All NFA items must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Private owners wishing to purchase an NFA item must obtain permission from the ATF, obtain a signature from the county or city or town chief of police (not necessarily permission), pass an extensive background check to include submitting a photograph and finger prints, fully register the firearm, receive ATF written permission before moving the firearm across state lines, and pay a tax. The request to transfer ownership of an NFA item is made on an ATF Form 4.
The only thing more astounding than the results of this legislation is the fact that pro-gun folks keep saying gun control laws don't work. The most common reason they give is that criminals won't obey them. Well, what happens is this. When every machine gun is registered and every owner is licensed after having passed such a rigorous background check, very few of these guns end up in the wrong hands. It does not depend on criminal compliance.
From The GunCite:
Since 1934, Prof. Kleck has determined only 2 homicides were committed with legally owned machine guns, and only slightly more than that with illegal ones.
In 1995 there were over 240,000 machine guns registered with the BATF. About half are owned by civilians and the other half by police departments and other governmental agencies (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York, 1997.)
Again in Targeting Guns, Kleck writes, four police officers were killed in the line of duty by machine guns from 1983 to 1992. (713 law enforcement officers were killed during that period, 651 with guns.)
In 1980, when Miami's homicide rate was at an all-time high, less than 1% of all homicides involved machine guns. (Miami was supposedly a "machine gun Mecca" and drug trafficking capital of the U.S.) Although there are no national figures to compare to, machine gun deaths were probably lower elsewhere.
- Of 2,200 guns recovered by Minneapolis police (1987-1989), not one was fully automatic.
- A total of 420 weapons, including 375 guns, were seized during drug warrant executions and arrests by the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad (Will and Grundie counties in the Chicago metropolitan area, 1980-1989). None of the guns was a machine gun.
- 16 of 2,359 (0.7%) of the guns seized in the Detroit area (1991-1992) in connection with "the investigation of narcotics trafficking operations" were machine guns.
Dennis A. Henigan says this on page 60 of Lethal Logic.
Of course there may be sound policy objections to imposing on handguns the same tight controls we impose on manchine guns. But the "criminals will always get guns" argument is not one of them. Based on the machine gun regulatory experience there should at least be a presumption that a strong, well-administered licensing and registration system can be as effective for other firearms as it has been for machine guns.
What's your opinion? What would those "sound policy objections" be? I honestly can't think of a one.
Please leave a comment.
The NFA is a joke and I for one would never comply with such draconian restrictions on handguns.ReplyDelete
Also, it's not so much the NFA that has put full-auto weapons out of the reach of most American gun owners, it was the 86' Machine gun ban (the Hughes Amendment) which created a fixed supply of legally registerable machine guns.
What I mean by "created a fixed supply" is that it banned ownership of any full-auto weapon manufactured after May 19, 1986.
High demand + a fixed supply over 20+ years = prices that make them unattainable for most of the civilian population.
"When every machine gun is registered and every owner is licensed after having passed such a rigorous background check, very few of these guns end up in the wrong hands"ReplyDelete
Wrong Mike. the end result was that there are VERY few full-auto weapons in civilian hands. All the law did was reduce the number of these guns in civilian hands (which of course is the entire goal of "gun control") to disarm the populace.
Yeah ... so back in 1934 there was suddenly a huge drop in the murder rate ... except there wasn't.ReplyDelete
Machine guns were used in very few crimes even before 1934, they were just used in ones that got a whole lot of public attention. Pistols have always been and always will be the criminal weapon of choice, and those we know they get regardless of gun laws (i.e. how are those pistol bans working out in D.C. and Chicago?).
The study is about legally owned machine guns in any case, which are expensive to own and heavily regulated. Crooks still get illegal automatic weapons or make their own (i.e. the L.A. bank robbers who shot it out with police). And those few who want automatic weapons always will.
If the government tracks all of our guns it makes them useless as a political balance of the people against the government, though. As in Nazi Germany, where the government used the records of registered guns (had to keep the people safe, don't you know) to disarm the jews literally one month before Kristallnacht.
I personally don't have a problem with registering and tracking machine guns, though I do wish they'd reopen the registry so more would be available. Given the success of this program, wouldn't you agree? It's time to reopen the books and allow more machine guns into public hands?
"The only thing more astounding than the results of this legislation is the fact that pro-gun folks keep saying gun control laws don't work."ReplyDelete
If you believe that US guns are to blame for the drug cartel violence in Mexico, then you have to admit the NFA didn't work. The drug cartels have plenty of automatic weapons and other NFA items.
That disproves Hennigan's argument against "criminals will always get guns".
The reason there are so few crimes committed with automatic weapons in the US is not the because the NFA is effective at preventing crime, so much as it as effective at preventing gun ownership period. Because of the NFA, a new machine gun can never be sold to any civilian, essentially outlawing them.
Much like the assault weapons ban, the NFA is essentially confiscation via attrition. Since they can't confiscate the guns flat-out, they'll just make sure that no new ones can enter the market. Thus slowly diminishing their numbers over time.
