Did you know that quietly–very quietly thanks to a biased media–tens of thousands of American citizens delivered a message about the limits of government?
Did you know that citizens of one state engaged in a mass act of civil disobedience that has left statist officials from both parties scratching their heads as an entire regulatory scheme collapsed?
Last week, Connecticut politicians were shocked to find out that only a fraction of Connecticut gun owners obeyed a state directive to come forward, declare their weapons, and register them with the government.
Everyone knew there would be some gun owners flouting the law that legislators hurriedly passed last April, requiring residents to register all military-style rifles with state police by Dec. 31.
By the end of 2013, state police had received 47,916 applications for assault weapons certificates, Lt. Paul Vance said. An additional 2,100 that were incomplete could still come in.
That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry, including the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000.
This is an important moment in the battle for fundamental rights. The Second Amendment is an individual right, grounded in the inherent, natural law right of self-defense. It is an individual right just like the right of free speech is an individual right. It is an individual right just like religious liberty is an individual right.
Would you register with the government before speaking? Before attending worship services?
Government that goes too far loses its legitimacy, and in their peaceful act of civil disobedience, Connecticut citizens have rendered an unjust law utterly irrelevant.
The national ramifications are immense. Already, big-government gun control activists have faced a citizens’ revolt in Colorado, as key legislators were recalled after expanding gun regulation. Now Connecticut gun owners have torpedoed gun registries in one of the more liberal states in the nation.
If the Second Amendment can survive big-government attacks even in states like Colorado and Connecticut–where insane young people went on tragic shooting rampages–it can survive in states across the nation.
Critically, Connecticut gun owners have provided a model for citizen activists in other states. One doesn’t necessarily have to take to the streets to protest big government or even join local citizens’ groups or donate to political causes. When presented with an unjust law, you can send a simple, clear, and peaceful message.
A Republican state senator sees trouble on the horizon:
“I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register,” said Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, the ranking GOP senator on the legislature’s public safety committee. “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”
Yes, there is a “real problem,” but it’s not the citizens’ defense of their fundamental rights, the “real problem” is the legislature’s lack of respect for civil liberties.
Well done, gun owners of Connecticut. You’ve taught Americans a lesson in the power of self-government.