Gun Restrictions Have Always Bred Defiance, Black Markets
One government after another has implemented schemes for registration, licensing, and even confiscation. But those programs have met with… less than universal respect.
In a white paper on the results of gun control efforts around the world, Gun Control and the Reduction of the Number of Arms, Franz Csaszar, a professor of criminology at the University of Vienna, Austria, wrote, “non-compliance with harsher gun laws is a common event.”
Dr. Csaszar estimates compliance with Australia’s 1996 ban on self-loading rifles and pump-action shotguns at 20 percent.
And even that underwhelming estimate gives the authorities the benefit of the doubt. Three years after Australia’s controversial ban was implemented, when 643,000 weapons had been surrendered, Inspector John McCoomb, the head of the state of Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch, told The Sunday Mail, "About 800,000 (semi-automatic and automatic) SKK and SKS weapons came in from China back in the 1980s as part of a trade deal between the Australian and Chinese governments. And it was estimated that there were 1.2 million semi-automatic Ruger 10/22s in the country. That's about 2 million firearms of just two types in the country."
Do the math. Two million illegal firearms of just twotypes, and only 643,000 guns of all types were surrendered…
The Australian Shooters Journal did its own math in a 1997 article on the “gun buyback.”Researchers for the publication pointed out that the Australian government’s own low-ball, pre-ban estimate of the number of prohibited weapons in the country yielded a compliance rate of 19 percent.
But maybe success is in the eye of the beholder. After the expected mountains of surrendered weapons failed to manifest themselves, then-Australian Attorney General Darryl Williams’s office revised its estimate of total firearms in the country to a number lower than its pre-ban estimate ofprohibited firearms, and declared victory.
Inspector McCoomb, like the Australian Shooters Journal, concluded the ban “has failed.”
The situation in other countries was much the same. Canada pulled a similar numerical sleight of hand when the government responded to widespread resistance to a new firearms registration law by dropping its estimate of the number of gun owners from 3.3 million in 1998 to 2.4 million in 2001. Gary Mauser, a firearms policy expert affiliated with the Fraser Institute, an independent research organization with offices in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, countered with his own estimate that the actual number of gun owners stood at 4.5 million through those years. They weren’t disappearing from the Great White North; they just weren’t complying with the registration law.
Again and again, governments have encountered massive resistance to their efforts to identify gun owners and track gun ownership.
Csaszar points out that, after Austria prohibited pump-action shotguns in 1995, only 10,557 of the estimated 60,000 such guns in private hands were surrendered or registered.
And when Germany imposed gun registration in 1972, he says, owners complied by filing the appropriate paperwork on 3.2 million firearms. This was a bit awkward, since estimates of civilian stocks were in the 17-20 million range.
The low level of compliance with registration laws gives a good idea of where many of the world’s illegal guns come from, but it isn’t the whole story. If people are keeping firearms in defiance of their governments’ wishes, they obviously want to own guns no matter what the powers-that-be intend. And as has proven true in so many cases, demand usually provides its own supply.
Continued: Gun Restrictions Have Always Bred Defiance, Black Markets - Reason.com
Black Blade: Governments can pass all the anti gun legislations they want - it doesn't mean everyone will comply with such laws. In my experience in Asia, I have seen many "illegal" caches of military firearms hidden away from government eyes. Normal people will always reject such laws.