|Use of Silencers is encouraged in Europe Photo Courtesy Gun World|
As part of the antiquated and constitutionally questionable National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), heads of local law enforcement were required to sign off on the acquisition of tax stamps required to own gun mufflers, short barreled rifles or shotguns, and fully automatic firearms, that were transferred across state lines.
With the Supreme Court firmly in "progressive" hands, the law quickly morphed into a federal requirement that a $200 tax stamp had to be paid, along with requirements for fingerprints and registration for any of the restricted items, whether they crossed state lines or not. Everyone understood that this was a virtual prohibition/registration system under the disguise of a "tax" in order to give it a faint hint of constitutionality. Very few tax stamps were purchased. In 1934, the $200 tax was worth about $4,000 in todays money.
The requirement for local law enforcement approval to allow someone to pay a federal tax shows the insanity of the measure. It clearly crossed the line of separation of powers between the federal government and the states.
The arrangement continues to exist to this day, long after it has been superseded by technology and Supreme Court rulings on the separation of powers and the second amendment.
Because of a highly questionable amendment in 1986, the number of automatic firearms available to the general public is frozen, and few transfers of them take place. The overwhelming majority of NFA tax stamps today are for gun mufflers and short barreled rifles and shotguns. There is no logical reason to treat any of those items with higher levels of regulation than handguns, which have been recognized as constitutionally protected since the Heller and McDonald decisions.
To legally possess any of these items, a person has to obtain the approval of a local law enforcement chief. Some chiefs sign the form quickly and easily, some abuse their power, either because of ideology, personal animosity, or fear of liability, and refuse to allow people to pay the federal tax.
Arizona recently followed the example of other states, such as Tennessee, by removing this decision from the chief law enforcement officer, unless the chief could provide written proof that the applicant was legally prohibited from possessing the items. From the bill:
...the chief law enforcement officer, within sixty days after receipt of a request for certification by an applicant, shall provide the certification if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the firearm or is not the subject of a proceeding that could result in the applicant being prohibited by law from receiving the firearm.Gun mufflers, in the NFA, are referred to as "firearms".
Governor Brewer signed the bill into law on 23 April, 2014.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch