National Firearms Act

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Alan Berlow, writing in the New York Times, asserts that the National Firearms Act “stands as a stark rebuke to the most sacred precepts of the gun lobby and provides a model we should build on.”

According to A.T.F. analysis, among N.F.A. weapon owners there were only 12 felony convictions between 2006 and 2014, and those crimes did not involve an N.F.A. weapon. If that conviction rate were applied to the owners of the other privately owned firearms in the United States, gun crime would virtually disappear.

You see, he has causality laughably reversed.

The National Firearms Act was passed in 1934, in response to the gangland violence of the (recently ended) Prohibition era. It required NFA firearms to be registered and taxed — at the then-prohibitive rate of $200 per firearm (roughly $3500 in today’s dollars).

Which firearms were to be NFA firearms? Machine guns and all guns small enough to be concealed. Conventional semi-auto pistols and revolvers were ultimately excluded from the act before it passed, but short-barreled rifles and shotguns were not.

Also, “silencers” or sound suppressors are considered NFA firearms — even though they are not firearms and are almost unregulated in other countries that regulate firearms quite tightly.

So, the well-to-do, law-abiding citizens willing to go through the bureaucratic process to legally own a suppressor are — surprise! — not felons and don’t commit violent crimes with their firearms.

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