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Old December 27, 2017, 01:30 AM   #1
LogicMan
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Why Isn't There A Legislative Push to Get Rid of the "Sporting Purposes" Clause of the GCA?

So I know that two major legislative priorities that gun rights proponents and the NRA have had as of late have been the legalization of silencers and national reciprocity. But I haven't seen anything about getting rid of that "sporting purposes" clause from the Gun Control Act of 1968. Should this be a new legislative priority? I mean it is clearly a blatant infringement on the Second Amendment and RKBA, as the right is no more about sporting than the right to free speech is about entertainment. I mean, those things are covered, but the core of both rights are about checking tyranny (and also self-defense and hunting in the RKBA's case).

Over the years, BATFE have used the sporting purposes clause to try to ban and/or regulate various weapons that it deems as "non-sporting." And of course then there is the definition of "sporting," which it gets to arbitrarily define as it pleases. For example, many gun control proponents (I don't know the official BAFTE position on these) do not see sports like 3-Gun or Cowboy Action Shooting as "legitimate sporting purposes." And of course the Assault Weapons Ban proponents say how their bans do not ban guns with "legitimate sporting purposes." And the clause was also used to justify the ban on imports of certain firearms in I think it was 1989.

So considering how this clause allows the government to so violate our rights, why hasn't it been a legislative priority of gun rights groups to get it repealed? IMO, that should be a greater legislative priority possibly than silencer deregulation or national reciprocity.

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Old December 27, 2017, 03:34 AM   #2
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I'd say it is low priority due to a very active American manufacturers market and a general view that international trade regulation is a proper role of the federal government. Is the law dumb? You bet. Is there a big push to change it? Not really.
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Old December 27, 2017, 07:48 AM   #3
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Because OMG they want to import Russian machine guns to tote around our playgrounds and won't someone think of the children? Look at some of the hysterical comments about national reciprocity and the idea of loosening controls on silencers.

It may sound flippant, but that's exactly what the opposition will do. We're still walking a bit of a tightrope getting gun controls relaxed, even in a political situation that should make it easier. We still have to push for things that have a reasonable possibility of actually passing.
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Old December 27, 2017, 09:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by raimius
I'd say it is low priority due to a very active American manufacturers market and a general view that international trade regulation is a proper role of the federal government.
+1, and it's difficult to make a coherent and reasonable argument that someone's 2A rights have been taken away because he can no longer buy a new Norinco SKS for $75.
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Old December 27, 2017, 09:33 AM   #5
Bartholomew Roberts
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The SHARE Act, which included the legalization of suppressors, also contained language removing the "sporting purposes" language. So, there is a legislative push and a recent one with some resources committed to it.

Sadly, it seems those resources were diverted to push concealed carry after Las Vegas. In my opinion, that's a double-edged sword legislatively and less of an advance for RKBA. However, since that's probably a purely symbolic effort destined to die in the Senate, maybe that was the right choice for PR purposes.
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Old December 27, 2017, 12:01 PM   #6
Glenn E. Meyer
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Quote:
two major legislative priorities
The issue is not competition to American companies. We import competitors of everything else.

The issue is very simple. Gun rights are not a priority of the GOP establishment. That's all there is to it. In fact, in private they probably oppose expansion of gun rights as guns in the hands of the masses are a challenge to the money stuffed elites. Such social issues are used as bait and switch for voters.

If comprehensive gun rights legislation was passed, the issue would be lost as a fund raising bogey man.

Tin foil on my part - perhaps. But listened to the leadership talk about priorities - they never mention gun legislation.
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Old December 27, 2017, 02:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
LogicMan So I know that two major legislative priorities that gun rights proponents and the NRA have had as of late have been the legalization of silencers and national reciprocity. But I haven't seen anything about getting rid of that "sporting purposes" clause from the Gun Control Act of 1968. Should this be a new legislative priority?
There will be absolutely zero assistance from any US firearm manufacturer.
Just as the NSSF hasn't lifted a finger on helping with the importation of surplus US firearms in Korea.

Bottom line is every firearm imported is one less that a US manufacturer will sell. S&W, Ruger, Colt, etc don't want a free market.





Quote:
Over the years, BATFE have used the sporting purposes clause to try to ban and/or regulate various weapons that it deems as "non-sporting." And of course then there is the definition of "sporting," which it gets to arbitrarily define as it pleases.
No, it's not arbitrary. The ATF can only base regulations on existing law and the intent of Congress when passing that law.




