3. Registration as "Citizen Control"

3.0 Introduction

"Every communist must grasp the truth, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

Mao Zeding, Chinese Communist Leader, speech at the 6th Plenary Session of the the 6th Central Committee, 6 November, 1938.

Firearm prohibitionists insist that by repeating "...registration will mean confiscation", gun owners are paranoid and their views have no legitimacy; however, as presented below, there is historical evidence with regard to gun controls in general, and registration in particular, which more than justifies the concerns of the Shooting Organizations Of Canada.

As described as follows, governments around the world have used registration of firearms and firearm owners as a tool to keep their citizens under control.

When Phillipine President Ferdinand Marcos became dictator, he establihsed martial law and declared that all registered firearms be surrendered to the authorities (Sherrill, 1973, pp.272-273).

In 1990, during the collapse of the Baltic republics, the Soviet Union ordered the mass confiscation of all registered guns in Lithuania (Kleck, 1991, p.335).

American historian B. Bruce-Briggs (1976, p.59) indicated that lists of registered guns and their owners were used in mass confiscations of firearms in Greece and the Irish Republic.

In 1973, following the murder of the governor, police in Bermuda confiscated all registered handguns (Sherrill, 1973, p.271).

In 1976, the City of Cleveland, Ohio, enacted a handgun registration law which resulted in the subsequent confiscation of over 5,500 handguns from registered owners (ILA, 1989, p.16).

In 1988, the British government banned all centerfire semiautomatic and pump action rifles and shotguns. Registered owners had to either completely deactivate them or surrender them to the authorities (Kopel, 1990, p.85).

Simkin, et al. (1994, p.15) explored this controversial issue in extreme detail and argue that gun controls in general, and owner/firearm registration in particular, have been significant contributing factors in at least seven major genocides 9 which have occured in the twentieth century, namely:

  1. 1 to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkey between 1915 and 1917;
  2. 20 million Soviet citizens by the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin between 1939 and 1950;
  3. 6 million Jews, 3 million Poles, and 2 million non-combatant Soviet citizens in Germany and the occupied territories between 1933 and 1945 (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.158);
  4. 20 million Chinese by the Chinese Communist regime between 1949 and 1976;
  5. 100,000 Mayans by the government of Guatemala between 1960 and 1981;
  6. 300,000 Ugandans under the government of Idi Amin between 1971 and 1979l; and,
  7. 1 million Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979.
These genocides occured in societies exhibiting severe social, economic, and political turmoil. In only two of the seven cases (Ottoman Turkey and Nazi Germany) was there an actual or impending foreign war. The remaining five resulted from internal political and racial/ethnic strife (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.61).

Without exception, gun control laws were used to disarm the society at large, with special emphasis against minorities and dissidents, prior to the mass killings.