Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Using Amnesty to Roll Back Second Amendment Infringements

A little known law, passed concurrently with the Gun Control Act of 1968, offers the Trump administration a powerful lever. That lever can be used to roll back infringements on the Second Amendment that exist in the National Firearms Act of 1934.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) is an ill-conceived omnibus gun control legislation passed in 1934. It was poorly written by an ascendant Franklin Roosevelt administration. It was designed to outlaw the possession of handguns through draconian taxes and regulation. The tax stamp for a single item was equivalent to a years income for a day laborer. Thrown in the mix were machine guns (to add some pizazz, they were not a real problem), silencers (for no known reason), and sawed off rifles and shotguns (because it made no sense to outlaw handguns, when anyone could make a handgun from a rifle or shotgun with a hack saw and 15 minutes).

Outlawing handguns was a bridge too far for Congress.  They were taken out of the bill.  What was left was passed as a sop to Roosevelt. After all, it only applied to machine guns, silencers, and short barreled rifles and shotguns that crossed state lines. Few people owned or used those items anyway.  Even fewer took them across state lines.

Not many people paid attention to the law.  There was no provision for people who failed to register their items during the initial grace period to register them afterward. A few registrations trickled in during the following decades under lenient Treasury department tax policy.  The law become a bigger problem with the Supreme Court decision Wickard v. Filburn in 1942. In that decision, the court expanded federal law to apply to items that did not cross state lines.

When the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, the Congress concurrently passed a bill to allow an amnesty for people who had unregistered NFA items. No fingerprints or tax was required.  Fill out a paper form and send it in, and your NFA item was registered.  The initial amnesty was for 30 days in 1968, from October 2nd to November 1st. The law contained a provision for further amnesties at the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. They only needed to be announced beforehand in the Federal Register. From PUBLIC LAW 90-619-OCT. 22, 1968, found on page 1236 of United States Statutes at Large Volume 82.djvu/1278:

(d) The Secretary of the Treasury, after publication in the Federal Register of his intention to do so, is authorized to establish such periods of amnesty, not to exceed ninety days in the case of any single period, and immunity from liability during any such period, as the Secretary determines will contribute to the purposes of this title. TITLE III — AMENDMENTS TO TITLE VII O F THE OMNIB U S C R I M E CONTROL A N D S A F E S T R E E T S ACT O F 1968
I do not believe this statute has ever been repealed or superseded. It appears to be effective law.  In 1968, there was an expectation that amnesties would be a common, regular occurrence to bring unregistered NFA items into the legal fold.

Many people believe the NFA should be repealed, as an obvious infringement on the Second Amendment.  That may be a step too far for the Trump administration for the first term. But the NFA is terribly flawed legislation and is ripe for reform.

It is insane to regulate silencers (gun mufflers) at levels far more strict than Europe.  In New Zealand any child with the money can walk into a hardware store and buy a silencer for $20.

It is insane to regulate short barreled rifles and shotguns more strictly than handguns.  If the law is going to differentiate between long guns and handguns, a simple size difference would make sense. Anything over 26 inches is regulated as a long gun. Anything less than 26 inches is a regulated as a handgun. No separate draconian taxes and regulations for a shotgun with a 17 inch barrel.

In 1986, in a nasty legislative maneuver, the Democrats managed to place a ban on the future production of strictly regulated machine guns for civilian ownership. It was added as an amendment to the 1986 Gun Owner Protection Act. This punished legal owners of machine guns, who were already highly regulated by the NFA. Why? Because no citizen had murdered anyone with a legally owned machine gun in the 54 years of the NFA!  There had been no problems. Therefore future ownership of highly regulated machine guns had to be banned!

All three of these provisions are ripe for reform.

The Hearing Protection Act changes the regulation of silencers from being treated the same as machine guns to being treated like rifles or shotguns.

Short barreled rifles or shotguns should be eliminated as a special class. Instead, handguns should be re-defined as any firearm that is designed to be fired in a configuration shorter than 26 inches. 26 inches is the current standard for short barreled rifles and shotguns.

The ban on highly regulated citizen ownership of machine guns made after 1986 should be repealed.

The Amnesty law offers the lever to accomplish these reforms.

If the Democrats want to filibuster the Hearing Protection act, offer a 90 day amnesty on the registration of silencers for the NFA.  No tax, no fingerprints, just fill out a form and send it in. If the Democrats refuse to relent, rinse, and repeat. Pound the new media and twitter with the insanity of the current law. 100 million gun owners will appreciate Donald Trump as a defender of the Second Amendment.

The same thing can be done for reform of the insane short barreled rifle and shotgun provisions.

The same can be done for the repeal of the 1986 ban on manufacture or licensing of machine guns under the NFA.

These tactics can be used sequentially or concurrently, whichever is considered wiser.  The NFA infringements cannot be logically defended.  They will be emotionally attacked. But the power of the establishment media to define and control the debate has been broken.

Trump supporters are Second Amendment supporters.  They work. They organize. They vote. Their support is committed. It is deep and strong. Most of them voted for Trump, but some were uncertain and hesitant because of statements President elect Trump made 15 years ago. These reforms will make President Trump a hero to Second Amendment supporters.

Opponents of these reforms are billionaires who want to disarm the public. They have deep pockets, but their popular support is shallow and weak, propped up by their billions and the establishment media. They will never support a Trump presidency, no matter what.

Amnesty is the lever than can overcome the anti-Second Amendment opponents.  Those in the middle will see the obvious benefits to making the law more rational. What Democrat can be against amnesty, that brings formerly illegal items into the regulated fold, under existing law?

