Quote of the Day: I Call Short-Barreled Shotgun Edition

Short-barreled shotgun (courtesy s279.photobucket.com)

“The United States counters that while the possession of a short-barreled shotgun does not create a definite risk of physical injury, the emphasis is that there is possible risk, and the standard scenario of possessing a short-barreled shotgun includes serious possible risk of injury to another.” – Johnson v. United States [via law.cornell.edu] [h/t Pascal]


  1. avatar martin says:

    Get that finger off the trigger

  2. avatar Accur81 says:

    A short barreled shotgun is just a hacksaw away.

    1. avatar helen sabin says:

      ask gunsmiths and they will tell you that the pressure caused by cutting down the barrel might cause the gun to explode. this is a fool who does this.

  3. avatar El Mac says:

    Oooook…………..I guess??

  4. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    “… serious possible risk of injury to another.”

    Um, isn’t that the general idea, intent and rationale? Sweeping the trenches requires a wide broom.

  5. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    And, as you all well know, the longer the barrel the less risk of serious injury… I mean you put a 28 inch barrel on a shotgun and you might as well be tickling whatever you’re shooting, right?

  6. avatar Justin says:

    Thank you nanny United States. However would I manage without you keeping me safe and sound from the cradle to grave?

  7. avatar the ruester says:

    Only scoundrels would need short barreled shotguns is what I guess they are trying to say. They need it to hold up because that notion will also be the cornerstone of the coming movement to tighten up the “Saturday night special” laws.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      So basically, their point would be that only people tending to do something wrong would have the need for something small and concealable…

      Well, that must mean they are in favor of OCing hog leg pistols and long guns, because if it’s big and out in the open it must be for a legit purpose.

      1. avatar Jay Williams says:

        I don’t think anyone here is really saying politicians aren’t idiots, are they?

  8. avatar borg says:

    That thing does not have a butt stock so it may be considered an AOW rather than a shotgun.

    1. avatar god says:

      Nope. Used to have a stock.

    2. avatar JR says:

      That’s true as long as it has never had a butt stock. Either way, to have made it legally it would still take a $200 tax stamp.

      1. avatar Matt says:

        AOW is a $5 tax stamp but as you said, it must have been manufactured in that configuration originally to qualify as an AOW. Otherwise, a shotgun converted to a short barrel is a $200 tax stamp and falls under the short barrel shotgun designation/classification.

        1. avatar full.tang.halo says:

          An AOW transfers on a $5 tax stamp. Look at a Form 1, there is no place for a $5 manufacture stamp, to manufacture an AOW is the same $200 as manufacturing a SBS, SBR, DD or Silencer.

        2. avatar Matt says:


          Thanks for the clarification.

          This is/was my understanding: the firearm must have been manufactured originally as an AOW by the licensed manufacturer to qualify as an AOW. It could never have existed in corporeal form as anything but an AOW, a converted firearm does not meet the AOW criteria. It is then transferred, as you said, with a $5 tax.

          If an individual is to manufacture anything by converting an existing firearm, it would then fall under the definition of short barreled shotgun and transfer, as you said, with a $200 tax.

          I admit, NFA is not my strongest area of firearms knowledge.

        3. avatar JR says:

          full.tang.halo is dead on.

          I find the $5 stamp vs the $200 stamp to be one of the most misunderstood aspects of NFA manufacture and transfer. Most people seem to believe the stamp to manufacture an AOW is $5.00.

  9. avatar full.tang.halo says:

    I guess I’ve missed the near daily “injury to another” by tens of thousands of the legally registered and owned SBS’s in the NFA registry….

  10. avatar Mr. Antisocial Guy says:

    There is also some pretty serious set of bars on that right hand wall behind him. That makes me wonder if it’s an evidence room in some PD somewhere. Either that or this guy is preparing for some intense SHTF!

    1. avatar v v ind says:

      None of the above, he just lives in Ferguson, thats all.

      1. avatar Mr. Antisocial Guy says:

        +1 And I am REALLY Glad I’m not in Ferguson! Or Chicago, or D.C. etc, etc.

  11. avatar Mike Crognale says:

    Why is it always the morons who cause these cases? First was Miller now Johnson. I have no faith that the court might rule in his favor.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Because cases testing the constitutionality of criminal law involve criminal cases and therefore criminals. And criminals are moronic douchebags.

      Miranda was a scumbag as well, but the case and the decision are still valid nonetheless.

