Wednesday, 29 June 2016

09:19 – I was reading one of those panicky articles yesterday that claimed there are too many guns in private hands in the US. More than 200 million, it said. My best guess would be higher: between half a billion and a billion. Then I saw this article, which says that 23 million background checks were done in 2015. That doesn’t cover all gun sales, such as private sales between individuals, but it probably covers most sales of new guns. On the other hand, you can’t equate background checks to unit sales. Multiple guns can be and are purchased from one background check. For example, the last time I bought a gun, they ran one background check on me and one on Barbara, and those two background checks covered one shotgun and one rifle for each of us. (Those four guns were later lost when they fell over the side of a boat into a very deep lake, but that’s another story.) I know people who have bought 20 or more guns on one background check, so my guess is that the 23 million background checks done in 2015 accounted for at least 25 million new guns, if not 30 million. Of course, most of those have since been lost in deep water, just like the ones we bought.

Another article I read some months ago claimed that there were a million AR-15 platform rifles in private hands in the US. I almost choked on my tea when I read that one. My best guess is that the real total is about 10 times that. In other words, there are more semi-auto “black rifles” in private hands in the US than there are AR-15 platform rifles in not just the US armed forces, but in all of the world’s military forces combined. Of course, nearly all of those black rifles in private hands have also been lost in deep water. In fact, I’d guess that all of the deep rivers and lakes in the US have their bottoms covered with a nearly solid layer of firearms.

I also read an article about how gun confiscation might be handled. It concluded that there weren’t enough federal employees to get the job done. Not even close. So it’d have to be done by state and local LE personnel. Yeah, right. That’s a non-starter, particularly in rural areas. I can just see the Alleghany County Sheriff and the Sparta Chief of Police being ordered to go around and confiscate everyone’s firearms. If I were they, my first reaction would be, “Are you nucking futs?” In the first place, most LEO’s outside urban areas are gun owners and sporting shooters/hunters themselves. Their sympathies are very like to be with other gun owners like themselves rather than with faceless federal bureaucrats. In the second place, and far more importantly, any rural LEO understands that trying to confiscate people’s guns would decrease his own life expectancy. Sure, a high percentage of civilians would voluntarily hand over their weapons–those that hadn’t been lost in deep water–but enough wouldn’t that the local cops would find themselves working every day in what amounted to a war zone.

So no matter who’s elected in November, I’m not too worried about widespread gun confiscation.