There’s something that I think a lot of people have missed about Dianne Feinstein’s latest proposal for an “Assault Weapons Ban.” Specifically, she wants all “assault weapons” to be registered with the ATF under the National Firearms Act. Here’s the problem with that: the NFA branch of ATF is already totally overwhelmed . . .
Earlier this year the American Silencer Association took a trip to the NFA Branch of the ATF to have a chit chat with the people who are in charge of processing the tax stamps. Right now, in order to get a silencer you need to have an approved Form 4 from the ATF and pay a $200 tax, a process which currently takes about 6 months.
The reason for the time delay is evident in the video — just take a peek at the stacks of paperwork they have waiting in the hallways. The system is overloaded, and there aren’t enough people to process the flood of new applications that come in the door everyday. It sucks, and I say that as someone with one silencer in hand and two additional forms (a 1 and a 4) currently marked as “pending” with the ATF.
And now Senator Feinstein wants to take every single one of the millions of “assault weapons” (as she will define them) and register them under the NFA. This would require the ATF to have a record of every single AR-15, AK variant and other evil black gun in the country and treat them much like machine guns. It’s hard to imagine the MASSIVE deluge of paperwork that would add to the current system. Or how much it would increase the current turn-around time.
According to the summary of the bill, the Senator is proposing to add funding to the ATF’s budget specifically to handle the increased workload. But in this economy, with the fiscal cliff looming ahead, I have a better chance of having drinks with Barack Obama than the ATF does of getting their funding.
In short, not only will this proposal mean a $200 tax anytime you want to sell your rifle but you can also tack on a waiting period of a year or more before the paperwork comes back. Not only will waiting periods increase dramatically for these new AWB transfers, but waiting periods for everything from silencers to short barreled rifles will also go through the roof. It’s an attempt to put in a back door ban on “assault rifles” while going after all NFA devices at the same time.
I’m still pretty sure the National firearms Act itself is unconstitutional. The supreme court case that decided it could stand was only won by the government because the plaintiffs were too poor to travel to Washington, D.C. and fight the case, so they never showed up in court. And I think a retrial of the NFA isn’t too far off. But in the meantime, the good Senator from California isn’t just going after “assault rifles” anymore.