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Registering Collectibles and Confiscating Defense Guns:
Summer 2003

By Richard W. Stevens

"Gun collectors don't need to worry about 'gun control.' Why would anybody want to register or take away a pre-1900 antique handgun?"

Gun Control Australia's president John Crook answered: "The public has every reason to want as strict a control as possible over every gun." A law taking effect in Australia on July 31, 2003, requires that nearly all collectible handguns must be registered and their owners licensed.

To get a collector's license under the law, the Australian gun owners must be photographed and fingerprinted. Owners must also now install doors and safes in rooms where such handguns are stored. It doesn't matter what kind of handgun it is, or whether it can be fired, or if the collector would ever fire it.

That isn't all. A national handgun buyback scheme, funded with $118 million, aims to obtain historic firearms from private owners … and then destroy the guns. Some of these antique firearms are valued up to $250,000. The spokesman for the Police Minister explained, "The object of the national handgun buyback is to ensure that handguns don't make their way onto the streets." Even guns that can't be fired.

Compromise Means Defeat

Apparently the Historic Arms Collecting Council of Australasia chose a path of "compromise" that failed miserably. Gordon Morgan, president of the Council, reportedly stated that the Council supports "gun control" laws affecting concealable weapons. The Council only objects to categorizing antique weapons that way. "We don't shoot these guns," said Morgan. "We're custodians of our heritage."

Who won in Australia: the compromising, "reasonable gun control" Council? Or the no-compromise, maximum gun control group?

Next time someone says that gun collectors don't have a dog in the "gun control" fight – tell him or her about Australia, July 31, 2003.

Canceling Self-Defense

Meanwhile, recent news from the Philippines confirms the fact that registration is the prelude to confiscation. The Philippine Interior Department had issued thousands of carry permits to citizens who showed a professional or self-protection need. These permits cost $131 (US) – a very substantial sum in that nation. Now, by order of the Philippine President, all of these permits are cancelled.

Under Philippine law, most citizens may own only two firearms: one shotgun or .22 caliber rifle, and one handgun. Getting a license for each gun requires proof of employment, approval from police officials, mayors and courts, passing drug and psychiatric tests, and paying fees. Buying a firearm involves more approvals and fees. Owners need the carry permit if they want to transport a gun outside the home.

By canceling the carry permits nationwide, the government has placed gun owners in a no-win, defenseless position. If a person is caught with a firearm outside of the home, he or she faces prosecution and/or confiscation of the firearm.

The Filipino people have no Second Amendment legal protection of their right to own and possess firearms. A pro-gun lawyer nevertheless filed a lawsuit challenging the government's order, explaining that Filipinos "have the right to carry arms because it is intertwined to our rights to protect life, especially here in the Philippines where we all know that the police cannot protect the citizens."

Of course, canceling the carry permits for law-abiding citizens does nothing to make them safer. The gun prohibition laws don't affect the communist New People's Army, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or the various rebels and bandit gangs in rural areas. Extortion and kidnapping for ransom occur regularly in the Philippines. Carrying a firearm, especially in remote areas, is the only defense that citizens have against the predators.

Nando Pacheco, president of the Filipino anti-self defense group called the Gun-less Society, still calls for "progressive disarmament." Pacheco recently both lied and grievously insulted his countrymen terribly by saying: "You know the Filipinos: even just with traffic problems, there will be gun battles."

(Would Pacheco speak so flippantly at the funeral for a disarmed young mother murdered by bandits in a rural village? "You know the Filipinos, killing women …")

No matter how restrictive the gun laws, the anti-self defense lobbyists never stop pushing for more "gun control." Collectible guns are fair game. The right to self-defense can be gutted. There can never be enough "gun control" laws until all private gun ownership is eliminated.

To learn more – to help roll back "gun control" – join JPFO today (still only $20 annual dues). Preview the dozens of resources available for gun owners at the website: Don't wait until the Australian and Philippine laws invade the U.S.A.

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