Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reason number 97 why you should never comply with a law requiring you to register anything

I've never understood the urge that some people have to "register" allegedly dangerous objects, substances or creatures with the government. Fans of registration act shocked that anybody could object -- after all, we get to keep our dogs, guns, cars and what have you -- without acknowledging that their preferred policies fail to minimize the supposed risks of whatever they've targeted while maximizing the dangers inherent in forcing public interaction with law-enforcement.

Take the case of Joe Fiorito. He's a columnist for the Toronto Star and a citizen of the land up north where ownership of anything that goes "BANG" is tightly regulated by the government. A generally reliable fan of the expansive state, Fiorito has acquired a new-found skepticism toward gun registration after a recent run-in with the law. He wrote in his column on January 29 of events after he responded to a loud pounding on his front door:

I asked Officer K. if he'd mind getting to the point. He thought I was being difficult. Not me. I am, however, uncomfortable playing 20 Questions in the morning with armed men on the porch.

The point?

Officer K. reminded me that my firearms licence had expired. He said I could turn the gun over to them for storage, or they could take the gun and destroy it.

My gun? It is a single-barrel .20 gauge shotgun. It is 40 years old. I used to take it into the woods up north to get partridge in the fall.

The last time I used it, I was walking along a hydro cut when I surprised a deer in the long dry grass. She leapt away in slow motion, flanks rippling, nostrils flaring; too beautiful.

I haven't hunted since.

I own no shells.

But it's my gun, dammit. I guess, when the Feds began the long-gun registry, I should have lied and not bothered to register the damn thing.

Officer K. pressed me about turning the gun over, there and then, for storage or destruction. For a brief moment I thought about handing it over, if only to get rid of him and his pal.

And then it just seemed wrong:

A couple of cops show up at my door, unannounced, and the talkative one says he has reason to believe, and I'm supposed to hand over my property just like that? 
Fiorito declined the officers' request and told them to take whatever step they thought appropriate.
An hour later Officers F. and K. showed up with their boss, Officer Nicolle. He was as angry as he was pushy and he said he wanted the gun or he'd come back with a search warrant.

I was offered no options.

No one ever said, look, you have to renew your licence; we'll give you two weeks, here's the paperwork you need; and in two weeks, if you don't have the licence we'll have to ask you for the gun.

In the absence of options, faced with a search warrant and outnumbered three to one, I said I'd get the damn shotgun. 
Of course, being a columnist -- even one who traditionally supports restrictive gun control -- Fiorito wrote about his unpleasant experience with Toronto's finest. The cops, apparently, weren't pleased. A few days later, he revisited the subject.
An aside: as I began to write this – on the afternoon of the day the column about the gun-snatching appeared – two cop cars spent five minutes idling in front of my house. Surely a coincidence. ...

A final aside: Officer N., the cop with the sneer, said as he was leaving that some sort of understanding might have been reached but not with a guy like me. All he knows about a guy like me is that I have a sharp tongue when I'm being bullied. If that's all he knows, he doesn't read the papers much.
That's right. The cops responded with a crude effort at intimidation -- and were open about their selective enforcement of the law. Decline to kiss their asses and they're not so nice.

Is there any wonder that Fiorito, a self-identified social democrat who opposes private ownership of handguns and supports Canada's gun registry, writes, "I guess, when the Feds began the long-gun registry, I should have lied and not bothered to register the damn thing."

Lots of people subject to arbitrary and intrusive regulations surely feel that way now -- especially those who can't easily publicize their ordeals. It's impossible to avoid drawing a conclusion from Fiorito's situation about the wisdom of submitting to any government registration scheme, whatever the subject of the registration may be -- or indeed, the wisdom of expanding government officials' authority over our lives, so that we require permission and forbearance just to get through our days.

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Blogger Nickname unavailable said...

thank you for sharing this.

February 4, 2010 9:20 PM  
Anonymous John Galt said...

Pigs should not be given guns. When they demand a gun, they should be provided lead first. Kill them all. Fucking pigs.

What the hell is wrong with people answering the door? What part of having the door pounded on makes you want to open it? What part of seeing a herd of swine on your porch makes you willing to open it? For goodness sakes, use your head. Your head is not an object to be insert in your rectum.

February 5, 2010 1:52 AM  
Anonymous TJP said...

Nice troll, there, boss.

Anyway, I'm all for efficient, effective government, and the electorate getting exactly what they deserve. The C-Feds shouldn't take that kind of crap from Fiorito. Just go kick in his teeth and confiscate the gun. He can get dentures with his "free" health care.

February 6, 2010 2:07 PM  

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