Tuesday, May 31, 2016

3rd Circuit Ruling on Machine Guns and the Second Amendment

Last week I discussed the question of "How Will They Come For Our Guns?" I noted that if you believed that the Second Amendment was created to ensure that Americans would be able to possess the arms necessary to keep them free from tyranny (i.e., military weapons), those weapons were seized a long time ago with the passage of the National Firearms Act in 1934. 

Well, it has been just over 80 years since the NFA was passed, and its corrosive effect on the Second Amendment has shown up again in a new decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Truth About Guns has the story, and reports:
A panel for the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court ruling and sided with the government against a man who was authorized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to manufacture a post-1986 machine gun through a trust, only to have the permission rescinded and his property confiscated. ...

[The Court wrote:]“We reiterated that ‘[a]t its core, the Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to possess non-dangerous weapons for self-defense in the home,’ and thus, under Heller, ‘restrictions on the possession of dangerous and unusual weapons are not constitutionally suspect because these weapons are outside the ambit of the amendment,’” the opinion states. “[G]overnments may restrict the possession of machine guns.”
In 1934, they knew such weapons fell within the ambit the Second Amendment; that is why the law did not outright "ban" machine guns, but "merely" imposed a tax on the sale of machine guns (permitted under the taxing provisions of the Constitution). Now, according to the 3rd Circuit, machine guns are not even protected by the Second Amendment. If this ruling stands, there is nothing to stop the government from simply outlawing any weapon falling within the "dangerous and unusual" category.

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