Previous Post
Next Post

FN SCAR MK17 (courtesy

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?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. That’s a dishonest and false dichotomy. One can have the joy of clinging to ones priniciples, and still move incrementally back towards all of our freedoms

    • The dichotomy needs to be recognized for analytical purposes. Most of us are to some degree pragmatic AND to some degree principled; it’s always a mix of these inclinations. Very few of us will sell our 2A for 30 pieces of silver; we are not that ‘pragmatic’. Few of us would forego delisting one type of NFA simply because we couldn’t repeal the entire act. Still, there are some closer to this latter camp.

      Imagine the guy who really wants SBRs to be delisted but wouldn’t settle for that alone; as a matter of principle he insists that SBSs must also be delisted. He refuses to support delisting one without the other. Another guy wants SBSs delisted but only settle for that unless the Hughes Amendment is repealed. And so forth.

      Let’s face it. Among our community of PotG there is great diversity of sentiment. A great number of us wouldn’t support a reform of NFA to repeal the Hughes Amendment because these individuals sincerely believe that the machine gun has no sporting utility and they don’t subscribe to the militia justification. Under such circumstances we will never achieve a consensus to accomplish anything.

      Some of us need to loosen our grips – ever so slightly – on our principled positions – e.g., removal of machine guns from the NFA – if we are to make any progress at all. Personally, to treat machine guns any differently than any rifle or shotgun flies in the face of the principle of adhering to the 2A. There isn’t the slightest doubt about this in my mind. Nevertheless, pragmatically, I think delisting machine guns from the NFA ought to be our last – not our first – priority. Is my position a ‘false dichotomy’?

    • Sorry, but I read the comments around here. And on every story that talks about a positive, but small change somewhere, there’s always a sizeable minority that say, “Fuck this. This law doesn’t give Federal Constitutional Carry, repeal the NFA and the GCA, disband the ATF and give all of its former agents AIDS. Until you’ve got a bill that does that, I’m not giving one minute of my time or one cent of my money to help. And I mean full blown AIDS, dammit, not HIV.”

      I agree its a completely false dichotomy. And some of our biggest dreams- fully legal, no tax stamp machine guns- may never happen, much less in our lifetimes. Every step will be a struggle, and every victory should be celebrated, either in defense of our rights or in the attack to regain what we’ve lost. But, for many keyboard warrior inverse-FUDDs on gunosphere, they want it all now, and if you’re not giving it to them, they won’t help you at all. Because of the principle of it.

      • The “not HIV dammit” bit came damn close to ruining my computer with morning coffee spray. +1

        You did forget to mention that often that sentiment is closely followed by accusing anyone who falls outside of that camp of being a boot-licking lover of oppression and slavery. Feeding on our own is rampant.

      • Couldn’t agree more… The antis are fine with incrementalism, but we basically *pout* if we don’t get the whole cake.

        They’ve chipped away at gun rights, but we refuse to chip back, and the “perfect is the enemy of the good”. I know any replies to this are going to be screaming “NO COMPROMISE!” – but… we already have.

        What we’re talking about is incremental rewinding of those incremental compromises.

    • not really when many focus on massive possible to move “objects” vs Clearing the Debris. once your clear out the small stuff, the massive object is actually much smaller and can be moved/changed.

      if the Media was balanced, sure we could go after any point with success. we Dont, we need to use logic and a lot of social science to get and change opinions. going after the big stuff is easy for the left to rip us apart. the little stuff most people will ignore.

      yes we have gains, but one really ugly event is all they need. gun save over 700k lives a year, but a dozen children (sad yes) becone Pawns to take it all away. we gain a few, then lose a lot. then gain a few more, and later lose far more.

      as of now thry have billionaires and media flat out lying daily nation wide to create problems n hate only to use to take away our rights.
      we have the Truth. but it means nothing if only a few hear it. we used to be governed by laws, now we are by the Mob Rule aka low information voters, voting on emotion only.

      • And yet, in the wake of Sandy Hook, recognition of the RKBA has grown, not fallen back.

        The Anti’s and the MSM are – at THEIR expense – keeping the issue of the RKBA continually before the public eye. Imagine how much more money the NRA would solicit from us if they were to mount a comparable PR campaign!

        So, the Anti’s + MSM continually remind the disinterested voter of the importance of guns. They lie and lie and lie again. And, folks like John Lott Jr. faithfully follows on behind with his broom, shovel and garbage can pointing out the intrinsic essence of their lies. Who is winning in this race? The Pew poll says we are winning. The State legislatures are telling us we are winning.

        The Antis and the MSM control the message that gets broadcast; however, they are not in complete control of the facts. And facts are stubborn things. News of the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore can’t be suppressed; and, they give rise to the public recognition of the fallacy of relying on the police.

  2. I could see suppressors becoming regulated as handguns or long guns. But over the counter with a 4473 and or CWP.
    Go with the noise pollution argument and hearing protecting angle.

    • I’d also constantly bring up being useful in hunting to win the Fudds over. I’ve only ever hunted once and your only two options are hurting your hearing when you shoot or deafening yourself the whole time you are out and risking not hearing other hunters or animals out there.

      • Plus when you shoot a subsonic round it does not travel as far, so less likely to accidentally hurt another hunter. And a silenced subsonic will not spook game as much. Yes the ones right around you will be scared BUT a rifle crack can make everything anywhere near you run like hell.

  3. Overall I agree with piecemeal dismantlement of the NFA, and using the same(ish) strategy that got us all stuck with the myriad of pointless gun laws- one step at a time. As long as we get the politicians we elect to remember that after the first step, they need to continue. Not congratulate themselfs and call it a day.

  4. NFA should be repealed – but it would be a big win to me if the states could make their own laws rather than blanket the entire US with federal laws that vast regions don’t even want.

    • The 2nd amendment is a federal issue. It’s too important a fight to be left to each individual state. We should be pushing for federal preemption of all state laws, that fight we might actually win. All the firearms freedom in Utah won’t mean jack shit if the federal government starts passing bans. On the other hand, all of Commiefornia’s bans won’t be worth the paper they are printed on if we pass federal preemption. Our first objective should be to reduce the battlefield.

      • “We should be pushing for federal preemption of all state laws, that fight we might actually win.” This is a really delicate issue for which there is no obviously strategically right answer.

        Fundamentally, there is a really strong argument that criminal violence is a matter to be controlled by the States; i.e., a States’ rights issue. There is a really good reason to hold on to this fundamental position: i.e., the Antis have to take ground 1-State-at-a-time. They can’t win the war until they take the last State; and, I think we can count on Wyoming never to fall.

        Bear in mind that the current mood of the American voter is that “there out to be a law” to regulate whatever it is that is important enough to regulate. Defy that mood at your peril. We should ask: “Mr. & Mrs. Sixpack; who do you trust to regulate guns here in the State of Confusion? Politicians far away in Washington who are concerned with the whims of their constituents in the 49 other States? Or, our own representatives in our State capital?”

        Secondarily, there is no getting around the fact that some issues are going to be regulated by the Feds; if, for no other reason, because “they can” under the interstate commerce power. At present, we have a roughly tolerable mix of Federal regulation of manufacturers, exporters and dealers and State regulation of gun use. (I didn’t say perfect; just roughly tolerable).

        Based on the First and Second principles, we ought to argue strongly that gun use and gun sales are a proper domain for the State police power and that the Feds should leave the States to do their jobs with sensitivity to local conditions.

