December 06, 2006

Spam: the Real Danger of Gun Registration

by PG

When David Kopel, Eugene Volokh and other opponents of government regulation and record-keeping of gun ownership talk about why it's A Bad Thing, they frequently imply that someday the government will take your guns away, and having a file of people with permits makes it that much easier for them to come for the last defenders of the 2nd Amendment. (I know the idea is that the guns will help defend our other freedoms as well, but given that I never heard of a red-blooded American raising his gun to keep the government from trucking his Japanese neighbors into internment camps or his Muslim neighbors into mass detentions -- or even his allegedly "feebleminded" nieghbor to the sterilization room -- the freedom-defending rationale for gun ownership seems to rely on self-interestedly carrying a firearm to defend one's own rights, rather than counting on one's fellow citizens' altruistic love for another's freedom. All the people who think there's going to be a great loss of their rights to criticize the Bush Administration, or even to live as a Muslim in the U.S., should arm themselves against the coming tyranny, as the majority of those already in possession of weapons probably won't do it for them. Racist cops tasering you at the school library? Whip out your pistol!)

What the 2nd Amendment stalwarts don't tell you is that even in benighted blue states like New York, the government is actually there to defend at least one of gun owners' rights: the right to be free of annoying, unsolicited fundraising letters for gun clubs (albeit made possible only by the government's having the desired mailling list in the first place). In Federation of New York State Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc., v. New York City Police Department, 73 N.Y.2d 92 (Ct of Appeals 1989), the NYPD successfully fought off a Freedom of Information request for the names and addresses of persons holding rifle or shotgun permits, because the lists would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes and thus the release would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Specifically, the petitioner sought the information in order to circulate information about itself that included a detachable membership application, and to obtain membership dues. I suppose inasmuch as the Gun Clubs were going to use the dues to lobby the state legislature, those refusing membership might be called free-riders, but until gun-owners form a union, free-riding appears to be their right as well.

December 6, 2006 08:40 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Sitting in Review
Armen (e-mail) #
PG (e-mail) #
Craig Konnoth (e-mail) #
About Us
Senior Status