How much would it cost...

milktree

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.... if the US went for a Australia style confiscation?

I started thinking about this to try to convince people that Australian style confiscation is a terrible idea because the costs are much, much higher than they can imagine.

I want the numbers to be as accurate/defendable as they can be. I want to be able to spit my numbers to anyone who says "take 'em all!" and they won't be able to accuse me of lying or twisting data or making bad assumptions.

So, if you have better numbers, or items I've gotten wrong, or things I've forgotten, please post them so I can add to the costs.


Let's just assume:
- There's enough political capital in enough states to amend/repeal the 2nd Amendment.
- There's not enough political capital to repeal (or suspend) the 5th Amendment.
- There are enough jack booted thugs ... er... cops, willing to go door to door to enforce a confiscation.
- 350+ Million guns in the US
- average value of $500 (including ammo, there are some $pendy guns, but also a lot of cheap ones)

OK, with that out of the way:

That's $175B *just* to pay for the guns, (because 5th Amendment)
+ administration of that money
+ paying people to enforce it
+ loss of life from armed conflict from that enforcement
+ reduced tax revenue because that $175B won't be taxed
+ vehicle costs (fuel and wear) doing all the collecting
+ direct costs handling the guns (destroying)

What have I forgotten?

I come up with about $612 Billion.


some breakdown:

I'd guess that administration of the funds would cost something like 5%

It'll take *at least* three officers for each house they have to go to, and each house will take between 1 and 5 hours to thoroughly search, plus travel time. Plus, they'd have to search every house, not just gun owners' houses ('cuz how will they know where to go?)

(I'm making this part up for lack of direct knowledge)
$150/hour/officer for overtime/hazard/combat pay, because this is *not* writing speeding tickets. (including department overhead and stuff, total cost, not each take home)

126M households * 4 hours search and travel time.... that's another $226.8B


I think it's reasonable for (former) gun owners to be able to take anything they get for "turning in" their guns directly off their taxes as a tax credit (not deduction, but credit), because there's no way
you can expect people to pay for the confiscation of their stuff., so that's $175B out of the tax revenue.

I can't make a guess as to how many officers will die in this hypothetical confiscation, let's assume a pretty low number, like 0.2% of searches of houses with a guns results in an officer death. That's about 83,000 dead police officers.

(more stuff I don't know a lot about)
Based on a brief InterWeb search it looks like fallen officers' families get somewhere in the neighborhood of $200k to $500k if he's killed in the line of duty. (someone who knows better please correct me) Assuming $300k, that comes to about $25Billion.


USPS spends about $1B/year running and maintaining vehicles. That's a terrible proxy (but the best I have) for what it takes to drive places and pick up things, and therefore what it would cost to move guns to storage/destruction. $1B / 312 (delivery days in the year) / 2 (residential vs commercial addresses) $1,602,564. It's a terrible and not a *good* proxy because guns are a lot heavier than letters or packages, take up more space, need more security, etc. And... USPS doesn't actually deliver to a lot of places where people live, and USPS can deliver to a lot of houses in a day, while an efficient team could probably only search two houses a day. My gut says $3M (double the above) is pretty damn low, it wouldn't surprise me if it would be 10 times that. (but we're still talking millions here, not billions, so maybe that element isn't significant)

If you assume $3/gun for storing, destroying, and security of confiscated guns (probably doable in bulk if you don't care about preserving anything) that's another $Billion.

$612 Billion.


One thing this doesn't take into account is the reality that people will hide guns at work, in storage units, in the woods, buried in their back yards, in the attic, etc. so searching will take a lot longer, and won't be anywhere 100% effective.

It also doesn't take into account the value of all the gun-specific stuff that the .gov would have to pay for that isn't strictly guns. e.g.: anyone who has invested into reloading equipment or shooting gear that can't be used for anything else (like a hardback highpower coat) that stuff is *completely useless* without the guns, and therefore any reasonable buyback would include all the shooting specific gear. (Let's just assume that reasonable is something that people who advocate for "reasonable gun control" actually want, har har...)

so, now you're faced with the number $612 Billion.

Say you had $612B to spend on something, what's the most effective way to spend it to increase the quality of life in the US? Road projects? A million new teachers for 10 years? Driver's ed? Renewable energy?

Or another way to look at it: You have a shortfall of $612B for something you think is really important. What're you going to cut? Education? Defense? NEA? EPA? BATF? (they won't be necessary anymore, right?) National Park funding? Educational grants?

Or are you going to increase taxes?
 

Granite Guardsman

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I applaud your efforts and understand the desire to win hearts and minds, but.....

