Analysis of the new ban in the house- 1st draft


May 18, 2003, 05:05 AM
Ok, I've taken some time to go through the newly proposed ban and, doing my best impersonation of someone who understands legalese, I've tried to break the thing down into words that normal people can understand. Lemme know if the wording needs work, or is too strong, or if any of my thinking is flawed. This is the 2nd draft. I haven't changed that much of it, just made some of the language a little more concise and added a conclusion at the end.
The implications of the 2003 Assault Weapon for American Gun Owners

A new and much more far-reaching ban on firearms has been proposed in the House of Representatives. The purpose of this document is to give a fairly concise overview of the newly proposed law, and how it will affect gun-owning Americans. Unfortunately, much of the wording of the proposal, HR 2038, does nothing but modify parts of the original ban. In order to get a decent idea of what the whole picture looks like you have to cross reference HR 2038 with Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, Sec. 922 of the United States code. For the purposes of this document, HR 2038 was referenced from, and Sec. 922 was referenced from the US Code Collection available at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, available at

This newly proposed law is a much more sweeping piece of legislation that will have a far-reaching effect much beyond the so-called ‘black rifle crowd.’ No one, from shotgun hunters to Olympic shooting competitors is left untouched. Those who wrote this legislation are engaging in nothing short of Orwellian doublethink. They have taken the original definition of what an ‘assault weapon’ is, completely discarded it, and are now reinventing it to cover a much more broad swath of firearms.

1) Hunters

Most of the time legislators attempt to paint themselves as pro-gun by associating themselves with hunters, and pointing out that they would never attempt to take away anyone’s duck gun. Time to wake up. Under the newly proposed ban, any and all semiautomatic shotguns will be banned that have any of the following:

`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
`(ii) a pistol grip;
`(iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine; or
`(iv) a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds.

Yes, I know that state law requires your shotgun to be plugged to a 3-round capacity. But since it’s not a permanent fix, you just lost your right to own many autoloading shotguns on the market. Admittedly, hunters are the least affected by this new law, but they are affected nonetheless. What’s worse, this bill would outlaw many shotgun configurations that are well suited to home defense.

2) Competition shooters

Competition shooters are not left out, and the proposals are such that it hits pretty much every competitor from High Power to IPSC to International Bullseye shooters.

A) Shotguns
Since pretty much all autoloading shotguns are toast with this bill, don’t expect to be running one in an IPSC or 3 gun match.

B) Action pistol
The magazine ban is still in place. So if you’re an IDPA shooter you’ll still be limited to 10 round magazines. If you’re an IPSC shooter, you’ll be forced to pay the inflated price for standard capacity mags. Oh, and the burden of proof as to whether that magazine of yours is truly preban has been shifted from the government to you. More on this later.

C) Bullseye pistol

You think that Pardini is safe? Think again.

`(F) A semiautomatic pistol that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine, and has--
`(i) a second pistol grip;
`(ii) a threaded barrel;
`(iii) a barrel shroud; or
`(iv) the capacity to accept a detachable magazine at a location outside of the pistol grip.

This exact same ban was instituted in California. When it was pointed out that high-end competition guns like the Walther GSP fell under the ban, the legislature’s response was “So what?”

D) Rifle competition

Be it 3 gun or high power rifle shooting, these sports will now be essentially closed to any and all new comers. The AR15, FAL, and AR10 are mentioned by name, and the features listed all but put the M1 Garand and M1A on the endangered species list. Also, those with fixed-magazine guns are not left untouched. If you have a rifle with a fixed magazine that holds more than 10 rounds you have an assault rifle. So you can no longer skirt the law by attaching those 30-round fixed magazines to an SKS, and might, in fact, be committing a felony if you try to sell that rifle. Also, please note that in the original bill an assault weapon is defined as one with the ability to take detachable magazines, and includes at least two so-called 'evil features' (bayonet lug, flash hider, etc.) In this law an 'assault weapon' is defined as being semiautomatic with the ability to take detachable magazines and only including one "evil" feature. What they are doing is to redefine a genre of weaponry that doesn't exist in any professional sense among gun designers or the gun owning public.

Here’s the real kicker to the whole thing, though: The sporting purposes clause is nowhere near ironclad. In fact, it reads:

A semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General. In making the determination, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any Federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.'

In other words, just because a particular firearm is suited for a particular sport is no guarantee that it is suited for a particular sport, at least as far as can and will be determined by some lackey working in the AG’s office, who undoubtedly has far more insight into the shooting sports than any of us. If a particular sporting weapon is derived from a military design, then it is considered to be suspect.

Of course, the above is only in relation to firearms and whether or not they are particularly suited to a given sport. As far as one’s right to self-defense and the use of a firearm thereof, you’re out of luck. By the way, if you’re still reading this, you’ve just gotten through the good news.

3) Elimination of the sunset.

It is what it says it is. The new law will have no sunset. We either kill this thing now, or fight a much harder fight in the future.

