PROS OF THE US POLICY
- Once you're in, you're in. For example, the state of Alaska could care less that you're a non-resident and that you have no plans to go hunting. A Canuck could open carry your Glock 19 down the streets of Anchorage with nothing more than a $20 hunting license (not even required as far as Alaska is concerned). In most states, transport and storage regulations are far looser than those in Canada.
- Lower fees. You can work the 6NIA process for $20 for an unlimited number of firearms (the cost of an AK hunting license). After all, ATF doesn't care what state you're going to and what state your hunting license is from.
- Form can be processed in advance. While customs officers have discretion as always, I got the impression with Canada that they could and WOULD just turn me away at the border and refuse to register the weapon. This was honestly my biggest concern: I didn't want to get stuck at the border without permission to enter. At least ATF lets you process the paperwork ahead of time.
- It is still stupid. Do we really think that terrorists like those on 9/11 will register their weapons with ATF? Heck, even if they DO register their weapons with ATF, what's it matter? I'm pretty sure that if the 9/11 hijackers could go to flight school, they can probably qualify for a hunting license. What is this policy supposed to accomplish?
- Time frame. ATF says it will take 8-10 weeks to process. That's probably optimistic.
So, our friend from Alberta is correct in pointing out that US policy post-9/11 is just about as inhospitable as Canadian policy was and remains, even in the post long gun ban era. More on that in Part 4 tomorrow.