Why no Machine Guns in Washington?


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priv8ter
June 13, 2004, 04:42 PM
I mean, obviously, because the RCW say so, but I'm kind of confused. The Washington State Constitution states thus:

SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

So...that's pretty plain writing. SHALL NOT BE IMPAIRED. Well, not letting me own a Machine Gun could impair my right to defend my house.

I'm still on the younger side of 30, and will admit to maybe not paying attention like I should have in school, so I'm just kind of wondering, with wording like that, how were machine guns, short barreled rifles and short barreled shotguns made illegal? And how did it become to legal to own a surpressor, but not to actually have one on a gun?

I have tried to research this myself, but, while the internet is cool for some stuff, when it comes down to actually trying to research something...there is a lot of garbage to wade through.

I appretiate any help anyone can give me.

greg

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Hkmp5sd
June 13, 2004, 05:13 PM
The federal government used the "interstate commerce clause" of the Constitution to place regulations on machineguns and other specific items named under the National Firearms Act. They didn't ban machineguns or suppressors, merely added a transfer tax and other roadblocks. This occured back in 1934. They went this route because, at that time, they believed that Constitution did in fact allow the ownership of machineguns, etc. by citizens.

Some individual states then passed their own actual bans on NFA items. If the state law then violates the state's constitution, the state supreme court can overturn it. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen.

Then in 1986, they got the bright idea to halt the flow of newly manufactured machineguns into the private sector. Again, they didn't want to go head-to-head with the 2nd Amendment with an outright ban on new machineguns, so they merely passed a law stating that after a given date in 1986, they would no longer accept or approve the applications to register new machineguns for civilians.

Don Gwinn
June 13, 2004, 05:44 PM
HK, I don't know much about Washington law, but I'm pretty sure he's saying that Washington has a state law against machine guns.

priv8ter
June 13, 2004, 08:11 PM
Yes, sorry I wasn't more specific...I understand the different federal laws restricting Automatic Weapons...I was more looking for someone who might understand why Washington doesn't allow Class III weapons, despite wording in the State Consitution that seems much less vague than the wording in the United States Constitution.

Thank you for your help though.

greg

Preacherman
June 13, 2004, 08:32 PM
Priv8ter, the usual response from idiot legislatures is to deny that banning full-auto weapons is in any way an infringement on your right to keep and bear arms. After all, you can still carry semi-auto and other types of long and hand guns, can't you? So banning full-auto weapon possession doesn't infringe your right in any way, does it?

:fire: :banghead: :mad:

Dain Bramage
June 14, 2004, 12:56 PM
I don't think Locke was governor when the law was passed in '94, but I have read a newspaper article where he praises the law. Something about Washington starting to have problems with illegal machine guns turning up in gangs, and how great this law was putting a stop to it. Somehow, I doubt the gangs were bothering to get $200 tax stamps, so all the law did was ban legal collecting of NFA weapons. They did put in some sort of vague granfathering clause.

That in a nutshell is the gist of the law. It's simply a big happy, feel-good, wet kiss to the residents of Washington, that accomplishes nothing, but hobbles the law-abiding. Standard Operating Procedure in this state, as far as I'm concerned. Anyone for a verse of Kumbaya?

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