Sunday, 13 February 2011

Lessons of Gun Registration

In the US....Gun Control lobbyists often talk about gun registration.  They'd like to make every citizen register their weapons and have a database to 'watch' folks.  A number of folks take this as an intrusion into their private lives and believe the database does little except tell you statistical numbers.

This week in Germany, an interest thing occurred.  Germany requires absolute registration of gun owners and guns.  There is no way to avoid it.  You can't buy a weapon unless you are a registered gun user. You can't sell a weapon unless you are a registered gun user.  This all invites various regulations about sales, storage and safe use of weapons.

It's a funny thing.....these databases were held by each German state and not exactly shared out to the national government in Germany.  No one had ever said much about this and you get the opinion that the cops didn't really care one way or another.  The law just says register...and that's what folks do.

So all this gun data finally flowed into a national database.  There are around 1.7 million Germans, out of 80 million, that own a registered weapon.  The interesting thing is that Germany can admit that they hold around six million guns.

Folks are waking up around Germany and kinda shocked over that number.  The cops are shocked because they kept saying public that there were around ten million weapons in Germany...so they were way off on their estimate.  In the private sector, folks are shocked at the extent of weapons....especially in Bavaria....where a quarter of the nations weapons are owned.  This would be like saying the US had 100 million weapons and Alabama held a quarter of them (which they just might anyway).

The reason for pushing the Germans into merging their data?  The EU started a rule that said you as a country....to be part of the EU....had admit the official number of weapons in the country.

For the next week or so....folks in Germany will discuss the numbers but it really doesn't change much of anything.

The curious thing is if you tried to start a US federal law of registration....you'd likely have various states pose issues and ask questions.  As you look at the trail that Germany took....it's several decades of effort to get registration to the point where it's all computerized and accepted by gun owners.  The idea that you could start a similar program overnight or even over a four-year period in the US....would be impossible.  So each time you sit and watch some political chat forum where folks talk of gun control and they want a German-style program....ask them how long it took Germany to adapt to their situation.  They will likely grin and admit it was a couple of years, and you can challenge them that it's more than likely to be four decades.