Two emails I received the other week got me thinking.
The first one was a comment about this post where I wound up picking up some 1/10th oz. gold coins. The person sending the email asked if I thought that was a wise idea, since the .gov could simply ‘seize’ privately held gold like they did in ’33. Wouldn’t it make more sense, they supposed, to get your gold in the form of ‘collectible’ coins since those were exempt from those controls in 1933? That way, if the .gov goes after people’s gold again you won’t lose your gold.
This is an idea espoused on several talk radio shows that advertise for gold dealers….most notably, Glenn Beck. As I read it, some forms of gold were exempt from what happened in 1933. So what? Why would any person with a reasonable amount of intelligence believe that if .gov were to seize gold again, they would do it the same way they did in 1933? Do you really think that they’ll simply dust off ol’ #6102, change the dates, and hit ‘Replay’? Of course not. They’ll write a completely new order..or law..or edict…or whatever…and if you really think they’ll make an exemption like that again you’re kidding yourself. Oh, perhaps there’ll be exemptions for things like dental gold (because the logistics of replacing millions of peoples teeth is just ghastly) and that sort of thing, but you really think they’ll make an exemption like they did in ’33..especially after how that exemption has been trumpeted by the radio gold dealers for the last few years? Save your money that you’d put into those “safe” coins that were “exempt from confiscation” and just buy more of whatever gold has the least premium.
The second email I got was similar to the first. Instead of asking about gold and forms of it that were exempt from .gov control, they were asking about guns. Did it make sense, they asked, to buy guns that were older than the Federal cutoff? Some fast background….in the eyes of our friends at .gov, any gun made before 1899 isn’t considered a gun. At least, not for the purposes of Federal legislation. If the gun in question was made before 1899, the feds don’t see it. The gun laws (generally) only apply to guns made after that date. (Exceptions are things like NFA weapons like machineguns and that sort of thing.) So, the story goes, you buy yourself a Winchester 94 made in 1898 and it has no Federal footprint…no paperwork to buy it, no paperwork to sell it, etc, etc. I suppose you could even make the argument that a ‘prohibited person’ (a person not normally allowed to own guns) could own it since in the eyes of Uncle Sam that Winchester is not a firearm. Find yourself a nice old Mauser, tear it down to it’s heat-treated receiver, build it up into a Scout Rifle or ‘sniper gun’ and it’s mostly invisible to Federal regs. When the .gov says ‘turn in all your firearms’ you’ll be able to smile, lovingly pat your kevlar-stocked, Lilja barrelled, Leupold scoped, .308 Winchester Mauser and say “Sorry, sir…this is exempt because it’s receiver was made before 1899″ and while the rest of the nation is disarmed you’ll still have your rifle. At least, I think thats how it’s supposed to go. And that’s great except it hinges on the same utterly crucial point as the gold question – it relies on .gov doing exactly what it did before (or, in the case of the guns, doing exactly what it has been doing up to this point.) I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think that if .gov could pull off the legislative maneuvering to enact a nationwide ban or prohibition on firearms ownership, complete with confiscation, that they wouldn’t also do the legislation to get other things under that umbrella that currently are not…like guns made before 1899, black powder firearms, etc, etc. So, no, I think you’d be better off buying more AR’s or AK’s than spending the money on a Lebel rifle and rechambering it to a (more) modern caliber so you can ‘beat’ the system.
In the military theres a saying about how they are always preparing to fight the last war. What that means is that they think the next war will be like the last war and so they plan to fight it the same way. Then, naturally, the next war comes along and it turns out it was nothing like the last war and they’re caught somewhat unprepared. Trying to outgame .gov is very much the same way. Just because Uncle Sam did something a particular way last time and and there were loopholes doesn’t mean that when he tries it again he’s going to leave those same loopholes in place.