        Third – and finally – you are absolutely correct in saying “The 2nd amendment is a federal issue.” When the States ratified the Constitution and succeeding Amendments we the People subscribed to a social contract on the respect of certain very basic principles. The 14A clearly extended this notion to the States. The SCOTUS doctrine of “selective incorporation” is (IMO) bad law; that it is ‘law’ of some sort under a doctrine of Judicial interpretation does not detract from the conceptual possibility that it is bad-law. (Is Dredd Scott controlling to the extent that Federal Constitutional rights have not yet been selectively incorporated?)

        In McDonald we have achieved incorporation under the selective incorporation doctrine. This is monumental! Now, we are left with the drudgery of:
        – Right-to-Carry; and,
        – Right-to-Keep-on-one’s-Nightstand

        The mills of the gods grind slowly; but they grind exceedingly fine. We ought not get hung-up on nuisance cases such as Right-. . . -Nightstand. In fact, such cases actually serve our cause in the long run. If government can require you to keep a gun in a locked container on your nightstand it can also require a heart-attack surviver to keep his nitrogenlycern tablets in a locked container at his bedside. Let these and a thousand other analogues sink-into the consciousness of the voters and see where such regulation takes us.

        We need to build from the established right-to-self-defense into a right-to-carry; and, from there, to the right-to-carry-where-one-ordinarily-needs-to-go. This looks to be a long drudge in either SCOTUS or Congress.

        Our struggle is not with 4 SCOTUS justices; nor with 51 Senators nor with 218 Representatives (elected for 2-year terms) nor with a single Emperor. All these are merely passing phenomena. Our struggle is for the hearts and minds of a super-majority of voters. These – and only these – can decide whether to protect and defend – vs. suppress – any right whether natural or Constitutionally guaranteed.

        • States rights. Means CA can declare itself a constitution free zone with no real consequences. Federal pre epmtion means a citizen can take CA to the woodshed. Guess which I, a CA resident prefers?

        • Yes; you are quite correct. Now, then, let’s put this into practice. Let’s look for guidance from a comparable right.

          The right to vote is explicitly defined in the Federal Constitution as a prerogative of State government. “. . . the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature”. Apart from that one restriction (and a couple of other minor issues) the States Constitutionally are pretty much free to prescribe “the Qualifications requisite for Electors”. The proof of this fact is that it tool Amendments to prohibit poll taxes and enfranchise women and 18-year-olds.

          Notwithstanding the apparent clarity of the States’ right to prescribe “the Qualifications requisite for Electors” in actuality this States’ rights is not so unfettered as it seems superficially. The limits of what States can actually do to deny the right-to-vote have been gradually whittled-away by court cases and the shifting of American sentiment. It took a very long time; but eventually, we have arrived at a place where there is very little leeway States can actually exercise in limiting the franchise.

          What the Federal government giveth the Federal Government might one-day presume to take away. It is for this reason that we PotG should much prefer that the Federal Government grant as little-as-possible by way of RKBA.

          Instead, our position ought to be: ‘If and to the extent that our use of guns should be regulated, let us each be regulated by the consent of our neighbors in our own State. Surely, we the People of each State will know what is necessary and sufficient for public safety.’ Admittedly, in so doing, we open ourselves to an endless battle over nuisances such as the Right-to-Keep-Arms-Unlocked-at-Bedside. We can fight these battles and we will win-some and loose some. Yet clearly, the Antis will pay dearly for all such nuisances-regulations.

          Just as soon as we appeal to Congress or SCOTUS for relief over the Right-. . . -at-Bedside we concede to the power of the Federal government to impose, as well as relief from, such nuisances.

          The enormous beauty of Heller/McDonald was that they sought-after and secured the LEAST possible constraint upon States’ rights; i.e., the right of a State (or DC) via it’s municipal government to absolutely prohibit a law-abiding citizen to keep a handgun in the home. We should think of this as a Federal-floor under the depth of State infringement upon “the right” to KBA.

          IMO, the next major plank in this floor ought to be the right-to-bear arms outside the home without a demonstration of “need” that separates the People into an aristocracy (noblemen and their squires) vs. commoners who bear arms by legislative grace.

          Look how absurd this should strike an objective dispassionate voter. If a woman has a right to keep a handgun in her home to protect herself and her children, why should she lose that right when she:
          – steps from her home into her garage;
          – enters her car;
          – drives out of her driveway and onto the public streets;
          – drives onto a rural highway lightly trafficked where she might suffer a mechanical breakdown;
          – leaves her car to cross a dark parking lot to enter a mall;
          – . . .
          Never mind the details of whether she is over 21 or 18 years of age. Never mind that the fee for a CWP is $20 or $100. Never ind whether the training requirement is 8 – 16 – 20 hours. Does she have a right to the means of self-defense on a dark rural road with a broken-down car? Or, may a State declare her to be the Darwinian prey of any rapist or robber who might pass by?

          I once thought it best to avoid the Feds altogether. If we could be sure of a favorable SCOTUS decision in the next few years Id prefer a Judicial ruling over a Congressional ruling. But, this is a dangerous strategy. We are apt to get a decision the wrong way in which case we might be toast. My current thinking is that a Congressional decision to mandate National Reciprocity would be good enough and safe-enough.

          After a few years of National Reciprocity I expect the dispassionate public to equate National Reciprocity for carry with the convention of de-facto recognition of drivers’ licenses. People will regard this as “that’s the way it is; and, it’s the way it’s supposed to be”. In twenty or thirty years most people will take-for-granted that “that’s the way it has always been”. Thereupon, Right-to-Carry will have been fixed in the national sensibility.

          I think the CWP actually serves to hasten the acceptance of National Reciprocity. You have a card in your wallet that says you know how to drive and you haven’t driven so badly that your right to drive is revoked? Well, then you must be OK. No guarantee you won’t crash into me; but, there is some sense of order here. It’s fairly easy to argue the analogy that if you have a card in your wallet that says you know how to carry a gun and haven’t behaved badly, then that too reflects some sense of order. It must be OK in the same way that the driver’s license implies that you can be trusted to drive.

          Initially, I was somewhat hesitant about the Constitutional-Carry movement. Today, I’m a little more comfortable. We tell our neighbors that the folks from all our neighboring States have gun-carry “certification” cards in their wallets; more or less like driver’s licenses. Admittedly, some States don’t require cards. The folks in Vermont haven’t had any trouble with their neighbors carrying guns for a couple of centuries so they have never felt the need to issue any cards. Other States like Alaska and Montana had mandated cards; but then concluded that they weren’t really all that necessary. Maybe we are making a little too much of this card-thing.

    • Right, because the states have such an awesome track record when it comes to honoring the rights of the people.

  5. As far as suppressors/silencers, I also think consideration should be given to use around large animals.

    I have a lot of horses. If a mean dog, coyote, rattlesnake or similar pest were to get into one of our barns, the sound of a firearm would undoubtedly spook them. When horses get spooked, they tend to break things. Sometimes those things are their own legs, eyes, etc.

    However, significant sound suppression would decrease the chances of a catastrophic spook.

  6. And this is exactly the way we should continue making progress on Open Carry until all states are Constitutional Carry. Give us an inch at a time and we will eventually walk a mile.

  7. Congress has the right to regulate interstate commerce, not intrastate. I believe that we just need to have more states pass laws and resolutions stating that an NFA regulated firearms made and remains in the state are not subject to federal authority. Oregon and Colorado did this with Marijuana… Oklahoma, Arizona, Vermont and Texas should do it to NFA weapons. Make it a 10th amendment and commerce clause issue, not a 2nd amendment one.

    • That’s going exactly the wrong way. The second amendment needs to be affirmed at the federal level not fought at the level of every state. Otherwise, population growth in and migration from ban states will destroy the cause in the end.

      • Pwrserge,

        Some slaves want to be slaves. They like it. They don’t want us injecting freedom, options, or responsibility in their lives. They want to be taken care of by their gov, and they want to be told what to do.

