Michigan residents to obtain modern machine guns (sort of)


PDA






jsalcedo
January 5, 2006, 05:11 PM
By Chad Selweski
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

A state attorney general's opinion requested by a Macomb County man makes it easier for Michigan residents to obtain modern machine guns.
Advertisement


Attorney General Mike Cox ruled that possession of machine guns manufactured prior to 1986 is legal for those who follow federal application procedures, including fingerprints, a photo and a criminal background check.

"This will open up a larger class of firearms, a larger pool of guns, to people in Michigan," said Michael Sessa Jr. of Harrison Township, 45, who sought the attorney general's opinion. "Now, we'll be able to own slightly newer machine guns."

At issue was a 1977 opinion issued by former attorney general Frank Kelley that limited Michigan ownership of machine guns to relics and antiques. Kelley's ruling was followed by a law adopted by Congress that, as of 1986, outlawed the ownership of newly manufactured machine guns, with the exception of police and the military.

Cox's opinion, issued Dec. 27, supercedes Kelley's ruling, saying that those who successfully apply to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms can obtain pre-1986 weapons, which are known as "transferables." A majority of states have similar rights, recognizing that transfer of possession of pre-1986 federally registered weapons is legal.

Michigan residents had been limited to pre-1977 machine guns while more modern versions of assault weapons, used by military police, had been off-limits because of Kelley's opinion. Critics had said that Kelley's ruling was contrary to the intent of state legislation.

The new attorney general's opinion was formally sought by state Rep. Leon Drolet, a Clinton Township Republican, at Sessa's request. Sessa, founder of Gun Owners of Macomb County, said the previous law made it difficult for him to compete in machine gun target-shooting competitions.

A federally licensed firearms dealer, Sessa said he has been put at a disadvantage in twice-yearly competitions held in Kentucky because of the dated weaponry he was forced to rely upon.

Sessa said the Cox opinion will have limited impact because machine guns cost between $8,000 and $15,000 and the procedure of transferring ownership can take six months to complete.

http://www.macombdaily.com/stories/010406/loc_sessa001.shtml

If you enjoyed reading about "Michigan residents to obtain modern machine guns (sort of)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
lucky_fool
January 5, 2006, 05:25 PM
So AG opinions have the force of law in Michigan? Way to circumvent the legislative process! :banghead:

c_yeager
January 5, 2006, 07:57 PM
So AG opinions have the force of law in Michigan? Way to circumvent the legislative process! :banghead:

Ahhhh, you have now caught on to the whole point.

Make *everything* illegal. Then use "selective enforcement". This allows for a defacto ruling class of princes and kings without the burdon of having to deal with an elected body of lawmakers.

GigaBuist
January 5, 2006, 08:01 PM
So AG opinions have the force of law in Michigan? Way to circumvent the legislative process!
Back in the day Michigan passed a law that said you had to have a license to own a machine gun (or silencer).

Michigan then never made a system for obtaining said license.

In the meantime the Form 4 process got complicated enough that it, in effect, acts as a license.

Michigan was looking for a way to make sure that none of the "bad guys" had machine guns without giving the "good guys" a chance to get them.

Curio and Relics were allowed because you had to have a Curio & Relic license to get them.

I really dont' see this as side-stepping the legislative branch.

lucky_fool
January 6, 2006, 01:19 AM
Back in the day Michigan passed a law that said you had to have a license to own a machine gun (or silencer).

Michigan then never made a system for obtaining said license.

In the meantime the Form 4 process got complicated enough that it, in effect, acts as a license.

Michigan was looking for a way to make sure that none of the "bad guys" had machine guns without giving the "good guys" a chance to get them.

Curio and Relics were allowed because you had to have a Curio & Relic license to get them.

I really dont' see this as side-stepping the legislative branch.

When you put it that way it makes more sense, but the article didn't have that info. It's still sloppy lawmaking to require a license for something but not codify the licensing process.

carebear
January 6, 2006, 01:25 AM
Except that may just be the executive's job.

It is the AG's job to interpret how the laws will be interpreted for the executive, much like Ashcroft's determination of an individual 2nd right. The law didn't change from Clinton, how the execs chose to read it did.

Which is why it's important to elect a good executive, their appointments have a great deal of influence.

lucky_fool
January 6, 2006, 01:31 AM
Except that may just be the executive's job.

It is the AG's job to interpret how the laws will be interpreted for the executive, much like Ashcroft's determination of an individual 2nd right. The law didn't change from Clinton, how the execs chose to read it did.

Which is why it's important to elect a good executive, their appointments have a great deal of influence.

Yeah, but Ashcroft's opinion didn't have a concrete result like changing the types of machineguns that are legal to own. In my experience AG opinions serve more to set the tone of an administration and send messages to the legislature rather than actually change statutory law.

carebear
January 6, 2006, 01:54 AM
I guess in the absence of a court ruling or further action by the legislature (we didn't MEAN that) having the AG come up with a determination is the next best thing.

GigaBuist
January 6, 2006, 02:13 AM
Which is why it's important to elect a good executive, their appointments have a great deal of influence.
Actually in Michigan, dunno about other states, the AG is an elected official, not appointed.

The last race for AG was Cox vs. Peters. A local radio station had a ball with that one. The major issue was, however, child support so I paid no attention to the race.

After this I WILL be paying attention!

GigaBuist
January 6, 2006, 02:47 AM
Yeah, but Ashcroft's opinion didn't have a concrete result like changing the types of machineguns that are legal to own. In my experience AG opinions serve more to set the tone of an administration and send messages to the legislature rather than actually change statutory law

Quite likely, but it's important to remember that at the Federal level the Supreme Court hasn't heard a 2nd amendment case since Miller which was way back in the 1930's. Further, the Ashcroft opinion only stated that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms applied to an Individual which the US Supreme Court has never denied -- only lesser courts have said that it was a "collective" right. Miller was shot down by the US Supreme Court because they didn't see the weapon at hand (a short barreled shotgun) as a viable tool for the militia as it had no purpose in the armed services.

If Miller had lived, and the defense did their job, it would have been trivial to show that shotguns with short barrels were used by the armed services in America, but since that never happened the NFA restrictions still stand.

The Ashcroft finding were a "feel good" measure. If the "individual right" is ever contested before the Supreme Court then it might come into play, but only as an argument with solid backing - NOT legal precedent. Further, as far as the SC is concerned that IS the law of the land. They never said otherwise.

The Federal AG can issue opinions all they want but in the end they'll have to pass the muster of the Supreme Court. Likewise, in Michigan, Cox's Opinion will have to pass the muster of OUR Supreme Court IF IT'S EVER BROUGHT TO TRIAL.

The AG's opinion only lacks credibility when the court is willing to hear a relevant case and rule against it. That's far more likely to happen in MI than it is at the Federal level, IMHO. However, the question is who would bring a case against the state against this, and further, how would they argue around the MI AG's opinion? The Michigan Supreme Court is going to have to find a way to ratonalize the ATF Form 4 as NOT being a suitable license to invalidate this AG opinion.

I'm not a lawyer, I just read a lot. This is all just my crude opinion. Do not EVER base a case off anything I say. :)

Perhaps this should be merged with the L&P thread already out there?

If you enjoyed reading about "Michigan residents to obtain modern machine guns (sort of)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!