And that is the "sound policy objection" to regulating handguns in the same matter as machine guns. The NFA is essentially a slow, but sure gun confiscation/banning scheme.
The 1934 NFA is unconstitutional. The government can not tax a Right.ReplyDelete
The Supreme Court has already dealt with the concept when it struck the The Poll Tax meant to discourage poor blacks from exercising their recent victory in being allowed to vote.
The SCOTUS said you can't charge someone a tax for simply exercising a Right.
Machine guns are expressly protected by the 2nd Amendment since they are well suited for military application.
But what about the thousands of machine guns that people in the U.S. are supposedly buying at border gun stores and smuggling to Mexico to arm the drug lords?ReplyDelete
If these are so severely controlled and the control stops almost all of the illegal activity, how do we explain the 10's of thousands that have been smuggled to Mexico from El Paso Wal-Marts?
I think the NFA works great. Now we should add a few more items to the list. The fact that we're not doing so touches on the responsibility the lawful gun owners have for the gun violence in America. In the face of the highly successful machine gun experiment, resistance to the possibility of controlling handguns in the same way makes one very guilty.ReplyDelete
The NFA and the Hughes Amendment "work" on machine gun crime like that old Vaudeville joke, where the jokester makes a strange noise and explains to the straight man that he's doing it to keep elephants away. The straight man objects, "But there are no elephants here!" and the jokester replies that it must be working, then.ReplyDelete
Next time some psycho shoots up a mall, school yard, or other place where the rest of us can't carry legally (and yes, that's where these mass shootings almost always occur), I *hope* the bastard uses a machine gun in full auto mode. That way, he'll waste far more bullets, much more quickly, and hit fewer people before he runs out.
Xrlq, Good one about the old Vaudeville joke. And good point about the fully automatic weapon being less valuable to the crazy killer.ReplyDelete
Adding handguns to the NFA would be a system where only the rich and powerful can have them. There would still be enough available for flow, but now ordinary decent people would have a harder time fighting back.ReplyDelete
Full auto use in crimes is overrated--Many respected experts say that given a choice, they would prefer their opponent use full auto--most of the enemies ammo gets wasted--slightly more risk to bystanders, but less risk to the target.
Full auto is useful in a war, where the "bystanders" are likely to be shooting at you too.
"Adding handguns to the NFA would be a system where only the rich and powerful can have them. There would still be enough available for flow, but now ordinary decent people would have a harder time fighting back."ReplyDelete
Essentially, the entire country would be made into Chicago. And we all know how well Chicago turned out.
Sevesteen, I don't get that "rich and powerful" idea. Are you referring to the $200 tax? Or are you saying the costs of guns would rise and become prohibitive for regular folks?ReplyDelete
But, just as a crazy idea, humor me for a moment, don't you think registering all handguns and licensing all handgun owners combined with that Erie PA law about reporting lost or stolen weapons would cut the flow way down?
If there have been so few misuses of legally owned machine guns, wouldn't it make sense to allow post-1986 guns to be registered? After all, most of this excellent record was established when it was still legal for normal people to buy new ones.ReplyDelete
Like a lot of regulation, there would be a benefit to handgun registration. Like a lot of regulation, the benefits are small compared to the cost.
We have a failed drug policy that abridges our freedom. We could do more to reduce crime at lower cost while increasing freedom by treating drugs like alcohol--but that would involve the government giving up power. If nothing else, it would leave room in prison for violent offenders.
Restrictive gun policy also reduces freedom, with similarly small benefits. Registering guns lets a future government collect all of the law-abiding guns, while leaving criminals and three percenters armed. The majority of the impact is on the people who aren't a problem in first place. In general, I'm against laws that restrict decent people more than criminals.
Would it be constitutional to require registration of political blogs?
Let me butt on your conversation the thing is that before the license is given to the gun owner I think the government already do a background check to each license applicant and before the release for sure the name of that applicant is clean. he/she has the right for the that, but before that what is the important of having such big machine gun while you can just use the pistol and many high powered hand guns.ReplyDelete
I support gun rights, not just the right to own guns I am personally interested in. I don't particularly want a machine gun, but I do want to retain the right.
The very strict rules for legal machine gun ownership were more than sufficient to keep crime with them to nearly nonexistent levels. What then was the logical reason for adding further restrictions to their ownership?
Maureen, Thanks for the comment and for making a good point. Now that handguns are so efficient and available, what crook really needs a maching gun anyway. And as someone else pointed out, the semi-automatic rifle conserves the ammo better and makes a better killing machine.ReplyDelete
Sevesteen said, "The very strict rules for legal machine gun ownership were more than sufficient to keep crime with them to nearly nonexistent levels."ReplyDelete
Doesn't it follow that we should institute the same "strict rules" on handguns?
Doesn't it follow that we should institute the same "strict rules" on handgunsReplyDelete
The rules for machine guns were excessively strict, even before the Hughes Amendment--my point was that the NFA was apparently MORE than sufficient, but politicians still felt the need to add more rules.
Did you ever figure out what rights you think the second amendment protects?
many high powered hand guns.ReplyDelete
Handguns are a compromise. They are by definition not powerful.