        You can’t stop this.

        What we can do is separate ourselves from them. We don’t want to be forced what we don’t want and neither do they. This is why we all need to pack our stuff and move to Texas and form the “Sovereign free state of Texas” This is the best solution for everyone I think.

      • If you make it a federal issue, how wouldn’t population growth and demographic shifts not destroy it once and for all everywhere?

        • Simple, it would normalize the status. slave state indoctrination could be pushed back on a national instead of a local level.

        • Our enemy here is the urbanization of the population. It’s no protection to shuffle the population around the States if the population concentrates in big cities. Look at Texas; a presumably pro-gun State with large populations of Progressives running the political forces in its metropolitan areas.

          We ought to be keeping our eye on the right ball. Somehow, we have to make gun rights pertinent to the urban dweller. Fedguson and Baltimore have done the RKBA a great service recently. Now, poor people in the inner city need to think about what Jim Crow would look like in the 21st century. What difference does skin-color make when a thug waring a hood smashes down your door or shoots you in the street? A black man in a black hoodie is just as lethal with a gun as a white man in a white hood was with a cross and a rope.

          Yes, I’d like all my solutions delivered by Uncle Sam in conformance with my own standards for instant gratification. But, that’s not always the most secure delivery method.

      • We need to do both. Red states need to pass laws not allowing state law enforcement to participate in any federal investigations with ATF that enforce NFA
        This is the California stratagey. Most federal laws are enforced to some degree by state or local cops. Read “Unarmed Truth” by the ATF whistle blower in fast and ferrous. He talks about how joint task force and strike forces work to get around federal and state limitations on LEO. Also how generally under manned the ATF is( at least on the LEO side maybe not as much on tax and regulatory) and how they need local
        Police to maintain surveillance and even to have enough men for raids.
        When the states passed laws that legalized booze it was the start of the end of prohibition. NOw the states are leading the way with the progressives stupid drug war.
        Soon the states will lead the way( we hope) and end the progressives stupid gun laws.
        We can and should lobby at the federal level to rollback and or cut funding as much as possible. Also to make it harder for federal agencies to bribe local cops into helping them with grants and such that require enforcement of gun laws. But passing state and local( use referendum in cities and towns?) laws that bar the police from taking the money or enforcing those federal laws is the most effective stratagy for beating the Feds.

    • Absolutely correct! Whether, in respect of pot, for better-or-for-worse, the doctrine of Nullification is off to an important start. (Here, I take no position on the practical wisdom of deregulating any drugs.) It takes 38 States to ratify a Constitutional Amendment; just 12 States to veto one. What would it mean to our system of Federalism – with a principle of the supremacy of Federal law – if 12 States were to legalize something – ANYthing – forbidden by Federal law?

      What would that REALLY mean? What would it mean to a plurality of voters nation-wide? Would it establish Nullification as a legitimized principle of our Federal system? The implications are truly awesome!

      More specifically, what if 12 States amended their own Constitutions calling for “strict scrutiny” on their own Constitutional RKBA? Or, Right-to-Carry? Might that not cast a very long shadow that could reach all the way to SCOTUS?

    • I don’t see it working. If a guy in Colorado sells a bag of marijuana, he doesn’t pay the gov a 200 dollar tax stamp. I would expect heavy resistance if this were applied to firearms. Gov wants their money. They think they are entitled to it.

      • If you don’t think one of the primary functions of the “War On Drugs™” is generating revenue, you haven’t been paying much attention to the abuse of asset forfeiture laws in the past few decades.

      • “I don’t see it working. If a guy in Colorado sells a bag of marijuana, he doesn’t pay the gov a 200 dollar tax stamp.”

        Sellers of weed in Colorado pay the government (if memory serves) a15 percent tax at the retail point of sale, along with a few other taxes.

        Colorado TTAGers can fill in the details…

        • It’s more like 40% on retail. That’s why people just go get medical cards and avoid that tax. Non card holders are normally out of staters that come to enjoy our fine product. Where I’m lost, is we have “progressed” as to completely, 100% legalize weed here, we can buy a pistol AR, but the min that a stock goes on it, you’re a felon. Did I mention you can grow your own weed and avoid payment altogether?

        • The incongruity between pot rights vs. gun rights in CO and WA ought to dawn on the voters; eventually.

        • I’m still grumpy about the notion that we legalized weed here, (I can’t touch it, working for the Fed Gov, it doesn’t matter that it’s legal here) – but we also have ourselves a 15 round mag limit that, while never enforced, doesn’t seem to want to budge.

          The rest of the country takes our 15 round limit a lot more seriously than we do. I tried to order a Tavor, and a certain dealer went on a tirade at me about how CO has an “AWB” (We do not.) and that I was asking to become a felon. (Low class misdemeanor.)

          Still, the reversal isn’t lost on me… I can become a pariah throughout the entire country for 17 rounds, but having a grow operation — no problem.

      • If the NFA were about generating revenue they would be making it faster/easier to get NFA items (the opposite is happening) and raising the price of tax stamps (which have remained unchanged for 80 years.)

        • That’s a good point – in the end, all the paperwork shuffling probably eats up more than the $200 tax…

        • And so, there is an argument for licensing Class 1 FFLs to sell NFA stamps after running a NICS check and entering the registration of the NFA “weapon” into the ATF’s registry.

        • We need to look at how the 200 dollars is spent. Does it go to general revenue ? Does it go to justice? To ATF national? to the office that does the paperwork?
          Look at the forestry service. It costs them 100 dollars in overhead every time a private company cuts a tree on public land. They charge a 2 fee. Now to you and me this is a 98 dollar loss. But to the forestry service its 102’dollar gain. Because the 100 goes on next years budget and the 2 dollar fee is earmarked for them also.
          We should earmark the 200 dollar fee ( or a portion of it ) to the ATF office that approves the stamps. Then let them use that money to lobby for what? More restrictive NFA laws NOT likely. Try will be lobbying to overturn CLEO. And eventually to open up register. ( maybe to raise the tax, but lower tax generally will mean more sales so they have a reason to oppose an increase , esp since they do not have overhead as a governement agency). He’ll let’s make it so a percentage ( let’s say 20 or 30) goes to that dept for bonuses only. Imagine the 16 or so people that process NFA apps splitting 30 for every app. That’s about 900k a year. Or 56 k per agent if I’m correct. When the agents realize every turn down costs him/her $1.80 See how many get turned down and sent back for silly mistakes then. Agents will be calling Cleo s telling them they have to sign or they’ll find another guy who will. Lol.

        • That’s a remarkably innovative idea! Look at what it would do to the Democrat caucus in Congress. Here, the PotG – the ARCH-ENEMIES of the ATF are respectfully requesting that their stamp taxes be earmarked for the ATF. So that the ATF could have more resources to perform their sacred duty.

          Democrats crying out: “No more money for the ATF!!”. Think of the cognitive dissonance from the Antis!

  8. Incrementalism is how the Progressives win, there is no reason we can’t use the same tactic.

    This legislative session in Texas we got licensed open carry for CHL holders, which isn’t what almost anyone wanted. But after OCT made death threats to Democratic legislators, the formerly appeared to be a slam dunk of Constitutional Carry was off the table, and making any progress towards greater firearms freedom was a step in the right direction. So we got a little step, and maybe next lege we get Constitutional Carry!

    • You’re right about using incremental victories to our advantage, but I don’t think Constitutional Carry was ever realistically on the table in this legislative session.

    • “Incrementalism is how the Progressives win, there is no reason we can’t use the same tactic.”

      Yes, indeed. It’s an Alinsky tactic known as ‘nudge’.

