Use of Silencers is encouraged in Europe

Virginia lawmakers chose to reform the state’s gun laws in spite of pressure by police agencies to keep restrictive measures in place. HB878 reforms an antique law that gives local police a veto over obtaining federal permits for suppressors, short barrelled rifles and shotguns, full-auto firearms and “destructive devices.” Because of a controversial vote in 1986, the existing privately owned stock of automatic firearms was frozen, creating an artificial shortage that resulted in sky-rocketing prices for legal automatic firearms. The cheapest automatic firearms available to collectors are now over $5,000 each . . .

From hamptonroads.com:

One of the measures approved (HB878) would force the chief law enforcement officer of a locality to certify the transfer of a firearm within 30 days when such a certification is required under federal law for the transaction to occur.

One homicide is known to have been committed with a registered automatic firearm, and that was by a police officer in 1988. There was a possible second homicide in 1992. The freeze in the law was passed in spite of no homicides being committed with legally owned automatic firearms since the passage of the infamous NFA (National Firearms Act) in 1934 to the time of the 1986 law, making the freeze in ownership an incomprehensible restriction.

Because of the freeze in the number of private automatic firearms, nearly all NFA transfers are for gun mufflers (suppressors, silencers) and short barrelled rifles and shotguns.   Post Heller and McDonald (Supreme Court decisions that affirmed the constitutional right to keep and bear handguns for self defence) there is no logical reason to restrict short barrelled rifles and shot guns any more than handguns, which they are functionally identical to.   The only reason to restrict short barrelled rifles and shotguns was to enforce a restriction on handguns.

There never was a logical reason for the severe regulatory and financial restrictions on gun mufflers, which are unrestricted in many European countries, or at least no more restricted than firearms are.  Finland, for example, has ruled that citizens have a constitutional right to make, buy sell, trade, and use gun mufflers without the restrictions that are placed on firearms.

It is not hard to understand that police administrators would not want to give up a power that could bring in campaign contributions from well off collectors.

The Republican-controlled House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee approved the measure on a party-line vote, 15-6. It advances to the House floor.

The other reform that passed the Virginia legislative committee was to simplify reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders.

With those requirements removed, an out-of-state permit holder would be allowed to carry a weapon in Virginia by presenting a government-issued photo ID.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a group that advocates for second amendment rights, supports the reform legislation, which would make it easier to obtain reciprocity for Virginia citizens to carry firearms in other states.

Virginia State Police objected to that measure as well. The committee approved it 15-6.

Giving the police power to decide what would be good and bad legislation is nearly always bad policy.  Police have enormous incentives to increase their own power at the expense of the citizenry.

©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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45 Responses to Virginia Lawmakers Pass Concealed Weapons and Suppressor Reform, Resist Police Pressure

  1. If you ask me the NFA in and of itself is antiquated. It was also pointless and over-reaching when it was conceived back in 1934.

    Do away with that!

    • I agree! Fully automatic weapons such as the FN P90, H&K MP7, and Kriss Super V would be great for home defense. Criminals don’t want to deal with someone that has a semi auto rifle,shotgun or handgun. Just imagine what criminals would think knowing behind door number 1, was homeowner with a UZI SMG!

      • Actually, full-auto machine guns are terrible choices for personal defense or home defense–bad choice for police also.

        • On this I am in 100% agreement with the Rabbi. Full automatic fire isn’t very effective in most military engagements either.

        • I believe you’re wrong, just read W. A. Fairburn’s books, his favorite weapon was a machine pistol… at bad breath distances aim at their hip and hold the trigger until they drop. Anyways as a PS90 owner the muzzle flip is nearly nothing you can dump a whole mag and still stay on target even beyond bad breath distances.

        • Battle for Champs, seige of Bastogne, early hours of 25 Dec 44, StG 44 vs M-1 in the close quarters urban environment: 101st ABN wins. Any questions?

        • @ Rabbi who stated “Actually, full-auto machine guns are terrible choices for personal defense or home defense–bad choice for police also”

          You are making an awful a lot of assumptions. First: to the location involved. My home is onn 9 acres with no one else nearby. I have safe fire arcs from any location in my home.

          2nd: You are assuming that someone would use a machine gun. A automatic carbine, such as a Thompson, firing a pistol round can be extremely good for home defense. Indeed that is how they were advertised.

        • Yeah right, a belt fed, tripod mounted personal defense? Where do you keep your ammo bearer?
          For PD, maybe a Thompson,maybe.

    • “The cheapest automatic firearms available to collectors”
      I think this sentence explains everything that is wrong with the NFAs of 1934/GCA of 1968/FOPA of 1986. The 2nd Amendment did not relegate the weapons used by the military to be available to collectors at an insane mark-up due to legally forcing supply to be exceptionally limited. One could also argue that this forced supply limit is intentionally designed to make a firearm that is legal to own economically unavailable to the majority of American citizens. Oh, and even with close to a quarter million fully automatic guns circulating in the US legally, only 2 (I could only find news reports for one, but several places I read said 2?) were used to commit a crime.

  2. “Giving the police power to decide what would be good and bad legislation is nearly always bad policy. Police have enormous incentives to increase their own power at the expense of the citizenry.”

    Giving any agency or individual agent of the state the power to decide what is be good or bad legislation is bad policy. At ALL levels of government. Always has been. Always will be.

