In my mind the answer is both.
First off and to be absolutely clear; I am in favor of bans on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and all high capacity clips.
In contrast, however, I do not favor the registration or other restrictions on ownership of long guns used for actual hunting such as single shot, double barrel, bolt action, lever action or pump shotguns and rifles with low capacity magazines of any gauge or caliber.
That being said, however, all semiautomatic long guns and all handguns, both semiautomatics and revolvers, must be subject to registration.
I would suggest that a registration program be carried out in a very calm and non-confrontation manner. Follow to see my suggestions as to how
I will be quite frank and state that the NRA, if we end up with mandated gun registration, wishes for nothing less than multiple repeats of Waco and Ruby Ridge as government entities try to “force” the registration and/or confiscation of firearms.
We cannot play that game. There must be an effective yet non-confrontational alternative.
First, the new purchase or sale of a gun by a licensed gun dealer and/or guns show, once the registration law is in effect, would require that that gun be registered. (Sale only to licensed buyers should also be included but I want to address only the question of registration.)
Second, there would be a year long voluntary registration period wherein a gun own can, with no penalty, present his gun or guns to the authorities be registered.
At the end of the registration period the following would be in effect in regard to unregistered guns:
• No general searches or seizures of unregistered firearms would be undertaken.
• Use of an unregistered firearm in the commission of a crime; results in AUTOMATIC higher sentences for that crime if the defendant is found guilty. In addition, a property search is justified and all additional unregistered firearms and related materials are subject to confiscation.
• If a cache of weapons is removed from an owner’s property by theft and subsequently recovered by the authorities, any illegal weapons are subject to confiscation and all legal weapons will be returned to the owner after registration.
• If an unregistered firearm is found in public through a legal body or vehicle search, that firearm is prima fascia evidence for detention of the carrier and justification for a search warrant on the carrier’s property. Any unregistered firearms found in that search along with related materials are subject to confiscation UNLESSS the owner registers those legal firearms. If the search under such a situation turns up illegal weapons, including assault rifles; all illegal weapons will be confiscated.
The bottom line here is the following.
• If you hunt with a long gun, nothing changes for you.
• All firearms moving through licensed gun dealers are subject to registration.
• If you own a legal firearm that is subject to registration, it may be registered voluntarily in a “grace” period with no penalty.
• If you own a legal or illegal weapon, such as an assault rifle; it is not subject to “search and seizure” or “forced” registration unless you commit a crime and/or said weapons have been found outside your property.
If a gun owner has dreams of using his legal or illegal firearms in defending his property against a demon horde of miscreants or intrusion by his government; as long as he keeps his dreams and firearms to himself, locked in his basement, there is no problem. Use them in a crime or bring them into public, then there is hell to pay.
I realize that the prohibition on unregistered guns in public brings up the question of an otherwise law-abiding shooter going to or from a shooting range with his unregistered weapon. The answer is that shooting ranges will be allowed to “store” owner’s firearms. However, ranges must be licensed just as dealers and any weapon removed from the range must be registered. In other words, an unregistered weapon may, if the range owner agrees, be kept at a shooting range but may not be removed until it is registered.
What I am putting forward here will not result in the registration of all firearms immediately but, over time, will begin to insure that are firearms are registered and in the hands of licensed owners, dealers or shooting ranges.
It will take time but it is preferable to thousands of fire fights between the authorities and gun hoarders.