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What if BATF Adds Semi Autos to the NFA?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by SharpsDressedMan, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. If they added semi autos to the NFA, required background, registration, and $200 fee, would you go through the hoops? I could see that happening, with "amnesty" for all pre-existing semi's to be registered, etc. What do you think?
  2. JTW Jr.

    JTW Jr. Well-Known Member

    I don't see that as being feasible in any sense.
  3. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

    in the EXTREMELY unlikely event that happens....

    i would probably go through the motions to do whats necessary to keep the ones i have.......but i probably wouldnt go through the whole NFA process to buy any more.

    ide imagine revolvers, pump, lever and bolt action rifles would see an immense surge in popularity again.....that is until the antis get their knickers in a bunch and find a reason to ban those too.....
  4. tomrkba

    tomrkba Well-Known Member

    The ATF cannot exceed statute. Does the statute allow the addition of semi-automatics to the NFA list?
  5. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Well-Known Member

    I don't believe that the ATF, as a regulatory agency, as the statutory authority to add weapons to those required to be registered. Letting an agency make decisions that big would seem to be an improper delegation of legislative authority, and therefore a separation of powers problem.

    And it was the National Firearms Act of 1934, duly passed by Congress, that put Title II firearms on the list of things that needed to be registered. NFA, by the definition of that statute, doesn't include semi-automatic weapons.

    I suppose they could argue that all semi-automatics are "readily convertible" to fully automatic, but that would be a stretch, and not likely to hold up in court.

    Still, the underlying question seems to be: if Congress added semi-automatics to the NFA, would you continue to buy them?

    My answer is: Yep, assuming that they don't also raise the tax, since it was originally intended to be a prohibitive tax and just hasn't increased with inflation. If the tax was $2000 instead of $200, then no.

  6. fatcat4620

    fatcat4620 Well-Known Member

    I have thought about this. I doubt they would want to take on the task of registering MILLIONS of rifles. I would think it would be a this day forward all new purchases need to go through the process.
  7. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Street Sweepers are semi-auto.
  8. ^^^You're probably right....a new congressionally adopted law could cover all new guns, or future dealer sales of semi autos, and possibly add restrictions like the NFA. They already have a precedent: the NFA of 1934/1938. They did it once with full autos, they could easily see fit to regulate semi's.
  9. Hacker15E

    Hacker15E Well-Known Member

    Street Sweepers were labeled as Destructive Devices based on having a bore bigger than .50 and being not "generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes."
  10. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    That's true but they are still semi-auto so the precedent has been set.
  11. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    It would take a complete restructuring of the NFA. They might as well sit down and write it anew from scratch. There's no telling what it would resemble once the legislative process was completed. I personally think that the more this is considered, the less feasible it becomes. There are literally millions of AR-15's, etc. They would bog down the system completely.
  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    I don't think you quite understand what he meant. The shotguns which were re-designated as Destructive Devices COULD BE, because the way the NFA was written, oddly enough, ALL shotguns over a 1/2" bore are Destructive Devices -- except that they are granted a special blanket exemption for being "sporting." When the decision came down to make those DDs, it was simply an administrative change to rescind the standard exemption in the case of those specific guns.

    There is no provision under the NFA to make semiautomatic rifles (over 26" OAL, over 16" barrel) regulated under Title II of the law. Without Congress going back "under the hood" and re-writing the law itself, it just isn't possible.
  13. Landric

    Landric Well-Known Member

    Congress would have to change to NFA in order to include semi-automatic rifles of .50 cal and under. The street sweeper and Stryker 12 were added as destructive devices because the NFA as it exists allowed the ATF to make the determination that they were "non-sporting" and therefore destructive devices. The same method is not available for semi-automatic rifles of .50 cal and under. As for deciding that all semi-autos were easily convertible to full-automatic; I suppose the ATF could try that, but considering that they have to approve all new gun designs, and have signed off on all the guns as not being easily convertible they would be reclassifying as easily convertible, that would be a hard legal road to hoe for them.