Quote:
For example, many gun control proponents (I don't know the official BAFTE position on these) do not see sports like 3-Gun or Cowboy Action Shooting as "legitimate sporting purposes."
ATF has published it's views on 3 gun, etc...........basically saying that although those are now considered "sports", they were not around when Congress passed the GCA. (and therefore do not count)









Quote:
So considering how this clause allows the government to so violate our rights, why hasn't it been a legislative priority of gun rights groups to get it repealed? IMO, that should be a greater legislative priority possibly than silencer deregulation or national reciprocity.
"The government" isn't some Big Brother or man behind the curtain.......it's us.
If we elect nincompoops, we should expect nincompoop legislation and a nincompoop judiciary.
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Old December 27, 2017, 02:35 PM   #8
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Glenn E. Meyer

The issue is very simple. Gun rights are not a priority of the GOP establishment.
Sure it is......it's one of their top five speaking points on the campaign trail.

Politicians will say anything to get elected. (and its not just Republicans)
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Old December 27, 2017, 06:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
it's difficult to make a coherent and reasonable argument that someone's 2A rights have been taken away because he can no longer buy a new Norinco SKS for $75.
This is the crux of the matter. Your (and my) rights are not being violated when the govt. restricts certain imports. The same items, made in the US, are not restricted. IF no one makes that item you want in the US, too bad. IF there is enough of a demand, someone will make it in the US, so you can buy it. You won't be able to buy it at 3rd world prices, but you will be able to buy it.

The commonly held belief and the principle the govt operates on is that this does not violate our rights. Until/ unless a court says it does violate our rights, that's the way it is, and the way its' going to be.
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Old December 27, 2017, 11:26 PM   #10
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A huge number of people supposedly in the RKBA camp believe sporting purpose is the core of 2A.
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Old December 28, 2017, 12:22 AM   #11
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My main beef with the sporting purposes clause isn't so much regarding imports as in the government being able to ban "military" weapons based on it.
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Old December 28, 2017, 12:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
The issue is not competition to American companies. We import competitors of everything else.

The issue is very simple. Gun rights are not a priority of the GOP establishment. That's all there is to it. In fact, in private they probably oppose expansion of gun rights as guns in the hands of the masses are a challenge to the money stuffed elites. Such social issues are used as bait and switch for voters.

If comprehensive gun rights legislation was passed, the issue would be lost as a fund raising bogey man.

Tin foil on my part - perhaps. But listened to the leadership talk about priorities - they never mention gun legislation.
I don't believe gun rights have ever been a priority of the establishment GOP. I am talking about why wasn't this issue a priority of the major gun rights organizations such as the NRA. I would have to disagree though that major gun rights legislation would take away the bogeyman, because all that would need be done is claim that if the Democrats take over, then they will undo such legislative achievements. Same as is said about how Democratic appointees to the Supreme Court would reverse Heller and McDonald.
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Old December 28, 2017, 12:37 AM   #13
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There will be absolutely zero assistance from any US firearm manufacturer.
Just as the NSSF hasn't lifted a finger on helping with the importation of surplus US firearms in Korea.

Bottom line is every firearm imported is one less that a US manufacturer will sell. S&W, Ruger, Colt, etc don't want a free market.
They do however want to be able to sell military guns, and not have them banned because they aren't suitable for "sporting purposes" I would think.

Quote:
No, it's not arbitrary. The ATF can only base regulations on existing law and the intent of Congress when passing that law.
They just tried to ban M855 ammunition not long ago, claiming it was "armor piercing," which was an absurd claim and the epitome of arbitrariness IMO.

Quote:
ATF has published it's views on 3 gun, etc...........basically saying that although those are now considered "sports", they were not around when Congress passed the GCA. (and therefore do not count)
Sounds pretty arbitrary to me. Just because something wasn't around at the time the law was passed doesn't mean they can't count as a sport.

Quote:
"The government" isn't some Big Brother or man behind the curtain.......it's us.
If we elect nincompoops, we should expect nincompoop legislation and a nincompoop judiciary.
Would have to completely disagree with the idea that the government is "us," but that's a different discussion (especially when you look at all the different government agencies out there). But yes, the sporting purposes clause is not going to be used to infringe on gun rights if we have pro-gun people in office and on the courts. The issue to me though is in stopping the anti-gun people, when in power, from using said clause to infringe on our rights.
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Old December 28, 2017, 08:43 AM   #14
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I am talking about why wasn't this issue a priority of the major gun rights organizations such as the NRA.
It was one of the NRA’s two highest priority legislative efforts this session.
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Old December 28, 2017, 09:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer View Post
The issue is very simple. Gun rights are not a priority of the GOP establishment. That's all there is to it. In fact, in private they probably oppose expansion of gun rights as guns in the hands of the masses are a challenge to the money stuffed elites.

