When it comes to firearms, not registering the ones that are required by law is not a good idea…regardless of the situation or your viewpoints. There is usually nothing good that comes from finding workarounds to the law, even if you don’t think they are the right laws.
Case in point was a recent article in GPB News (Georgia Public Broadcasting) where they talked about some people in New York not registering their firearms. In their article, “Flouting The Law, Some New Yorkers Won’t Register Guns,” they talked about why gun owners aren’t registering their guns and what the situation is that is causing this to happen more often.
All this happened after the shooting in Newtown, CT at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. New York, generally known for their tough gun laws, passed a sweeping gun law package (SAFE Act, Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013) that included registration of so-called “assault weapons.” However, many gun owners are refusing to comply with this key provision.
Many gun owners see this as a step closer to confiscation of their firearms so they don’t want to let them know they have them. They are required to register them with the police. According to these gun owners, “[The SAFE Act] still may be law, but the people of New York State have repealed it on their own,” says Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. “They’re just ignoring the law.” While 45,000 guns have already been registered, there is not accurate way to tell how many are still out there left unregistered.
But here’s another wrinkle to the current situation…some of the police officers charged with enforcing the law aren’t all that supportive of it themselves. “When I prioritize what I need to do as a sheriff, the SAFE Act comes in at the bottom of that list,” says Christopher Moss, the sheriff in Chemung County, a rural area near the Pennsylvania border. “I do look at it personally as an infringement on Second Amendment rights.”
So while the debate continues, it is hard for me, as an attorney, to advise anyone against following the laws that are in place…regardless of whether I agree with them or not. So my advice to my clients is to also consider staying within the guidelines of the laws. If we want them changed, then we need to do that through our voting system, not rebellion. Whether we agree with the laws or not, when they are passed they are passed. Think about this on a massive scale with any other law, outside of firearms. Chaos would ensue.
What would you do? Would you rebel against this law (and possibly others) and not register your firearm or would you follow the law the way it was written? It’s a very personal question but one that many are faced with today throughout the country. Love to hear your opinions on this if you care to share them!