      Many tiny bites rather than big ones…

  9. Regarding machine guns, you must undo over 75 years of Hollywood and news media propaganda. I once made a video demonstration the relative effectiveness of a Remington 1100 vs. a suppressed HK MP5 SMG. The Remy won, but you will be hard pressed to convince the average person of the truth and reality of full auto fire. As my father used to say, “Don’t confuse me with the facts”.

  10. Boy, I would really like to target shoot and hunt with suppressors. Would really go a long way in not bothering others with all the noise, and my ears ring forever from all the hunting. No such luck in Vermont yet, argument typically is it will lead to mass poaching (which is illegal of course – same argument was given for cross bows – good god!)
    I really think suppressors are the logical choice for shooting sports as open land for target practice will continues to shrink. Maybe someday new firearms will be offered over the counter with included suppressors.

  11. But…but…all you have to do is watch any action movie or ’80s cop show to know every street thug and gang member has ready access to fully automatic submachine gun death dealing shoulder things that go up! We have to DO something! For the children.

    • Absolutely the point! The more we do to bring such images to mind the more we undermine our own cause. The more we argue the case for – e.g., suppressers for reasons we are all too familiar with – the more we take the wind out of the sails of the Anti’s.

  12. Reclaiming our rights a bit at a time is what we are already doing! We are mostly doing this with our wallets by simply buying what we want, including paying that infernal tax and getting our silencers and our SBRs. The hoplaphobes are loosing because their position is irrational. That fact is becoming more obvious every year to the folks in the middle who are the votes we are wanting to turn away from the anti-freedom crowd.

    Look at the reaction of many these people in the middle to the election and re-election of Obama: they joined the rest of us by going out and buying an AR and ammo because they knew that he and his minions would try to outlaw them. How many victories have we won with concealed carry and open carry? The long term success of firearms rights in America is dependent on the one thing we have really had major success with: convincing all those people in the middle that they are made better off and safer by supporting us than the other side.

    There are so many individual stories of PotG being visibly and obviously on the right side of the issue, like when the NRA rightly championed the case for the young black woman viciously prosecuted by the state of New Jersey. We are gaining traction and pushing back the hoplaphobes precisely because the lies they are telling are being outed more and more quickly: the “Wild West, Blood in the Streets” meme is long since dead and when they came for m855 and easily concealable AR15 pistols they were again held up as objects of derision.

    We are winning! Stay the course!

    • You’re right, we are winning. But I couldn’t disagree more with your first couple lines. It’s not “reclaiming a right” if you have to pay a $200 bribe and get permission from legislators and cops to do it. That’s asking to be granted a privilege.

  13. I agree with everything except for one thing…

    “… Isn’t reform of this (nearly) 100-year-old law appropriate now?”

    Not reform.

    Reform implies there is something else that could be put in place. This law isn’t good anymore so lets ‘reform’ it and use some other law instead.

    Isn’t *Repeal* of this (nearly) 100-year-old law appropriate now since it doesn’t do anything, hasn’t since it was put in place, and won’t at any point in the future.

    I know….I am picking out the tiniest of things… but we have to be better than our opponents and maintain control of the conversation. Words have meanings and we should use those meanings whenever possible to our advantage.

    • “Reform” is the conventional term used in Washington when they don’t want to admit that they F*ed it up in the first place and made it worse with every subsequent revision.

      “Repeal” is a counterproductive term to use BEFORE a consensus already formed to make the intended change. In lieu of using the word “repeal” you might as well pass out strings of pearls with signs reading “Maintain the Machine-Gun Ban; It’s for the Children”.

      Look at the intrinsic beauty (read “cleverness”) of changing “sporting purposes” to “all lawful purposes” just proposed to fix the import ban issues. Among all the pearl-clutchers, how many are going to march on Washington to protest this change in verbiage?

      Conversely, change the text to explicitly authorize the reimportation of M1 Garands and explain in the preamble that Patton characterized this venerable weapon as the greatest battle implement in history.

      Which will be more likely to pass?

  14. I’ve made the argument to several friends that if the perpetrators of some of the higher profile mass shootings had used fully automatic weapons instead of what they had access to, the body count would have likely been lower. Untrained, they will run themselves out of ammo quicker and be less accurate.

    • Maybe with full auto m16s but REAL machine guns are belt fed. And honestly I think eve an untrained ( but has fired one before) guy with a low powered( 556?) but belt fed machine gun could do a lot of damage BUT is he really likely to spend the money. I mean even if the NFA went away your still gonna be talking a couple Grand for the gun. PLUS anything belt fed gonna cost a bunch in ammo. I mean even to Fire for 5 minutes at 500 rounds per min is 2500 rounds. That’s a pretty expensive mass murder that would likely be no more effective than using a semi auto ar and 3 mags of ammo or even a couple glock pistols.

      Honestly 9mm sub machine guns would be a more lethal choice. Less recoil, easier to carry etc. but the only place you ever see them used in crimes is in a movie.

  15. I don’t know – but the NFA rules are some of the dumbest garbage I’ve ever read in my life. They have nothing to do with crime and only seek to annoy and incarcerate gun owners with zero intent to harm anyone and to discourage gun ownership.

    Example for people who might read these comments:
    Once a rifle – always a rifle
    I can buy a mare’s leg in any gun store that will order it for me:
    But if I make one from a broken down lever action Winchester, I get 10 years in prison.

    Barrel length limitations and the SBR (Short barrelled rifle)
    Let’s say I have an old rifle in bad shape. The crown on the muzzle is damaged, rifling heavily worn, and the muzzle opens up resulting in a very inaccurate rifle. I would like to cut it back 1 inch and recrown the muzzle (i.e. cut the barrel off the end of the gun back one inch and square up the end of the barrel). But – I find that the barrel is 16 inches – the limit.

    My options?

    1) Take the gun to a gunsmith – provide him with the new barrel. He can then install that new barrel with his action wrench, barrel vise, etc. He can get out his headspace gauges, chamber reamer and complete the installation. Clean the action and barrel – reblue it. This would easily cost more than the value of the entire gun.

    2) Pay a 200$ tax stamp to the ATF and apply for an SBR (short barrelled rifle) otherwise go to prison for 10 years. Cut the barrel back 1 inch and recrown. This could easily cost more than the value of the entire rifle.

    3) Get rid of the gun and buy a new one (sell it).

    Constructive Possession – I.E. Guilty until proven innocent
    Let’s say I have a STEN parts kit with the receiver chopped up:

    I want to make a semiauto out of it for fun.

    Firstly the barrel is too short a 16″ barrel will need to be purchased or a 200$ tax stamp for SBR will need to be sought – or I can make it into a very ugly pistol and i’ll pass on that.

    Let’s say the police and ATF get the wrong house (again) and raid my house when they got the address wrong. While i’m looking at my dead dog, they discover my STEN parts kit. Then they find a short tube in the garage. The tube is the right diameter to complete the STEN (after machining, welding, cutting, and fitting – i.e. building the rifle) I’m arrested and its time to start on that 10 years of prison. Nevermind that I told them my intent was to construct a semi-auto rifle. I have parts (some parts) that can be used to make a full auto rifle. Therefore we are going to apply constructive possession so I can go to prison for my victimless crime.

    I could go all day with examples like these. Anti-gun people just keep telling me nobody is trying to take my guns, that the USA has the most lax gun laws anywhere, and stop whining about being inconvenienced with present law when i’m creating death weapons designed to slaughter as many babies as possible.

    • ….While i’m looking at my dead dog, ….
      My first laugh for the day

      Let’s say I have a STEN parts kit with the receiver chopped up

      Don’t you love the quizzical WTF looks from non-gun folks when you try to explain why the government makes people chop up perfectly operational firearms and then to later get them rebuilt again?

