Donations Now Accepted To Repeal The Machinegun Ban!

Improved_M249_Machine_Gun

Note: this post is not political, it covers ongoing legal shenanigans.

Fully automatic firearms have never been illegal in the United States on a federal level. As a matter of fact, there are over 180,000 legally owned machine guns in the country but the registry was closed in 1986 (no new machine guns can be owned by non-dealers, we simply keep trading the ones already out there). However, the internet is abuzz right now over the recent approval of a man building a machne gun on a form 1 by the BATFE.

Now there are a multitude of lawsuits out there trying to take down the Hughes Amendment (the actual clause of the 1986 FOPA that forbids the registration of new machine guns for civilians). Overnight, a simple funding request has ballooned from nothing to nearly $25,000 of the $50,000 estimated to cover court costs. It began on AR15.com, and the legal team on this effort is now accepting donations for the upcoming lawsuits. At least three lawsuits in different states will be filed immediately against the ATF:

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1624460_NOW_ACCEPTING_DONATIONS__ATF_approved_post_86_machine_guns_for_NFA_trusts__updated_10_10_14.html

Donations can be made here:

http://www.gofundme.com/fmxlnk

In the event that the registry is reopened, machine guns would plummet in price from $20,000 for an M16, to just a few hundred bucks for a converted full auto lower! Now I love me some full auto, so this could lead to things like subgun matches becoming more mainstream. I will continue monitoring this situation with high hopes. In the event that this goes somewhere, then I will take a large financial hit (as most of my investment portfolio consists of machine guns), but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!

 



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Sweet! Put me down for $20 🙂

  • Dan.

    A no-name lawyer is going to throw a hail-mary? No thanks. This is basically donating to ensure the hughes amendment stays in place forever.

    We have seen wins in recent years in the courts because of a carefully planned effort of scholarly writing and small, narrowly tailored cases. This is the exact opposite of that.

    Wake me up when the SAF is in charge.

    • Zachary marrs

      Saf has pushed for ubc’s, if you didn’t know

      • AntiCitzenOne

        Well, technically, Heller itself was a Hail Mary, even the NRA was opposed to it at first.

        But it would be a better strategy to get concealed carry secured nationwide first as well as AWBs taken down BEFORE freeing machine guns.

        • Zachary marrs

          Yeah, but a step back is still a step back. We’ve been compromising since 1934, and I’m f_cking tired of it

          • Bill

            And if we don’t, we’re very likely to be screwed.

          • Zachary marrs

            If we do, we are screwed.
            Taking a step forward and a step back gets us nowhere

    • skusmc

      Fortunately some individuals haven’t waited for a the large non profits to finally step up to the plate. Robert Levy was an experienced lawyer but still a “no name” individual when he spearheaded DC v Heller. McDonald was a no name when he took Chicago to court, even though the SAF took over. If this guy gains traction maybe the big organizations will stop in and help. If they don’t it’s their fault, not his.

    • gunsandrockets

      Well the Hughes ban is arbitrary and capricious, and an extremely narrow part of the current gun-control regime.

    • Sh

      You mean the no name lawyer that got the Missouri open carry laws overturned and is the senate representative for 80+ legislators? I think you better do some more research before talking, Dan.

  • wetcorps

    So if the ban is not repealed, do you get your monney back?

    • Paranoid Android

      No, all money will either go to legal expenses or if the donations go over that be donated to some yet unnamed 2a rights group.

      It’s right there on the page.

    • Cymond

      HA! If they guaranteed results or a full refund, I would donate all of my savings.

  • Paul Dawson

    …..or the one.

    Jim, your name is Jim.

  • Oaf

    Alex C. write words.

    • Anonymous

      Alex C. sell machine gun? Fund cause? Write more words?

  • Beju

    This really makes me think of how term ‘assault weapons’ was intended to confuse semi-automatic rifles with fully automatic assault rifles, which was a winning idea for years, and one that still persists among many of those who are ignorant of firearms.

    Honestly, I’d rather he start with focusing his efforts on sound suppressors specifically. Showing that they’re far from the silent assassin tool of fiction and how they have positive effects on hearing safety and noise pollution is far more likely to be a winning argument.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see the Supreme Court choosing to review this.

