"I'm convinced that we have to have federal legislation to build on. We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily -- given the political realities -- going to be very modest. Of course, it's true that politicians will then go home and say, 'This is a great law. The problem is solved.' And it's also true that such statements will tend to defuse the gun-control issue for a time. So then we'll have to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen that law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we'd be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal -- total control of handguns in the United States -- is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition -- except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors -- totally illegal."
by:
Nelson Shields
Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, Handgun Control, Inc.
Source:
A Reporter At Large: Handguns, The New Yorker, July 26, 1976, 57-58
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Reader comments about this quote:
Welcome to an unlawful, unconstitutional, and totalitarian Amerika of We the statist theology.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The individual with a firearm is a citizen. Without access to and ownership of firearms, the individual is a slave. Thomas Jefferson knew, understood, and spoke about this. The Swiss pretty much require their citizens to have weapons and know how to use them. In fact, weapons are supplied and training is mandatory. When a government fails to abide by the wishes of its citizens, the citizens retain the right to change it or overthrow it as necessary. Never forget that we have that RIGHT. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The first two are crisp and clear while the last one is the right to chase a dream. Making a dream a reality has been the great engine of American success. Don't ever even consider changing that.
     -- J. B. Wulff, Bristol, CT     
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    Spoken like a true Nazi. This **shole would see us all as defenseless sheep being herded into...FEMA Camps?
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Can you just see all the criminals marching in and registering their handguns. If Shields gets his way it will be easy for the lefties to take this country over. It has worked well in Nazi Germany and Stalins Russia.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
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    Read the recent Clarence Thomas opinion on gun control. It is fantastic. Gun control has always been the tool of the oppressor.
     -- J Allen, Arlington, Va     
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    Quote has a major problem since it is from "a reporter at large". I am all for registration".
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    thought you would waffler. We all know that you want to remove all freedoms and make every american a ward of the state.
     -- John Pettitt, fredericksburg, va     
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    I recall Holland's government in the early 20th century taking up everyone's guns. Hitler easily walked to the sea afterwards.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    Welcome aboard, Wulff. This is the first I've seen a comment of yours. You are absolutely right on all points. --Waffler fails to realize that when everyone loses their freedoms, he will lose his as well and they won't be just the ones he wants to lose. He obviously did not check the quote to his satisfaction. If he had doubts about the quote because it was from a "Reporter at large," he could go to the New Yorker (magazine) archive on the date listed to verify it. --J. Allen, thanks for the tip about the Clarence Thomas article. I'll check it out. -- This quote deserves five thumbs down!!!
     -- Carol, Georgia     
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    If you have a gun (I have 6 or so) you should be responsible with them and responsible not to use them or things like murder etcetera. A way to make sure others don't use them for such things is to have them registered. In the Army we always had to have them locked up at the end of the barracks at night. One night we had to get up at midnight because one was missing and it was found under a GI's mattress. If young soldiers can be required to be responsible why cannot so called adults?
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    What scares me is how far this Nazi idealism has been promoted in America, and how few courts have kept the governments in check with regard to 'Congress shall make no law' abridging the right to posses and carry military arms. Although gun violence is covered on the news every night, it hardly compares to the number of deaths caused in car accidents, children playing with lighters, patients dying from their medical treatment. Give it up! The causes of gun violence should be addressed. Only a simpleton can make the leap that if someone is killed by a gun then no one should have a gun except a police officer -- who is but another fellow citizen. Gang violence is caused by drug prohibition -- period. Create a huge black market, and you will find gangs, mafiosa, corrupt police/military, corrupt politicians and judges. With every new 'law' new criminals are created. I suppose that is the business of government -- creating crimes and criminals -- to justify why we 'need' them to protect us...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- RBESRQ      
    Archer has the answer, do away with law and we will have no law breakers. That is brilliant really brilliant! NOT!
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, you seem to assume that because a person has a gun he is not being responsible. You have six or so. Hmm. Do you lock them up every night? Your comment about 'the only way to make sure others don't use them for such things as murder' etc... is totally skewed. Registering only does one thing and that is to make sure the government knows who has guns. Gun registration does not stop people intent on committing crimes from doing whatever they want whether it be robbery, murder, rioting, etc. Notice the numerous regimes in the world where there is gun control. The only weapon they can resort to in order to protect themselves or fight back against attack or oppression is throwing rocks!!
     -- Carol, Georgia     
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    All that is true. Except Nelson left off the list the largest group of people who are exceptions . . . CRIMINALS. No criminal has to abide by that law.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton California     
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    "For the first time in history, a civilized nation has full gun registration; it will make our streets safer, our police more efficient, and our people more cooperative. We are the first, and the world will follow our lead in the future."---adolf hitler--- Those of you who push for anti-gun laws and registration are agreeing with the poster child of evil. I'd rather throw my weight behind this, "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that's good. When firearms, go all goes; we need them every hour."---George Washington--
     -- Publius     
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