    • “I don’t know – but the NFA rules are some of the dumbest garbage I’ve ever read in my life. They have nothing to do with crime and only seek to annoy and incarcerate gun owners with zero intent to harm anyone and to discourage gun ownership.”

      Actually, they do have something to do with crime. At least the full-auto part.

      1920’s gangsters roared into small towns with Tommy guns blazing and robbed banks.

      The public pleaded with Washington to “Do Something!”.

      So Washington did something and gave us the NFA.

      To this day there are small towns that have pillboxes in the town square.

      Like this one here:

      • Most of the 1920’s gangsters were created/instigated by the alcohol prohibition (another example of government meddling in the people’s affairs). The pillbox probably was a much greater deterrent against the gangsters than a piece of presidential paper that tells them what they could and couldn’t do. In the end it was people with guns that dropped the gangster’s – not any law that said full auto firearms are illegal. Even in present day – this law isn’t necessary and many semi-autos are easily convertible to full-auto should a criminal want one.

  16. While suppressors seem like the easiest fruit to pick, the article makes a point that leads me to think SBR and SBS is the low-hanging option.

    With the aging Baby Boomer population, the time may be ripe for some behind the scene conversations between NRA-ILA and AARP. Otherwise, you have many older people who cannot afford to move away from crime, and who are soft targets for criminals, but who can’t hold a gun to defend themselves. Sure, it would be nice to call the police and have them respond, but the expanding geriatrics will stretch limit police budgets as you can’t ensure rapid response to such a large and broadly distributed population. Handguns are difficult to handle and fire as you age, and a compact SBR or SBS is the safest and more reliable option for the elderly.

    Experience is one of an individual’s greatest resources. Combined, it gives wisdom and direction to the whole. Shouldn’t we let wisest and most experienced among us defend themselves? Or are we willing to commit our country to a course where wisdom and understanding are worthless? For now, we are leaving our greatest treasures unguarded. Repeal the restrictions on SBR and SBS.

    Brought to you by a poster who doesn’t really have an interest in SBR/S.

  17. NFA 1934 is too deeply embedded within the legal structures. And built on top of that foundation is GCA 1968. To dismantle or repeal the NFA would be an extraordinary undertaking… on the same grand scale as repealing a Constitutional Amendment.

    Impossible? No. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th. But ask yourself, what are the odds of something like that happening again? And just for the record, i’m all for it!

    • Somebody who is a lawyer please correct where I am wrong and expand upon what I’m right about.

      Okay, so if I understand the Constitutional provisions for amending the Constitution, a portion (2/3?) of the states may demand a Constitutional Convention, or the Congress may pass by a (2/3?) supermajority in both houses an amendment that is then sent to the states for ratification. We have enough states in this land that allow silencers/SBRs/SBSs that we could demand from the state level a CC to “clarify” the meaning of the 2A. It would allow for repeal of all sorts of NFA, GCA, and EO restrictions that our D.C. entrenched Congress Critters would never attempt. Maybe we should be concentrating at the state level for 2A reforms, but attempting to get the states to shove it down the federal government’s throat.

      • I firmly believe that you are on the right track but on the wrong issue.

        Constitutional amendments are adopted AFTER – NOT before – a consensus forms at the State level. There are a whole host of issues around RKBA where there is NO such consensus. It is futile to try to bite off more than we can chew.

        Remember how easy it is to stop a Constitutional Amendment. Look at the last time it was done. The proposition was simply stated in a single sentence. It was wrapped-up in an appealing package called the “Equal Rights Amendment”. What did it take to quell ratification of what would appear to be a consensus at the national level? The efforts of one woman. Count her: 1. Not a public official. Not a leader of national recognition. Just one extraordinary woman. (Could one billionaire buy the stopping of a Constitutional Amendment?)

        It seems to me that it would be a good idea to look for some issue that is nice and simple around which we think we have the requisite consensus (i.e., a majority in each of 30-some State legislatures). By way of illustration: ‘The Right to Carry arms shall not be denied for lack of a need other than a desire for self-defense.’ (By all means, think of competitive alternatives.)

        We already have 40 States that recognize a Right-to-Carry; i.e., apparently, we are already over-the-top. That consensus IS FORMED. Now, the process to call for a Convention of the States would drag out over several years during which time it would approach the magical number of 34 applying States. At that point, both the Legislative and the Judicial branches of the Federal government would be in absolute PANIC MODE.

        If – God forbid! – 34 States ever applied for a Constitutional Convention on one issue – no matter how innocuous – that would constitute a prescient. For the FIRST time in our history the People would have risen up and asserted their ultimate sovereignty to decide what our Constitution says. It would obviously preempt Congressional power to propose Amendments. It would override SCOTUS’s power to tell us what the Constitution really means. You can be just about certain that no such threat would ever be suffered by – not just one – TWO branches.

        What could either Congress or SCOTUS do? SCOTUS is powerless to respond. Congress could respond by preempting the movement by drafting their own proposed Amendment and submitting it to the States for ratification. What skin would be scraped off Congressional noses by proposing such an amendment? Would it affect their power to tax, spend or borrow? Of course not. It would affect only their own State legislatures. Neither Congressmen nor Senators care one hoot about their States’ legislatures.

        Now begins the round of ratifications. One by one, 38 of the 40 Right-to-Carry States would have to belly-up-to-the-bar and forego their State’s power to respect/rescind Right-to-Carry. The threat now shifts to SCOTUS.

        Would SCOTUS want we the People – operating through Article 5 – to amend the Constitution? Or, would SCOTUS rather see their minor proteges on the inferior courts to continue to tell us what the limits of the Constitution are? I think the latter. Is it in their power to stop us? Not directly; all they can do is slow-down the ratification process. The more decisions they adopt recognizing incremental extensions of the RKBA the less pressure we can put on our State legislators to ratify the proposed Amendment (whatever it might be.)

        Alas, I’m afraid any State-originated amendment buttressing the 2A is doomed to failure. The success will rise phoenix-like from the ashes of the nearly successful attempt.

        Does such a strategy make sense? If so, then the best thing we could do is find the most innocuous right we could possibly imagine – e.g., the right to keep a handgun unlocked on our nightstand while in bed – and push for that via Constitutional Amendment applied-for by the States.

  18. I say it needs to be a full on assault. We need to have people willing to set up a business that has at its core the “need” to have fully automatic weapons. And not just ones built pre-1986. But newer weapon systems being built today and in general use. Why a business? They would have better standing. If your business model is to let people play soldier for a day. They get to drive a tank around an obstacle coarse and fire full auto weapons on a range. Yet you are denied the ability to buy that IWI Negev that looks so cool. Well you will have standing. However if you are just me and just want one. Most courts would say i dont have standing.

    That should take care of that hughes amendment just fine. It is after all at its core unconstitutional. We just need a good argument and that begins by having standing.

  19. Demand that your representatives demand a statement from the ATF that NFA Rules do not protect anyone, regardless of their level of infringement. Then prove it.

    Do ATF personnel want a job, or want to enforce such rules. It’ll matter, it did at the Hague.

  20. These discussions are always fun and interesting, but at some point the hard work of political activism that will see these changes through needs to begin. Continual pressure in every single congressional district in the US will start the wheels turning on changing NFA, GCA, Hughes, et al. And not just gun enthusiasts, but a handful of articulate, well-dressed, non-confrontational individuals that have the time to represent the cause in legislators’ offices and public hearings.

    The reason open carry in Texas was such a nail-biter is that its opponents were doing just that. Moms Against Whatever organized specific people to show up to testify against OC. The Dutton Amendment was killed by CLEAT, a police labor union that has members in every police dept in Texas. Those groups represent a tiny percentage of Texans, but they leverage their small numbers through disciplined organization. We need to do the same.