    • BattleshipGrey

      Suppressors have already made leaps and bounds in recent years, with only 10 (I think) states that still restrict them, mine being one of them :(. If we tackle the bigger issue, the Hughes act, the smaller issues shouldn’t be a problem.

    • sianmink

      SBRs and SBS’s are a non-issue in Canada. If America’s Hat doesn’t get worked up about them, why should we?

      • Beju

        Since you mentioned it, I’d also prefer that they lobby for SBRs and SBSs over a probably-futile attempt to overturn the machine gun registry.

        • sianmink

          Yeah. Getting movement on SBRs and suppressors are going to be way easier than untangling Machineguns. We MIGHT be able to get the registry re-opened, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    • BryanS

      Suppressors already have their own lobby in Washington with lots of big money going into that effort.

    • claymore

      And we should start with authors on our side calling them “Fully automatic firearms” but we critize the medai for making up words like assault rifles clips etc. WE should know better. They are machineguns plan and simple.

      To be “Fully automatic” you could lay it down on a table with a belt or loaded mag next to it and you would then turn it on and IT would insert the mag or belt cock itself and fire that is fully automatic.

      Try and register any firearm at ATF with the description line filled in as “fully automatic” anything (insert word of your choice) and it will be promptly rejected.

    • HSR47

      In order for there to be substantive NFA reform, there needs to be a large constituency of NFA owners.

      As such, I’m not entirely convinced that now is the best/proper time to try to challenge the regulated status of sound moderators or firearms with certain arbitrary physical dimensions.

      I’m all for getting rid of the entire NFA process, I’m just not entirely convinced that the time is yet ripe: We need to grow a larger constituency.

      • Evil13RT

        Getting it by vote is one means, political donation is another.
        Legal challenge can avoid headlines tho, and its not like people will favor a new gun ban push that will make a bunch of media noise.

        Letting the hughes amendment quietly die (as the AWB did previously) is the most likely route for success, I think. No politicians lose face and no one has to stand up for a repeal.

  • 1leggeddog

    I have an igloo in Miami to sell as well if you’re all interested in wasting money.

    Some assembly required.

    • Der SS Waffen

      ye of little faith

      • 1leggeddog

        It’s not that repealing this is impossible. Any law can be repealed.

        But to have it actually happen against all of the media which will go the other ways is unthinkable. The world has become so connected and easily convinced that allowing full autos to be made again and that this is a good thing is… close to delusional.

        Don’t get me wrong, i support it. I just don’t see it happening. Especially not after a 9/11 world 🙁

  • allannon

    The guy you linked? He was un-approved, last I read.

    • MrTorben

      the legal attack avenue is the fact that someone else was approved, so everyone that filed and was denied now has a legit legal claim.

      I am in full support of this effort. I am only hesitant of the firms credentials, everywhere this has been posted in the last 3-4 days, very few bother to post the attys pro-2A suits and their outcome. Which I feel is a flawed PR campaign by the ppl that hope to help the effort.

      In general:
      We need a coalition of lawyers in all states to take this on. Plus some far more significant funding than 50k.
      I still donate, as this will likely be a decade long battle, we are probably just looking at the first effort asking for money. Certainly not the first effort though. There are firms in multiple states asking for ppl having filed and getting a denials to contact them. Probably PrinceLaw being one of the most prominent ones, as they filed for a Minigun themselves. As lawyers can’t practice across the entire USA, we do need multiple players in the game to push this up the chain and get it to SCOTUS in 5-8 years.

      Don’t discount this effort but I don’t disagree with you or anyone’s overall hesitation to dump significant funds into just one crowed-funding campaign.

      That the NRA, or SAF are not signing up yet, is no surprise and is a good thing, it keeps it low profile enough not to derail any and all other efforts these groups are current working on. However we will need their backing in the future, as well as significant corporate backing. We are looking at 100-200k trials per person per state that have a chance of winning. I don’t see a class action here yet…too early, too little information about the details about the ppl, the approvals, the denials, the actual forms submitted. (we likely won’t publicly know those details until it goes to the SCOTUS)

      And remember that the Heller case was frequently called dangerous and a failure due to them not going for a 1st place win. (after the fact obviously)

      but that second place win by Heller had far more value than any alternative(and has proven itself in reality since then), so everyone should consider that what we get to hear as the public, is all part of the strategy.

  • Taco

    The day our Constitutional rights are taken back from the corrupt tyrannical government, I’ll order the parts for a full auto lower the SECOND they are available at my local FFL.

