Afghanistan Showcases the Danger of Firearms Registries

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posted on March 15, 2023
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Rahmat Gul/AP

The effects of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan under President Joe Biden (D) are still being felt to this day.

The withdrawal, which took place in August of 2021, left the Taliban with over $80 billion of American military equipment, including 600,000 small arms (many of which are fully automatic rifles), 30 million rounds of ammunition, 75,000 vehicles and over 200 aircraft, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The Taliban also went door to door, confiscating firearms during this time under the guise of keeping people safe, as one Taliban spokesperson told Reuters. Such action is a hallmark of totalitarian, oppressive governments.

Now, the Taliban is reportedly using records of firearms owners as a method to track who worked with Americans during our country’s time in Afghanistan to then “target them for retribution, according to a U.S. government report.” 

Such is yet another instance of the perils of creating a registry of law-abiding gun owners. Thankfully, Americans have the Second Amendment to protect our freedoms against the whims of a brutal, tyrannical government like that of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“There is no reason for a government to maintain a list of law-abiding gun owners; unless, of course, you wish to target them for some reason—nefarious or otherwise. And that is exactly why registration of guns and/or gun owners has been a key component of the anti-gun movement for many decades,” reported the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) of this recent development.

The creation of a federal registry of firearms and/or firearm owners is certainly unconstitutional, but is also statutorily prohibited in the United States. This is thanks to the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act of 1986, which revised many provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Many opponents of Second Amendment freedom, however, have sought to utilize underhanded methods to create de facto registries.

Credit-card companies were recently on the verge of implementing a new merchant category code (MCC) that would have tracked any purchases at stores that sell, among other things, firearms. After substantial pushback, these companies have, at time of writing, paused plans to do this.

Though this recent attempt at a de facto registry has, thankfully, been put on hold, it remains the goal of anti-gun types of all stripes to fulfill the dream of a centralized registry of all law-abiding gun owners. One need not look further than our neighbors to the north to see how an overreaching government is seeking to disarm law-abiding citizens under the guise of, you guessed it, “the right to feel safe,” as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it.

It is clear that registries of firearms or firearm owners can be abused to imperil the freedom of a citizenry, and history has many examples. “Gun confiscation is much easier if guns have first been registered,” wrote America’s 1st Freedom contributor David Kopel on the topic.

As NRA-ILA wrote in summation of recent events, “while there are likely many lessons to be learned regarding what happens in Afghanistan, let’s be thankful our Founders put the Second Amendment into our Constitution to ensure that one of the lessons currently being learned over there is the fallacy that firearm registration schemes will not be abused to the detriment of law-abiding gun owners.”

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