    • “. . . to represent the cause in legislators’ offices and public hearings.” I think you are focusing on the right issue for us; how do we get our message across? Might it be:
      – to talk to legislators in their offices?
      – testify in public hearings?
      – talk to neighbors in coffee shops?
      – e-mail or letter writing campaigns?
      – something else?

      A tentative operating assumption that I think is useful is: No legislator cares about anything beyond maintaining a plurality in his next election.

      If that’s so, I don’t see what role is played by testifying before legislative committees. (Nevertheless, I did so before a NJ committee.) Nor do I see gathering a group to demonstrate on capital steps. It’s a long drive for me to my State capital; but I imagine a sustained effort would be much easier to maintain with constituents calling on a legislator’s district offices. E.g., in a group of 50, one guy assigned each week to go to the local office and talk to the staff there would look like a ground-swell of actual voters.

      It seems to me that the most precious resource is campaign contributions. The more an incumbent must spend to be re-elected the costlier it is to maintain a position. If an incumbent can be threatened with a viable threat of being primaried that dilutes his war chest for the general election. If an incumbent can be threatened with a viable diversion of votes to his opponent (who may be even worse on the issues) that means he must raise additional funds.

      How do we make gun-control a 3’rd-rail for as many politicians as possible? What is actually effective?

      • As an addendum to legislators only caring about a plurality, they care about a plurality of the voters who actually go to the polls. So it comes down to all but guaranteeing a certain number of votes on election day. And in a lot of elections, just getting an extra 10 people from each precinct can make a difference. Because we have to fight not just at the presidential level, or even the congressional or senatorial levels, but all the way down to city councils. That means calling 5 people on election day to make sure they voted, and if not, get in the car, pick them up, and drive them to the polls.

        I think some activities can be more effective than others at different points in the legislative or election process. Most things like protests at the capital and testimony at hearings are for news and branding. They probably don’t change any legislator’s mind, but they do show that there is someone that cares about the issue, and that the legislator is not committing political suicide by siding with that issue.

        But right now, I think the most important thing is to develop contact lists of supporters in your district. Which ones will donate money? Which ones will vote your way? Which ones will call their reps? Which ones write letters? etc. And figuring that out takes time. But mobilizing those people on the list is how you make “guns” a 3rd rail.

  21. The only problem I see is that if the Hughes amendment was repealed, Then my $4,000 Mac/10 would go back to being a $400 POS that sprays bullets. That’s a terrible return on investment!

      • Yeah, your MAC 10 would only be worth 400.00, but think of how many quality machine guns could be had for 4000.00. Post 86 prices are phenomenal, we just aren’t allowed to play.

    • It is, but then you can get a buttload of them, and I opens up the opportunity for things like a SCAR, M4, or M240B. It’s true that you would lose an investment, but where one door closes, so many better ones open.

  22. The case for SBR’s:

    A rifle of caliber A in loading B with barrel length of 16 inches has a muzzle energy X. A rifle of caliber A in loading B with a barrel length of 10 inches has a muzzle energy < X. Therefore, an SBR is *less* dangerous than a current non-NFA item.

    Moral of the story? SBR's save lives™.

    The case for Suppressors:

    Bob hears a bump in the night, gathers his family in his master bedroom, and points his firearm at the door in case the intruder tries to enter. Bob's wife calls the police, and dispatch sends all available units to Bob's house. The police arrive and the intruder decides to take a hostage in order to escape. Bob shoots the intruder in the doorway of his master bedroom just as the police arrive. The police, hearing a gunshot, draw their firearms and issue commands to drop all weapons.

    However, Bob's ears are ringing from the gunshot in such a confined space. He can't hear what the police are saying, so he turns towards them in an effort to read their lips. He's seen as turning towards police while holding a weapon, shot, and killed. His youngest daughter is hit by a stray bullet, and his wife loses her hearing from the fusillade.

    Moral of the story? Suppressors save lives™.

  23. Well, here’s my strategy: a legit pro-2A POTUS in 2016. That will lead to pro-2A SCOTUS replacements. And of course there’s NRA, FPC, Calguns, SAF, etc. Hillary 2016 with additional anti-gun SCOTUS judges will cause damage that may be irreparable.

    • Sounds great but how about a majority Repub congress and senate and local and governors doing something MORE than they do? A lot should already be changed…and let’s not forget(for MarkPa) lots of this started in the 19th century with anti- black,catholic,women,Indian etc. gun laws.

      • Electing the Republican candidate for POTUS and insisting on Senate ratification of SCOTUS nominees are both necessary – yet NOT SUFFICIENT – conditions for survival of RKBA.

        Our problem is that we can’t bring out our own base on election day to vote pro-gun. Just think of this; if 40+% of households own guns PotG ought to be the most formidable voting block in the nation. Why isn’t RKBA already the 3’rd rail of Federal and State politics?

        The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our star politicians, but in ourselves.

        • Well I live in Illinois where it is difficult to surmise any substantial advantage to the GOP-equal opportunity corruption and graft. We will NEVER get everything we want…

        • >> Just think of this; if 40+% of households own guns PotG ought to be the most formidable voting block in the nation. Why isn’t RKBA already the 3’rd rail of Federal and State politics?


          1) Owning a gun doesn’t necessarily make one pro-gun (or, more precisely, pro-gun “enough” – a gun owner may still support UBC or AWB, for example).

          2) Gun rights aren’t the only heavily contested item, and for many people, including gun owners, other things are simply more important. Given the FPTP electoral system, and the two-party system that it enables, one has to pick which things are more important to cast their vote on.

        • In other words, we aren’t even successful in eating our own cooking. We have a lot of work to do to hone our arguments within our community. And, we have to take effective arguments to the uncommitted among non-gun owners.

          Someone wrote elsewhere – quite insightfully – that the RKBA is an acid-test for a politician’s commitment to liberty and a republican form-of-government. We need to refine that thought. If conservatives, libertarians, independents, and any sub-species of non-statists can begin to think about some sort of test for commitment to core principles (apart for a chicken in every pot) they might very well rally round the 2A.

          Altogether too much of what I read here on TTAG is ad homonym attacks and foul language at the Anti fringe who will never amount to a significant voting block. We need to work on those who are open to argument and those who are sympathetic to gun-control but willing to listen.

  24. The incremental approach is the only one that will work. No pol worth their salt wants to be the guy who legalized new-build machine guns for civilians and removed SBRs, SBSes, AOWs and cans from NFA purview.

    Here’s how I think we should do it.

    – Work on suppressors first. They are legal for us mere mortals to own in 40+ states. Take some Congress critters out on field trips and do demonstrations, using pistols, ARs, and some traditional hunting rifles to show the broad utility. Get suppressors removed from the NFA, but offer to keep the tax in place. Suppressor dealers would then become responsible for collecting the tax. You sell ten suppressors in July, you owe the Feds $2000. Much like a sales tax, you just pass the money up the chain. No NICS checks, since it’s just a funny-looking pipe after all. After a few years, try to get the tax repealed.

    – SBRs and SBSs next. Point out that no one is concealing either when they commit a crime. Point out the portability and the ease of use for disabled & elderly people. Keep the tax in place if you must, but get them off of the NFA.

    – Machine guns and AOWs, to be honest, I don’t know how to get those off of the NFA without causing mass hysteria. Too many people are conditioned to think both are just mass killing machines.

    Regardless, we can do it, if we approach it properly.

    • One point that needs to be made on machine guns is that they are currently legal to own (at least for me here in AZ), but due to the artificial restriction of supply they are only practical to own for the Elite.

