One of the gun control community’s rallying cries is preventing criminals from obtaining firearms. I have very little time for this argument. It’s not that I want violent people to have a means of inflicting violence but, as Zero Hedge points out, the fact that we’re all criminals:
As James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney, notes in his excellent lecture on why it is never a good idea to talk to the police:
Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.”
If the federal government can’t even count how many laws there are, what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?
As Supreme Court Justice Breyer elaborates:
The complexity of modern federal criminal law, codified in several thousand sections of the United States Code and the virtually infinite variety of factual circumstances that might trigger an investigation into a possible violation of the law, make it difficult for anyone to know, in advance, just when a particular set of statements might later appear (to a prosecutor) to be relevant to some such investigation.
For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.
If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.
The number of crimes that exist in this country is so absurdly high that the word criminal effectively has no meaning. Felon is another word that has no real meaning. There are so many crimes that qualify as felonies today that most of us unknowingly violate approximately three of them every day. To say that all criminals or felons should be prohibited from owning firearms is the same as saying everybody should be prohibited from owning firearms. Under the current legal system of this country we’re all criminals. That’s something you should be thinking about the next time a gun control advocate starts arguing that we need background checks for all firearm transfers.