Revisiting The National Firearms Act

BY Herschel Smith
7 years ago

This commentary caused me to revisit the National Firearms Act (hereafter, NFA).  Perhaps there are better versions of this discussion (perhaps someone can find a PDF of the deliberations), but here is a rendering of the deliberations of the Congress on the NFA.

One of the most stark and eyebrow raising parts comes up front.  It is the testimony of Homer S. Cummings, then Attorney General of the United States.

Here are some of his statements.

“The situation has become exceedingly serious … there are more people in the underworld today armed with deadly weapons, in fact, twice as many, as there are in the Army and Navy of the United States combined.  In other words, roughly speaking, there are at least 500,000 of these people who are warring against society and who carrying about with them or have available at hand, weapons of the most deadly character.”

” … defines firearms to mean pistol, revolver, a shotgun having a barrel less than 16 inches in length.”

” … it defines a machine gun as any weapon designed to shoot automatically, or semiautomatically, 12 or more shots without reloading.”

This is the first draft of the NFA on which he is testifying.  Note that all handguns, including revolvers, and all semi-automatic rifles, were included in the first draft of the NFA.

For that matter, so was body armor, what he called “bullet-proof vests.”

But he waxes to the most earnest and emotional part thereafter when asked how laws were going to effect change in those who already had these weapons.

“I racked my brain to try to find some simple and effective manner of those already armed.”

His solution if you care to read it is to tax them, trace them and make interstate commerce and travel with these NFA items illegal.

And thus we know that his entire testimony is complete and unmitigated bullshit.  He begins by whipping up the terror.  Half a million.  Again, half a million of these nefarious workers of evil who have no compunction about killing or savagery currently have access to machine guns (which he defines as semi-automatic rifles) and pistols.  Not only that, he points out upon questioning that these are half a million people, not weapons.  Each person may have a dozen or more weapons.  Seriously,  read it for yourself.  That’s six million machine guns in the hands of cold blooded killers who have no conscience and a ready-made organization.  More, mind you, than the Army and Navy combined.

And yet, making interstate commerce in those weapons and travel across state lines illegal is supposed to work as an effective deterrent to the crimes they perpetrate.  Realistically, half a million machine gun toting cold blooded killers could have taken over the government in a day, and yet Cummings is advocating his law as an effective means to hold them at bay.

This law will go down as an abomination and obscenity, and in fact it already has.  The testimony was full of lies, the law was intended to disarm peaceable men, and the use of terror was an emotional ploy on stolid Congressmen, or perhaps those who knew and played along in the disarming of the public.

The NFA is a wicked testimony to the depravity of mankind.  It’s still the holy grail for gun controllers today who want to restrict semi-automatic weapons, pistols, barrel lengths and magazine capacity.  God will not bless a country with a history of controlling people in such a manner, and this law deserves our utmost disapprobation.  We should not and do not recognize its legitimacy.

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  1. On February 9, 2017 at 8:40 am, Fred said:

    It’s always the same. Take the freedom of the people, but wait, they might fight back, so take their means of defense (and money) as well. If government simply left us free they, and us, would not have these problems.

    Thanks for the first link. I love reading the real history of the this country.

  2. On February 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm, Col. Douglas Mortimer said:

    Like how progressives in the US gubmint poisoned alcohol during prohibition and killed people…..sort of like Fast & Furious. The government knowing allowed firearms to get into criminal hands across the border and people died. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  3. On February 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm, LetsTryLibertyAgain said:

    There is a good effort underway to remove suppressors (aka silencers) from the NFA via the 2017 Hearing Protection Act, and despite this not being in the interests of those denizens of the District of Criminals, it’s gaining some traction. Maybe, after that is passed, we can remove short barrel rifles from the NFA list as well.

    The entire NFA should be repealed, but unfortunately, it’s always easier to panic and bribe a bunch of craven congresscritters into passing sweeping restrictions on individual liberties, but those liberties are restored through legislation very slowly, if at all. First, it’s an inalienable right. Then it’s illegal. Then, if we work very hard and we’re very lucky, it’s a government granted privilege to those willing to pay a tax, submit finger prints, waive their right to be free of searches and seizures without a warrant, etc.

  4. On February 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm, Luddite said:

    But here’s the rub on the Hearing Protection Act: don’t expect prices to go down. BATFE, read Treasury, is not going to give up that tax revenue so prices for suppressors will probably remain static should they become available without the tax stamp.

  5. On February 9, 2017 at 5:26 pm, LetsTryLibertyAgain said:

    It’s true that governments do not willingly give up revenue and they love taxes, but doing the math it’s obvious that adding up all of the $200 checks results in a sum that is completely insignificant to the federal budget. It’s not even a rounding error. The $200 tax is there for the same reason as the paperwork, fingerprints, local law enforcement sign off, onerous regulations and lengthy waiting period. It’s all designed to be an infringement – a way to discourage Americans from owning NFA items.

    Take suppressors off the NFA list and there is no mechanism to collect a tax. When the volume greatly increases, the prices will come down. Suppressors are not that complicated and there is nothing inherently expensive about them. I can easily make one in my workshop.