    As for the original question, I would absolutely register my current AR type rifles (hopefully in a free amnesty period), and assuming the tax didn't go up significantly, I would continue to buy them. I buy NFA stuff already, so adding a class wouldn't effect me. However, I would likely make all my semi-autos SBRs since they would have to be registered anyway.

    In reality though, if congress has the votes for a reclassification of semi-autos to NFA, they have the votes for a ban, and a ban is what the gun grabbers really want.
  14. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    If there was an amnesty period, most likely it would be across the board, applying to all NFA categories. If that was the case, you could just as well convert semis to full autos. Such a massive registration drive also implies repeal of the Hughes Amendment, and opening up the registry.

    An outright ban would mean compensation under the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment, using money that the government doesn't have to spare. This is the reason why, even if they had the votes, the antis might prefer just bringing semi-autos under the NFA. Considering the truly huge time delay (years?) in processing transfer applications, this would amount to a freeze of the guns with their current owners, as a practical matter. Then the pressure from gun owners would be to massively increase the funding for the ATF, so that transfers could be processed.
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Well, BATF can't do that, although Congress could by changing the law. So far, though, I have not heard that as a serious proposal. The main emphasis is on reinstating the AWB with maybe adding a few more weapons (the M1 carbine has been mentioned).

    At the moment, though I think folks in NY and MD have more to fear from the state than from the feds. Both O'Malley and Cuomo are talking registration, a total ban on transfers and confiscation. There is a rumor that some O'Malley aide has even suggested calling out the National Guard to seize assault weapons. I do NOT believe that is true, but if it is, it takes gun control to a whole new level.

  16. crazy-mp

    crazy-mp Well-Known Member

    It would not be a amnesty period with amnesty you are protected from prosecution for having items which are illegal, and semi-auto rifles are not illegal.

    How do you figure? If you write the ATF and tell them you have 10 M16's you want to register when they are asking for number of semi-auto rifles you own they will come visit you. They would just add on to existing laws, they would not take the white out and say register what ever you want.

    When the USAS-12, Streetsweeper and the Striker 12, was declared a "destructive device" you could register the weapon from 1994-May 1, 2001. After that time you would be prosecuted for possessing a illegal firearm. No tax was collected when these guns were registered, because it was a retroactive law. ATF states that approximately 8,200 were registered.
  17. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Out of how many produced / sold?
  18. Old Dog

    Old Dog Well-Known Member

    No ex post facto laws. We can't be forced to pay additional for what we already legally own. Give it a rest, guys.
  19. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Violence Against Women Law 1994. Enforcment was retroactive. Possession of a Firearm after Conviction of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence

    18 U.S.C. 922 (g) (9)
    Under this law, it is unlawful for anyone who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition or to receive any firearm or ammunition that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
  20. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Well-Known Member

    That's not ex post facto. You cannot be prosecuted for having possessed a firearm after being convicted of a crime of domestic violence BEFORE the effective date of the act. That would be ex post facto. The "crime" in the case of this law is possession. It's only illegal after the law was passed in 1994. Having been convicted of a crime of domestic violence is merely a one element of the crime.

    I suppose you could be arguing that the outlawing of possession of firearms (after having been convicted of a crime of domestic violence) is such a huge punishment that it should have been decided by a jury during the sentencing phase of the domestic violence crime proceeding, but I don't think you're really arguing that. I think you just don't quite understand ex post facto.

    It's no different than requiring registration of fully automatic weapons. Before 1934, it wasn't illegal to possess an unregistered fully automatic weapon. After 1934, it was. You had time to register, and then if you didn't, you were breaking the law. It's not an ex post facto law because possessing unregistered machine guns was only illegal after the law. Same with the Violence Against Women Law. You weren't breaking the law by having the guns before the act became effective. You just had to get rid of them to comply with the law after 1994.

    There's a lot of reasons that adding semi-autos to the NFA would be hard, but arguing that the Violence Against Women Act was ex post facto isn't getting us anywhere.


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