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Old March 25, 2012, 10:39 PM   #26
LinuxHack3r
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Well, I know I'm going to get slammed for this addition to the thread, but so be it.

In my opinion, second amendment provides, in line with the times in which it was written, to allow the individual to bear arms. I do not believe that any of the founding fathers thought for a moment that it should be okay to possess a fully automatic machine gun privately. I also believe the right to bear arms was enacted for personal protection and hunting purposes, as the lifestyle back then would demand.
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A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.[

The security of a free state does not depend on personal protection and hunting purposes. Also, the founding fathers did not think for a moment that it should be okay to posses a fully automatic machine gun privately because at the time they did not exist. I would argue that even though the idea of a gun that fired many bullets automatically may have been floating around, it was so far off that it was considered a fairy tale. Much like if today someone tried to enact legislation to ban/protect lightsabers.

Consider the free spirit of the founding fathers, and their fear of homegrown tyranny, and I believe that you may reconsider your position.
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Old March 25, 2012, 10:40 PM   #27
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Glenn E. Meyer said:
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By the time it does, we will be carrying ray guns and debating whether you should carry a Glock phaser or 1911.
You're no doubt referring to the 1911 Thermal Tissue Disruptor. A way better option for SD than the old fashioned Glock phaser.
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Old March 25, 2012, 10:43 PM   #28
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This petition is to repeal the National Firearms Act (NFA) 1986 also known as “The Hughes Amendment” as in part of the Firearm Owners Protection Act, H.R. 4332 as the NFA has no discernible benefit. We the people ask that this violation of our rights as free law abiding citizens of the United States be removed.
There are a number of problems with your petition. The first is that the opening sentence is a grammatical nightmare. I'm not being facetious: that really does matter if you want to be taken seriously.

The second is that it's factually inaccurate. The NFA and the Hughes Amendment are two separate things, written 54 years apart.

Third, it's not time to repeal the NFA yet. Machine guns in particular are still the rhetorical third rail when it comes to 2nd Amendment advocacy. Even if the petition were to be noticed and taken seriously, you'd find little real support for it, and a premature push could result in a net loss.
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Old March 25, 2012, 10:47 PM   #29
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That's actually the exact type of thing we need. Someone to get into office and sneak the repeal in and maybe change the import laws as well. They'll of probably be voted out of office because bloomberg and the Brady bunch will surely release ads trying to convince the public to do so, but we will have our freedoms restored by that time anyway.
Consider that right now the majority of "Americans" believe with all their heart "silencers" and machine guns are in all ways illegal for private citizens. Sneak something into congress like this, and it is possible you will see alarmist media claiming that anyone could go and buy a machine gun no questions asked. At that point, you would more than likely have a very large group of voters calling for them to be banned completely. Right now those that fear machine-guns do not know to call for their complete ban because most of them don't know you can buy them with the right process.

I have found that the level of fear the antigun populace really has about them is scary. They are fed nonsense, kept naive, and thus spew misinformation and meaningless alarmist concerns.
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Old March 25, 2012, 11:11 PM   #30
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Sorry, no dice. A machine gun is a dangerous weapon. And by the fact that it is automatic only makes it much more dangerous than a regular firearm. I would not feel safe knowing anyone could get their hands on a machine gun. And I do not believe that had the founding fathers known, of/about them would they have condoned this weapon in a private home setting. I'm pro firearm and the ability to bear them under the second amendment, but there has to be limitations with the technology.
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Old March 25, 2012, 11:57 PM   #31
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And I do not believe that had the founding fathers known, of/about them would they have condoned this weapon in a private home setting.
You do know that, at the time of the founding, one could keep ships and artillery if he had the money, right? Cannons can be pretty nasty things.

The Founders didn't anticipate the internet, either. Yet, we accept that online communication is covered by the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights was never meant to be limited to contemporary means or tools.
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Old March 26, 2012, 12:20 AM   #32
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Strong argument, still don't imagine they would have accepted this. Also, I'm pretty sure they would have referred to the internet as witchcraft or some such. My opinion is slightly jaded by the fact that I have seen such machine guns in action and have seen the destruction it can cause. Both to property and human life. Machine guns are not for the public.
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Old March 26, 2012, 12:57 AM   #33
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still don't imagine they would have accepted this.
I disagree. I think they would have embraced it. They had just finished fighting a war with the most technologically advanced army at the time. They had some advancements that worked to their advantage in small arms and the logistics of rearming an entire army, but I doubt they would have the citizens use sticks and rocks against firearms of any kind. 2A doesn't specifically name firearms in the wording, it just said "arms." By your own freedom of interpretation we could argue that this just means we can have a spear for hunting, bows and projectile weapons are unnecessary. Our ancestors did it thousands of years ago, we can do it now too. (taking "primitive" hunting season a bit too primitive? ) The idea of arms was for the defense of the state as 2A states. 2A is about the people being able to defend their way of life. And I see it as a fail safe in case the stuff really gets blown out that fan when our own military doesn't quite have what it takes to keep foreign enemies off our shores.
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:30 AM   #34
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Any petition to repeal the Hughes amendment can accomplish something positive only if, in the current political climate, a movement for repeal even has any "legs."

