Leonard and Colin sat at the counter and waited on their breakfast to be served up. As they waited, Colin tapped the screen of his tablet and showed his buddy an article that just popped up.
The headline flashed, “Senate to Debate Gun Control Act of 2063 Today.”
Colin shrugged, “What else is there to debate? The vultures have already taken everything good away.”
Leonard nodded, “I remember when I was a kid back in 2013, and my Pop and I stood in line at Big Box one morning for two hours to buy any 5.56 ammo they had.”
“I can’t remember when it was that easy. You are a few years older than me.” He shifted on his stool. “Speaking of which, got any .22 to spare? My club is out.”
The days of walking into a store and buying ammunition over the counter had come to a screeching halt with the Ammunition Regulations of the 2030s. It seemed that some nut bought a few boxes of shotgun shells at a local store and then went to a school to settle a score with the imaginary demons in his head. To protect the kids now, the only way to get your ammunition was through membership in your local (highly regulated) shooting club.
Such clubs, with long waiting lists for new members, had been a last minute gamble by the NRA and by the year 2063, had proved about the only way for civilians to still get ammo. Regulations had strangled internet sales until there was no profit left, even with the end of retail ammunition purchases. Still, the clubs were obligated to sell to members only and even then only limited quantities of select calibers. Reloaders had gone the way of the dinosaurs when they were required to get Type 7 FFLs and maintain a storefront after the Public Safety Act of 2034.
Leonard peered into his coffee and waited until the server walked away. You couldn’t be too careful today. With 40 percent of the country on disability, the $2000 reward for tips about unlawful gun and ammunition transfers was a lot of money. Finally, he spoke in hushed tones after she was out of earshot.
Colin sucked in through his teeth. His dad’s old Remington 700 in .300 Win Mag was a collector’s item. After another lunatic, the Baytown Sniper, back in 2041 used a stolen .50 caliber rifle to take pot shots at a mosque, everything larger than .308 became listed as a Destructive Device, of which further production for civilian sales was verboten. The resulting buy-back left few rifles over that caliber grandfathered to their owners (after a $200 tax stamp), and even these “Pre-41″ guns were non-transferable. Needless to say, the ammo for these big boys was nearly impossible to find.
“I didn’t know you had a Win Mag.” Colin replied, hoping to find a way out of trading away half of his stash.
“I don’t but I have a buddy at my club who does and wants to trade a Glock.”
“Oh man I love those classic old guns. Steel slide. Tenifer coating. Real polymer instead of Chinese made Styrofoam.”
“Yeah, they really knew how to make em back then.”
Of course, handguns were still around, as nobody could out and out ban guns themselves. To do so would be a violation of the Bill of Rights. However, after a government paid study proved that something like 30% of shootings happened with polymer framed pistols, they were targeted by the Handgun Reform Bill of 2045, which closed the door on combat tupperware. The fact that steel-framed pistols had already been limited to single-stack magazines that could not extend past the grip by the Fenster Act back in 2036 gave handguns a capacity limit by default.
Their breakfasts came and the two quieted down as the server slid their plates down, refilled their caffeine substitute, pseudo-coffee mugs, and skittered to her next customers.
Leonard picked back up about the Glock. “Yeah, my buddy has a .300 and no ammo but he does have that beautiful old Model 17. Of course it’s been modded with one of those six pack kits though.”
Colin grimaced into his toast. While the guns were still out there in circulation, the magazines had been singled out by a perverse twist in a long forgotten crime bill known as the Miller Act. Quietly tacked on to an emergency spending bill during the South China Sea Crisis, it made each magazine with a capacity larger than six rounds an NFA regulated item. The few that were left had been serial numbered, registered, and tracked. After a decade or so the supply of magazine springs evaporated and many old ARs, Glocks, SIGs and Smiths ran on kits that semi-permanently plugged the magazine well to only accept the now-standard capacity six round magazines.
“Does this toast taste funny to you?” Colin asked.
“Lately, buddy, everything tastes funny.”
Historical Comparison and Perspective
While the above conversation no doubt takes dramatic license, it’s not that farfetched if you compare 2013 with the Leonard and Colin of fifty and a hundred years ago, respectively.
Just a half century ago, in 1963, you could buy firearms mail order and have them shipped to your door without being an FFL holder. This ended with the Gun Control Act of 1968. New made select-fire weapons could be bought and sold with the proper stamps and paperwork. The 1986 Hughes Act killed this.
Dialing it further back, in 1913 you could write Colt and have them send you a fully automatic belt fed M1895 machine gun to your farm, no tax stamps, CLEO signatures, or fingerprints required. Heck you could even buy surplus (and fully working) field artillery pieces and several companies, such as Bannerman’s of New York, would box it up and send it right out. Suppressors, short-barreled rifles, cane guns, and pen guns were not regulated, legal, cash and carry items. This all came to a halt with the National Firearms Act of 1934, which is constantly adjusted, amended, and fiddled with.
What the Leonard’s and Colins of every generation all need to remember is that gun control never comes all at once. It comes incrementally. In stages. Bit by bit. Then one day you’re at a diner looking back at what you lost over the past 50 years and wondering how it happened.
This is why every bill that throws rocks at the Second Amendment needs to be fought against, no matter how small. If not, the bad taste in your mouth years from now may be from more than just toast.