Proposed “Firearms Freedom Act Of 2015”
Russ Chastain 02.17.15
A recent blog post by Bob Owens at Bearing Arms lists a few suggestions for restoring a small percentage of American gun rights. Without trying to steal the thunder from the original post, here is an outline of the proposal, along with some of my thoughts:
– Remove “short barreled rifles” (SBRs) from the National Firearms Act of 1934.
The article asserts that this prohibition was made as a result of prohibition-era gang warfare practices and should have been rescinded along with prohibition. Owens wants SBRs to be treated as any other firearm is treated today, i.e. strictly controlled new-gun sales would have to go through FFL-holding dealers, as would any gun shipped across state lines.
– Remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act of 1934.
More and more American shooters are using sound suppressors. The illogical stigma attached to them is slowly fading, and the result is that more and more people are buying and using them–and their use for hunting is becoming more widespread.
Like mufflers for engines, these so-called “gun silencers” reduce noise rather than eliminating it. And that’s good news for hunters and shooters because prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause hearing damage, even when hearing protection is used. Removing them from NFA34 would make them a common commodity item, preventing the Federal government from extorting $200 from (and adding months of delays to) any application from a citizen who wishes to own one. I have called for their deregulation before, and I hope to see it happen in the near future.
– Add explicit protections for firearms and accouterments of contemporary militia utility.
This may be my favorite proposal of this list. Because the USA’s founders intended that its citizens be ready and able to defend their homeland, they made sure that they and their fellow Americans could own anything the military could own, “from hand grenades to rockets to cannons to ships-of-the-line.”
Since “the goal of the Second Amendment was to ensure that the citizenry would always have arms of contemporary military utility to dispute foreign invasion and domestic tyrants,” he says, “a Firearms Freedom Act would specifically protect firearms, ammunition feeding devices, accouterments and armor that might be used by the unorganized militia to defend the Republic and their families.”
I do see weakness in this one when he adds that “this would protect most semi-automatic firearms, standard-capacity magazines, and other equipment and accessories a citizen-soldier may use to protect the United States from its enemies.” Most especially the part about magazines. If we allow the government to define a standard for magazine capacity, the people will always be the losers.
In my opinion, this should be extended to include ammo. Any ammunition that the military may have and can potentially be used against us should be available to us (see below).
– Revoking the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.
This amendment banned civilian ownership of “selective-fire and automatic” firearms manufactured after the law was enacted, and according to Owens it “was controversially passed on a disputed voice vote.”
Revoking this would merely allow the opportunity to purchase more modern “machine guns,” “instead of wearing out and destroying those of historical significance” to citizens who go through the laborious and exhaustive process of gaining government approval to own a fully automatic firearm.
– Adding explicit protections to common rifle ammunition.
As anyone who follows firearms news is aware, the ATF is currently attempting to ban some of the most common ammunition around. To many, this is a clear-cut case of government tyranny because the result would be explicitly restricting ammunition that could be used by the populace to defend against oppressive government forces (which would very likely be using this same ammunition against them).
This final of Owens’ proposals would protect such ammunition from government meddling and restriction.
To many, these ideas will seem too radical. To many others, they will seem too weak because, in his words, “there is no attempt to remove NFA restrictions and intensive background checks on who may purchase machine guns and who may own sawed-off shotguns.” It leaves in place the onerous NCIS and FFL systems and many other restrictions.
But as the saying goes, you’ve got to start somewhere, and this may be a great start.
What do you think? Too much, too little, just right, or none of the above? Please sound off in the comments below.