Papered vs. unpapered

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Under the principle of “Know your enemy as you know yourself….” I try to listen to leftist talk radio from time to time. For the last couple days the topic of gun control has been coming up. I fully suspect this is for a couple reasons…first, the lefties are realizing that ‘the gun issue’ may hurt them and they want to defuse the issue as quickly as possible before it gains momentum. Additionally, the Carter II Obama administration hasn’t been secret about its stance on gun control (although it did try to ‘memory hole’ it with their convenient ‘retooling’ of their website) and may want people to think that theres nothing wrong with ‘sensible’, ‘common sense’ prohibitions….soften up the masses and get ‘em receptive for the next putsch push.

I was only able to get about sixty seconds of listening to the idiot on Air America before I had to turn it off…my vision was going red around the edges and I was driving. But the question the host whined plaintively was ‘whats wrong with licensing guns?’. Sigh.

Lets ignore that there’s no right, as far as I know, in the Constitution that requires .gov pre-approval to exercise. Lets get to the heart of the matter – confiscation is the natural consequence of registration and licensing schemes.

Many years ago I lived in Brooklyn NY. When I turned 18 I got my shotgun/rifle license. I bought a buncha stuff…AK’s, AR’s, even an HK93 for $600 (Ah, those were the days), and that sort of thing. A year later I moved to Montana and never looked back. However, I never updated the ‘Firearms Control Bureau’ with my new address. A couple years go by and Im forwarded a piece of mail from the wastes of life at the FCB. The letter said, succinctly, ‘…you own a bunch of assault weapons and they are now illegal in the city limits. Turn them in to us or get them out of the city. Your choice.’ (It was actually worded in the usual bureaucratic legalese but you get the idea.) Now, I was living in Montana…as far as I was concerned the FCB could come out to Montana and get the damn things if they had the balls. So..I got a marker and wrote across the top of their letter “You want ‘em, come and get ‘em”. (Yes, that’s right…I was ‘Molon Labe’ before Molon Labe was cool) Threw it in an envelope and sent it off. Time marches on. A few months later a family member still living in NY calls me. “Hey, remember the house we used to live in? Well, the cops showed up there the other day looking for you and your guns.”

Imagine that. Now how did those guys know what I had and where I lived? Oh, wait, that’s right….those guns were duly licensed and registered.

So lets talk about ‘papered’ and ‘unpapered’ guns. A papered gun is a gun where you went into a gun store and filled out a ‘yellow sheet’ (ATFE form 4473) and gave all your personal info and submitted to the background check. An unpapered gun is one that you bought from a guy at work for $150 with no paper trail whatsoever that leads to you.

Is the ATFE 4473 a de-facto registration? Yes and no. Those 4473’s aren’t submitted to ATFE unless the dealer goes out of business. After twenty years the dealer may dispose of them. (That last rule may have changed but I don’t think so.) What that means is that ATFE and .gov only have that info on you if the dealer goes out of business or if the ATFE has a reason to come looking for you. Lets examine those two circumstances.

ATFE is prohibited from making a database of gun owners and what they own. This, of course, doesn’t stop them from doing it under other guises. The method they use now is to take a dealers records (because dealers must send all that to ATFE when they close up shop) and create a database of that info. So, if your dealer stays in business for 20 years and then destroys the paperwork theres effectively no paper trail.

Until the dealer goes out of business the dealer sits on those records. He doesn’t send them off to ATFE once a year or anything. If ATFE wanted to find out what guns you own they’d have to canvas every dealer near you and ask to look through their books and try to find your name. A time consuming process. Could they call NICS, ask if your name came through on an instant check lately and from what dealer to help narrow down their search? ATFE would probably say no but lets live in the real world…yes they could.

There is also the chance that a future administration (like the Carter II administration) could simply say that dealers have to turn in the 4473’s every year or fax them in once a month for ‘random compliance checks’ or some other such nonsense.

So, if youre the kind of person who thinks that what guns you own (to say nothing of why you own them) is no one’s damn business but your own then you probably want to own guns that were purchased through ‘private transactions’. Some states make this illegal, some do not. If you live in a state where its illegal then you definitely don’t want to make these quiet private transactions among trusted friends and relatives…although the odds of getting in trouble for it are quite low, and that its simple to just give your uncle $400 and buy the old .357 he bought in 1975, and that as long as you don’t commit a holdup with that gun you’ll probably never come to the attention of the authorities, it would still be wrong. So don’t do it. And although its tempting and the risk is very low, definitely don’t drive over to a state where its legal, purchase guns through a private sale and then return to your home state with them….that’d be very illegal.

If, however, you live in a state where theres no prohibition on these types of transactions, then its certainly an attractive way to fill the gun cabinet without bringing yourself to the attention of Big .Gov.

Is this sort of thinking paranoid? Not at all because I’ve been there. I followed the rules, registered my guns, never committed a violent act with them and they still sent armed men to what they thought was my house to take them away. So this notion that fears of confiscation are somehow the machinations of a right-wing paranoid delusion can be readily disproved with documented incidents.

Its happened in California only a few years ago…the government there pulled a fast one and said that certain ‘assault weapons’ would be grandfathered if you registered them..folks registered them and then once that was done the .gov changed their minds and now, conveniently, had a list of who had what and where it was. Pretty slick, that.

Here in the great state of Montana, despite having a Democrat governor with some leftist leanings, we enjoy the unregulated private sales of firearms, no state bans on any type of firearms, a decent concealed weapons law, no licensing requirements (except on the Fed level for Class III and that sort of thing), and yet we have very little gun violence. No drive-by shootings, very few stickups, home invasions are rare and newsworthy occurrences, and the public display of firearms seldom raises a red flag. Life is good here for us gunnies.

Is it worth a few extra bucks to purchase a firearm without a paper trail? In my opinion, yes. In that case Im not paying extra for the gun, Im paying extra for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the only person who knows what is sitting in my gun safe is me.

3 thoughts on “Papered vs. unpapered

  1. The best possible defensive statement would be that you sold them in an unpapered private sale to another person whose name you cannot recall now, several years later. Having a signed and dated bill of sale from someone with a somewhat common name (but not too obvious) would likely be even better. Without an address, middle name, or date of birth, it would be next to impossible for them to track down said imaginary person to confirm or deny.

    If you live in a state with no unregulated private sales, woe be unto you.

  2. Couldn’t the .gov subpoena mail order /online companies to see who has bought 223/556 ammo? Or even perhaps obtain this info without a subpoena? Pretty sure you’ve got an AR if they see you buying hundreds of rounds in a given time period. . . at least enough for a visit. .

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