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Old January 10, 2013, 07:02 PM   #78
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Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 10,170
Once again, I am not making an argument that Full auto weapons should be legal/illegal. My personal feeling on the subject is that they should be legal, but regulated more heavily than semi-auto firearms. They are, in fact, inherently more destructive than semi-auto firearms, which is why our troops tend to use select-fire/ automatic weapons.
They already are more heavily regulated. While not outright illegal, their regulation is so stringent that it represents a de-facto ban and that's been the intention all along. When the NFA was passed in 1934, $200 was a heck of a lot more money than it is today (adjusted for inflation, it'd be equivalent to over $3000). Furthermore, the Hughes Amendment served only to artificially inflate the price of full auto to the point that only the very wealthy could afford them. I fail to understand how being wealthy equates to a greater degree of responsibility. The manner in which many wealthy celebrities choose to behave certainly doesn't leave me with the impression that all their money makes them more responsible that I am.

Also, how exactly are full auto firearms more destructive? I can yank the trigger of most semi-auto firearms fast enough that many people would have a difficult time telling the difference between it and a full auto though any degree of accuracy goes to pot when I do so. I fail to see how a fully automatic weapon represents any greater danger of collateral damage than some idiot with one of those idiotic crank mechanisms or a rubber band used to bump fire.

Would a full auto be more destructive in the hands of a violent criminal? Perhaps but the law certainly didn't stop the North Hollywood bank robbers or any of the numerous other violent criminals that have used fully automatic weapons since 1934. As I stated earlier, the law only matters to the law abiding and a fully automatic firearm is not all that difficult to acquire through the black market or illegal fabrication. The only people that are prevented from acquiring fully automatic weapons by the NFA are people who respect the law, and they were never the problem in the first place.

Every time a discussion begins like the OP started, people take it way too far, because they are sure that the individual's right to keep and bear arms is without any limitation whatsoever. This is incorrect, and it's not an opinion, it's a fact. None of your rights are unlimited. The freedom of speech is not unlimited. Libel is illegal. The freedom of the press is not unlimited: slander is illegal. The freedom of religion is not unlimited: human sacrifice is illegal.

Your individual rights end where another's individual rights begin. This gets complicated, but we have the legal system to sort it out. It isn't a perfect system, and you may not agree with where current firearm regulations stand, on a national, state or local level. But if the basis of your thinking is, "I was born with the right to bear arms, which is limitless, and therefore no regulation whatsoever is justifiable" you are beginning your argument from a position that is fundamentally flawed.
So how would I be infringing on the rights of someone else by owning a fully automatic firearm? Unless I choose to use said gun in an unsafe, irresponsible, or criminal manner it poses no greater risk to my neighbor than a teddy bear does. The current level of regulation on fully automatic firearms punishes people not for anything they've done, but for what an extremely small percentage of the population, most of which isn't supposed to have any guns at all, might do.

As I said before, the benefit of regulation must be weighed against the amount of liberty it deprives. In my opinion, the benefit of the current regulations on fully automatic firearms is too small to justify the amount of liberty that it deprives.

As to other gun regulation, some are certainly necessary though it is regrettable that our society has made them so. While I'd like to see some changes to the definition of a prohibited person (felonies are too loose a definition due to the large number of non-violent crimes which have become classified as felonies), NICS is probably a necessary evil since our society insists on letting dangerous people who cannot be rehabilitated back on our streets. Prohibiting children (and by children I mean people under 18, not 21) from owning guns is likewise regrettable but probably necessary since so many parents are unable or, more likely, unwilling to raise their children responsibly. As I already mentioned, regulation of explosives and WMD's are necessary since their destructive ability makes it so that there is almost no way to use such "arms" in a safe and responsible manner.

Beyond that, however, I do not see justification for much more regulation. Things like fully automatic firearms, silencers/suppressors, short barrel rifles/shotguns, firearms with bore diameters larger than 50 caliber, "high capacity" magazines, "assault weapons", and the so-called "gunshow loophole" (code-word for private-party sales) do not represent a great enough threat to public safety in my estimation to justify the loss of liberty that restricting or banning them would place upon the law-abiding citizenry.
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
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