This. Having the GOP in charge makes it less likely to have more gun restrictions passed but I wouldn't expect much regarding repealing existing ones. So far it seems the main benefit from the GOP in charge now is generally cheaper guns and ammo
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Old December 28, 2017, 09:17 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dogtown tom View Post
No, it's not arbitrary. The ATF can only base regulations on existing law and the intent of Congress when passing that law.
Laws are frequently broad, vague and complex. It wouldn't surprise me if laws in general contained one or more vague clauses so the relevant bureaucracy can basically do the job of Congress. After all Congress can't be bothered with doing their own job, can they?
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Old December 28, 2017, 10:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E Meyer
The issue is very simple. Gun rights are not a priority of the GOP establishment. That's all there is to it.
That's terribly facile in a couple of ways. What is the GOP "establishment"? "Establishment" is a pejorative so vague that I question its utility. The officeholders are established at each election. The officers of the party organizations are closely tied to those winning candidates.

Only a year ago, the "GOP establishment" lost the GOP nomination process. That doesn't speak to very firm establishment. I deal with this construction from the other political direction; people who see Ryan and McConnell as "establishment" traitors because a writer didn't see everything he wanted passing. It's too simple from that directions as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E Meyer
In fact, in private they probably oppose expansion of gun rights as guns in the hands of the masses are a challenge to the money stuffed elites.
Other than a signal that you are willing to attribute hypocrisy to people you think you dislike, there is little to this assertion. There are officeholders who speak in support of 2d Am. issues cynically. One way to tell who those are is to see how they vote when these matters come up for a vote. Does the office holder act to frustrate the measure or protect and support it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E Meyer
Such social issues are used as bait and switch for voters.
Thomas Frank recycled Marxist false consciousness theory for that nugget. I'm surprised people still use it.

There is an alternate explanation that doesn't require identifying just the people one opposes as too stupid to know what they like. Ordinary people in many places may both doubt the ability of government to address their financial anxieties in a productive way, and may also be genuinely repelled by political projects that are aimed at dismantling legal and social conventions that may reflect their moral conclusions.

One of those moral conclusions may be that people have a right to be armed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E Meyer
If comprehensive gun rights legislation was passed, the issue would be lost as a fund raising bogey man.
I don't think history supports that. So long as someone in congress wants to ban a rifle if it has a shoulder thing that goes up, or in a moment of candor admits that she hopes a partial control becomes a ban, you'll have a reasonably held fear that a political movement is a danger to a civil liberty. That doesn't evanesce just because ther is a legislative victory. If CCW laws are a guide, passing reforms may solidify a sense that restrictive regulation is the pet of hysterics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E Meyer
Tin foil on my part - perhaps. But listened to the leadership talk about priorities - they never mention gun legislation.
What were they addressing in SHARE?
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Old December 28, 2017, 10:27 AM   #18
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When people write about parts of federal law restricting firearm markets or use, they sometimes fasten on a single facet, measuring progress via that facet only. This strikes me as a mirror image of the gun control advocate's focus a specific sort of attribute. Some of us are old enough to remember when "cheap Saturday night specials" were the big deal.

SHARE, Hughes repeal, and federally enforced carry reciprocity seem to get a lot of attention. Until this thread, it may have been a more than a year since I'd read anything about the "sporting purpose" restriction. Maybe it has the same problem as Hughes repeal, a small constituency.
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Old December 28, 2017, 10:41 AM   #19
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Zukiphile - we will just have to disagree on the use of social issues as political voter attractors and cynical usage of such.

When proactive gun legislation gets through the Congress and signed with the same zeal as tax cuts, I'll rethink.
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Old December 28, 2017, 11:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Zukiphile - we will just have to disagree on the use of social issues as political voter attractors and cynical usage of such.

When proactive gun legislation gets through the Congress and signed with the same zeal as tax cuts, I'll rethink.
Glenn, you are plainly free to disagree. If you choose to examine why you endorse the Frank thesis prior to the next gun bill, you might wonder whether the standards involved are susceptible to general application.