    • iphonetechtips

      Kind of a contradiction. In order for the Second Amendment to truly not be infringed it would just be a gun store, not an FFL sanctioned by said corrupt tyrannical government. But I get the idea behind your statement & believe the Feds should be greatly scaled back (close all but a couple alphabet agencies, namely: ATF, the Fed [really a privately owned group of bankers not beholden to anyone], DHS, BLM, etc.) & return to a simpler set of laws based on natural rights like don’t steal & don’t inflict bodily harm on others. Congress should focus on enforcing things like anti-trust & making sure the states don’t over step their authority, not doing so themselves & passing laws that help corporations & enslave people.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    I don’t see anyone selling off their MG collection over this.

    That said, I do think it’s only a matter of time before there’s some kind of breakthrough at the SBR/SBS level. Whether that means removal of SBR/SBS from the registry or a change of the 16″R/18″S spec to a shorter length, only time will tell. As for silencers, I think the public perception and “scary” factor is still way too high for anything to happen there. The fact is, some kind of “measure to allow shorter barrels” (which is how it will be read by the layperson) doesn’t sound nearly as scary as “measure to allow silencers”.

    Just remember on voting day: anything can happen with the right people in office. There are politicians out there that want machine guns legalized as much as you do, it’s just a matter of putting them in office.

    • MANG

      Agree with SBR being the best thing to press first.

  • KestrelBike

    Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Take a look at other NFA issues such as silencers and SBRs. If you go the public (and best case scenario, this will indeed wind up presented to the public) asking for SBRs and show them “Look, most crimes are committed with pistols, the 1 or 2″ difference between a 16″ barrel and a 14.5″ barrel is none, so why are they regulated so stiffly?” then there’s not much the public can say against it. With silencers, it’s an even easier slam dunk because you can tout all the serious benefits of shooting suppressed, such as noise nuisance and saving hearing.

    With full-auto, however, all the public will really ever see is scarface and the west hollywood bank robbery/shootout. “Can you just imagine how many more people holmes could have killed in the aurora movie theater if he had a full auto assault rifle???” <— every single gun-control advocate. It doesn't matter that his rifle probably would have jammed faster, and he probably would have been able to hit even fewer targets with full auto (most of it was done with a pump shotgun, anyways). Don't get me wrong, I'd love 100 subguns and would gladly meet the day when I could make my AR select fire, and I don't even bother making "Oh I lost all my guns in a boating accident" jests. However, there really aren't many arguments you can make for the benefit of legalizing full auto besides that it's fun and it stimulates the economy by flooding ammo-manufacturers bank accounts (and don't begin to try to convince anti's of the 2nd amendment purpose of parity with the government lol). I recognize that this potential legal action is to attack the registration of select-fire, and not just openly legalize any/all select-fire weapons. However, the anti-gunners would *still* have invaluable 'ammo' against us to use to sway independents and fence-sitters.

    I think the far better strategy would be to attack the Silencer, then the SBR areas of NFA/GCA first. When those have been won, and things have calmed down, then try to attack Full-Auto. Attacking full-auto first is trying to steal home with a girl before asking for her name.

    • Zachary marrs

      You do realize that this will just get rid of the artificial price increase on full auto, right?

      If we keep pandering to the least informed people out there, professors would be constantly telling people trying to earn their phd’s what 2 plus 2 is.

      • KestrelBike

        I definitely see what you’re saying, but at the same time, there’s fighting the good fight, and then there’s fighting strategically.

        The artificial price increase on full-auto is a total non-sequitor that has nothing to do with our rights. In fact, there’s the thought that people with a FA collection are against striking down the ’86 GCA because, as Alex stated, they would lose significant value on their Class III collection.

        I also know full well that the least informed people are the most dangerous, which is why we have had obummer for 2 terms going now. Not going after GCA86 first is not pandering, it’s just fighting smart. It’s at the pinnacle of the NFA rules, and you don’t go after those first, you go after the weaker NFA rules such as silencers & sbr/sbs.

