Here I go again quoting myself from another blog.
IANAL, but I don’t see the door shut on overturning the post-86 MG ban in the Heller opinion. We’re may be stuck with registration of some kind, but the 86 ban makes no sense in light of Heller, especially when pre-86 NFA weapons ARE legal for civilians to own.
If a machine gun was made and registered before the 86 ban, it is legal for me to own, but if it was made after the ban it’s illegal. Not to mention the $200 NFA tax, the sole purpose of which was to price machine guns out of the market for regular people in 1934.
Talk about arbitrary and capricious!
I imagine that most people don’t realize the history of machine gun laws in the US.
Yes it is completely legal for a civilian to own a machine gun in the US provided that there are no state or local laws that would otherwise prevent it.
In 1934, the National Firearms Act placed a $200 tax on the transfer of ownership of a machine gun. Since then the BATF has added a raft of other regulations like requiring law enforcement sign off and fingerprints. The $200 tax was specifically intended to be so high most people wouldn’t pay it. In 1934, Thompson Submachine guns sold for $50 and were considered overpriced. (Think H&K today) No one was willing to pay four times the price of an already overpriced machine gun PLUS the cost of the gun just to own a machine gun.
The 1968 Gun Control Act banned from importation any “non-sporting” firearms. Machine guns were defined as non-sporting.
In 1986, in the dead of night, some congress critter named Hughs (Democrat) slipped an amendment into the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act that banned civilian ownership of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.
I think each of these three laws are vulnerable now because of Heller. Each was arbitrary and capricious when passed, and they collectively ban (sort of) an entire class of firearms. That “sort of” is the key because there are between 100,000 and 200,000 (know one, not even the BATF, knows the exact number) legal machine guns in civilian hands today. It makes absolutely NO sense to ban SOME machine guns and allow others depending only on when or where they were made.