A while back we blogged about an individual who took the Prince Law Office’s determination that, as a result of the ATF clarifying that “unincorporated trusts” are not “persons” under the Gun Control Act, it may have opened a way for trusts to manufacture new Post-86 machine guns. As I have written about before, machine guns are and have always been legal in the US, but those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own, so we may only keep trading the ones already on the market.
Well a member of ar15.com submitted a form 1 for a machine gun (application for registration of an NFA firearm one produces) and it was approved… but don’t rejoice yet.
On September 10th, 2014 the stamp came back approved, bearing that green and all too familiar $200 stamp that would allow for a new machine gun to be made, but the man was immediately contacted by the ATF and was told that he must return the stamp and that it was/is not valid. The applicant says he is taking the issue to court, which could be very interesting for the NFA community. The man says the following in the massive thread:
“Stand by, because we will surely need contributions to a legal fund if it goes to court. All things considered, this looks like a realistic opportunity at taking back out rights to Machine Guns. If this fight starts moving forward, it’s going to take a monumental amount of commitment to see it through. Hold fast, everyone. We’re going to need all hands on deck for this one.”
While I wish the man the best and hope that somehow this opens the door for new MGs here in the USA, I do not see that happening. Of course the powers that be don’t want you to have cheap and readily available legal machine guns, so we will not get cheap and readily available legal machine guns but here are a few reasons why I am pessimistic:
- The ATF tried to say that “unincorporated trusts” were not persons under the 1968 GCA in order to implement a set of rules that would have required all trustees to fill out form 4s, undergo NICS checks, and get CLEO signatures. If you remember, the public outcry during the comment period stopped this (or at least pushed it back). This came back to bite them in the ass, big time, because of, well, this whole bit of shenanigans.
- The ATF flip flops all of the time. In just my memory as a young man, I have seen them approve devices like the Akins Accelerator (a spring assisted bump fire device) and then force them all the be recalled/have the springs removed, remember when they banned all shoestrings in the USA and then had to clarify that it was only when said strings were attached to firearms, and I remember when they said SBR engraving was not necessary and then decided that it was. This organization seems to have little oversight on the highest levels and, like many other government agencies, can make or rescind decisions on the fly.
- There are 186,619 transferable machine guns in the USA, and this number is as fixed as fixed gets. The 1986 FOPA banned the new production of fully automatic firearms for civilians, and that’s that. What is perceived as a loophole by addressing a technicality, will not undo this act of congress.
Do I hope that one day we can all run down to our local gun stores and buy new machine guns? Absolutely! Do I think it will happen? Not at all. In fact, I get asked this all the time by just about every gun savy person who knows I am into machine guns. “Wadaya gunna do when they unban these? Your collection will be worth nuttin’!” Well sure I and many other people will take a hit, but I see the greater good in 3 gun matches with bursts of mighty automatic fire, sub-gun matches becoming mainstream, and the Texas Bellagio being visible from space.