A good summary
- Opens up interstate sales of long guns on a limited basis.
- Allows interstate transport of firearms in some circumstances.
- Makes it illegal for anyone to transfer a firearm to a prohibited person.
- Provides any prohibited persons can get relief of their disability by applying to the Treasury Secretary. This has been repealed in practice by the program being specifically unfunded in the federal budget.
- It prevents the government from creating a list of gun owners from dealer records.
- Limits the number of inspections on a dealer by the BATF without a search warrant.
- Allows FFL holders to engage in business away from their normal business location, if at a ‘gun show’ in their home state.
- Allows ammunition shipments through the US Postal Service (a repeal of part of GCA68).
- Ended record keeping on ammunition sales, except for armor piercing (the real stuff, not what Kennedy calls armor piercing).
- Prohibits civilians from possessing full-auto firearms manufactured after May 19, 1986.
- Redefines 'machine gun' to include those sets of parts or parts that could be used to convert a semiautomatic firearm into a machine gun.
- Adds serious drug offenses to the list of crimes receiving enhanced penalties.
- Doubles the penalties for use of a machine gun, silencer or muffler in a violent federal felony.
- Eliminates the FFL requirement for ammunition only dealers.
- Specifically states that those disposing of personal firearm collections do not need an FFL and to get an FFL firearms do not have to be a principle business activity.
The actual bill became S.49
. Hughe's additions were not the only ones; Senator Metzenbaum added a prohibition on the import of parts for "Saturday Night Specials," Ted Kennedy passed a continuation on the ban of interstate commerce in handguns, and Senator Inouye added a provision for a waiting period on handgun transfers.
If those names look familiar, they're all cosponsors of this year's "gun show loophole" bill, S. 843.
The Hughes amendment, which simply reads,
(...) unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun except in the case of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date of enactment.
was passed after most of the Representatives had gone home for the night. It was passed by a voice vote, which was called for and presided over by Charlie Rangel.
Now, the OP brings up a point: if this whole shebang were repealed, would it mean that all of those good provisions were moot? The answer is no. Someone would have to step in and pass legislation requiring record-keeping on ammunition sales.
Essentially, we would lose the bad elements while keeping the good ones. I'd love to see it happen. It would not be a repeal of the NFA, and for most folks, it wouldn't change anything.
After all, it's still illegal to import machineguns, and you need a manufacturing license to convert existing weapons (shortening a barrel, etc.). It would only really have one significant effect, but it is one that could keep a great many good people out of prison.
WWII veterans are passing on, and their children are finding old automatic rifles and trench brooms in the attic. If they weren't registerd by 1986 (and most weren't), there is no legal way to have these in your posession.
You can go to prison for owning it. You can go to prison for trying to sell it, even if you don't know better. Your only choice is to surrender it to law enforcement.
Heck, in a place like Chicago or New York, what happens if you get pulled over with it in your car while you're on your way to turn it in? Yeah.