It’s Time For a City On the Moon!
It Means What I Say
by A.X. Perez
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Mossberg makes the Shockwave. Remington makes the Tac-14. These are pump action weapons with smoothbore barrels less than fourteen inches long that fire shotgun shells (note: they are both equipped with pistol grips and do not have a shoulder stock.) The BATFE has ruled that they are not short barreled shotguns that must be taxed and registered but are non NFA weapons not covered by the so called Gangster Weapon Act passed during the Great Depression.
Several companies are making pistols based on carbines that have permanently attached wrist braces. As the name implies, they have a cuff attached that may be wrapped around the shooter’s wrist to stabilize the weapon and make it easier to shoot accurately. Many of these cuffs are made of rigid material and can be held against the shoulder. The BATFE has ruled that using the wrist brace in that manner does not make these weapons short barreled rifles as per the National Firearms Act of 1934.
There is an interesting story here. First the BATFE ruled that using wrist brace as a shoulder rest did not make these pistols SBR’s. Then they changed their minds and said it did. Now ATF has changed its mind and it is legal to bring your wrist brace to your shoulder to stabilize your pistol and fire more accurately.
Technically ATF is not legislating when it makes rule like this, it is interpreting existing law, in these cases the National Firearms Act of 1934 (AKA, Gangster Weapons Act). The rules are interpretations of the law that the Bureau and other law enforcement agencies will use to carry out the law. Currently they are choosing more lenient interpretations of the law in these cases, but there is nothing to stop them from interpreting these laws more strictly based on anything from perceived need to whim.
In the past ATF has interpreted laws against armor piercing pistol ammunition to try to ban rifle ammo with varying degrees of success. When the laws these rulings were based on were passed it was sworn they would never apply to rifle caliber cartridges. In the words of Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, Surprise!”
For years BATFE has ruled that bump stocks were legal under the NFA. Now they are considering ruling that they are not (see [This Link). Congress is also considering legislation to ban bump stocks, but ATF is prepared to pass regulations to the same effect if Congress decides the political price is too high, or refrain from doing so, all at the will of “the Bosses.” (Who, in spite of the Trump Revolution, are the same as the old bosses, to paraphrase the song.).
“Gunnies” who passionately follow the gun debate are aware of how a Federal Bureaucracy screw with their rights playing fast and loose with the power to make regulations with the force of law. What many of us forget is how our rights are screwed with on other issues. Don’t carry too much cash or it will be seized as part of the war on drugs and crime in general. Not a law, rules set by DEA, IRS, and local PD’s. I still remember a spokesperson for the EPA stating that if Congress would not carry out its duty to pass legislation controlling pollution the EPA would make the necessary regulations. Who can forget President Obama’s (in)famous, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” comment meant as a threat to use executive orders to do what he thought was right by the American people if Congress did not act in what he considered a responsible manner. The executive branch has grown addicted to usurping power that belongs to the legislative branch.
We need our weapons to guard our liberty. However, as long as we are stuck with government we also need one that respects the separation of legislative and executive power to defend our liberty.
I’d rather see this type of government restored to America by peaceful means. However, if this country is to survive a government that respects separation of powers must be restored, one way or another.
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