      On a related note, Heller called out protection for guns “in common use,” and yet NFA firearms are explicitly removed from common use by outright bans in various states as well as the disincentives of taxes and wait times on those items where they are legal. Common use ought be determined by market forces and the relative suitability of those items for lawful purposes. I have no doubt whatsoever that silencers would be ubiquitous if they were not regulated, and if barrel length were not already singled out as *the* differentiating characteristic between legal and illegal firearms then we probably wouldn’t bother to use that feature to sort commonly used firearms from that special class of “uncommon so as not to be protected.” Otherwise, what? Ban pink rifles because the vast majority are black, OD green, FDE or some type of wood stock?

      • Yes on the machine gun bit. They are legal, but only the well-heeled collectors own them. I always groan when I see a DIAS ($5 bit of metal) being sold for $20K plus a waiting period.

      • ‘Heller called out protection for guns “in common use,’ . . . ”

        This bovine excrement appeared in the “dicta” not in the “decision”. The significance of the distinction between the two is not obvious (unless you are a constitutional law student).

        The decision means everything; the “dicta” that precedes it means only as much as any reader wants to impute to it. Sometimes, that’s quite a lot; sometimes, it’s nothing.

        For example, the practice of kidnapping fugitives under threat of lethal force (AKA bounty hunting) is legal in the US only because the dicta in a SCOTUS decision blabbered-on gratuitously to that effect. The decision in the case had nothing much to do with bounty-hunting. So far, everybody (except fugitives) has been pretty happy with that interpretation of dicta, so it stands.

        Conventional wisdom is that Scalia conceded quite a lot of dicta to secure Kennedy’s tie-breaking vote. If this is true then we got a great bargain. The decision is that the 2A is an individual right to keep a handgun in the home not predicated on actual militia service. The McDonald decision is that 2A is incorporated on the States.

        Everything beyond these two points is a mopping-up operation that may take decades; but that is almost inevitable (if we can manage to shoot straight).

        The gentle-reader will counter: ‘But – but – but – the lower courts are all showing contempt for everything that Scalia wrote in the dicta!!!’ To which I respond; quite so. And, in due course, other lower courts are just as free to express equal contempt for “sensitive places” or “in common use”. Thank you very much; I’ll keep my 2A rights to KBA in DC and the 50 States.

    • Generally speaking, that’s a pretty good plan. I’d refine it a bit by separating SBRs and SBSs. Like machine guns, “Sawed-off” shotguns have a pretty deep history of being vilified in popular culture. The average person thinks (based solely on what the TV box and movie screen have told them) that such shotguns are more dangerous and deadly than the same gun with a 20″ barrel. So we go for SBR’s first, because it’s an easier sell. Show people that the difference between a 14″ barrel and a 16″ barrel on the same rifle is either a lengthy permitting process or ten years in prison, and they’ll be asking why. Once SBR’s are off the NFA list and blood doesn’t run in the streets, we’ve got more ammo to free the SBS’s from their decades of oppression.

      As for full-auto, that’s a long way down the road. First step is probably to keep them as NFA items, but repeal the Hughes amendment. But getting them completely off the NFA is definitely the last battle, and will likely be the most difficult.

    • >> Machine guns and AOWs, to be honest, I don’t know how to get those off of the NFA without causing mass hysteria. Too many people are conditioned to think both are just mass killing machines.

      How many people even know what an AOW is? Most of them don’t really look all that “mean”.

    • Or make the pistol law like the rifle law. ONCE a handgun always a handgun. So if you take an ar pistol and out a stock on it, it’s still a handgun. This actually fits with the original intent of the SBR tax, which was made to keep people from making handguns out of rifles, not making rifles out of handguns. Handguns where not allowed to be shipped across state lines like rifles where at the time.

  25. Hi armed intelligentsia, I have a few questions from an outsiders point of few.
    I know that short and automatic rifles were forbidden in the US, because they were used in Chicago by the mafia and by a few famous gangsters in the 1920’s and 30’s. Now you argue that fully automatic rifles are as dangerous as normal semi autos. Where is you’re proof there? Only because this weapons aren’t so wide spread like “normal” rifles or pistols, they make less damage to the public.
    Also I read here from many that an elderly person, who can’t hold and/or operate a normal pistol is better suited with a short rifle or even a fully automatic rifle. Why should it be safe for such a person to shoot any weapon? If you can’t handle a pistol, why should you be able to hand a rifle let alone a full auto one? Okay I haven’t shot much in my life, exactly 2 times, the first time was with my sister in the police stand just to try her service pistol and the second time was in a shooting club with a rifle. If I remember correctly there wasn’t much difference in the felt recoil.
    It would be really nice if you could answer that questions for me.

    • I don’t think anyone is recommending full auto rifles for elderly people (or anyone, for that matter) for home defense.

      The rationale for short rifles over handguns is that:

      a) Rifles require less hand strength to operate well. This is very important for people with arthritis or other conditions that weaken grip strength.

      b) Rifles are steadier and easier to aim than handguns. Their size and two-hands+shoulder operation steady the gun far better than a handgun held at arm’s length.

      c) Rifles produce far more damage on the target for a given amount of recoil than pistols. A rifle firing a fairly light projectile and producing almost no recoil will have more stopping power than all but the stoutest handguns.

      Handguns in general are harder to shoot well than rifles. You can put a good rifle in almost anyone’s hands, regardless of previous experience, and in a very short time have them making on-target hits at targets 25 or 50 yards off. It takes much more practice to do the same with a pistol, even at closer ranges like 10 yards.

      The biggest drawback to rifles is their length and weight. Indoors, a full-length rifle can be unwieldy. Shortening the barrel helps a lot with this problem.

      • First of all thanks for you’re answer.
        On the point of full auto weapons for elderly the author among others made this point.
        [/quote]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.[/quote]

        • I think you’re confusing “point-and-shoot” for “spray-and-pray”. Point-and-shoot simply means a weapon that’s easier and more “natural” to shoot, and quicker to bring on target. A short carbine with a red-dot scope or aperture sight system is considerably easier to shoulder and fire accurately (point and shoot) than a handgun, for the reasons I outlined above.

          “Spray and pray”, on the other hand, is a common term to describe just blasting away with a full-auto machinegun (which would be an incredibly irresponsible thing to do outside of a formal range setting with a proper backstop).

        • Oops, you’re right I did get confused with the two terms. Thanks for clearing that up.

    • >> Where is you’re proof there? Only because this weapons aren’t so wide spread like “normal” rifles or pistols, they make less damage to the public.

      While they’re significantly less widespread, they still exist and can be legally owned. Logically speaking, if they really conferred any significant benefit, you’d see people trying to obtain them to use them in crimes. But when we look at crime stats, we see that there’s, if I remember correctly, one instance of an NFA-legal full auto firearm ever used in a commission of a crime.

      Don’t forget also that we have things like bump-fire stocks that aren’t legally full auto, but in practice do 90% of the same thing. These are not regulated at all and can be easily bought online and shipped to your door. Again, if this conferred some significant advantage for criminals, we’d see these used a lot. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a single case of anyone using a bump-fire stock in any crime, not even a shooting spree.

      • At first thanks for the answer. Second a follow up question:
        You write about legal firearms, but how many bad guys use legal weapons in their crimes anyway? Isn’t that like comparing apples to oranges?

        • That’s a good point, but statistically, it’s a similar situation. Several models of rifles are relatively simple to convert to full-auto if you have the right parts or machine skills. Machine guns have been around for more than a century, so it’s not difficult technology to manufacture. That being the case, we still rarely ever see any full-auto weapons (legally registered or otherwise) used in crime in the U.S. That seems to indicate that those bent on mayhem feel that ordinary semi-auto weapons are useful enough for their criminal purposes, and that full-auto confers very little benefit to criminals.

