NFA ’34 – Why it’s weird

I’ve always thought the National Firearms Act of 1934 was a strange beast. It seemed to be a mishmash of somewhat unrelated items, a grab bag of political expediency. Thanks to David Hardy, it’s a little clearer why that is.

“The big push was to be for national handgun registration. The original form of the NFA 1934 had taxed and thus registered not only full autos and short barrels, but also pistols. Congress took pistols out…”

The NFA makes more sense once you know that it was intended to register and tax everything except standard rifles and shotguns. (I use “more sense” in the logical construction meaning, not in the “sensible gun control” meaning.)

In that light, I think Heller challenges of the NFA may be more viable than I thought since the NFA was clearly an attempt to effectively ban entire classes of firearms including pistols.

This entry was posted in 2nd Amendment. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to NFA ’34 – Why it’s weird

  1. styrgwillidar says:

    Speaking of classes of weapons, a snippet from the oral arguments before SCOTUS. Atty. Gen Clement was representing the government arguing in support of DC ban and storage laws:

    JUSTICE SCALIA: But that opinion also, it didn’t use the militia prologue to say it’s only the kind of weapons that would be useful in militia, and that are commonly — commonly held today. Is there any Federal exclusion of weapons that applies to weapons that are commonly held today? I don’t know what you’re worried about. Machine guns, what else? Armored bullets, what else?
    GENERAL CLEMENT: Well, Justice Scalia, I think our principal concern based on the parts of the court of appeals opinion that seemed to adopt a very categorical rule were with respect to machine guns, because I do think that it is difficult — I don’t want to foreclose the possibility of the Government, Federal Government making the argument some day — but I think it is more than a little difficult to say that the one arm that’s not protected by the Second Amendment is that which is the standard issue armament for the National Guard, and that’s what the machine gun is.

  2. Wally says:

    NFA34 is full of holes, and I agree heller may be the nose under the tent.

    It would be impossible to argue intent of the legislators, you can only argue the wording of the legislation. One aspect for debate would be ‘reasonable restrictions’. If you wanted to buy a firearm for home defense, could you ?

    I *love* an SBR for home defense. So it would be a $200 tax plus a 4-6 month wait to actually take posession of it.

    Does that mean the government would ‘let’ us have rifles and shotguns and handguns to tide us over until our form 4s arrive ?

    I am okay with some level of registration. BUT if I have passed a bunch of NFA background checks, I should be able to buy a supressor, SBR, SBS, AOW, DD cash and carry. MGs too, if 922o ever falls – but with a limited MG market, the current F4 approval is enough to keep the bogus guns at bay.

    Miller also should have been a slam dunk, citing weapons in use by the army.

    Hughes, not NFA are likely to fall in my lifetime. But if they do…. well hell I don’t know what I’d buy to celebrate šŸ™‚

  3. Bubblehead Les says:

    It sounds like FDR was taking a page from Big Tim Sullivan of NYC’s Tammany Hall. Look at the similarities between the Sullivan Act and the NFA’34. I kinda/sorta/maybe see them looking at the Gangster era and how the Mobsters like Machine Gun Kelly, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde were misusing Full-Auto Weapons, but to take handguns away in the middle of a Depression while those thugs were roaming around… I’m glad that Congress was able to look past the “Don’t let a Crisis go to Waste” front that the FDR Admin was putting up. Those Ruling Elite types always seem uneasy when the Peasants are armed, don’t they?

  4. TJP says:

    What’s also weird is that they were so anxious to uphold it with phony precedent that an unrepresented and eventually dead violator didn’t stop them from doing so. Whatever. TBH, I really don’t give a shit about Miller or NFA. Arguing the specifics of the legislation and its first challenge is arguing inside an unconstitutional context set by central government employees who personally profit from expanded state power, and it also wastes everyone’s time with irrelevant discussions about constitutionally-absent topics such as “militia purpose” and an imaginary alternate-universe Second Amendment which mandates that the government infringe on the rights of citizens by stating that their rights shall not be infringed.

    The rules are followed not because they make sense, or that they actually had an effect on crime or safety, but that there’s an overt threat of deadly force directed at anyone who attempts to assert unalienable rights. If this is what a constitutional republic is supposed to be, then the dictionary should define it as “a dictatorship with paperwork.”

Comments are closed.