      1. avatar MIKE CROGNALE says:

        True. My question was more in the line of anguished rhetorical than anything else.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Blame lies with the court for bad rulings, irrespective of the case circumstances. Iffy specifics only matter if a court is looking for a way to circumvent rights. The motivation and action are the fault of the court and not the non-government party.

  12. avatar ninjaTED says:

    I thought this was especially interesting, particularly for all the Fudds out there who think that the G will never be interested in their skeet guns:

    ” The United States also contends that shotguns are particularly dangerous and destructive because of the ability to shoot multiple projectiles simultaneously, allowing a shooter to hit multiple targets or hit a single target with multiple pellets with only one trigger pull.”

    Sure, ban those assault weapons nobody needs, because nobody is coming for ol’ Elmer’s shotty.

  13. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    This sort of case and argument reveal that gun control laws are nothing more than a veiled attempt to disarm the entire populace.

    Fact: a shotgun with a 12 inch barrel is no more or less dangerous than a “legal” shotgun with a 16.1 inch barrel.

    Remember, these sorts of laws came just a few years after widespread passage of laws that criminalized open and/or concealed carry of “small” firearms (e.g. handguns) for all but an elite few people who could acquire licenses to carry.

    So, why are there any laws about the length of shotgun barrels? Because legislatures wanted to disarm the populace and began passing laws against “small” firearms. Legislatures had already tackled handguns. Shortened long guns were next.

    1. avatar Jon says:


      Rifles are limited to a 16″ barrel
      Shotguns are limited to an 18″ barrel

      Anything shorter than that must be registered with the ATF

  14. avatar tom12121112 says:

    Can someone describe why something like a sawed off shotgun is illegal, but a revolver that can chamber .410 is perfectly fine? The ATF defines a shotgun as a smoothbore gun that is designed or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder. Now, once a stock is cut off, isn’t the gun now not redesigned to be fired from the shoulder? Then we are left with the rifling clause i guess, but who’s stopping someone from cutting down a slug barrel?

    1. avatar John M. says:

      Because reasonable, common-sense gun restrictions.

      1. avatar Chadwick P says:

        Because laws.

    2. avatar Timmy! says:

      “Can someone describe why something like a sawed off shotgun is illegal, but a revolver that can chamber .410 is perfectly fine? …we are left with the rifling clause i guess, but who’s stopping someone from cutting down a slug barrel?”

      I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV… nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but It is my understanding that “Once a long gun, always a long gun” is the rule.

    3. avatar Wesley T. Hartman says:

      A couple of reasons. 1) Handguns must have rifled barrels (smoothbore are AOWs), 2) Handguns must have a bore diameter no greater than .50 of an inch, and as has been mentioned, 3) Once a long gun, always a long gun.

  15. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

    By the standard of “possible risk,” many, many things could be prohibited or heavily restricted. Nail guns. Baseball bats. Long kitchen knives. Bleach. Antifreeze. etc.

    1. avatar Jay Williams says:


  16. avatar Roll says:

    Wasnt a SBS the original reason for the 1934 NFA? Not sure, but i think a SBS/SBR would be a great home defense gun.

    1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

      As long as the user could handle the recoil, I’d agree. Not as easy for the bad guy to grab the barrel if there’s less barrel to grab.

      I’d assume that buckshot would spread a bit more with a shorter barrel too. I know it doesn’t spread very much at all at “across the room” distance, but even a little bit of extra spread could mean a greater chance of hitting something vital.

      1. avatar Jon says:

        Spread with a cylinder choke is about 1″ per yard IIRC, so at barrel-grabbing distance there wouldn’t be a noticeable difference at all

  17. avatar David says:

    It saddens me that someone would do that to a Model 12 with a jeweled bolt.

  18. avatar Scrubula says:

    This case will basically determine whether the feds can no-knock raid a home and put the lives of everyone inside at risk to confiscate an SBS. Otherwise they would have to get a normal permit, get the owner to show them the gun, then give them a hearing notice to show up in court for possession of an illegal firearm.
    The way it should be.

  19. avatar Robert Farago says:

    Note: There are over 40k civilian-owned legally registered short-barreled shotguns in these here United States. Thirty-nine of which do not prohibit their ownership outright.

  20. avatar former water walker says:

    OK. BOTH points about barrel length and Judge type shotgun s are taken. Wasn’t the revolver shotgun banned at one time? And what’s so hard about concealing a Mossberg persuader?

  21. avatar Shire-man says:

    So by that reasoning literally everything and everyone should be registered and regulated. If the alleged danger were to based on quantifiable incidents NFA items would be way behind peanuts and bee stings on the regulation priority list.

