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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:31 PM

I get that many here want all guns registered, but please understand that it's constitutionally moot

Haynes v. United States (1968). A felon was caught in possession of an NFA regulated firearm which, at that time, had to be registered by their owners. The felon argued that self-registration was illegal, because as a felon, his possession of the firearm was illegal. A law requiring him to register it would be a violation of his 5th Amendment rights as it would basically be requiring him to confess to a crime.

The USSC agreed 7-1, and set his conviction aside. This created a humorous legal situation where law abiding citizens were technically required to register their NFA regulated weapons, but criminals were not. In fact, because failing to register was itself a crime, even those whose "crime" was simply that they failed to register were exempted from registering, as doing so could expose them to penalties. The law became pointless and toothless.

The NFA was replaced later that year with an updated law (the Gun Control Act of 1968) that put the system we have now into place. Registration is now submitted by the seller and processed at the time of sale. If the sale is rejected, the buyer never takes possession of the weapon, and no violation has occurred.

Per the Supreme Court, the steepest penalty you could possibly levy against those who fail to register would be a confiscation of their firearms, and even they would probably have to be given another chance to register (it's highly probable that confiscation would itself be ruled a "punishment", and illegal per the same ruling). Any stricter punishment would be a 5th Amendment violation.

It is entirely constitutional to require the registration of firearms at the time of sale. It's entirely constitutional to require buyer registration whenever ammo is sold. But there is no possible way to write a law that requires the registration of CURRENTLY HELD firearms or ammunition, that would have any teeth or enforceability. The best you could hope for is "If we catch you with an unregistered gun, we're going to register it." Anything stiffer than that will simply be rejected by the first court that looks at it.

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply I get that many here want all guns registered, but please understand that it's constitutionally moot (Original post)
Xithras Dec 2012 OP
IllinoisBirdWatcher Dec 2012 #1
X_Digger Dec 2012 #2
Xithras Dec 2012 #5
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #22
spanone Dec 2012 #3
Xithras Dec 2012 #7
Squinch Dec 2012 #12
RantinRavin Dec 2012 #16
Xithras Dec 2012 #17
Squinch Dec 2012 #10
Xithras Dec 2012 #20
Squinch Dec 2012 #23
MotherPetrie Dec 2012 #4
Xithras Dec 2012 #8
Squinch Dec 2012 #11
JanMichael Dec 2012 #6
ehrenfeucht games Dec 2012 #18
upaloopa Dec 2012 #9
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #13
upaloopa Dec 2012 #15
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #19
Xithras Dec 2012 #21
Xithras Dec 2012 #14
libdem4life Dec 2012 #24

Response to Xithras (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:39 PM

1. and if you are on the road with an unregistered car? or flying an unregestered small plane? n/t

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Response to IllinoisBirdWatcher (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:45 PM

2. If you had it since before registration was required.. grandfathered..

.. and you'd likely be old enough to BE a grand-something-or-other.

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Response to IllinoisBirdWatcher (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:50 PM

5. Neither car or aircraft registration is required in any state in the United States that I'm aware of

Registration is only required if you wish to use them on the public roadway or in the public airspace. You can own and use either one on private property without a license or registration (though that's obviously tricky with an aircraft...you're just going to do a lot of rolling around). My son first drove my dads pickup around his ranch when he was only 13. Not only was my son clearly unlicensed, but that truck hasn't been registered since sometime in the late 90's (he uses it for slog work around the ranch when he doesn't want to risk damaging his newer truck). Not a single law was broken that day.

You could probably pass a law stating that only registered firearms can be transported across state lines or be used on federal lands, but that still leaves you fairly powerless to deal with the tens of millions of firearms that are kept inside of peoples homes.

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Response to IllinoisBirdWatcher (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:10 PM

22. It's hard to fit the car in your nightstand. nt

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Response to Xithras (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:47 PM

3. laws can be changed.

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Response to spanone (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:54 PM

7. You're going to change the 5th Amendment?

Really? You'd sacrifice one of the most fundamental civil liberties we have in order to get firearms registration?

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Response to Xithras (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:47 PM

12. You'd avoid firearms registration rather than preventing the slaughter of innocent people?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:07 PM

16. Will firearm registration prevent the slaughter

How exactly does that work?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:13 PM

17. You didn't answer my question. And nice straw man.

I happen to be an advocate of registering gun owners, which can be done constitutionally (and which would be just as effective as gun registration when it came to stopping crime). I don't advocate passing laws that plainly conflict with existing Supreme Court precedent. That doesn't benefit anyone.

If you pass a gun law that just gets chucked by the courts, who are you saving?

The only way to pass an effective law requiring owners to self-register existing firearms would be to first alter the 5th Amendment. Are you advocating that we do that?

And, more importantly, can you name a single advantage that the unconstitutional act of requiring firearms registration would have over a simpler and constitutional system of gun owner licensing? With owner licensing, you don't need to know what kind of guns they have, or how many. I thought that the end-game was to weed out the crazies.

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Response to spanone (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:44 PM

10. And that's a pretty stupid law. I would imagine that revisiting it now, in the era of DNA testing,

might give different results. Saying that you shouldn't have to register a gun because it requires you to self incriminate isn't much different from saying that you don't have to provide DNA for the same reason.

And to any who are going to say, "you can't change the 5th Amendment," this isn't changing the 5th Amendment. This is challenging a decision that seems to be based on an outdated interpretation of the 5th Amendment.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:55 PM

20. Well, I'd oppose that too

Remember, we're talking about registering all guns here, and not just those suspected of having been involved in a crime. Therefore, the logical equivalent would be: What if the US government demanded that all U.S. citizens turn in a DNA sample, so that DNA samples from future crime scenes could be automatically matched to the perpetrators?

