Machine Gun Ban: The Hughes Amendment
As debate for FOPA was in its final stages in the House before moving on to the Senate, Rep. William J. Hughes (D-N.J.) proposed several amendments including House Amendment 777 to H.R. 4332  that would ban a civilian from ownership or transfer rights of any fully automatic weapon which was not registered as of May 19, 1986. The amendment also held that any such weapon manufactured and registered before the May 19 cutoff date could still be legally owned and transferred by civilians.
In the morning hours of April 10, 1986, the House held recorded votes on three amendments to FOPA in Record Vote No's 72, 73, and 74. Recorded Vote 72 was on H.AMDT. 776, an amendment to H.AMDT 770 involving the interstate sale of handguns; while Recorded Vote 74 was on H.AMDT 770, involving primarily the easing of interstate sales and the safe passage provision. Recorded Vote 73 was the controversial Hughes Amendment that called for the banning of machine guns. On page 18 of the Congressional Transcript cited to herein, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), at the time presiding as Chairman over the proceedings, claimed that the "ayes appeared to have it." Nevertheless, Congressman Sensenbrenner demanded a recorded vote. Record Vote 73 was taken by electronic device; the result was: ayes 124, noes 298, not voting 12. The Hughes Amendment regarding the banning of machine guns was defeated in Record Vote 73. The bill, H.R. 4332, as a whole passed in Record Vote No: 75. Nevertheless, the Senate, in S.B. 49, adopted H.R. 4332 as an amendment to the final bill, which included the defeated Hughes Amendment. It was subsequently passed and signed on May 19, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan to become Public Law 99-308, the Firearms Owners' Protection Act.