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

The second amendment does not make any weapon illegal only the infringing laws make weapons illegal. If I can afford to fire a fully automatic weapon why can I not have one if I want it. tell me exactly what purpose registering a gun accomplishes that prevents its use to kill. I think the first time you fire a weapon someone will be able to guess that you have it. Show me the science that makes your trigger finger unusable once you sign your name or get someone else's signature on a piece of paper. there is no acceptable rationale for enforcing anything other than the 26 words written in the second amendment. Why does the government need to know who has weapons when the entire concept of the second amendment is to take down government if it ever becomes necessary. Do you invite the neighborhood into you home to show everyone where you keep your extra money. government has no right to know who has guns. people carry guns or other weapons to use when necessary the same as the citizens in government do. Sam Colt made every body equal even between citizens and government. a citizen takes their chances walking down the street any one in government takes their chances taking office. Put every body in the middle of the street and you can not tell one from the other. well maybe you can a corrupt politician standing next to a person carrying a gun would be the one peeing his pants.


Democrats will support an amnesty. However that amnesty would only be for illegal immigrants. An amnesty on firearms would be anathema to their principles.

Anonymous said...

When Pro second amendment people finally get smart enough to understand that only the 26 words in the second amendment are legally enforceable maybe we can exercise the right those 26 words protect. Try an exercise of increasing your intelligence, look up the word infringe. then understand the word shall is the strongest legal tern/word that can be used for delivering a command. shall not is an absolute. anything beyond the 26 words of the second amendment is an infringement. No one can add words to the constitution without a legally ratified amendment. the 1934, 1968, 1986 gun control laws are all unconstitutional infringements GET IT NFA Stands for National Firearms ACT an act is Not an AMENDMENT. they are all unconstitutional by definition of the word infringement. Infringement means all encompassing, any thing related to. Anyone pushing for registration or permits should also be ready to apply for their right to privacy or their right to freedom of speech or their right to their religion permit. every right is equal every right stands alone and every right is guaranteed as a group of enumerated rights. the tenth amendment covers any thing not listed. If you want smaller government get a lot smarter. My big brother lives several states away we are both very good shots and we rarely have problems. I do very well on my own without big brother interference. I never ask my big brother for permission to do anything and he never tries to tell me what I can or cant do. Our family might get smaller. If my big brother has no influence I'm certainly no going to let a stranger tell me what I can do. ask you self one question, are you entitled to call your self a sovereign citizen? A sovereign is a king , a king asks nobody for permission. Government is the people that work for the king and do his biding by his permission at his command. I own weapons, many different kinds. a king can leave his castle with or without his weapons. He never has to ask his gardener for permission. His cook and book keeper never get consulted either. the king in the next castle also has no say. get it in your head permits are infringements. any kind of a regulation is an infringement. shall not be infringed is a terminal statement and an absolute command, written by a group of sovereign citizens in complete agreement. Our employees have no power to tell us what we can do. there is no authority to limit what God gave us or anything guaranteed by our constitution. In my opinion people that push for any kind of permit, regulation, license or intrusion into my personal business are huge piles of bovine excrement, and they can kiss my SIX.

Anonymous said...

Read the constitution and get smarter about what is guaranteed. I believe it is Article one section nine paragraph three that states as follows " Under power forbidden to congress" No Bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.
there is that Shall word again Shall not be passed. what is ex post facto? ex post facto is literally meaning after the fact. You can not be given immunity after violating the law. If you enter this country illegally, you are illegally here and have no right to stay. Congress can not give any illegal alien amnesty. If you break the law today and the law is changed tomorrow they can change the immigration law today but if you violated the immigration law as it was written yesterday you are guilty of breaking that law. Amnesty for any thing is unconstitutional gun laws included. Gun laws must be proven to be unconstitutional when they were written. up pops the 26 words in the second amendment. all gun laws are infringements. any law repugnant to the constitution is void and has no force or effect. Shall not be infringed are the operative words in the second amendment. Those four words make all weapons related laws or acts void. I just read it so I know that is what Article one section nine paragraph three says is accurate.

USSC 1803 Marbury v. Madison " any law repugnant to the constitution is void" Shall not be infringed is what makes all weapons laws repugnant to the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Study the definition of Bill of Attainder, and try again.

Anonymous said...

Poster PV:

The united states constitution in fact forbids amnesty. anyone in this country illegally has committed a felony. Immigration law forbids illegal entry and a convicted felon is forbidden to immigrate. best thing for any illegal to do is to leave and come back legally before they get caught, charged and convicted of illegal entry. It is clear in the constitution that only legal citizens have protection under our bill of rights or any other part of the constitution. anyone telling you anything different is lying to you. I'm hoping President Trump will announce a 90 day grace period for all illegals to leave. then start paying a bounty on all that remain. all sovereign countries have a well marked border and can determine who gets to immigrate we have the right to keep criminals out degenerates out the diseased out and the incompetents out. If you are none of those apply legally and we will be happy to have you. You will be expected to assimilate to our culture and be productive. there are no guaranteed right for illegals and that is a fact.

The area in the desert where I live is a major Indian burial ground. I guess that is because it is so easy to dig a grave in. every time you dig up a bone the tribes come out pick up the bones they can find and rebury them.

Up by willow beach several years ago they found lots of bones some with the flesh still on them. it solved eleven cases of missing persons in Las Vegas. They found one person in a mine shaft. the bullets in the head must have caused him to lose his balance and fall in. there are about 1,l00 mines in this area. many of them date back to the 1530s to 50s when Coronado was in this area. the mines in this area dot the map like freckles on a blondes back.

I hope 90 days will be more than enough time for illegals to leave safely.

When I was in Vietnam, Cambodia had an effective way of getting rid of illegals. they just let them float down river, seems none of them knew how to swim. Never carry lead when swimming.

Anonymous said...

I was not talking about a bill of attainder I was talking about amnesty.