Handgun Melting Point Laws


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SIGfiend
August 6, 2011, 04:48 AM
I have read online that several states have these. A lot of people say it is just a legal ruse to disarm Americans.

In trying to be fair and give them some kind of merit for this kind of a law, is there any kind of evidence that proves that ordinary guns (whether inexpensive or expensive) melt during light or heavy use? According to many sources the states with these laws claim a "junk gun" melts at 800-1000 F. Even if the guns were capable of reaching these temperatures wouldn't the person holding the gun melt their hand along with the gun?! I have never heard of a gun melting while in use (except a military machine gun firing full-auto for a minute or more). I want to chalk this up to being a nonsense law.

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Danb1215
August 6, 2011, 05:12 AM
Can you name a state that supposedly has such a law? I've never heard of a melting point law specifically. The closest thing would be the various "Saturday night special" laws that claim to target cheap guns. Those laws were/are overtly racist, and if what you're talking about exists, its likely for the same reason, and has nothing to do with safety.

mgmorden
August 6, 2011, 05:43 AM
South Carolina has that law. There's only a fews that do. You can't sell the Heritage Rough Rider guns here for example - same with some of the cheaper derringers (and apparently some of EAA's Windicator revolvers).

Most obvious reason why it has no purpose: polymer frames have a much lower melting point than the zinc frames on the cheap guns that this legislation targetted, but still cost more. The law had to add a specific exemption for polymer frames in the melting point law - it only applies to metal frames.

If it were a problem with the gun "melting" during use, then the polymer frame gun would have even more of an issue, which it's obvious they don't.

It really is about just trying to target cheap guns. It's strange as we mostly have pretty lax laws regarding firearms in this state, except for this one gaping exception. Maybe it'll get repealed though. I know this was added back in the 80's sometime. Back around the same time they also instituted a "1 handgun purchase per 30 days" law in this state, which has indeed been repealed within the last few years, so it IS possible for firearms laws to come off the books as attitudes change.

SIGfiend
August 6, 2011, 07:22 AM
SC, HI, and I believe 3 others...

M-Cameron
August 6, 2011, 09:30 AM
According to many sources the states with these laws claim a "junk gun" melts at 800-1000 F.

well the only common metals that melt within this temp range are Zinc, Lead, and Tin......

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/melting-temperature-metals-d_860.html


and since lead and tin are not suitable for firearm construction........that really only leaves zinc.....

.....now im no expert, but i believe the number of gun manufactures that use Zinc for the majority of their guns is quite small.

The Lone Haranguer
August 6, 2011, 09:49 AM
These laws protect us by helping to ensure that we will only get shot with high quality handguns. :rolleyes:

There have also been such laws passed at the local level, i.e., cities and counties.

Quoheleth
August 6, 2011, 10:04 AM
There was a push for such legislation thirty, fourty years ago after several high-profile assassination attempts using cheap, pot-metal "Saturday Night Specials." I remember reading Skeeter Skelton's writings about this - and, as I recall, he and other writers were in favor of that language.


Q

Tirod
August 6, 2011, 10:36 AM
Zinc barrels? The frame won't get to the melt point by the time the barrel gets red hot. Since most are low cap single stack mag fed pistols, I seriously doubt a shooter could continuously fire a stack of magazines through it fast enough to get to that point - it would burn their hand and force them to stop.

Ironically, lawmakers don't have to pass laws that actually adhere to the physical laws of the universe. They can outlaw something that can't be done in real life, or even make any sense at all.

Sam1911
August 6, 2011, 11:21 AM
These laws were written specifically to try and eliminate some of the cheap guns that certain segments of society could generally afford.

What is a "Saturday Night Special?" At least on definition explains that originally it was a crime. Specifically a murder committed by one person of a certain ethnic/social set against another person of that same ethnic/social set on the wrong side of the tracks. The definition shifted until it was applied to the types of guns often used in such crimes.

(That definition is contested.)

At any rate, these laws were never intended to promote safety. They were simply a means to identify and prohibit a type of gun used commonly by the more troublesome portion of society, without prohibiting guns that shared other characteristics, but which were owned commonly by the more favored classes.

The laws could (sometimes do, I think) say, "Zinc, zinc alloy, tin, tin alloys, etc.,etc." but it was easier to give a defining characteristic like low melting point.

It doesn't have anything to do with actual use, safety characteristics, performance, or the sorts of factors we normally consider when choosing a gun -- it was simply a method to take low-cost guns out of the hands of folks who it was assumed wouldn't be able to afford more costly options.

rule303
August 6, 2011, 11:50 AM
Here in MN we have the so-called "saturday night special" law. It prohibits any handgun having a frame made from powdered metal, or any material having a melting point less than 1000 degrees F. I am sure most if not all poly frame pistols fall into this category, but it is ignored for them. But you won't see a Jennings, Lorcin, Phoenix or Heritage rough rider on any shelf in the state.
I see this law as highly discriminatory, and possibly racist in origin. It takes the option of an affordable firearm for self defense away from many who could not afford a more expensive name brand piece. Even though most of the guns that fall into this category are less than stellar, ask yourself why this law would be passed in the first place?

