The only reason widespread gun confiscation hasn’t happened here yet like it has been done in New Zealand is because the dominoes aren’t fully set like with their legislation. There, they had fully tracked and accounted for commercial and private sales. Remember, they have no FOPA so there is not even specific prohibition of a national registry. Having a gun is a privilege only granted under approved purposes. It is not an inalienable right guarded from government interference, like our 2nd Amendment does for us.
One estimate, backed up by other observations including my own, is that less than three percent of gun owners have declared that they have “assault weapons”, which would be among the first to be confiscated as with New Zealand. This also does not account for people who have complied with the ban, but did not dispose of their guns, by choosing to go featureless, go fixed magazine, storing their guns out of the state or dismantling them. It’s a win for the anti’s because a fixed/featureless rifle has little/reduced combat effectiveness and moving or taking your gun apart means you’re not using it, though you still have a measure of access to it rather than giving it up forever. Some gun owners simply do nothing, because they bought their guns “just because” or “just in case”. They don’t train, they don’t hunt, they don’t conceal carry, they don’t plink, they don’t hit the range to relax, they certainly don’t pay attention to the politics or legislation because their guns are packed away and never come out.
If the gun control enthusiasts tried to apply the ban hammer now they’d net very few and will have signaled a political intention that could spell the resulting downfall for their favored political party. If they chose to truly enforce a ban, then they’d have to embark on a modern-day version of the katanagiri (sword hunts) of feudal Japan, with the inevitable bloodshed that would also doom them politically. Instead, they’ll continue on the course they are on now. Selective enforcement by fishing for gun control violations whenever they’d find out the suspect has guns. Red flag law confiscations. Seizure or disposal during probate hearings. Expanding “assault weapon” bans. The bump-stock ban that in fact will prohibit the circulation of more than bump-stocks and will be expanded to get rid of more aftermarket and replacement parts, just as “assault weapon” legislation has been used. They intend to choke off supply and continue to whittle away at what’s in possession and circulation. That was how it was done in other countries so relentlessly that cultures once proud of their martial ability and self-reliance have long forgotten it, or are even ashamed of it.
So what would it take? In some places like California, which has mandatory registration for all gun sales, the stage is almost completely set. They are a hair’s breadth away from demanding registration of all firearms, even if it was not required for ones purchased in the past. After that, the axe falls and they start systematically going after them. Assault weapons should have been gone a long time ago — confiscate them. Repeating arms with fixed magazines are just as bad — confiscate them. Handguns are too small and concealable — confiscated them. Shotguns are “weapons of mass destruction” — confiscate them. Whatever they don’t confiscate will be removed from private possession and must be kept in a hunting/sports club, which will be seized when the powers that be decide there’s an “emergency”.
The legal purchase process of today form a quasi-registry where the federally licensed dealer is compelled to keep records of legitimate sales to show compliance. Hopefully, a dealer would follow the applicable retention of records requirements and destroy them at the end of the mandatory period. This has been changing with more dealers going fully electronic and data sharing among agencies. I would expect, if we faced our own Lexington & Concord, that many of the shop owners would see what was coming and answer their duty. I would also expect for the rest of us to answer as well.