    In any case it’s an admission of how stupid/pointless the law(s) is.

  22. avatar CarlosT says:

    This made me audibly say “what the…”

    The United States contends that the short-barreled shotgun is suited for criminal purposes because it is concealable, easily maneuvered and the Court has stated the possession of a short-barreled shotgun is similar to possessing “grenades, machine-gun and artillery pieces, in that any reasonable person would know that they are not ordinary weapons fit for civilian use.”

    I have a feeling that last bit is from Miller.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      No, Nazi Germany.


      The Heirarchy of “Gun Control” is this:
      1) Rid the rest of the Universe of Guns
      2) Get rid of your own
      3) Then, try taking mine
      Try that crap out of order at your own peril stupid.

      It is
      W R O N G F U L
      Not just ‘wrong’ for the Court, or the U.S. Government to assert that they can protect anyone on the individual level. It is impossible.

      Further, there is no “Civilian” use for firearms not also attributable to government (which is comprised of) or its military (which, according to ALL military doctrine, and every military strategist, you cannot put a force afield without an equal or greater force at home, and one that can withstand a complete reversal of fronts. Which, when boiled-down to its most basic kernel is the individual. Loosely paraphrased from TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012)

  23. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Did somebody hack in and do a find/replace on the Great Seal of the United States? When did e pluribus unum become in loco parentis?

  24. avatar preston says:

    so does owning a pair of scissors.

  25. avatar Robert says:

    I’d like to see the NFA and ATF revoked and abolished like everyone else, but if it’s currently the law, I’m not going to agree with people’s sentiment on the subject.

    Besides, you could just dual-wield some .410 revolvers loaded with shotgun shells

  26. avatar Tiostiont says:

    ᴜᴘ ᴛᴏ I sᴀᴡ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅʀᴀғᴛ sᴀʏɪɴɢ $5385 , I ᴅɪᴅ ɴᴏᴛ ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ…ᴍʏ… ᴍᴏᴍ ɪɴ-ʟᴀᴡ ᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟɪᴇ ᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ ᴍᴏɴᴇʏ ᴘᴀʀᴛ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴀᴘᴘʟᴇ ʟᴀʙᴛᴏᴘ. . ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ʙʀᴏᴛʜᴇʀs ғʀɪᴇɴᴅ ʜᴀs ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴅᴏɪɴɢ ᴛʜɪs ғᴏʀ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴛᴡᴇɴᴛʏ ᴏɴᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ᴀɴᴅ ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴘᴀɪᴅ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏʀᴛɢᴀɢᴇ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴀᴘᴀʀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴜʀᴄʜᴀsᴇᴅ ᴀ ʙʀᴀɴᴅ ɴᴇᴡ Sᴀᴀʙ 99 Tᴜʀʙᴏ . sᴇᴇ ᴛʜɪs……………………..http://2.gp/Fgrm

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      ….and soaring dragon rises over leaping leopard so I come all over you!

  27. avatar Fug says:

    Sometimes I can’t help but laugh at the fact these poorly worded and reasoned statements that come from the Judiciary are actually held up as law. Hard not to favor anarchism when you realize our “society” is run by a pack of bloviating, ignorant jackasses… and it probably will be until it withers.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Aye. When the government’s mask slips, it’s difficult not to come to that conclusion.

  28. avatar Royal Tony says:

    “The United States counters that while the possession of a short-barreled shotgun does not create a definite risk of physical injury, the emphasis is that there is possible risk, and the standard scenario of possessing a short-barreled shotgun includes shooting your eye out”. Thanks mom!

  29. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    the emphasis is that there is possible risk, and the standard scenario of possessing a short-barreled shotgun includes serious possible risk of injury to another.” Heck, you could apply that lame reasoning to about anything including pencils.

  30. avatar SNNN says:

    Meanwhile…..this prevent crime….how? Silly me, its not about crime
    its about CONTROL. We are now so far off the rails and so under
    the sway of “administrative lawmaking” we should just chose a
    King as our absolute ruler and be done with it….sigh,

  31. avatar RLC2 says:

    Heres an interesting bit of history on the NFA, and origins of prohibition of short barrelled shotgun: (h/t keep and bear arms)


  32. avatar LordGopu says:

    Short barreled rifles and shotguns don’t fall into any special category here in Canada. You can get them as easily as any typical hunting rifles/shotguns. There doesn’t seem to be any issues with them up here.

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