A while back I posted a hypothetical question about what should be done
concerning Class-III weapons (machine guns) that were captured from an
invading army. The weapons would be illegal to possess -- well,
technically illegal to transfer across state lines, I suppose, but for
all practical purposes illegal to possess -- and the people possessing
them would be instant criminals, quite possibly without ever knowing
it. The problem of war trophy firearms is not entirely
hypothetical, however, and it seems the NRA is taking steps to address it.
While the bill's provisions, which provide a 90-day amnesty period for
registration of firearms acquired overseas between 1934 and 1968, are
better than nothing, they aren't nearly broad enough.
You might want to write your Congressman in support of the bill
anyway. If they get favorable attention from this they'll be more
likely to expand it later.
UPDATE: FreedomSight is more critical of the bill.
I don't disagree with his arguments (but see the note below on the
surrender provision), but if we want our legislators to support the 2nd
Amendment, we need to get that message across loud and clear.
Unless you are very lucky (or own a lobbyist), your representative
doesn't actually listen to
anything you say, or read anything you write to him or her about;
instead, their staffers take messages from the constituents and try to
categorize those messages into a simple binary value on each topic the
representive is tracking: yes, or no.
So, if the representative is paying attention to comments about this
bill, his staffers will be trying to characterize all the comments they
receive on the bill as either a yes vote or a no vote. They're
not reading any deeper than that, and any information you write in with
that doesn't fit readily into that paradigm is probably lost.
The way to get support from Congress on gun issues is to write in to support positive firearms legislation even if it has philosophical flaws.
Like it or not, we won't be seeing Congressional repeal of most current
gun control any time soon. When something positive does become
available, we need to support it in order to encourage more positive
legislation in our favor.
Finally, while I understand Jed's reluctance regarding the surrender
provision the NRA didn't bother to mention, you only need to look at
the alternatives to understand why it's there. Right now, people
possessing Class-III weapons affected by this bill are subject to
prosecution for a severe federal felony; there is no way they can get
out of that, no matter what they do with the gun. The bill will
provide an amnesty period, and after that amnesty period, it will
provide an out for veterans in that situation, by allowing them to
surrender the firearm upon notification that continued possession is
illegal. The alternative for the veteran at that point is a
federal felony conviction, prison time, and confiscation of the firearm at gunpoint, not continued peaceful
That strikes me as an improvement, albeit a small one.
This entry was published Sat Dec 24 16:15:28 CST 2005 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2005-12-24 16:15:28.0.