I have no problem taking DNA samples from people suspected of being involved in crimes, to determine whether they were involved. The courts seem to agree that this is legal and legitimate.

I'd have a HUGE problem if the government wanted EVERYONE to register their DNA into a national DNA database, and laid out penalties for those who refused to register.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:56 PM

23. It doesn't necessarily mean you'd have to register everyone's DNA. If you have committed a crime

and you are required to surrender your DNA by a court order, you are by this argument, incriminating yourself. But let's use another analogy: registering cars means you are self incriminating in case you ever hit someone with your car. Everyone has to register their cars. THere are penalties for those who don't.

This law can be passed. And we don't need to revoke the 5th Amendment to do it.

And, no. The idea of registration is NOT just to weed out the crazies. Mrs. Lanza was not a "weedable" crazy. She was a "responsible gun owner." The person who owns the gun which will be used in the next massacre probably is a responsible gun owner too.

Registering guns is to allow for enforcement of things like safe storage of ALL the guns a gunowner owns. And it gives teeth to any legislation that limits the legal characteristics of the gun. It prevents the under the radar sale of guns to any old freak on the street without any monitoring.

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Response to Xithras (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:49 PM

4. Are you a constitutional lawyer?

 

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:58 PM

8. Don't need to be. The 7-1 decision was reached by constitutional lawyers

And the decision itself is written in plain English.

The decision was pretty clear. You can't force people to register if registering will expose them to legal penalties. All gun owners would have to do is wait until the registration deadline expired, and then they'd be protected by this decision.

There's a very good reason why Congress wrote a replacement law in only a few months, and put the current system into place. If they could have just modified the original, they'd have done so. It couldn't be constitutionally.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:45 PM

11. By the same token, why could you be made to give DNA? The decision was an interpretation.

Interpretations change.

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Response to Xithras (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:53 PM

6. Yeah? So what? I don't care. The right never lets shit like a Supreme Court showdown stop

them when they want things like hetero-only marriage.

I am so tired of wimpy assed Liberals. Seriously, wtf has happened to this party.

The Constitution wasn't written on stone tablets and handed down to us by a messenger from a mountain top.

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Response to JanMichael (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:37 PM

18. Exactly! When Bowers v Hardwick was decided in 1986, ...

 

...we didn't just sit back and take it.

The next summer, 481 of us were busted in a nonviolent CD while sitting on the steps of the Supreme Court, demanding that Bowers v Hardwick be overturned.

The Supremes did eventually reverse themselves in Lawrence v Texas.

We can OCCUPY THE SUPREMES if we have to.

Unless one is a Legal Fundamentalist, Court decisions are not some kind of Holy Scripture that must be accepted without question.

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Response to Xithras (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:33 PM

9. How is it that any idea that comes up you can

post something to negate it?
You have to have some site designed just for that purpose. Where is it?
Maybe there is a site to negate your negation.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:52 PM

13. Spend a couple of years in the gungeon and you learn it.

Complete with court case references.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:04 PM

15. Common now no one just wrote that off the top

of their head.
That is a prepared text from somewhere.
Gunners don't sit around and do case studies and prepare briefs. They're out shooting their guns.
No fucking tea party bozo could write that. It is a legal brief,

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:39 PM

19. Whenever someone makes a good argument I save the references.

I have files in my computer for different gungeon arguments that interest me. We see the same arguments from anti gunners all the time so we tend to have prepared answers. It is really fairly easy to do.

Also there is Google.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:08 PM

21. Lol. It's not a prepared text.

I wrote that off the top of my head. I'd heard of the case years ago, and the only thing I had to look up was the actual name of the case and the year it went down (and my only source for that was Wikipedia). You know, some of us are sufficiently educated to do such things

And where the hell do you get off calling me a "tea party bozo" you effing newbie? I've been on DU almost as long as there has been a DU, and that bullshit comment was completely uncalled for.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:01 PM

14. Me?

If you're talking about the gun threads in general, then you've got me confused with someone else. Feel free to look at my history. Before this thread, I've posted less than a half dozen comments among the countless gun threads on DU (and two of them were simply making the same point I made here in my OP). Given my personal history with firearms, it's not a topic I personally enjoy discussing (for the sake of full disclosure, I had the displeasure of shooting a guy almost 20 years ago to stop a violent rape as it was happening, and then had to sit with the guy and listen to him suck air through his chest and fight for life as we waited for the police and ambulance to arrive...that sort of thing changes your perspective on firearms).

If you're talking about this thread itself...well, it's my topic, so I get to participate in it. Most of my comments are simply repeating concepts in the OP. Nothing spectacular about that.

FWIW, I'm an advocate of licensing firearms ownership. I don't agree with registering the guns themselves, but I do believe that anyone with a firearm should have to show a gun license any time they want to buy ammunition, or buy a new gun, or carry their weapon in public, or if they are spotted with a firearm by a police officer and are asked to show it. I think that gun registration is pointless and unconstitutional, but gun owner licensing is a different story altogether.

Don't confuse me with a gungeoneer or an NRA member. I'm nowhere close to either (in my 11+ years on DU, I can count my total number of gungeon visits on my fingers). I just don't see the point in advocating for a pointless and plainly unconstitutional law that will do NOTHING except get overturned by the courts and benefit the Republicans who will get to claim that they "saved" gun rights from the "evil gun-grabbing Democrats". What's the point in fighting for a feel-good law that will only benefit Republicans in the long run?

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Response to Xithras (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:00 PM

24. Can we all agree that gasoline promotes and empowers DUI?

Uh, thinking that even the brighter bulbs hereon get it that without the car and the driver...aw, what's the use.

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