        We’re outnumbered by the least informed people, of which there are 2 groups: 1) politicians who don’t care about facts, and only want to hold onto their power and *do so* by influencing the 2nd group of least informed people, which are those who think only with emotions. 2) the mob of least-informed people who are swayed into voting based on emotions and feelings, not on truth, logic, reason, or fact. If they see a grass roots lawsuit going after Full Auto Assault Rifles For Everyone (doesn’t matter that it’s still NFA & requires a $200 stamp), they will shout it from the rooftops all of the potential evils involved. What will you say in response? “But it’s our right!”? “But it’s harder to aim with FA than semi-auto!”? They won’t even listen to you, and they wont have to. In the meantime, you’ve just bolstered the Antis’ cause because they can tell their idiot least-informed constituents that you wanted full-auto AR’s. And this bolstered anti-cause will fight harder against the other fronts such as silencers (MASSIVE props to companies like Silencerco for their small, smart, and well-thought out advertisements and campaigns to inform gunners [hunters and soft-2a advocates, ie magazine readers who would be the first to defend their bolt-action if it meant ‘common sense’ laws outlawing 30rd clipz & assault riflez] about silencers and how they’re not just tools of the assassins) and sbrs.

        • Zachary marrs

          My rights shouldn’t ve denied just because some one has spent a lot of money on somthing.

          I refuse to be ok with what little I have left of my 2a rights because of stupid people. I guess the blacks should have stayed in the back of the bus?

        • Zachary marrs

          Also, they are already calling semi autos “machine guns” so I fail to see how it will be any different.
          Hell if anything, it will help

          “Waah! They have machine guns”
          “I thought you said they already had them”
          “But now they got real ones!”

    • Blake

      Took the words right out of my mouth^Wkeyboard.

      This would have been a lot easier to justify defending if the plaintiff in the case had found a loophole for SBRs.

      Also, from the point of view of international legal examples, there are plenty of countries that *allow* SBRs & *restrict* handguns (it turns out that handguns are easier to conceal than SBRs, shocking I know), and even *actively encourage* suppressors.

      Full-auto, however…

    • claymore

      Machine guns have never been illegal this is not a fight to make them legal because they already are.

      your words:

      “many arguments you can make for the benefit of legalizing full auto besides that it’s fun and it stimulates the economy “

  • Aaron Russell

    Realistically, I feel like this achieved could lead to worse ramifications for our future self defense rights. Guns can finally be more easily grouped and labeled entirely by the less informed as war machines. We can differentiate and argue accordingly now. I wonder how the argument will go once that ability is lost? We are already viewed by other to be slave nations as gun crazy. How will full auto make us plead? Will it invoke an overreaction upon our entire protection from tyranny? Pray for us.

    • wetcorps

      Well everyone abroad already thinks you guys can buy full auto weapons at walmart 🙂

      • Yellow Devil

        I wish…

  • iowaclass

    Keep in mind the result won’t be MGs available like handguns. It will just be MGs available like silencers, grenade launchers and RPG rocket launchers: still able to be registered under the NFA.

    Query why post-’86 RPG rocket launchers and 40mm bloopers are legal but a post-’86 Vickers on a tripod isn’t, and why a slide-fire belt-fed, bipod equipped AR is legal but a three-round burst on an AR isn’t?

  • Jimmy Ray

    So I’ve been paying the NRA for years, and I’m pretty sure a lot of the readers here have also. So my question is WHERE DA MONEY AT?? 50k is a drop in the bucket for the organization that is supposed to FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS. Just a thought.

    • BryanS

      It goes to make all those hats and letters to ask you for more money. And to pay useless regional coordinators who get there by nepotism, and screw up the real civil rights movement in individual states.

      Go ask New Hampshire gun groups how the NRA has “helped” them in the last few years.

      • Yellow Devil

        Well, the fight begins at home with the people. NRA has pulled their paid staff out of Arizona, but only because the dedicated 2A state lobby group (AZCDL) was doing a better job.

        • BryanS

          IN PA they actually fight against the homegrown groups. It depends on the staff really. Iv met some great NRA staff (that appear only around elections) and talked to them while working with other activists.

          Once the big elections are over, they vanish, and we are left with Heave ho Hohenwarter. http://pgnh.org/heave_ho_hohenwarter

  • An Interested Person

    The ATF repealed his approval, this was posted here on TFB.

    Honestly, I hope this works out. But it won`t unless that lawyer REALLY knows his stuff.