Consider, how many Congress Critters would not believe that their chances of re-election would be hurt by their opponents pointing out that they voted to make machine guns more available to private citizens? Sure, there might be a bunch of us who wouldn't care (and even might think it's a good thing). But there are probably too many voters who would think differently.

To put it another way, how many signatures do you think you'd need on the petition to convince enough Congress Critters that it would be worth it to put their careers on the line to vote for repeal of the Hughes Amendment? Do you really think you could get that many?

Bottom line, I'm afraid that politically this is probably a non-starter.
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:40 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by TheMacMocek View Post
Why not just slip the repeal in as an amendment to some other law, the same way the Hughes amendment passed in the first place
If the NFA is essentially tax legislation then sliding an amending clause - that reopens the Registry - into one of the various multiple volume tax bills would seem to be an effective way of progressing the issue.

I'd note that NFA 34 seems on its face to run afoul of the prohibition of taxing rights - see Minneapolis Star Tribune case. However, as others have noted thats a case very much for the future.
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:54 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by SilentScreams
Sorry, no dice. A machine gun is a dangerous weapon. And by the fact that it is automatic only makes it much more dangerous than a regular firearm. I would not feel safe knowing anyone could get their hands on a machine gun.
You must not feel safe then. There is no law against owning a machine gun of just about any type. The only barrier to owning one is the inflated price caused by government sanction. Provided, of course, the prospective owner is otherwise legally qualified to posses firearms.

I have considered buying a full auto, but have not due to the price. That, and the cost of feeding one.
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Old March 26, 2012, 05:44 AM   #37
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As much as I would like to see this restriction removed, I feel it will be a while, and also I am conflicted on whether or not it will be through congress, or, more then likely through the court system.

More then likely though it will be through the court system. I am unsure of what would be the "ideal" case for this though.

I dont think this petition will be of much help at this time... Do I feel it is great to call attention to the issue? Yes, but properly...With all the media scrutiny over firearms, not only in self defense, but just ownership in general, I feel we may be better served to pick a better time for this battle in order to better win it. I do appreciate your good intentions.

As to SilentScreams fears about people owning NFA items, I do not agree. There are many things that I see little or no use for, that I not only have no interest in, but try to avoid being around when possible, even though they are legal. Do I support people owning them? Yes. Why? America is a free country with some exceptions we are trying to work on. Why should I want to impose my personal views on others? I shouldnt, because I support a free America for all.

I also feel that the founding fathers would support this more then many realize. Afterall, they supported the private ownership of not only firearms, but the modern artillery of the day as well. Artillery meaning mortars, cannon, howitzers, etc. While people say they are worried about automatic firearms, I would rather face that, then I had artillery. With a bullet, even from an automatic firearm, it may well be "to whom it may concern" but with artillery it can be "your close enough anyway" when it comes to a shell going off near you.
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Old March 26, 2012, 11:48 AM   #38
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More then likely though it will be through the court system. I am unsure of what would be the "ideal" case for this though.
Our first step will most likely be a case for re-opening the registry for guns folks who already have unregistered machine guns. Several times a year, I speak with people who have had an older relative pass away, and the deceased left a hot potato or two in their gun collection. Right now, their only option is to surrender the weapon for destruction without any compensation.
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Old March 26, 2012, 12:51 PM   #39
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Tom,

I agree that trying to fight the closed registry would be with an heirloom case due to no compensation. I have often wondered if another case would be of a LEO that is issued a new automatic firearm, and is required to keep it in his/her possession, but is unable to purchase one legally theirself. As a group though we need to work toward getting a small, but solid crack started so we can get the registry re-opened.

Enjoy your day
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:15 PM   #40
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The second amendment certainly protects the right to own a machine gun or almost any weapon that isnt a weapon of mass destruction... However I agree with waiting until the SCOTUS determines the 2A is a civil right... once that happens its game on...

