Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arizona Senator, Dr. Kelli Ward, acts to Remove Obsolete Weapons Bans

Arizona state Senator, Dr. Kelli Ward, added an amendment to a bill on restoration of civil rights.  The amendment would remove several obsolete and arcane weapons bans.  The bill, SB 1460, would add second amendment rights to civil rights that are restored when a person who had been convicted of a felony petitions a court for restoration of their rights.  From
Her amendment to SB 1460 legalizes devices "made or adapted to muzzle the report of a firearm.'' Also gone would be prohibitions against any rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches, with no new minimum in its place.

Both can be legally possessed under federal law. But buyers must go through a more-intensive screening than the one required to purchase just any weapon.

And while she was at it, Ward got senators to provide preliminary approval to "nunchucks,'' essentially two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods connected together to be used as a weapon.
The amendment would remove state bans on short barreled rifles and shotguns, on gun mufflers, and on nun-chucks.   There never was much logic to the bans.  Short barreled rifles and shotguns are essentially pistols made from rifles or shotguns.  Rifles, shotguns and pistols are all protected by the second amendment and the Arizona state constitution.

The ban on intermediate sized firearms originated in Michigan in 1931 after the state required licensing of all pistols.   It made sense if you were attempting to keep pistols out of the hands of black people, as many have suggested was the intent of pistol licensing in Michigan.  What would be the point of requiring people to ask permission to purchase a pistol, when they could buy a shotgun without permission, and turn it into a pistol in 15 minutes, with a hacksaw?

The federal government aped the ban in 1932, when it attempted to make pistols illegal for most citizens.  The ban on pistols failed, but the ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns made it into law, along with a ban on gun mufflers and machine guns.  No reason was ever given for the ban on gun mufflers, which are almost unrestricted in most of Europe.  Arizona adopted the federal ban, nearly verbatim, some years later.  I have not found a reason, but it was likely to protect the federal ban from court challenges.  If a person was charged under state law, they did not have standing to challenge the federal law.  That changed with the McDonald case that incorporated the second amendment to the states.  From a recent federal court case:
 Classifying one particular device as a "firearm silencer" is a relatively unimportant question in the grand scheme of federal firearm regulations. Indeed, it is difficult to determine what exactly Congress was concerned about in deciding to regulate silencers at the federal level.  See, e.g., P. Clark, Criminal  Use of Firearm Silencers, 8 W. CRIM. REVIEW 44, 48 (2007) ("The  1934  congressional debates [over what became the National Firearms Act] provide no explanation about why silencers were licensed."). In other words, the stakes here are low. This weighs against Chevron deference.
The ban on nun-chucks is even less logical.  It is a ban on two sticks joined by a rope or chain!  That ban likely came about as a result of the kung-fu movies in the 1980's.  It would not be the first time a ban was the result of fictional drama and hysterical overreaction.   Switchblade knives were banned from interstate commerce in 1958.   The ban was the result of yellow journalism and the play, West Side Story.  Arizona had the sense to avoid a state ban on knives that are easily opened with one hand.

People talk about having too many silly laws, about how innocent people are often caught up and prosecuted under laws that should never have been passed in the first place.

It is nice to see the Arizona legislature clearing out some dead wood.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Well, I guess that kills my trip to Arizona with my silencer until they fix the law.

Anonymous said...

sorry, but im at work and could not find your email.. the below article strikes on a few issues of gun safety, as well as training...

the biggest being the beef that a person does not accidently get shot... they have to be doing something, and that something is ignoring safety (usually for expediency)

Police: Woman fatally shot self while adjusting bra holster
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. - Police say a 55-year-old woman who died after accidentally shooting herself in the head in January was adjusting a handgun in her bra holster when the gun fired.
The St. Joseph Public Safety Department is awaiting a full autopsy report in the death of Christina Bond, but Director Mark Clapp released details about the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 1 shooting to the Kalamazoo Gazette on Wednesday.
Clapp says Bond was "having trouble adjusting her bra holster, couldn't get it to fit the way she wanted it to. She was looking down at it and accidentally discharged the weapon."
Bond was taken to a hospital, where she died.
According to her obituary, Bond, a mother of two, served two years in the Navy and was elected just prior to her death to serve as a Precinct Delegate for St. Joseph Charter Precinct 1.