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The gun law reform signed by Governor Brownback for the State of Kansas included a requirement for Chief Law Enforcement Officers to sign form sallowing Kansans to pay the $200 federal tax for National Firearms Act regulated items (NFA). Bill 2578/SB447 includes a number of incremental reforms aimed at restoring second amendment rights in Kansas.  One reform that I missed in the rough and tumble of state legislative politics alleviates one of the problems created by the NFA of 1934 . . .

There are plenty of problems with the NFA. Mostly outdated when it was signed as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to disarm the American citizenry, it has severe regulatory and tax burdens for suppressors, even though no reason was ever given for their inclusion. The same penalties apply to short barrelled shotguns and rifles as apply to automatic firearms, although there’s no reason to regulate short barrelled rifles and shotguns any more than pistols. That prohibition was included in the law because the original version included all handguns in the prohibitions as well.

The NFA of 1934 mixes local and federal prerogatives without regard to the separation of powers inherent in the Constitution. This is what one would expect from “progressives” who consider the Constitution a problem to be worked around, rather than the highest law of the land, and it has continued to create difficulties to this day.

The vast majority of tax stamps sold are for short barreled rifles, shotguns and gun mufflers. But because the NFA mixes local and federal authority in the act, local chief law enforcement officers (CLEOs) are able to veto the ability of a citizen to pay a federal tax to obtain the items, for any reason or no reason at all.

The “tax” dodge has always been a transparent attempt to give the NFA a thin veneer of constitutionality, but it hasn’t fooled anyone. It was and is a boldfaced power grab by the federal government to restrict and register firearms, accessories.

Now Kansas legislators have done what they can to mitigate the problem. They’ve required CLEOs to sign off on the tax payment unless they could show a legal reason beyond laziness or personal prejudice not to. Arizona recently passed a similar law and Tennessee did back in 2010. Kansas gives CLEOs 15 days to act, as does Tennessee. Arizona is more lenient, allowing them 60 days.

To sum up, under the new Kansas law citizens who wish to purchase an NFA item and are willing to jump through the regulatory hoops and pay the $200 tax can’t have their purchase vetoed by a Kansas CLEO for any reason except those now specified in the new statute.

It’s called the rule of law and it goes into effect in Kansas on July 1, 80 years after the Roosevelt administration pushed through the nation’s first real federal gun ban.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. This is good, certainly, but more efforts need to be made to either repeal the NFA entirely, or at least remove SBRs, SBSs, and AOWs from the NFA

      • I think SBR/SBS can be argued “It’s just like a handgun, really.” while suppressors are forever demonized as the assassin’s tool of choice.

        • So that’s your reasoning for leaving them on the NFA list while still saying that SBR’s/SBS’s should be taken off? That people think they are scary and that they are used in movies? I believe that suppressors should be removed from the NFA as well.

        • @Michael: Yes, I want cans off the NFA just as badly as you do. But, I think the first victory will be with SBR/SBS.

      • Why not full auto? NONE of it is justifiable in any way, never has been, show me what it has accomplished!

  2. The NFA needs to just go away.

    If I lived in an extreme rural setting, I would very likely ignore it entirely.

    • With SBRs that is actually possible, otherwise not so much. You can mail order a pistol upper for your AR without problem, it will hook up to your rifle lower just fine. No one will sell you an SBS, silencer, or full auto without permission from your betters.

  3. By the way, thanks for linking all of Dean’s stuff over here. I really like the blog, and I probably would’ve never found it otherwise!

  4. The NFA appears to conflict with the 2nd Amendment. Why isn’t it challenged in court by the NRA or some coalition of Guns Rights Groups?

    • Has been challenged, see “Unintended Consequences” for reason it failed. Essentially only the government’s case was represented in front of the SC, and they lied like rugs, decision was upheld on a case based on SBS, never again challenged for SBR, Suppressor, or full auto. Sad.

  5. For the very same reason certain groups keep fighting so hard to keep the Hewes Amendment alive……..$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ NFATCA, and I’m sure another gun lobby group don’t want their $20,000+ pre86 M-16’s to lose value.

  6. Despite arguments to the contrary, I’ve never read the NFA as allowing a CLEO to refuse to sign a Form 4 without cause. I was even prepared to file a Mandamus lawsuit to compel the issue, but the CLEO at issue backed down at the last minute. Also keep in mind that the definition of CLEO includes any number of different people, such as Chief of Police, Sheriffs, District Attorneys, prosecutors, the State Attorney General, and certain State Court judges. Pays to shop around.

    • If you never get an answer, you have little to appeal, unless these recent laws have been enacted. They simply ignore you. I have heard the excuse that it is “too expensive and time consuming”, although I can sign hundreds in an hour for no cost beyond the pen. Those who claim such sign none at all, unless of course you are connected or a rich contributor, which is clearly different.

  7. Hopefully, we can get Texas to take something like this up in the next session so that the “commoners” can exercise their rights. Most of the jackass sheriffs won’t sign ‘because they know better’.

    • More to the point, for $130 you can hook up online with the Silencer Shop and initiate a trust (I used an “NFA family trust”), and have it complete in a week, after which you do not need a CLEO’s signature, or a fingerprint card. Falls into the “why the hell not” category so far as I can see. I DID it, mind you, it is not a pipe dream, my paperwork has been accepted by the ATF (without CLEO or fingerprints) and is awaiting processing. Then you can buy however many NFA items you like without re-executing the trust, one time does it.

  8. Glad to see more states joining Tennessee on this! Florida needs to step up and do this because there are quite a few Sheriffs that won’t sign including Deming in Orange County. Fortunately, the Sheriff in Leon County is very NFA friendly and very pro 2A.


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