  • lee

    I see the same strategic mistake with this machine gun play that the dems made after sandy hook. The dems could of easily went after magazine capacity but they chose to go for the home run and get registration, confiscation, reclassification, taxation…on and on. The dems always had a strategy of death by 1000 cuts and after sandy hook they switched and went for an all or nothing approach. In the end, they got nothing.
    The gun owners best play here is to go after suppressors and sbrs. I think we could get it. Machine guns, that’s a waste of resources for now.

    • HSR47

      The only reason why SBR/SBS/Mufflers are getting to the point where it’s practical to fight the restrictions is because we’ve built a fairly large constituency of NFA owners.

      While I oppose the NFA on the whole, my greatest fear is that deregulating SBR/SBS/Mufflers is that it will ultimately end up making it that much harder to have a sufficient constituency to ever fight for MG rights.

      Instead, I think the REAL place to push right now is in making NFA ownership as a whole less burdensome; Since I started working for an FFL back in August, I have seen Form 4 wait times of 4-11+ months, and Form 3 wait times of up to (and probably over) 3 months.

      There’s no excuse for paperwork to be so backlogged, and there’s no excuse for a transfer to require any more of a background check than is provided by NICS.

      Frankly, I think our BEST bet at this point is to push for a reform of the process:

      *Eliminate the whole CLEO/fingerprints/photo nonsense;

      *Eliminate the obsolete background check system currently in use for NFA transfers and move all NFA directly to NICS.

      *Eliminate the mandatory mail-in system, and mandate the creation of a system by which payment/registration can be sent electronically.

      *Mandate turnaround time: If the NICS check at the point of sale comes back clean, tax payment should be accepted, and the buyer should be able to take the items with them. If there is an issue with the NICS check, it should be handled as research delays are currently handled under NICS: They have to get back to you in a reasonable amount of time with either an approval or a denial (at which point you either have your stuff, or you can appeal).

      In other words, I think the best thing we can do at present is capitalize on the arbitrary and capricious nature of the current process: There’s no earthly reason why it should take the government nearly a year to process a tax payment, as it has for quite awhile now.

      By doing this, we will greatly lower the barriers to entry into NFA ownership, which will greatly increase the number of people who own NFA items; Hopefully it’ll increase NFA ownership enough to enable more substantive reforms, like the elimination of Hughes, and then the absolute deregulation of mufflers, SBS, SBR, and AOW.

  • mosinman

    i’m glad this is happening. with the end of the AWB and CC and firearms ownership on the rise, i can see “us” taking back even more of our rights if we all work together. even if this fails i’m happy that someone is at least trying instead of sitting on their hands and hoping the politicians have a change of heart. this does seem like an uphill battle and going after the whole silencer issue would have been easier, but action is worth something, we just have to keep trying till we succeed

  • David Lowrey

    I would have expected more enthusiasm to this development, but I can’t say I’m surprised about people reactions. This is probably the biggest baddest federal level gun ban. To add on to it the media would have a field day running stores about this and the constant attack adds they would air. It’s a monumental challenge, but it’s one that needs to be taken on. I can’t wait for the day we can buy new full autos without paying a fortune.

  • Ckh88

    Even if they did relegalize non dealer transfers I’m sure it’d be regulated to the point of them still costing thousands and thousands of dollars

    • henry bowman

      Not possible, the only reason why prices are so high is do to the lack of increase of supply to meet demand..When not if but when the Registry is reopened prices will go down fast then Cougars around a young uncircumcised 23 year old guy living in Vegas named Henry bowman

  • herb

    Well, I can understand the concern about alienating people, and about a loss strengthening the ban. That said, I think this is awesome. I mean, perhaps I’m being blue-eyed, but I say go for it, whatever happens happens. Madness? This is America!

  • echelon

    You can bet that if 2nd amendment lovers donate $50k for the cause there’ll be a few rich, NRA lifetime members with huge machine gun collections that will gladly donate $500k to fight it.

  • Alan Hodges

    Go get em NOLO!

  • JoBlo

    This was already litigated in U.S. v. Stewart. The 9th Circuit struck down 922(o) for violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Supreme Court then vacated that ruling in light of their marijuana ruling in the Gonzalez case.

  • Sane person

    Gun nuts and crazies are dangerous enough with semi-autos. Now you want them to have automatics? YOU’RE crazy. What happened to “firearms not politics”?

  • derp

    it’ll never happen, besides if this ever gets into mainstream media itll be dead in two seconds