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Old December 17, 2012, 12:23 PM   #54
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Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 7,227
Any tax is infringement...any named ban is infringement...
I'll agree with you on the latter, but the former is much more complicated.

Regarding bans, see my prior post; virtually anyone willing to do some research should realize that the main effect of the 94 AWB was to enrich those lucky enough to be in possession of large quantities of pre-ban items, while having little or no measurable effect on gun crime. That's not to say that those who supported the AWB wouldn't support the exact same legislation again, drawbacks and all, to appease their constituents. However, in order to be realistically effective, a revised AWB II would have to either ban simple possession of certain items, which is unlikely to survive a court challenge in a post-Heller environment, or it would have to proactively ban resale of the items, which is unlikely to survive court challenges for various other reasons, and IMHO is unlikely to pass in the first place because it would be so invasive and cumbersome to enforce.

However, the Supreme Court has generally upheld Congress' power to levy taxes in most cases. On one hand, excessively punitive and overly specific taxes have been disallowed on 1A grounds; see Minneapolis Star Tribune Company v. Commissioner. However, on the other hand, the Roberts court upheld an arguably very broad and invasive law* under the Taxing and Spending Clause in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. Furthermore, the NFA- while obnoxious, cumbersome, and arguably unconstitutional in some respects- is settled law.

My hunch is that an "NFA Lite" would be held as constitutional if (a) the taxes on commonly possessed items are reasonably low, at least to start, and (b) the tax collection method is sufficiently streamlined that the taxes could be readily collected on a retail level. It could also function as a back-door registration scheme under the guise of keeping tax records. Therein lies the danger.

*Please note: I do NOT intend to digress into discussing the PPACA here, and I feel that such a discussion would be inappropriate and irrelevant to the topic at hand; this case is simply cited as an example.
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
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