  6. On February 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Right. It’s nothing but a can with baffles. The costs for suppressors is ridiculous and this has been one of the greatest scams in the gun community. These cans should be going for ten dollars.

  7. On February 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm, hal said:

    Every law restricting the the rights of lawful Americans to buy,own, or possess firearms and ammunition are illegal. The 2nd Amendment is clearly written and understood by most 15 yr olds yet supposedly genius level lawmakers and judges argue to this day the meaning of “The right to bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

  8. On February 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm, Shane Cory said:

    Very good points and a reason why I found their “underworld” excuse to be BS as well. They had a power issue and a general inability to control the combat veterans of WWI . . . and the corporations who were also deploying water-cooled machine guns to suppress their own workers. So they took power from workers by disarming them (a coal miner could not afford a $200 tax stamp), and kept power with the government and the corporations.

  9. On February 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm, lan said:

    Don’t you know a law hiding as a tax will always protect you, thus the carbon tax, the ACA tax, etc. More tax equals greater safety. /s

  10. On February 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm, Pat Hines said:

    The story I’ve read about the passage of the NFA is that the Speaker of the House made an appointment with Frank “the cripple” Roosevelt to tell him why the NFA would not pass. After several hours, the Speaker left the White House and rammed the bill through the House, the Senate went along.

  11. On February 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Not only poisoned to stop alcohol, the first head of the FDA wanted both caffeine AND cocaine on the banned drug list. The man was a Puritan thug.

  12. On February 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm, Matthew Wilbanks said:

    My reply over at WRS:

    Pretty much the best summary of the NFA ever was done by John Ross as part of his book Unintended Consequences. He released that chapter for free so people could share the information…

    Additionally, regarding Pat Hines comment, the quote at the top of page 4 is probably what he is remembering:

    “A clear example of the fact that the National Firearms Act had nothing to do with crime and everything to do with government power occurred immediately prior to its passage. Senator Hatton Sumners of Texas, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had been a virulent opponent of the proposed bill and had bottled it up because it “did violence to states’ rights”(26). On April 23, 1934, Roosevelt called Sumners into the White House for a chat. Sumners agreed to vote for passage(27).”

  13. On February 9, 2017 at 8:11 pm, mikrat said:

    And don’t forget that the 68 GCA was co-written and fully condoned by your buddies at the NRA. I would not doubt the NRA had a part in the NFA as well.

    Without gun control the NRA would not exist – Send MOAR FRN’s Quickly.

    And both are completely UN Constitutional and need to be Ignored if not repealed.

  14. On February 10, 2017 at 9:38 am, Fred said:

    Yup, same with the anti-abortion hustlers. The anti-abortion and NRA employees have retirement funds and pensions and health care benefits. Why, if the plan is to abolish the need for your own existence, would they try very hard?

    This same fallacy exists in most peoples jobs. If you work so hard and do such a good job that you are no longer required for that job, because it doesn’t even exist anymore, what will happen?

    A. You will be out of work?
    B. You will never want for work again?

    The answer, counter intuitively, is B.

  15. On February 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm, RDG said:

    Don’t forget what they did after 9/11. Border floodgates were opened to moslems. NSA listening to every American 24/7. Terror attacks stopped by the government-zero times. Except those fools that were entrapped by cooked up government terror schemes. Throw the trash out of DC now.

  16. On February 9, 2017 at 8:46 pm, mikrat said:

    NO! Keep them in DC, Build a Wall around it, Bomb the Airport and Bridges – let’em starve.

  17. On February 9, 2017 at 9:07 pm, mikrat said:

    It is an established fact that the United States Federal Government has been dissolved by the Emergency Banking Act, March 9, 1933, 48 Stat. 1, Public Law 89-719; declared by President Roosevelt, being bankrupt and insolvent. H.J.R. 192, 73rd Congress m session June 5, 1933 – Joint Resolution To Suspend The Gold Standard and Abrogate The Gold Clause dissolved the Sovereign Authority of the United States and the official capacities

  18. On February 9, 2017 at 10:02 pm, L O said:

    Im curious what the date is on those statements. As unfortunate as it is, Lawmakers and the public tend to forget about the carnage left by previous colleagues and generations. Perhaps a lesson in repealing arcane, draconian gun laws, based on utter nonsense, can be suggested to lawmakers.

  19. On February 10, 2017 at 9:39 am, Fred said:

    But to lawmakers, power and money, are not nonsense it’s bread and butter.

  20. On February 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm, Exit Only said:

    I question where he got the number of a half million from? How can anyone know how many people who wish to keep their evil deeds hid in darkness? I think he is pulling that number from darkness, and I’ll let you guess where.

  21. On February 11, 2017 at 6:01 am, DAN III said:


    It has always amazed me, no, angered me, how those we call “government” have changed the definition of words as found in Websters. Most brazen in the word definition changing to suit their tyrannical agenda, has been and continues to be, the scoundrels at BATFE.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published February 9th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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