Friday, May 02, 2014
New Kansas Law Requires CLEO's to Sign Federal Forms (National Firearms Act)
The gun law reform signed by Governor Brownback for the State of Kansas included a requirement for Chief Law Enforcement Officers to sign on the form allowing Kansas citizens to pay the $200 federal tax for National Firearms Act items (NFA). Bill 2578/SB447 includes a number of incremental reforms aimed at restoring second amendment rights in Kansas. One reform that I missed in the rough and tumble of state legislative politics alleviates one of the problems created by the NFA of 1934.
There are numerous inherent problems with the NFA. Mostly outdated when it was signed as part of Franklin Roosevelt's attempt to disarm the American citizenry, it has severe regulatory and tax burdens for gun mufflers, even though no reason was ever given for their inclusion. The same penalties apply to short barrelled shotguns and rifles as apply to automatic firearms, although there is no reason to regulate short barrelled rifles and shotguns any more than pistols. That prohibition was included in the law because the original version included all handguns in the prohibitions as well.
The NFA of 1934 mixes local and federal prerogatives without regard to the separation of powers inherent in the Constitution. This is what one would expect from "progressives" that considered the Constitution a problem to be worked around, rather than the highest law of the land, and it has continued to create difficulties in the post-progressive era.
The vast majority of tax stamps sold are for short barreled rifles and shotguns and for gun mufflers. But because the NFA mixes local and federal authority in the act, local Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) are able to veto the ability of a citizen to pay a federal tax to obtain the items, for any or no reason.
The "tax" dodge has always been a transparent attempt to give the NFA a thin veneer of constitutionality. It never fooled anyone. It was and is a baldfaced power grab by the federal government to restrict and register firearms, and even some non-firearms such as gun mufflers.
Kansas legislators did what they could to mitigate the problem. They required CLEOs to sign off on the tax payment unless they could show a legal reason beyond laziness or personal prejudice. Arizona recently passed a similar law. Tennessee did so in 2010. Kansas gives the CLEO 15 days to act, as does Tennessee. Arizona is more lenient, and gives them 60 days.
To sum up. Under the new Kansas law, citizens who wish to purchase an NFA item and are willing to jump through the regulatory hoops and pay the $200 tax (which was an obscene $4,000 in today's dollars in 1934!), cannot have their ability to pay the tax vetoed by a Kansas CLEO for any reason except those specified in the law.
It is called the rule of law, and it goes into effect in Kansas on 1 July of 2014, 80 years after the Roosevelt administration pushed through the first real federal gun ban.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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