The rifle pictured above is perfectly legal. Take off the stock and the barrel, and replace them with a two-inch shorter barrel and the pistol grip, and it’s completely legal. Leave the stock on, and put on a shorter barrel, and you have just committed a federal felony with a potential five year jail sentence. The rifle pictured above is a single shot. The two semiautomatic handguns and the revolver have more power, more capacity, and are easier to conceal, but their possession is constitutionally protected . . .
The National Firearms Act of 1934 might have made some sense in 1934 when the Roosevelt administration was trying to make handguns illegal in the United States for people of ordinary means. It would have made no sense to require all handguns to be registered, and to pay $200 for a federal tax stamp (the equivalent of more than $4,000 today) if anyone could buy a rifle or shotgun and cut it down to make the equivalent of a handgun.
So short barreled rifles and shotguns were included in the gun ban, following the lead of Michigan a few years before. Michigan has now repealed that law.
With the Supreme Court ruling in Heller, that the possession of loaded and unlocked handguns in the home is constitutionally protected under the second amendment, a ban on short barreled handguns and shotguns is archaic and silly. There is no reason that short barreled rifles or shotguns should be subject to any more restrictions than handguns are.
It is the height of absurdity that possession of a .22 single shot rifle with a 15.9 inch barrel is a Federal felony with a potential ten years in prison, but possession of a 17 shot 9mm Glock is a constitutionally protected right across the nation.
J.O. of Tucson, Arizona, has created a White House petition to call for an end to this insanity. I do not expect the Obama administration to pay the least attention to it. They ignore facts, logic, and the law on a routine basis. It will serve, however, to let other lawmakers know that this law needs reform.
Here is the text to the petition:
A rifle is a firearm with a barrel length greater than 16 inches. A Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) is a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches. An SBR is less effective than a rifle but more effective than a handgun for self-defense. It is also more efficient for traversing close quarters to clear a threat from your place of residence such as a burglar, etc. As of right now, you can purchase a bull-pup rifle or rifle with a folding stock which is, in most cases, shorter in over all length than a SBR. The need to register an SBR (and Short Barreled Shotgun) is unjustified and the requirement should be removed.
Here is the link, for those who missed the one above:
The petition was started on July 2nd, and has until August 1 to collect the required number of signatures. Over 9,000 have been collected, with 90,000 to go.
I signed it. It is only symbolic, but symbolism can be potent.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.