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Thread: New Musings on Gun Control

  1. #1
    Join Date

    New Musings on Gun Control

    Disclaimer: This thread is neither for, nor against gun control. It is about a facet of gun control that triggered my curiosity. Also, in this thread, I am discussing only legally owned NFA weapons.

    Flipboard flipped me a new article about the numbers of NFA weapons registered in each state. For those that don't know what a NFA weapon is, read the following quote:

    In 1934, the National Firearms Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt. Among its provisions, the law stipulated that certain types of firearms need to be registered with the Secretary of the Treasury, and that owners of those firearms were subject to a $200 tax – equal to nearly $4,500 today. The types of weapons covered by the law, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns, were largely associated with organized crime during the Prohibition Era, and the NFA was designed to curtail their use.

    Over the nearly 90 years since the law’s passage, some significant changes have been made – including a 1986 provision banning the transfer of possession of machine guns not grandfathered in. Otherwise, Americans seeking to own NFA weapons must first receive official approval after completing a registration application and submitting a fingerprint card and the $200 tax payment – which has never been updated to adjust for inflation.

    Weapons registered under the NFA fall into one of six categories: machine guns, silencers or suppressors, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices such as bombs or grenades, and “any other weapon,” which is a catch-all classification that includes certain firearms that can be concealed in items such as pens or walking canes.
    Nationwide, there are over 7.5 million registered NFA weapons, or 2,300 for every 100,000 Americans. Depending on the state, the number of federally-registered weapons ranges from 462 to over 24,000 for every 100,000 people. (highlighted by Mike)
    Now, that's a hell of a lot of weapons that are judged by the government to be too dangerous for routine ownership, yet are legally in the hands of the public!

    The article got me to thinking about the last time I can remember a legal NFA weapon being used in a crime. I can't remember a single one. 20 minutes of searching the 'net didn't find one, either. I did come across a few anecdotal message board posts suggesting that there may have been a couple of murders, but nothing to support that. Perhaps I'm not using the correct search parameters. I don't know.

    That got me to wondering how that can be. With enough legal NFA weapons in private hands that ~2.3% of the population could own one, why are they not used in crimes?

    A look at the differences in obtaining a NFA weapon as opposed to buying any other firearm at your local gun store shows that it is slightly more difficult to purchase due to requirements to file additional paperwork, including your photograph and fingerprints to the ATF for approval. It also costs an extra $200 for a tax stamp, and a long wait while the ATF determines if you will be approved to own the weapon. If approved, your weapon will be registered with the ATF, while a regular gun purchase goes without registration. I know how all that works from personal experience, and believe me, the anticipation of being approved is worse than a five year old waiting for Christmas!

    Is that enough to prevent NFA weapons from being used in crimes? I can't see why unless time is of the essence, or if the extra $200 tax would cause criminals, and soon to be criminals, to buy a less expensive weapon.

    Perhaps it is because known criminals are denied the purchase, but that doesn't account for owners who commit a crime sometime down the road.

    Maybe it is because the kind of person who submits to the minimal scrutiny of an NFA background check and pays the extra tax is a type of individual who can be trusted with these weapons.

    Maybe it is none of the above and just the chance of the draw that legal NFA weapons are not used in crimes.

    I don't have the answers, but understanding why legal NFA weapons may be crime free could possibly be applied in a manner to help prevent our spate of mass shootings. Or, not.


    [on edit]

    One thing I can draw from this study is that it is not the gun that is killing people, because the most deadly firearms, legal NFA firearms, are not doing the killing. It is evil humans doing the killing. Now if we can just figure out the difference in ownership, maybe we work on solving the problem.
    The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible - Arthur C. Clarke

  2. #2
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    In the Village...
    Having owned the range at Shooter's Station, I had the opportunity to shoot many NFA items...To me they are all novelty items with very limited practical use...I think the 1934 act was more of a money making scheme for the US Government than it was a crime deterrent...There are practical purposes for the items of course...The Thompson submachine gun was advertised in the 20's and early 30's as a tool for ranchers in their never ending battle with coyotes and other predators...Today they would be a certain aid against the proliferation of feral pigs...Suppressors could be equally useful to gardeners in pest control without disturbing their neighbors...Short barreled rifles are useful for keeping in a vehicle out of sight...

    I've never owned any of those items, and my FFL's did not cover their transfer although I know they are a money maker...However, it might be useful to study Mike's idea to see how it relates to criminal activity......Ben
    The future is forged on the anvil of history...The interpreter of history wields the hammer... - Unknown author...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Salt Lake City
    I agree with Ben and Mike on this topic.

    The Director of the CDC (Walensky) says, "We haven’t spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it’s been so divided.” The agency is also spending $8,085,935 on 18 research projects to prevent gun-related violence and injuries (CNN).

    But, will the CDC wade into an issue that may cause legislators to cut their funding? Possibly - we shall have to see how this rolls out.

    I don't care if it hurts. I want to have control. I want a perfect body. I want a perfect soul. - Creep by Radiohead

  4. #4
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    16 miles west of the White House, Northern Virginia..
    Mike makes some very good points.. I believe that that we shouldn’t ban weapons but rather adjust the NFA “line” .. and adjust the fees for inflation..

    When the NFA act was passed the country was having very serious problems and the people causing these problems were using weapons covered in the NFA.. we again have very serious problems and again the people causing these problems are choosing one family of weapon..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Of course, the implication of your argument is that we should make access to weapons as difficult as getting a machine gun.

    Yep, I agree with you.

    The problem is, and has always been, access to extremely lethal firearms, as your argument implies. I'm all for making things such as the AR-15 style weapons as hard to get as a machine gun for that is essentially what it is. Good idea!!!

    The issue is not the problem of evil people. It is evil people with access to a very lethal firearm. This is not mysterious and we need not ponder the issue at length - that's been done for decades. Evil people are not reaching for jello to provoke mayhem in mass jello slinging events. They are reaching for a gun. The problem is evil people having access to highly lethal firearms. That access needs to stop.

    So you have three choices:

    1) Identify the evil person ahead of time and restrict that individual's access. This is impossible, according to the very people that would be charged with making that determination, with a success probability no greater than flipping a coin.

    2) Restrict access to the most lethal firearms. A nonstarter among gun rights activists who seem to be comfortable with other people dying as long as their unencumbered right to a firearm is not infringed.

    3) Make firearms less lethal. Back to magazine size restrictions. Not a perfect solution but one that preserves the right to a firearm but makes that firearm less harmful to others if misused. Essentially, this is a product safety approach, rather than a banning approach and the one I favor.

    Choice 1 is undoable except in very rare cases. Time and again, after a mass shooting, the refrain is "I knew he was having problems but never thought..." Choice 2 is unacceptable to too many people, despite the argument at its base - that mass shootings are just the price we must pay for the freedom to enjoy guns in this country. So, choice 3 is the default.

    But that is, like, just my opinion, man, as The Dude says!
    Last edited by Kevin; 05-22-2023 at 08:22 AM.

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