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Orwellian Media Phrase: “Legally Registered”

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- A phrase commonly found in news articles about self-defense with a firearm is “legally registered”.  It is a bizarre phrase because the requirement to register guns is quite rare in the United States. In an article published on 21 February 2021, concerning an incident in Pennsylvania, bold added:

“Because if he was getting into my house, I probably would have done the same thing if I had a gun,” neighbor Robert Gonzalez said. “I’m just going to do things a lot safer, look out for myself. Make sure whoever comes, got a look, look at his face, see what’s going on. You know, probably scope him.”

Police say the gun the woman used was legally registered.

Readers of the article would be surprised to know, registration of firearms is illegal in Pennsylvania:

§ 6111.4.  Registration of firearms.

Notwithstanding any section of this chapter to the contrary, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership within this Commonwealth. For the purposes of this section only, the term “firearm” shall include any weapon that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.

After 90 years of an intense push for gun registration by Progressives, starting with the FDR administration, only two states require registration of all guns. According to the strong proponent of restrictions on gun ownership, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the two states are California and Hawaii.

New York requires the registration of handguns.

Three more states, (Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut), besides California, Hawaii, and New York, require registration of very specific firearms such as “assault pistols”, “assault weapons”, and .50 caliber rifles.

There are nine states which ban the registration of firearms, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. Federal gun registration (except NFA items) is banned by federal statute.

Other examples of the misuse of the phrase “legally registered” were easily found (bold added). From Missouri, Sept 11, 2020:

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Two men were robbed at gunpoint in south St. Louis with their own gun.

A driver stopped at a gas station on South Grand at Connecticut Street around 12:30 am Friday. A man approached the men in the car and tried to sell them drugs.

When the people in the vehicle refused, the man returned and grabbed their legally registered gun from their car. He robbed them of some cash and took off with their gun. No one was injured.

No registration of guns is required in Missouri.

Here is another from Pennsylvania 11 May, 2016:

The legally registered gun was left in the school employee’s car on the center’s parking lot last Tuesday, May 3, officials said.

Later the same day, the employee, whose name has not been released, arranged to have students work on the car as part of one of the school’s training programs, officials said.

At the end of the work day, at approximately 3 p.m., the employee reported to center officials that the gun was missing.

In an article about an assassination attempt on George Zimmerman, in 2015, the phrase was used.

West said Zimmerman had a legally registered gun in his truck but denied he brandished it. He said Apperson could not have seen the gun because Zimmerman has tinted windows.

Zimmerman, who suffered scratches when the bullet pierced his windshield, is cooperating with investigators and credits God with saving his life, West said.

Florida is one of the states where it illegal to register firearms. From the Florida statute:

2. A list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Further, such a list, record, or registry has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and become a shopping list for thieves.

Here is another example from Pennsylvania in, 2015:

Two males were walking on Mitchell Street and Monastery Avenue in Roxborough around 11 p.m. Monday when a 39-year-old male came out of a home and began shooting at them with a rifle.

One of the pedestrians pulled out his legally registered gun and returned fire at the suspect. The suspect then ran back inside the home and barricaded himself inside.

Why is the term “legally registered” frequently and erroneously used in reporting about self-defense and firearms?

The purpose appears to be Orwellian. It is to transfer into the reader’s mind the policy desire of the reporter.

Either consciously or unconsciously, the reporter has been indoctrinated to believe firearms may only be owned with the permission of the state, the permission is temporary and readily removed, and ownership of firearms is a suspicious activity that must be highly regulated.

In Orwell’s novel, 1984, members of the Party instinctively know what to say to promote ideas accepted by the Party.

Consider a similar phrase, seldom applied to crime victims (unless to push a particular objective). Consider “unarmed victim”.

Consider the implications, if each time an unarmed person was victimized during an encounter with a criminal, reporters described the victim as “unarmed”.

Such reporting, unlike the term “legally registered” would be accurate.

The implication would be: why was the victim unarmed? The implication would be the victim might have prevented the crime, if they had been armed.

George Orwell was one of the most successful authors to show how language is used and weaponized by totalitarians.

One of the primary defenses against such propaganda is to learn and use precise language.

The term “legally registered” is meant to indoctrinate the population into accepting the registration of firearms as ordinary, well-established, and desirable. So far, the indoctrination has not been successful.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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