        • Okay I get you’re point. But why then did the criminals in Chicago in the 20’s think otherwise? Or how about Bonny and Clyde, Clyde used a BAR and Bonny and the rest of the gang used full autos as well. That was also the reason why this weapons were band in the US in the first place.
          These weapons have a greater potential for destruction, why else would the military use it? Yes, I know most modern military rifles only use three shot burst (one trigger pull 3 rounds exit) or what ever it is called in English, but the first weapons used where fully auto and the doctrine was to spray and pray. That was also the reason for the development of the 5,56 NATO round and other intermediate cartridges. Soldiers could carry more ammunition and could spray and pray.

  26. I’ve already been working on eroding what passes for “common sense” by pointing out to the uninitiated how utterly non-sensical NFA restrictions actually are. Here’s a blog I posted on my main hangout for XBox gaming:

    I used the style of an Achievement Guide, a familiar format to users of that site, to describe the hoops one must jump through to legally acquire or build various NFA items and to underscore just how dangerously arbitrary certain restrictions are. I compared these NFA pitfalls to “glitched achievements,” a term that in gaming describes achievements (basically little badges that unlock for accomplishing certain objectives in games) that may be permanently voided due to bad programming or broken game mechanics that must be carefully skirted.

    TL/DR: the marketing tagline of the Anti Crowd is “common sense gun reform,” so I’m going all-in to educate as many people as possible about the lack of common sense in the gun laws we have. NFA is a prime offender, but patchwork carry restrictions and “no issue” policies rank right up there.

    • Strikes me as a marvelous strategy! Let’s face it, a large segment of future adult-voters are video-game junkies who are interested in such technicalities as you call “glitches achievements”. At this brief juncture in their lives they have the interest and the patience to pay attention to the details and reach a conclusion that the “grown-ups” must be out-of-their-minds! The seed of a profound skepticism for the ways and means of legislatures will have been planted.

      Later, when they are called upon to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Anti-Moms, their skepticism neurons will have been primed.

  27. Repeal of the Hughes amendment IS a pragmatic and piecemeal deconstruction of the NFA!

    All of the NFA restrictions on machine-gun ownership would still be in place, and the only thing that would change is the quantity and quality of machine-guns available – all the usual hoops are still in place.

    With the subsequent price drops and availability increases, more people would be inclined to jump through those hoops. This will increase machine-gun ownership by law-abiding enthusiasts and in a short (or maybe long) time would take the much of steam and indignation out of the pearl-clutching.

    So false dichotomy aside, the only thing your arguing is whose definition of pragmatism we are going to use.

  28. Why is everyone talking repeal this law etc. The 1934 NFA was a tax scheme. Congress has the power to tax and tax they did. Nothing was banned, it was simply taxed. Why the tax and not an all out ban? Because an all out ban would have been ruled unconstitutional, period. Same deal in 1968 only that time it was under the guise of interstate commerce. Still congress had the power.
    1986 comes along and the Hughes Amendment is enacted. Regardless of if it passed legally or not (it absolutely didn’t) we ended up with an all out unconstitutional weapons ban in clear violation of the 2nd amendment. Imagine any other protected right having the same kind of debate in congress. Something like, well you can refuse to be searched but only if what we are looking for came into your possession before 1986, and only if first you have paid and received your right to no search and seizure stamp.
    The 2nd amendment is very clear that NO infringement is allowed. In fact it was so important to the people who wrote it that it is the only amendment with that clearly written demand.
    We don’t need to be begging, pleading, and dealing for a few items. We need to be demanding in mass that these restrictions are erased. Suing on local, state, and federal levels constantly. Making the courts such a mess that nothing gets done until they are gone.
    If they can pass bs like the Hughes Amendment and get away with it they can pass whatever they want.

    • You’re right, the NFA was a tax law; it ended up in Title 26 (IIRC) instead of Title 18 (the criminal code) like GCA 86 and the 1993-94 AWB and Brady Act/NICS did.

      It’s a damn peculiar tax though, since you have to beg the government for permission to pay it! Just brainstorming here: maybe as an incremental move it could be turned into a simple transfer tax without the paperwork and approval process; that way the government gets to hang onto its revenue stream for now. ($200 was a major deterrent back then; today, not nearly so much).

  29. ANY progress is better than NO progress. It might not be ideal, but getting something removed is better than leaving it the way it is.

  30. As MarkPA notes, there is often great value in incrementalism. In the case of the NFA, it’s the only way to go. And the progression that Mark favors is the correct one IMO. Deregulate silencers first, then it’s onto other things.

  31. Hmmm….I wonder if I could seek a refund for all my stamps, if we were to eventually get suppressors and SBRs off the list.

    If you’re gonna dream, dream big. 😀 😀 😀

  32. Go after suppressors first. Use the fact that the Euros love them to convince the left it’s OK. After all, Europeans know everything and never make bad public policy decisions.

    Once suppressors are removed from NFA regulation, go after short-barreled rifles.

    After that, I’m getting a .458 Socom short-barreled upper and a suppressor.

    • Hm when Euros love them as you put it, then why is mounting them on a gun illegal in some states here in Germany or having any in Austria? Because they are not liked by all Euros.

  33. No one has ever been charged with creating an illegal aow by adding a vertical fore grip to a pistol. The one time the ATF did try to tack on that charge, the judge threw it out saying that there was no law that stated adding a vfg to a pistol changed the classification. You can read the ruling here:

  34. I won’t turn my back on any fight to restore human rights. I would simply point out that falling off a mountain does not entail the same process, activities, equipment, etc., as climbing the mountain…

    Incremental-ism is how Rights are lost. They are regained in big bloody chunks.

    The sky is blue, the grass is green; that’s just how it is. I know its not cozy rainbows and fairy dust, but it’s true.

    These imaginings are nice thoughts, but that’s just not how it works. If one lacks the testicular fortitude to admit reality, one certainly has no constitution for achieving it. Repeating the same limp-wrist excuses expecting a different result…

    I do not dissuade you, I encourage you to stop doing things that won’t work, and do something that will. For how long can I watch you beat your head against a wall and refuse to listen to the truth of it?

    The enemy’s first and last resort is violence. It’s the only thought they ever have. If you’re too damned civilized to resist with the same; you lose. Period. That’s how it is. That’s why they are as they are, it wins.

    • You and I are of the same mind. Still, in the mean time it would be nice to practice with a can and have the government enforcers not be able to bother me. And instead of a Bushmaster ACR, I could buy a Remington ACR which is a much improved version of the design.

      But in the end if the 2nd Amendment meant anything really, then you and I would have no trouble buying anything in use by the government infanty like anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. And the only way Americans will ever get that back… well, it won’t be pretty.

  35. SBRs are simply the modern evolution of the rifled long gun. Most technological devices in society have ?grown? smaller over the course of the last three generations. Why not just recognize that fact of life?

  36. I think we do chip back. When I see the work of the NRA, GOA and SAF I see a return of proper application of Rights. At this point if not true I assert the 2A would be long gone. I do bear the feeling, as I suggest many others do, it seems like one step forward, two steps back at times. Yet in reality we still have the 2A, much of it is intact, and in some States where loss has occurred, some has been returned. The current left progressive administration coupled with some billionaires make for an unpleasant period in our history for Constitutional Rights. We do chip back albeit with a painfully slow feel.

  37. We lost those rights by falling asleep at the wheel. It’s ironic that same law passed in 1986 would not stand a snowball’s chance today of ever seeing the light of day in a Congressional sub committee.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here