Be sure to check out my latest over at Glibertarians; this time it’s the first in a new series, Five Shotguns You Should Shoot Before You Die. Enjoy! And speaking of guns: This could be big. Excerpt:
A prosecution for unlawful machine gun possession was granted cert by the Supreme Court–and the Justice Dept. filed a motion applying to vacate the judgment and drop the indictment. (It appears that the defendant challenged the constitutionality of the indictment before this went to trial.) Huh?
The argument that scared DOJ into dropping felony charges is that:
1. Federal authority to regulate machine guns is derived from their authority to tax them.
2. Since 1986, it is has been unlawful to make them for private ownership.
3. If they will not collect that tax, do they have authority to regulate their possession?
Apparently this is a side effect of ACA which required you to pay a tax for not being insured. The penalty was reduced to 0 recently by Congress, so the individual mandate no longer has any basis, because it was derived from Congressional taxing authority. It appears that DOJ has figured what that my friend Stephen Halbrook argued in U.S. v. Rock Island Armory (C.D. Ill. 1991) could sink machine gun regulation, very quickly.
It seems to me the ultimate upshot of all this could be that the Imperial government really doesn’t have the power to regulate the manufacture and sale of automatic weapons, like the AK-pattern carbine being fired by the adorable Kari Byron above. Could commercial production resume, once all this is hashed out in the courts?
Honestly I kind of doubt it. Some shenanigans will be pulled somewhere, because “OMG LEGALIZING MACHINEGUNS BAD,” and some torturous reasoning will block the legal manufacture of said pieces. And, honestly, I probably wouldn’t buy one anyway; not my particular cup of tea, and if I could get an original Pigeon Grade Model 12 for the same money, well, I’m going for the scattergun.
But as a matter of principle, I believe that as long as I’m not harming another citizen either physically or fiscally (I refuse to allow “emotional” harm to alter my behavior) then it’s nobody’s damned business what I choose to own or not to own, whether that be an original 1928 Thompson or an 8-inch howitzer.
I’d like to see this happen. It would be a rare move in the direction of freedom. I’m just kind of skeptical that it will amount to anything. And that’s too bad.