One of the questions I occasionally get during the day at the class-3 FFL where I work is, “can I buy a machine gun?” I usually respond with the whole spiel of how “the registry” was closed and how much that tends to stink for anyone of average means who desires a full-auto weapon. Quite simply, if you don’t have a fat wallet, you don’t get to go rat-a-tat-tat. I really hate that . . .
It’s not that I’m jealous of those who can afford machine guns. It doesn’t bother me that their disposable income is much greater than mine. What bothers me is that I should be able to afford a machine gun, but I can’t because of artificial inflation caused by a “do-good” representative from New Jersey circa 1986. I don’t want to offend those of you who own them, but to be quite frank, MAC-10s are $300 guns at best. And Stens should be a cash purchase you make from your change jar.
Have you ever looked at these guns? Imagine that you were shopping for guns at a third world arms bazaar and a Georgian with a bushy mustache offered you a 35-year-old stamped metal machine pistol for $5000. You’d probably laugh at him, then get the guy you hired out of the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine to kick his ass for trying to rip you off.
Yet here we are, nearly 30 years after the registry closed and no one has made a peep about opening it up. That really gets my goat (the one I took from the Georgian who tried to rip me off). I want my GLOCK auto-sear. $100 + NFA tax. My GLOCK 26 will be complete. That’s the machine gun of my dreams; my favorite pistol with a happy switch.
The Supreme Court ruled that at a minimum, we have the right to weapons that are in common use. Machine guns need to be in common use for them to be constitutionally protected (by way of Heller), but because of artificially limited supply, created by the Hughes Amendment, they’re not. The closing of the registry created a catch-22. How many of you out there would own machine guns if you had the option? Enough to make them “commonly used” is the answer.
Even without a court case, why has there not been a single “poison pill” attached to some cause celebre bill that has been proposed (and ultimately passed) within the last two decades? The Affordable Care Act comes to mind. There were stimulus packages. What about various foreign aid bills that passed?
I think part of that comes from a politician’s reluctance to be known as “the guy who put machine guns back on our streets.” Another part of it stems from a poor general attitude on the issue at hand. Have you ever started up the, “I want a machine gun” conversation with someone, only to be met with the reply, “Yeah, it’s a waste of ammo,” or, “I’d rather just get the semi?” I have. I think that many overlook the fact that most machine guns are select-fire and give you the option of semi or full auto… or burst fire, if you want to really get down to it. Why, given the option of having a gun that could do both for the same price, would you not choose the full auto? Seriously, if I presented you with two AR-15s for $1500 – one select-fire and the other neutered – why would you pick the one that lacked the option of full-auto fire?
At this point in the conversation, if you manage to circumvent the usual nonsense about preternatural rate-of-climb and uncontrollability, the various half-assed, full auto “simulator” triggers get brought up as viable alternatives. Hell-fire, Tac-Trigger, bump-stocks; whatever someone came up with to get around the machine gun ban; something to give us poorer slobs a taste of full auto. Except, it’s still not full auto. And it tastes like a mouthful of turd. It’s like giving a man accustomed to fine cigars a Swisher Sweet and saying, “what? it’s a cigar, isn’t it?” No, it’s not. I’m no coprophage, I’d like my machine gun please.
My gut tells me that I’m not the only person who would like to see the registry opened. As to how… I would say that we need to wait for the right moment, but I think there have been many times when this could have been brought up as a bill or amendment and argued for successfully. I would say we need the right court case, but we’ve already had a number of them that would support the opening of the registry. People just sat on their not-so-proverbial-derrieres and let things pass them by. This is the problem that we must overcome: those who are happy with the status quo; those who lack ambition; those who consider machine guns to be too taboo for public mention; and ultimately, those who fight for only the parts of the Second Amendment that they care about. Surely, I am not the only one who sees machine guns as more than a novelty? There has to be a congressional representative at some level that would help Second Amendment supporters take up this cause.