View Single Post
Old June 12, 2002, 03:38 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: May 22, 2002
Posts: 421
Moreover, the NFA of 1934 was enacted predominantly as a tax law, not a gun control law. A similar 1950 federal law taxing and hence registering "gamblers" (organizers & operators of 'games of chance') was tossed out by the Supreme Court on 5th Amendment grounds (US vs. Grosso) in 1968.
No, it was actually intended to be a prohibition law but the people who wrote the law agreed that the US Federal Government had no constitutional authority to prohibit anything. So, instead, they placed a tax on it and required a license. The taxes were so high as to make them prohibitive and good luck trying to get the license because you had to have the product in hand before you applied for the license -- meaning you had already violated the law by being in possession without the license. (Hence it eventually being tossed out on 5th Amendment grounds).

Where did they get this "prohibit through taxes" idea? They got it from the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, that prohibited (excuse me, "taxed") the opiates and cocaine, where they first tried that idea. That was upheld by the Supreme Court so they used the same prohibitory scheme on guns. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was based on the same scheme, and it was declared unconstitutional on 5th Amendment grounds in 1969 in the case of (Timothy) Leary v. US.

If you are interested, you can read about the story of how they did it by a professor of constitutional law in the short history of the marijuana laws at It is humorous, except when you realize that it actually happened.
wolfman97 is offline  
Page generated in 0.03661 seconds with 8 queries