I cant imagine a world were the 2A wouldnt be a civil right under our constitution given the other rights are to the best of my knowledge all civil rights...
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:30 PM   #41
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Thanks guys for your support, I understand it will take a ungodly huge number of signatures, thats one reason I plan to leave it open til at least January 20th. I am completely open to suggestions as to what we can do collectively to chip away at this thing. I know it may be a long process. If you are not aware about the MSSA v. Holder case thats currently been stayed, it could have a major effect on this. Currently its awaiting a conclusion to the Nordyke v. King case. Several states passed the Firearms Freedom Act a few years back stating that if a firearm was made in their state and remained in their state then the federal government has no right to control it since the interstate commerce clause of the 10th amendment would not apply. This would include all firearms regardless of type. Anything that we can come up with that we can gain support for I am in.
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:39 PM   #42
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Tom I am aware the NFA and the Hughes Amendment in the FOPA are two different things. However, a lot of people do not know what the Hughes Amendment is but associate it with the "NFA of 1986" because autos are NFA items. I put it there to catch other peoples attention that may otherwise overlook it. I will correct the grammer of the first sentence though, but leave the (NFA 1986) part in the title unless you have a better suggestion. Thanks for your input.
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Old March 26, 2012, 03:35 PM   #43
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I will correct the grammer of the first sentence though, but leave the (NFA 1986) part in the title unless you have a better suggestion.
"NFA 1986" simply doesn't make sense, and most readers really won't know what it is.

To be honest, I'd suggest you drop the idea altogether. I'm sure it was meant well, but it doesn't matter how many signatures you get. It's not going to have an effect.

The first problem is that you're assuming anyone in power actually pays attention to the multitude of petitions on change.org. Take for example my state senator. I've spent an afternoon in his office. He gets between 60 and 70 letters a day. He has a staffer who has to skim each of those, filter out the weird crackpot rantings and irrelevant attaboys, and decide which ones merit his attention. Then that staffer has to do the same with innumerable emails. Then he's got another staffer who has to act as a filter for phone calls.

That's a guy representing a fairly rural district in one state. Now consider the volume of correspondence a United States senator must get. I sincerely doubt that many are even aware of change.org, much less investing time in reading it.

The Supreme Court has its own mechanism for deciding what cases to hear, and it has nothing to do with internet petitions.

Then there's the question of actually getting the Hughes Amendment repealed. By what means would we do so? Are we absolutely sure the Hughes Amendment is severable from FOPA? If not, that opens up a whole other problem.

Right now, any mention of machine guns in the debate hurts our chances. We're still laying the groundwork. The time to challenge the NFA and the Hughes Amendment will come, but not in the next few years.
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Old March 26, 2012, 04:20 PM   #44
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"NFA 1986" doesn't make sense because it doesn't exist. The Hughes
ammendment was to the FOPA---Firearms Owners Protective Act of
1986. The Whole FOPA wasn't a bad thing. It fixed some glitches in
GCA '68. Hughes snuck his ammendment in at the last minute, and
it was passed by a very iffy voice vote. In other words--"The fix was in".


You want to try to modify an existing law and maybe have a chance of
success? Try to get suppressors de-listed from NFA '34 and reclassified
as a "firearm" which can be purchased on a 4473. If that's not possible,
try to get them reclassified as a AOW---$5 stamp instead of $200. In
a lot of the world suppressors are an over the counter item.
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Old March 26, 2012, 04:50 PM   #45
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If the NFA is essentially tax legislation then sliding an amending clause - that reopens the Registry - into one of the various multiple volume tax bills would seem to be an effective way of progressing the issue.
This is great in theory, but it carries a huge inherent risk- shining a spotlight on the fact that the $200 NFA tax has never been adjusted for inflation. When it was enacted in 1934, the purpose of the tax was to make NFA firearms prohibitively expensive; $200 had about the same purchasing power that $4,000 has today.

I shudder at the thought of a Congressional floor debate about the "Machine Gun Tax"- an unfortunately snappy slogan- and the campaign commercials it's bound to spawn, particularly in moderate to left-leaning states. "My opponent, [insert name], voted to allow the purchase of brand new full-auto machine guns for a fee of only $200, less than it costs to buy a new iPad. As your Congressman, I will vote to raise the Machine Gun Tax and keep these lethal military weapons off the streets, away from our schools, and out of the hands of potential terrorists." (Footage rolls of children walking to school, interspersed with footage of firefights in Afghanistan and a car being cut to pieces at Knob Creek.)

Although I fundamentally agree with the premise that private ownership of machine guns deserves full 2A protection, IMHO suppressors and short-barreled rifles are far more useful to the average shooter than a machine gun, and I would greatly prefer to have these removed from the NFA (+1 BillM) before approaching the machine gun issue and risking throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
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Old March 27, 2012, 02:36 AM   #46
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Online petitions are inherently worthless for a great many reasons, and it isn't worth the effort since it won't mean anything. For that matter, the whitehouse.gov petitions are twice as worthless since gun owners generally are too paranoid to sign them. Not that they'd get a favorable response anyways.

Quote:
If the NFA is essentially tax legislation then sliding an amending clause - that reopens the Registry - into one of the various multiple volume tax bills would seem to be an effective way of progressing the issue.
Why does this keep coming up? It seems one of the worst ways possible to progress the issue, and as Tom Servo notes, the time isn't right. Such a violent push would certainly result in a net loss.