Mike1234567
August 6, 2011, 12:05 PM
I believe this law may prevent the sale of Hi-Point pistols because the slide is made of a zinc alloy. This is a blow to low income folks who just want to protect themselves because, as much as they're hated by many, cheap Hi-Points work well at their intended purpose.

ETA: (regarding post #12 below) Thanks, MG. That's good to know.

mgmorden
August 6, 2011, 02:16 PM
I believe this law may prevent the sale of Hi-Point pistols because the slide is made of a zinc alloy. This is a blow to low income folks who just want to protect themselves because, as much as they're hated by many, cheap Hi-Points work well at their intended purpose.

I know the law in SC - and I believe in virtually all the other states that have similar laws - state the frame specifically as the part with the melting point requirements. No other parts like the slide are specified. As said, polymer frames are specifically exempted from the requirement so Hi-Points are fine to sell, but other types aren't.

brickeyee
August 6, 2011, 04:20 PM
Zinc barrels? The frame won't get to the melt point by the time the barrel gets red hot. Since most are low cap single stack mag fed pistols, I seriously doubt a shooter could continuously fire a stack of magazines through it fast enough to get to that point - it would burn their hand and force them to stop.

The law does not require material, it says that the material used CANNOT melt at the stated temp or lower.

Steel is OK, zinc is not.

It is designed to stop the cheap zinc frame guns.

Think Lorcine, maybe Raven,high Point.

Mike1234567
August 6, 2011, 04:27 PM
Hi-Point pistols aren't zinc framed. They're polymer. The slides are zinc alloy though.

Zoogster
August 6, 2011, 05:07 PM
Sam1911 got it pretty well.

While guns using such materials are often of low quality, the intent of the law has nothing to do with safety to the user or quality of the firearm.
All polymer frame firearms have frames with lower melting points, yet are widely used by police and military around the world. This clearly shows a quality firearm can be made on a frame with a low melting point.

At the time of such legislation polymer firearms were typically unheard of or not common.
It stems from a more politically correct way of outlawing "Saturday Night Specials" without using such language, and under the guise of safety.

The term Saturday Night Special stems from a racist term used to describe guns even poor blacks could afford. Poor urban members of society were involved in a lot of the violent crime, often on Friday and Saturday nights, the nights they went out partying on the town and getting into trouble.
The guns such poor people could afford or were found with were often the least expensive on the market. Whether they bought them, or stole them from a poor neighbor who could not afford much better.
Such guns became known as "Saturday Night Specials".
The term would be extended to poor people of all ethnic groups to describe the type of firearms they could afford.
Poorer urban neighborhoods typically had more crime, more drugs, people with less education, a rougher culture, and the least politically powerful demographic. (People living in such neighborhoods are also the most likely to need to defend themselves at some point.)
This led to gun laws that tried to disarm the poor, without disarming other members of society.
Because more politically powerful segments of society were less effected, they didn't fight such legislation to save the poor man's gun.

But they needed a way to legally identify the poor man's gun, even though everyone knew one when they saw it, that is not enough under the law.
They couldn't simply say "if it costs less than X it is illegal", even though that was the intent.
So they looked closely at the firearms to determine what differentiated them in a manner they could legally define. What they found was a frame more often made of materials that were cheaper to manufacture (just as low melting point polymer frames today are the least expensive to manufacture for similar reasons.) They realized these materials had a lower melting point than more expensive firearms, and so outlawed them on that basis.


This of course was nothing new. Similar knife, club, and other poor man weapon laws were passed in places decades prior when a knife was the poor man's weapon, and guns were possessed more by those with money to spare.
Just look at laws against things such as the Bowie knife in Texas, and various dirk and dagger laws other places, including places with great firearm freedoms at the time such laws were passed, meant to disarm the poor of their time.

Mike1234567
August 6, 2011, 05:29 PM
Sorry but I have to disagree with the logic that a law like this limits those "certain elements" possessing pistols because most of those types won't bother to buy a pistol anyway. They'll just steal them. The ones most hurt buy a law like this are those who "also" need protection but can't afford much and won't steal to get one.

Sam1911
August 6, 2011, 05:39 PM
Oh, I don't think any of us here buy into the effectiveness of the plan, or its goals.

In fact, I'd say that most are at least somewhat outraged at the notion that the GOOD folks, those law-abiding folks who happen to be poor, are declared by those with political power to be unworthy of having the means to effective self-defense.

These laws are simply another form of the old Jim Crow type laws (like a poll tax or literacy test) used to adversely affect and disempower those who are disfavored.

zxcvbob
August 6, 2011, 05:58 PM
MN has that law (I found out when I took the day off to goto Cabela's and buy a Heritage Rough Rider that was on sale -- they don't sell them in MN and forgot to mention that in the ad)

The way it was explained to me, it's to make it harder to destroy the evidence after using a gun in a crime. I think the real reason is deny poor black people their RKBA while pretending to care about "the children." :cuss:

Mike1234567
August 6, 2011, 06:36 PM
^^^ I'd say it's slightly more complicated that that... more like they think all people of limited financial means are criminals. Whether those lawmakers equate poor with minority is of moral concern but of no consequence regarding those who cannot afford to defend themselves with anything except rocks, sticks, and bare fists.

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