Banning Machine Guns: The Roots Of Infringement On The Second Amendment

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Via WiscoDave, William Sullivan writing at American Thinker.

“Machine guns were outlawed because there was no need that justified the risk.  Was that wrong, too?” Cuomo asks.

The short answer is, yes, that was wrong, too — if the Second Amendment is the measure.  And to be clear, the Second Amendment is the only sentence in the Constitution where an individual right to firearms is addressed.

Yet we find several conservatives aligning with Cuomo, in principle, suggesting that automatic weapons, or “machine guns,” have understandably been banned since ancient times (for us), and it was somehow justified as within the government’s right to do so.  For example, Josh Hammer writes at the Daily Wire that, “automatic weapons are already (for all intents and purposes) banned” under the NFA, so new gun control measures on a “cosmetically amorphous” semi-automatic “assault weapons” should not be needed.

That statement not only concedes the left’s position that the federal government had the right to levy such infringements upon the individual right to gun ownership in the first place, but more importantly, it’s not entirely accurate.

I’ll assume that Hammer knows his history, and that by “all intents and purposes,” he means that the NFA made it nearly impossible for the common law-abiding citizen to attain an automatic weapon only because the cost was prohibitive for most common Americans due to the heavy tax laid upon the purchase of one.  It was egregious for the federal government to craft such a law, but perhaps the more important distinction is that there was no federal law suggesting that an American citizen couldn’t legally own a properly registered and purchased “machine gun” for more than 50 years after the NFA was passed, because it was clearly understood that a federal “ban” on such weapons was an infringement upon law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right.

In truth, automatic weapons were not actually “banned” in this country until 1986.  It wasn’t until the farcical passage of the Hughes Amendment as an addendum to the National Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 that ownership of any such firearm was truly “banned” by the federal government.

If you ever imagined that our elected betters are actively working toward the preservation of our constitutionally protected rights, watch this video of Charlie Rangel leading the House in a “voice vote” to allow the Hughes Amendment, and allowing only two minutes of raucous “deliberation.”  It is among the lowest and most ridiculous moments in the history of our American Congress — and that’s saying something.

It has been reported that President Reagan considered vetoing the FOPA due to the inclusion of the Hughes Amendment, but was convinced by the NRA to not do so, believing that the “Supreme Court would throw that measure out as unconstitutional,” thereby “correcting the defect in new law.”  That challenge to the unlawful “machine gun ban” never came.  And now, thirty-three years later, nothing could be more natural than Americans assuming that the federal government somehow has the right to ban whatever weapons it can successfully ban, even if it does so via legislative subterfuge.

If the “slippery slope” idiom ever has a meaningful application, this might be a good example of it.

In the end, it took 146 years of American history for the government to even make a sweeping effort toward a federal gun law restricting firearms among the law-abiding populace.  It took sly maneuvering to enact the first federal gun control, achieved only under the auspices of the government’s “right to tax” firearms, and an ensuing fifty years of the government purposely avoiding the notion of that government could “ban” any firearm (for fear of running afoul of the Second Amendment), before a Congressional circus in 1986 finally presumed that the government could actually “ban” automatic weapons.

Slippery slope indeed.  And this is why so many gun owners won’t budge any more.  Budging and compromising is what got us where we are today, with the expectation that Congress will only make more laws infringing on God-given rights, that they have a right and warrant to do that, and that the only recourse is to compromise and hold on to what little we can.

No more.


Comments

  1. On August 15, 2019 at 7:59 am, Fred said:

    “…but was convinced by the NRA to not do so, believing that the “Supreme Court would throw that measure out as unconstitutional,” thereby “correcting the defect in new law.” That challenge to the unlawful “machine gun ban” never came.”

    There are so many layers of dis and mis information in this statement that it is a ridiculous house of lies.

    Why didn’t the NRA challenge it at Congress, then at the President, and why oh why, did the SCOTUS challenge never come? Why has the NRA always been willing to punt?

  2. On August 15, 2019 at 8:46 am, George 1 said:

    Reagan is held in high regard by most conservatives. In fact he did a lot of damage. The machine gun ban was one such instance. He was also responsible for the immigration act of 1986, which sped up the USAs demise by about 25 years.

    Those things, IMHO, largely negated anything good he did. Civilians should be able to own any weapon used by police. Police are supposed to be civilian organizations.

  3. On August 16, 2019 at 3:39 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    The Hughes Amendment of 1986 was a particularly pernicious and underhanded piece of legislation, even by the standards of the degraded denizens of the House and Senate.

    The measure ended, at the stroke of a pen, production of all new fully-automatic NFA Class III firearms for the civilian market. Henceforth, all such weapons would be regulated and for sale only to the military, law-enforcement, holders of special permits, and approved foreign/domestic weapons sales.

    The ban did not outlaw select-fire weapons; this allowed the members of Congress to say, with straight faces, that they had done nothing to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of ordinary Americans. However, the Hughes Amendment acted as a de facto ban on such weapons, which is precisely what its authors had intended.

    When word of the impending ban got out, firearms manufacturers went into overdrive to produce and sell as many select-fire Class III weapons as possible before the law went into effect.

    When the ban hit, it immediately bid prices up dramatically on the Class III items still in the system, and as time went on, those prices continued to rise steeply. Today, a select-fire Colt M4 carbine can cost as much as $15-20,000 USD on the open market.

    The very high prices on such firearms limits who can own them, to those with the financial means and inclination. People of ordinary means are priced out of the market; for them the Hughes Amendment amounts to a ban. Meanwhile, the rich, famous and well-connected can collect all of the Class III items they wish.

    Leftist film director Steven Spielberg – one of the richest men in the United States – is known as a vocal supporter of gun-control causes. What is less well-known is that he is the owner of one of the largest privately-held machine gun collections in the country. When a reporters asked him about it, he replied that it was OK for guys like him to own restricted firearms; just not “them,” presumably meaning the great unwashed out in flyover country. Can you spell “hypocrisy”?

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment


You are currently reading "Banning Machine Guns: The Roots Of Infringement On The Second Amendment", entry #21720 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published August 14th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (679)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (34)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (17)
Ammunition (78)
Animals (37)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (180)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (72)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (27)
Australian Army (6)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (79)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (18)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (16)
Body Armor (18)
Books (3)
Border War (10)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (38)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (2)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
CENTCOM (7)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (10)
CIA (27)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (216)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (143)
Department of Homeland Security (22)
Disaster Preparedness (3)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (12)
Donald Trump (20)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (2)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (29)
Featured (180)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (1,006)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (15)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (43)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
GITMO (2)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (1,050)
Guns (1,507)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
HAMAS (7)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (8)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (13)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (20)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (83)
India (10)
Infantry (4)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (23)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (379)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (61)
Islamists (91)
Israel (18)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (80)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (4)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (3)
Lawfare (7)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (50)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (258)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
MEDEVAC (2)
Media (42)
Memorial Day (5)
Mexican Cartels (33)
Mexico (46)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (4)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (5)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (25)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (16)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (61)
NATO (15)
Navy (22)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (3)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (57)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (218)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (58)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (2)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (410)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (449)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (162)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (75)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (29)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (260)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (28)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (20)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (5)
Survival (26)
SWAT Raids (54)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (4)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (17)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (95)
Thanksgiving (8)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (18)
TSA Ineptitude (11)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (5)
U.S. Border Security (14)
U.S. Sovereignty (17)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (3)
Uncategorized (56)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (220)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (3)
War Reporting (19)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (60)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (21)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2019 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.