  3. Its amazing how Reagan is the icon for Conservatism yet he passed more anti gun legislation in his political career than most Democratic presidents combined. The Mulford Act as Governor in 67,, 1986 FOPA which he signed with the egregious Hughes amendment, his completely alienating “AK47 is not needed for defense of a home” speech in 89, and his mind boggling support of Clintons 94 AWB. I always liked Reagans fiscal and foreign policies but his stance on RKBA was wobbly.

    • Thank you! The public image of Ronald Wilson Reagan needs a lot of adjustment. I’m tired of low-information bozos canonizing the man as some some of Icon of Liberty.

      Google “Vickie Morgan”.

      • I’m just tired of people trying to Reagan up their image. I’m tired of people comparing themselves to Reagan. Who did Ronnie compare himself too? Maybe it’s time for a new path to be blazed instead of people walking the same old path.

    • Yoel, I can’t disagree with you on Ronnie’s shaky 2A record. But if you didn’t suffer through the Carter years, you will never understand what Reagan meant to America.

      He was the best President in my lifetime. Period. And it hasn’t been a short lifetime.

      • Ralph is dead on about Reagan. Americans had a defeated , self-loathing attitude about the country until Ronnie came to office. He not only changed the economy and essentially won the cold war, the majority of the people became proud of this country again. The transition was amazing.
        I wear my Reagan for President tee shirt on occasion when I go out. People that lived through that time smile and ask where they can get one. Some of the younger ones, libtards to be sure, get really pissed and try and get in my face.

        We could use another president like him (only with a better understanding of 2A)

  4. Federal Law (NFA) shouldn’t apply to a silencer purchased in the State it was manufactured in – I keep waiting for a case to test this. We have pot as a precedent now. Lets get this ball rolling.

    • The case that would test the rule would start by someone VIOLATING the rule. Please feel free to step up, build your own and then call the ATF. While you are appealing your 10 years and $250,000 fine I will be rooting for you.

  5. I’m renewing my membership in the Culpeper Minutemen, in honor of this.

    Just kidding; there is no such thing anymore. More’s the pity.

    • You make a good point. Local militia [being common] would be a great thing to have again…like Neighborhood Watch, armed and ready for response. Not only would it actually help violent or crime ridden communities to have groups of armed citizenry patrolling where police don’t have the manpower to do so, but it would lend legitimacy (in the minds of liberals) to a lot of the arguments we currently make.

      I can see it now…the Chicago Citizen’s Concealed Carry Coalition for a Cleaner Community.

  6. I am sure that McAuliffe will veto it but it is a shot across the new governor’s bow on gun control. Gun Control in Virginia DOA.

    • Let us hope. Just sit out these four years and you can go home to New York, Mac.

      Anyone not a member of the VCDL, join up.

      • This is a good test to see if McAuliffe is a strategic thinker or just a garden variety Democratic Party criminal. He really wants medicaid expansion so he can increase the welfare client component of the electorate. This is a perfect opportunity for him to horse trade the minor expansion of gun rights for a massive increase in the welfare population. Frankly, I wouldn’t take the deal.

  7. ” The cheapest automatic firearms available to collectors are now over $5,000 each . . .”

    Actually if you read the chart in full and not just the average the cheapest is around $4,000. On a related note, imagine getting one for $1,500 in ’05!

  8. True, it won’t get past McFoolus… Pity, while I can hardly afford the ammo to practice semi-auto, I respect the right of people to throw their money away in any way they wish.

  9. HR878 was the longest session in the sub committee hearing. We didn’t face anything from the anti groups. All objections came from the Sheriffs Association and the VA State Police (who have nothing to do with Form 4s in VA). This comes on the heels of them requesting the AG to write an opinion regarding NFA trusts and machine gun transfers, something that has never been an issue in the past. I hate conspiracy but the timing, right after the election, is suspicious.

  10. Going from committee to floor is not the same as passing. While I am sure it will pass the House and Senate I will wait to see what the new governor of VA will do.

    • I will go with door #1 veto. As I said above, if he thought strategically he would horse trade for medicaid expansion.

  11. While FA may not be practical for much, they have no excuse to try to regulate their availability. Much less a SBR or suppressor.

  12. Now if the Democrat Governor will sign this into law , unless the state houses have enough votes to veto his veto , it appears to be a big step in easing firearm restrictions in a state so close to DC , this should send a big message to the politicians in DC , but most of them are too arrogant to see the writing on the wall ! Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  13. I’m curious about what sort of things would happen if/when the ban on new full-auto arms went away. Prices on guns that are only collectibles because they’re full auto, but not necessarily antiques, would drop like a rock.
    If they did away with the tax stamp and wait process, too, then they’d obviously be very common, relatively speaking. At that point, I think we would actually see a lot more full autos used in crimes. If it were just as easy to buy a select fire Glock at the store as a semi-auto, it would be just as easy to steal or straw purchase as normal handguns today.
    I would be willing to bet that if all the regulations went away, there would be a lot of machine pistol use in crime after a 5 year lag.

  14. Well, I suppose a case for repealing the NFA could be argued constitutionally, but I’m not convinced the Supreme Court would go there. There’s already a federal circuit split on whether the right to keep and bear arms applies outside the home. That’s a much more wide-ranging issue than NFA items.

    Has anyone heard of a homicide committed using a suppressor? How rampant is this “threat”? Or has someone simply watched too many James Bond movies?

    • I have read of a couple over the last 40 years. Suppressors are not a great help for crime, because if shots are fired indoors, the house or building acts as a giant suppressor itself. They are also fairly bulky, so most criminals do not want the extra bulk.

      If they become common, they will be used in crime much less than pistols are now.

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