Wikipedia informs us that “The National Firearms Act imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms.” Specifically, machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and suppressors. The NFA was a bad idea when it was enacted in 1934 and it’s a bad idea now, for two main reasons . . .
First, the NFA’s unconstitutional. What part of “shall not be infringed” did Congress, then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Supreme Court not understand? (Hint: the same part they don’t understand now.)
There’s no good reason why law-abiding Americans shouldn’t be able to own NFA items without paying Uncle Sam for the “privilege” and registering them with his minions. Registration that’s otherwise forbidden by the Firearm Owners Protection Act.
Second, like all gun control laws, the NFA puts America on a slippery slope to gun confiscation. Once the government knows who owns what gun and where they live, their agents can set about removing them from their owners, should the government decide to do so.
Here’s the slope . . .
If short-barreled shotguns and rifles can be taxed registered under the NFA, hobbling commercial sales and enabling future confiscation, why not make all past, present and future modern sporting rifles (a.k.a., “assault rifles”) NFA items based on, um, whatever?
Crazy idea? The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence are proposing that very thing:
Giffords proposes that Congress require all existing assault weapons to be regulated under the National Firearms Act. This proposal would balance the rights of law-abiding gun owners with the need for increased restrictions on these lethal firearms. Congress must also address the future manufacture of assault weapons, either by prohibiting the manufacture of any further assault weapons (as it did in 1986 with machine guns), or requiring future assault weapons to be registered under the NFA.
I’m not sure what “rights of law-abiding gun owners” the Giffords folks are talking about “balancing” when they’re calling for a ban on America’s most popular rifle.
But even if efficiently implemented, their NFA expansion plan brings to mind Martin Luther King’s admonition that a right delayed is a right denied. What with NFA approval times currently hovering around 280 days.
Question: who needs a machine gun? Answer: it’s called the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Needs. By the same token, who needs the NFA? No one who understands the purpose of their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Who needs to get rid of it? We do.
What are the odds? Even with a Republican-controlled House, Senate and White House, I make it slim to none — and Slim just left town. Still, you gotta start somewhere. Raising the alarm is as good a place as any.