4)Repealing prior exemptions in the 1994 law.

Got a rifle/shotgun/pistol that you want to sell? Better check with the law first. If it falls under the nebulous and ever-changing definition of what an assault weapon is, you’ll have to transfer the gun through a dealer. That’s right, all guns are equal, but some are more equal than others. It will become illegal to transfer one of these firearms through a private transaction. In other words, no, you cannot sell your rifle to your next-door neighbor who has been your best friend since you were both in Kindergarten. If he/she wants it, you’ll have to go through an FFL. The law states:

Section 922(v) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(5) It shall be unlawful for any person to transfer a semiautomatic assault weapon to which paragraph (1) does not apply, except through--
`(A) a licensed dealer, and for purposes of subsection (t) in the case of such a transfer, the weapon shall be considered to be transferred from the business inventory of the licensed dealer and the dealer shall be considered to be the transferor; or
`(B) a State or local law enforcement agency if the transfer is made in accordance with the procedures provided for in subsection (t) of this section and section 923(g).

Yes, that’s right, no more private party transactions. And it gets even better (by which I mean worse) when we get to the bit about magazines.

4) Regulation of buying/selling standard capacity magazines

`(z) It shall be unlawful for any person to transfer any assault weapon with a large capacity ammunition feeding device.'.

So once you decide to sell a weapon governed by this law, you cannot sell any magazines with it. Please note that this also applies to firearms with fixed magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Doing so will result in punishment-

(2) PENALTIES- Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(z) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.'.

So basically, if you decide to sell a semi-automatic firearm, you are prohibited from selling any magazines with it, lest you get tossed in the clink for a few years.

5) Strengthening the ban on ‘large capacity ammunition feeding devices.’

Are you a cop or law-enforcement officer? In the old law there were a few hoops you could jump through and if you were lucky enough to have a cool boss, you could even keep those ‘high capacity’ magazines that you bought (with your own money) for your service sidearm. Not anymore. The new law reads:

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 922(w) of such title is amended--

(ii) by striking subparagraph (C) and redesignating subparagraph (D) as subparagraph (C);

Ok, so that sounds like a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. Striking? Subparagraph C? redesignating this as that? What?
The old sub paragraph C from the original 1994 bill reads as follows:
the possession, by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving ammunition, of a large capacity ammunition feeding device transferred to the individual by the agency upon such retirement;
In other words, once those involved with law enforcement retire, they are considered to be just as untrustworthy as the rest of the civilian population.

B) The burden of proof shifted regarding magazine possession is shifted from gov’t to individual-

(C) by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:
`(4) It shall be unlawful for a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer who transfers a large capacity ammunition feeding device that was manufactured on or before September 13, 1994, to fail to certify to the Attorney General before the end of the 60-day period that begins with the date of the transfer, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Attorney General, that the device was manufactured on or before September 13, 1994.'.

Basically a gun dealer is now prohibited from selling a pre-ban magazine, unless he first certifies it with the AG’s office. So while it would still be legal to own pre-ban magazines, it is now a major hassle for both the dealer and customer to get them. This will drive the prices up even further, or cause many gun dealers to stop selling pre-ban magazines all together.

This particular part of the law stinks even worse because it shifts the burden of proof from the government to the owner of a magazine. In other words, according to the old law, the government would have to prove that the magazine you have is indeed a pre-ban or illegal post ban. Now that has been switched around. It is now up to the accused to prove that a given magazine from his/her collection is indeed a pre-ban. This is called ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and last time I checked is illegal according to the US Constitution.

Insanity, it has been said, can be defined as repeating the same thing and expecting different results. The 1994 ban is a proven failure at reducing the rate of violent crime. Instead, it created a miasma of confusing rules and regulations that are nearly impossible to follow unless one is well versed with the letter of the law. It established an ever-changing definition of what an ‘assault weapon’ is, and has relegated the American gun owner to the rank of a second-class citizen. We must fight not only the expansion of this bill, but the reauthorization of it, too.[B]

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Mark Tyson
May 18, 2003, 08:00 AM
This is not helping my rampant paranoia!

Is there a similar bill in the Senate?

May 18, 2003, 08:42 AM
Guys and Gals...

Here is my suggestion. IF this ban sunsets as we expect it will, the very best investment we can all make over the next few years (until the demonrats are back in power) is to buy up any and all of the evil stuff you can. You'll be able to retire on that investment later. Count on it.


Al Norris
May 18, 2003, 09:01 AM
Congratulations Justin!

Your interpretation of legalese is essentially correct. And don't you just love the way they snuck in that provision about who has authority to declare a semi-auto weapon, an assault weapon? Or the pre-ban magazine proofs?

Folks, some of you say that this thing will never fly. I submit that this will in fact make it to a vote, albeit in modified form. This bill is onerous and ripe for negotiation (read compromise) and it is up to us to see that it never, ever finds it's way out of committee or attached as an amendment to another bill.

