by John McClaughry
Gun control has again reared its ugly head in the legislature. The current issue is whether to enact a new fee payable to the government by a person involved in a domestic violence dispute. The fee is to cover the cost to the government of storing the firearms that the person may not legally possess until the case is settled.
I believe most gun owners are comfortable with existing Federal law or a lawful court order requiring that a person in court facing domestic abuse charges must not be in possession of firearms until the matter is resolved. But why, as this fee bill language requires, must those firearms be “surrendered” to the government?
If history teaches us anything, it is that things of value “surrendered to the government” are rarely returned in good condition, if at all. The person involved in a dispute and subject to the non-possession requirement has various options to comply. He can leave the firearms with a licensed gun dealer, or give them to a friend or relative to store, or simply give them away or sell them. That person should not be forced to accept the government storage option, and then be charged a fee payable to the government for the storage.
The mandatory storage fee has become a big cause for the anti-gun lobby, which wants all guns turned over to the government one way or another. The legislature should firmly say no.
John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.