You can do all the math you want, the hard core anti will tell you it’s worth violating your rights against confiscation without compensation if it gets rid of the guns ( ask any of them why you aren’t being paid for bump stocks if you turn them in) . Plus, they don’t think that cops are going to need to go door to door. They think we’re all going to show up and hand our stuff over the minute a ban is passed (IE Connecticut with “assault weapons” and Mass with bump stocks). The fact is, these folks live in a fantasy world and no math or statistics that you present will change their minds.
 

milktree

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TLDR
But I want to get a job as a cop making $150 an hour
$150/hour includes any overtime/hazard pay, *and* everything the PD has to pay into insurance, retirement, FICA, workman's comp, etc. Generally the total cost to the employer is about double the amount the employee takes home once you factor in all the other crap.

I found that median police salary is something like $55k/year, and that assumes no overtime or whatever else they'd have to pay for this kind of work.

If I'm wrong about those numbers, what's a more reasonable cost to the department for that kind of duty?
 

milktree

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I applaud your efforts and understand the desire to win hearts and minds, but.....

You can do all the math you want, the hard core anti will tell you it’s worth violating your rights against confiscation without compensation if it gets rid of the guns ( ask any of them why you aren’t being paid for bump stocks if you turn them in) . Plus, they don’t think that cops are going to need to go door to door. They think we’re all going to show up and hand our stuff over the minute a ban is passed (IE Connecticut with “assault weapons” and Mass with bump stocks). The fact is, these folks live in a fantasy world and no math or statistics that you present will change their minds.

Right, those people aren't my audience. They're a lost cause because they've already admitted (as much) that they don't believe in the 5th Amendment.

There are people who aren't lunatics, they're just wrong, who are open minded enough to listen to facts if presented in a way that's accessible.
 

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I suggest that the OP and others listen to the entirety of GOAL's podcast on why the gov't doesn't have to pay for the confiscated bump stocks. With the same reasoning they will not pay for any/all the confiscated guns either. Manpower costs are real (but much lower than the OP estimates) and cost of destruction of property however that is all that they would be paying.

View: http://goalpodcast.libsyn.com/the-primer-episode-21-bump-stocks-other-legislative-issues


Very informative broadcast.
 

xjma99

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$150/hour includes any overtime/hazard pay, *and* everything the PD has to pay into insurance, retirement, FICA, workman's comp, etc. Generally the total cost to the employer is about double the amount the employee takes home once you factor in all the other crap.
Try closer to three times the cost, if you want to stay in business.
 

amm5061

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You forgot about the massive loss of Pittman-Roberston tax revenue for conservation initiatives without sales of firearms and ammunition, and the loss of state sales tax revenue for states that have sales tax.

Environmental conservation efforts would be effectively crippled. Endangered species which benefit from P-R tax money would begin to decline and die out. Income tax money would need to be appropriated for wildlife management in areas where overpopulation is an issue.

However the government would never actually pay you for stealing your shit, and if they did it would be at government-decided rates. So your $1,400 shotgun would probably net you a $50 gift card to Walmart or some shit.
 

fencer

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Why does everyone talk about total confiscation? That is about the least likely scenario, and even though that may be the ultimate goal, it will be done slowly, by attrition and will take a couple of generations. The left isn't totally stupid, and this country is not 1930's Germany or China.
First they will make the manufacturing and sale of firearms cost prohibitive. Only companies with military and Law Enforcement contracts will survive. Ruger is done. Then they will require a license for possession of more than x amount of ammo, and make that license hard to get and expensive. And, they will push to make lead and gunpowder cost prohibitive and difficult to obtain.
Ultimately, they will allow existing gun owners to keep their firearms, that they can not get ammo for, and prevent any new gun owners a path to legal gun ownership. So when the existing gun owners die off, their survivors ( all but a select few) will be unable to legally own the firearms and unable to get ammunition.
And finally, they are going to charge people to destroy the guns that they have inherited, but can not legally posses. It is going to take a long time, but it isn't going to cost them much.
This fight is not just about our rights, it is much more about our children's and grandchildren's rights. A mass shooting occurs, and people on both sides talk about Australia and Great Britain. In both of those countries, the number of guns and gun owners is a fraction of what it is here. Barring a civil uprising, it is very unlikely the .gov is going to be in a position to demand the entire country hand over their guns.
 

SpaceCritter

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However the government would never actually pay you for stealing your shit, and if they did it would be at government-decided rates. So your $1,400 shotgun would probably net you a $50 gift card to Walmart or some shit.

Precedent is FDR's gold confiscation.
 
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Horne v. Department of Agriculture - Wikipedia

Specifically, Horne II is the controlling SCOTUS decision here. Horne I has nothing to do with this discussion. The net effect of Horne II is that the government MUST pay just compensation to the taking of any property, real or personal. It is this decision that has me scratching my head as to why we have not seen a lawsuit over the bump stock taking.
 

SpaceCritter

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Horne v. Department of Agriculture - Wikipedia

Specifically, Horne II is the controlling SCOTUS decision here. Horne I has nothing to do with this discussion. The net effect of Horne II is that the government MUST pay just compensation to the taking of any property, real or personal. It is this decision that has me scratching my head as to why we have not seen a lawsuit over the bump stock taking.

