil but they are not stupid.
    They know the cost of government will keep going up, what with single payer, free college, etc.
    They know this will cause higher taxes, or higher debt, or more printed money.
    Probably all three.
    When the inevitable happens and we get Weimar inflation and Venezuela hunger …
    the people better be unarmed.

  21. Well, there wouldn’t be any bad gun laws to disobey if there were no guns.
    Just think of the possibilities if gun ownership was illegal and enforced here in America.
    We could have the low murder rates and gun violence like Mexico enjoys today.

  22. The paranoia of the Right Wing gun nut is amazing. How implementing logical gun controls is always turned into confiscation of all guns is amazing and sad.

    More people are shot and/or killed by gun in this country than any other Civilized country.

    The Right is so concerned about the rights of a fetus then they are about the 1300 living, breathing, thinking and feeling children that dies each year from guns, and the 5790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year

    A gun is the only tool that is responsible for killing or injuring so many people each year and is the least regulated. This tool is designed for one thing only, and that is to kill.

    1. As anybody who knows ANYTHING about the issue would know… Almost all gun deaths in the USA are suicides, and gun ownership and suicide rates do not correlate. See Japan.

      After that, almost every gun murder in the US is gang related. Basically black and Hispanic gang members are responsible for more than 3/4s of gun murders in the USA.

      If you exclude those uniquely American problems, the USA has comparable murder rates to Europe, Japan, or anywhere else. Many mostly white US states (read no ethnic gang problems) have LOWER murder rates than European countries gun nuts think are doing it right. Like Idaho, or Vermont.

      These are not common sense gun laws, they’re useless and ineffective gun laws, that only infringe on the rights of honest citizens.

      So kindly fuck off.

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