TTAG reader MarkPA writes:
We all need to ask ourselves: ‘How did we lose all the 2A rights that were lost during the 20th century? Did we lose them in one fell swoop? Or, did we lose them one or a few rights at a time? What made the antis so successful?’ Everyone wants to live in a fantasy land of his own imaginary Utopia. No one is eager to disturb his wishful thinking by practical considerations. Were the progressives that dumb? Should we be that dumb? . . .
We know that the registered machine gun has the most impressive statistics in criminal use. Since 1934 there seem to be at most a couple of crimes in which one was used; one by a cop. The difference in rate-of-fire between a full-automatic vs. a bump-fire vs. an ordinary semi-auto do not make machine guns dramatically more lethal than the alternatives.
Nevertheless, any proposal to repeal the Hughes Amendment will attract the pearl-clutchers like bees to honey. Why would we want to jeopardize all our other goals with a poison-pill objective of repealing Hughes?
If we want to be smart about approaching the NFA we should pick one or two soft underbelly issues; e.g., silencers or AOW.
Why is Congress imposing a tax on safety equipment that is mandated on internal combustion engines? Why is Congress heavily regulating an object that European countries sell over-the-counter with no regulation at all? Why impose a several-months delay in acquiring this safety equipment? What evidence existed in 1934 for the lawless use of silencers. How many silencers are registered today vs. how many instances of recorded unlawful use?
Why is it that adding a handle to a handgun – often for a physically challenged user – is taxed at $200? Why is Congress bothering with a $5 tax when such a gun is sold to a new purchaser?
Once Congress has successfully broken through the relatively light opposition on a couple such issues, we will understand better where the political opposition is coming from. Then, it might make sense to attack the next couple of items, say SBRs and SBSs. The story about SBRs will seem pretty ridiculous. SBRs will draw the pearl-clutchers, but we can ask them if they have been watching too many Untouchables re-runs lately. We can make a case for the elderly defending their homes with a point-and-shoot weapon vs. a handgun that’s much harder for a Parkinsons patient to fire accurately.
The proposed bill on destructive devices seems to largely dilute the restrictions on large-bore guns without disturbing the limitation on bombs.
Once all of the foregoing is accomplished, what would be left? The outrageous penalties on machine guns. Thereupon, it would be useful to open the discussion with…the ATF prosecutions of owners of semi-autos that malfunctioned; vets widows or descendants who unknowingly have granddad’s unregistered war trophy in the attic.
Are the penalties under the ATF really appropriate for such cases? What is the difference in 900 vs. 450 vs. 225 rounds/minute in destructive potential? What is the record of misuse of registered machine guns? Isn’t reform of this (nearly) 100-year-old law appropriate now?
The real question facing the PotG is whether we are really more interested in:
– winning the war for the defense of 2A rights? or,
– the joy of principle-clinging?