If poor people can't knowledgeably vote against redistributionist tax policies and in favor of legal and social conventions they favor, because you think those policies aren't in their interests, can well off people knowledgeably vote in favor of redistributionist tax policies because they favor social and legal innovations you prefer?

Or do people have values that extend beyond their wallets?

Nearly everyone pays taxes to the federal government. It has been the central issue in national elections for more than a half century. That 2d Am. rights are not treated as a fulcrum upon which our national politics pivot may not be a sound foundation for a conclusion that the positions aren't genuinely held.

I don't think we have an obligation to agree with with everyone, but it is remarkable to me how often people will state what they think if given the opportunity.
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Old December 28, 2017, 11:54 AM   #21
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It's not remarkable.
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Old December 28, 2017, 01:33 PM   #22
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I think the real reason the Republicans have not made "fixing" gun control a major issue is not because of any "we don't want poor people to have guns" kind of thing, though I am sure some people are into that.

The main reason its not a priority is because, in the view of the Republican party, it doesn't NEED to be. They have a historical pattern of this. Pro-gun voters are, for them, essentially a captive audience.

After all, where else are we going to go??? No one who values their guns and gun rights will vote for the Democrats, who have openly put gun control in their official party platform.

SO, what are our choices??? Vote "R" or stay home.

The Republicans make noises about doing something for us (repealing SOME gun control) before elections, so we will vote FOR them, rather than staying home. After the election, they got our votes, so they don't NEED to make guncontrol a big deal, until the run up for the NEXT election.

They can make noises, introduce bills, maybe even get one of two small things that work in our favor passed, and then claim victory, and how they have defended our rights, done what we wanted, etc., but they don't NEED to push hard or make it big priority, because, after all, do something for us, big, small, or nothing at all, they can still count on our votes in the next election, simply because we have no where else to go.

They will make it seem like it is an important issue to them, so we do vote, but after the election real effort goes on the back burner, until the next election comes up, then they'll move it back onto what they say is their priority list. They have done this time after time (and not just with the gun issue). It is the way business is done in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, about many issues.
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Old December 28, 2017, 01:40 PM   #23
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I agree but one would ask why the issue is not a priority for them given their supposed conservative agenda. That was what I was speaking about. Keep the issue for votes and really don't want an armed populace.

In any case, you folks figure it out as I am going to eat a liverwurst sandwich on an onion roll!
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Old December 28, 2017, 02:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44AMP
The main reason its not a priority is because, in the view of the Republican party, it doesn't NEED to be. They have a historical pattern of this. Pro-gun voters are, for them, essentially a captive audience.

After all, where else are we going to go??? No one who values their guns and gun rights will vote for the Democrats, who have openly put gun control in their official party platform.

SO, what are our choices??? Vote "R" or stay home.
Does that measure work for other issues?

Reduced marginal income tax rates is an issue the repubs own in much the same way dems own feminism. If repubs don't reduce rates to your liking, what are you going to do? Vote democrat? Yet Glenn identifies this as a repub priority, and I think he is correct on that.

We see only intermittent legislation reducing marginal IT rates. Is this because repubs know they have a lock on voters who want lower rates? Or is it because all legislators work within a system that requires majorities not just of one's own party, but majorities on a specific measure?

Our system is designed in a way that makes legislation difficult to pass into law. It's possible that a bill you and I love doesn't get through because others love the bill less and our system makes passage difficult. It might not be that faithless legislators are just toying with us.
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Old December 29, 2017, 01:18 AM   #25
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Getting pro-gun legislation passed at the federal level is very doable, it just takes time. For example the 1986 FOPA and the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Yes FOPA is where automatic weapons were banned, but that was something added at the last minute to try and kill the bill. The GOP decided to eat the ban because to kill the bill would've meant burning a lot of bridges and also it would have been unlikely another chance to pass such a bill would come any time soon. But the main reason for the bill in the first place was because of the blatant abuses of people's rights that were occurring due to the 1968 Gun Control Act. FOPA undid certain of the GCA. The PLCAA was passed because of the gun controllers trying to sue the gun industry out of existence.

Silencer deregulation, national reciprocity, and/or elimination of the "sporting purposes" clause will likely probably take some time as well. What we really need are more astute pro-gun politicians who can actually explain these types of bills to people on television, as unfortunately too many can't. IMO, too many pro-gun politicians don't know much of anything about guns or the Second Amendment, so they don't know how to defend the legislation. Remember when Newtown happened and it was cringing listening to some of the politicians try to defend why there shouldn't be any "assault weapons ban," "high-capacity magazine" ban, etc...
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