Sotomayor: " the privilege of selling raisins are a government benefit subject to government conditions"

[rolleyes]
 

greencobra

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I would suspect there could be no total confiscation until after the constitution had been amended and the 2nd amendment eradicated entirely, yes?
that seems it may be a slippery slope, changing the constitution that radically when groups of people disagree with some of what it says.
 

milktree

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Try closer to three times the cost, if you want to stay in business.

are you suggesting an hourly cost for those officers of something like $225?


You forgot about the massive loss of Pittman-Roberston tax revenue for conservation initiatives without sales of firearms and ammunition, and the loss of state sales tax revenue for states that have sales tax.

Environmental conservation efforts would be effectively crippled. Endangered species which benefit from P-R tax money would begin to decline and die out. Income tax money would need to be appropriated for wildlife management in areas where overpopulation is an issue.

Oh! Good one. How would one try to estimate those costs?


Why does everyone talk about total confiscation?

I don't know. People are stupid or uninformed or don't know how stuff works? But they do.


Sotomayor: " the privilege of selling raisins are a government benefit subject to government conditions"

[rolleyes]

This would be a little different, because in this case there's zero chance of gun owners ever getting any of their stuff back.

wikipedia said:
Justice Sotomayor claimed there can only be a physical takings if the owner is absolutely dispossessed of all of her ownership interest. Requiring raisin growers to physically give their crop to the government reserve may be "downright silly", but she argued it is not absolute dispossession because the government may later decide to payout some of the reserve raisin sales to the growers.
 

Win

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I don't think you can come up with a meaningful number because the extent of the conflict is to difficult to predict. It's not just several people shot, it could be entire states or groups of states succeeding. What if Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho all succeed and cut the US into 3 pieces? What would that cost? I can't even hazard a guess.
 

milktree

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I don't think you can come up with a meaningful number because the extent of the conflict is to difficult to predict. It's not just several people shot, it could be entire states or groups of states succeeding. What if Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho all succeed and cut the US into 3 pieces? What would that cost? I can't even hazard a guess.

I agree. But that's kind of abstract and hard to wrap your brain around (and easy to dismiss as nonsense if you don't understand the way people who own guns think about this)

The intent is to be able to say "it'll cost *at least* this huge amount of money and likely this huge number of lives, and that's assuming you're right that guns have no defensive value. If you're wrong, all of those numbers are a lot higher."

But the "at least" number should be something that can be easily defended so it can't be dismissed as fear-mongering.
 
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Milk tree, I appreciate the time you’re putting into this. But my recommendation is if you’re having a conversation about the pros and cons of confiscation with so many people that you have to do the numbers, I’d recommend getting new friends!
I haven’t had this conversation with anybody ever - friends, family, or coworkers (and I work with a LOT of liberals)
 
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if our elected government decides to go full repeal of the 2nd and or 5th cost wont even be a consideration.
sadly i do believe there will be a large amount of boots that will follow orders. As im
 

milktree

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How did you miss hearing about the Patriot Act? It was like 17 years ago!

MA legislature did with bump stocks a handful of months ago

Nobody said it, they just did it. In the context of talking to people who think they're reasonable, they won't say out loud that violating the constitution is OK. (and if they do, then they're in the "not worth the breath" camp anyway)
 

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Hey guys, give a listen to GOAL's podcast that I posted above. Jim explains clearly why NOBODY would be compensated for any confiscated guns. It was new info to me but apparently the 5thA is null and void in those cases.
 

drgrant

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If you want a more realistic modeling, modify the confiscation plan for any detachable magazine fed semiautomatic rifles instead, since I don't think the fudd stuff will ever be banned in the US. Then you have to try to figure out what the compliance rate is (eg the turn in for the coupon or whatever it is) vs the "oh, now 70% didnt comply, we have to go steal the guns" rate is, etc.

-Mike
 

drgrant

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Hey guys, give a listen to GOAL's podcast that I posted above. Jim explains clearly why NOBODY would be compensated for any confiscated guns. It was new info to me but apparently the 5thA is null and void in those cases.

Well, if there's a buyout, and the person doesn't take it, then yeah, it's likely null, but up front there's still a takings issue. ATF deals with this all the time
when dealing with gun laws. For example it couldn't confiscate everyones entire aikins accelerator stock, so they only asked for the springs I think, or stated that the springs cannot be installed in the stock. Doubt anyone was going to take the ATF to court over 5 bucks or whatever they cost. But they still avoided stealing
the entire stock. In the past we got amnesty NFA registrations and stuff like that.

I don't think full out confiscation is ever a realistic prospect, I could easily see shitbirds trying to add semiautomatic rifles to the NFA
though, to phase them out over time, in a USC 922(g) hughes amendment type of law.

-Mike
 
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