For those that think I'm dreaming, go back and check who all voted for the original '94 ban. You'll find the list of Republicans who signed off on that bill, rather impressive.

Glock Glockler
May 18, 2003, 09:18 AM
Bless you, Justin, fine work, but have you forwarded it to group sympathetic to us?

May 18, 2003, 12:44 PM
Mark, there is a similar bill in the Senate, though it isn't nearly as sweeping as the House proposal. It is S 1034. Basically it is a straight-up reauthorization of the '94 ban. Though even it has a couple of ad-ons.
1) The sunset clause is repealed and the ban is made permanent.

2) It would make it illegal to import so-called 'large capacity ammunition feeding devices.'

To my mind, it looks like those in the House are either completely insane, or have drafted a bill that looks completely insane in order to get it compromised down to making the thing permanent. Then we can all breathe a sigh of relief about how, even though the ban was reauthorized, we really dodged a bullet.

Tarpley, I'd say that buying any sort of EBR or standard capacity magazine would be a very good thing. There's probably a chance that they'll put off voting for this thing until after the elections which would give us at least a small window of opportunity to buy the good stuff. However, if this bill passes don't expect to be able to sell those firearms or magazines. The law is essentially freezing the ownership of them and establishing a definate paper trail for those who do decide to sell them.

Al, I think you've really hit the nail on the head.

Glock Glockler-
I haven't sent this to anyone mostly because I finished typing it up at about 3am this morning. Basically imagine a guy sitting in PJ's in front of the computer, flipping back and forth between IE windows that have the old law and the new proposal in them, trying to make heads or tails of lawyerspeak. I'd like to get a few more proof reads from some of the members here before I send it to anyone.

I would also really, really like it if someone chimed in and told me that 'no, this law doesn't mean you will get a five year prison sentence for owning a peice of stamped metal .'

I kinda doubt it though.

May 18, 2003, 12:52 PM
Thank you for your analysis, Justin.

It would be nice if somebody could distill this information down into some posters and flyers that could be left at shooting ranges and gun shops and shows. If the hunters and competition shooters know that their guns aren't safe under this bill, they might be roused from their apathy to support all of us.

Brett Bellmore
May 18, 2003, 01:53 PM
"To my mind, it looks like those in the House are either completely insane, or have drafted a bill that looks completely insane in order to get it compromised down to making the thing permanent. Then we can all breathe a sigh of relief about how, even though the ban was reauthorized, we really dodged a bullet."

Justin, you hit it with the first shot. The bill described above was introduced by a couple members of the black caucus, who make Lenin look conservative. I understand that there's another House bill, supported by a greater number of Democrats, that's more in line with what the Senate Democrats are proposing.

May 18, 2003, 02:10 PM
Remember the bill has to get out of committee before it can be proposed for a vote. It can also be tabled without a vote once out of committee.

I don't think the bill will make it out of committee.

May 18, 2003, 02:17 PM

Thanks for breaking the lawyerspeak code, I get frustrated sometimes trying to read that stuff.

On the burden of proof thing, what is the best way to prove that something is pre-ban? I don't currently own anything of pre-ban status, would just a sales receipt suffice?

Sergeant Bob
May 18, 2003, 03:06 PM
On the burden of proof thing, what is the best way to prove that something is pre-ban?

Wow, that's a $64,000 question! I have some pre-ban Mini-14 mags and there is no way on this green earth I could prove they are preban, aside maybe from carbon dating:rolleyes: . Even if I had a sales receipt (from 6 years ago), all it would do is prove I bought them.:fire:

May 18, 2003, 04:12 PM
Tom Delay (sp) has said that this will never get out of committe in the House. Who evers votes in his state should contact him and tell him that he will be held accountable if it does. He CAN stop it if he will.

May 18, 2003, 08:35 PM
Despite all the hand wringing polls about "where's the line?" "what would you do..." etc, I'd like to point something out.

There is no line.

We've never collectively drawn it.

Perhaps we ought to:


If we can pull this one off, we've got a fighting chance at peacefully turning the tide back to full, meaningful respect for Second Amendment. (Short of a Deus Ex Machina ruling from the Supremes)

If not, well, in the words of Trinity, "You've been down that road Neo. You know exactly where it ends."

We'll ultimately lose to incrementalism; and when that happens, the covenant of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, its system of checks and balances will have been fundamentally altered, such that it no longer has any meaning.

It will be nothing less than the End of The Republic, and the "quaint" notion that We the People are governed by our Consent.

May 19, 2003, 03:37 AM
Periodically, I have been emailing my senators and representative this message:

If any of the provisions of Section 110102 (Restrictions on Manufacture, Transfer, and Possession of Certain Semiautomatic Assault Weapons) or Section 110103 (Ban of Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Devices) of Subtitle A (Assault Weapons) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 are made permanent or extended beyond the repeal date (September 13, 2004), I will work to ensure you never hold an elected office again.

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