First, it's political suicide for whoever poked that clause in there. Who's willing to sacrifice their career for machine guns? And then how many days would it be until some sharp eyed reporter notices the last minute clause that doesn't point to tax code? There's no way it would stay on the books long enough for anyone to get their stamps.

Currently, the general public, and even probably most gun owners are fairly ignorant of NFA law. Chances are, the public response would go like this:

"What do you mean anyone can own machine guns? What do you mean the Machine Gun Tax is only $200? What do you mean it hasn't changed since 1934? What about the puppies and the kittens? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

How do you think the legislative response would go?

Waiting for a crack in the registry is about as good as we can hope for in the meantime.
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Old March 27, 2012, 04:54 AM   #47
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In my opinion, second amendment provides, in line with the times in which it was written, to allow the individual to bear arms. I do not believe that any of the founding fathers thought for a moment that it should be okay to possess a fully automatic machine gun privately. I also believe the right to bear arms was enacted for personal protection and hunting purposes, as the lifestyle back then would demand.
They didn't think about it, because they didn't exist yet.

But militias used cannons, the equivalent of modern day artillery, and you can bet the founders intended the second amendment to protect cannons.

Beyond the question of modern weapons developments, the founders clearly intended for the citizenry to have whatever sufficient firepower would be needed to oppose and dominate ANY illegitimate threat to liberty, whatever that threat may entail.

If the only weapons that are available to the citizens are insufficient to oppose those illegitimate threats to liberty, then the amendment will have been gutted for all practical purposes.

Remember a militia is primarily a military unit of the state. The founders intended for the militia to be regulated. I think is reasonable to highly regulate the possession of cannons (artillery) and fully automatic weapons. The more powerful the weapon, the more it should be regulated. But regulations must have a basis that is connected and drawn from the intent and purpose of the amendment. Regulations can't be onerous, or designed to suppress the right. They must support the intent of the amendment.

In my opinion, highly regulating fully automatic guns is fine. Requiring training for safety, proper use and marksmanship all serve the interest of the state (i.e. the people). Background checks on individuals who wish to possess them; safe and secure storage requirements are all fine.

What the founders clearly intended to be OFF the table is entirely banning access to weapons.
Leaving NO available path to owning them would be a ban and therefore it is unconstitutional, IMO.

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Old March 27, 2012, 10:48 PM   #48
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I don't recall the exact quote, and am too lazy to look it up, but one of our Founding Fathers wrote something like "all the terrible implements of the soldier" were to be available to the citizens, and the other Founders did not seriously disagree.

In those days, that included cannon and warships. It also meant the standard issue military arms. Today those arms would be M16s, which under federal law are machine guns.

It is tragic that some of us have seen the horror and the destruction these "dangerous" machineguns can wreak. However NONE of them has ever done so without a human being aiming and pulling the trigger.

Personally, I find someone claiming to support gun rights, but only supporting some guns for some people to be disingenous at best, and hypocrytical, at worst. You may feel machineguns are "not for the public", but the history of legal private machinegun owners in the nearly 80 years since the passage of the NFA 34 is the most law abiding group of people on the planet.

There have been, I believe, two (at most) crimes commited with legal machinguns in all that time, and one of those was done by a police officer! That is a record better than any other group I know of.

Personally, I don't believe this is a good time to push for repeal of the Hughes amendment. Not yet. IF the administration changes enough in the next election, THEN we might be able to argue for a "return" to the pre 86 policy. But we won't have a good strong case, even then. The fact is that while we know that we have a legal right to machineguns, just the same as our legal right to all other firearms, the rest of the country has had multiple generations of brainwashing thanks to the entertainment media, that only govt agents, soldiers and CRIMINALS & TERRORISTS want or use machineguns.

That much should be obvious to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last 30 years. The whole "assault weapon" hysteria got traction because the semi autos they targeted look like machineguns, even though they aren't.

The Hughes amendment is a sleeping dog that is best let lie. Its day will come, but it is not this day. Sadly, it is a fact that bringing this issue to the public eye at this time, or in the near future, offers a much higher risk to our rights than potential rewards.
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Old March 28, 2012, 02:53 AM   #49
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The best way to step toward repealing ( or at least circumventing) Hughes would be for real, state-sanctioned militia to authorized private purchases of M4s and M16s, etc. for militia training and use.

This can't be pre-textual, it has to be an actual state militia. In such a case, private ownership would fall squarely under the protection of the amendment.

State LE enforcement could provide letters for those accepted into it's militia service. The more regulated it is the more credibility it would have. Doesn't a new, select-fire M4 for under 2K sound pretty good?
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Old March 28, 2012, 07:18 AM   #50
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First, it's political suicide for whoever poked that clause in there. Who's willing to sacrifice their career for machine guns?
No politician who values his/her career will favor the sale of new machineguns: Thats a fact of life.
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