December 25, 2005

The NRA Wants Me To What?

Support the passage of yet another federal law which relegates the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to the status of a privilege conferred by the state?


David Hardy has reproduced a communication mentioning the Veterans' Heritage Firearms Act. I think that the whole post is from this Eric M. Larson fellow, but I'm not sure. So I'm not sure what Hardy thinks of it. Larson's affiliation isn't mentioned, but a bit of Googling indicates he's active and well-known within the community of people who own NFA firearms. Excerpting here:

The NRA is doing something for the Class III community. An article entitled "NRA Supports House Legislation To Protect Gun-Owing Veterans," on page 75 of the January 2006 issue of AMERICAN RIFLEMAN gets this legislative word out to, what...some 3.5 million or so people? That's impressive.

The article discusses H.R. 2088, the Veterans' Heritage Firearms Act of 2005, which would provide a 90-day amnesty period during which veterans and their family members could register firearms acquired overseas between June 26, 1934 and October 31, 1968. The bill provides that "in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary the attorney general shall accept as true and accurate any affidavit, document, or other evidence submitted by an individual to establish that such firearm meets the requirements" under H.R. 2088.


The article, which is based largely on an earlier press release this year by the bill's Congressional sponsor, Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada), concludes:

"NRA members are encouraged to contact their representatives and ask them to support N.R. 2088."

I'd say the NRA has just done quite a bit for the NFA community.

Quite a bit? To the extent that there are veterans out there who might have an NFA-regulated firearm stuck in the closet or in the attic, who haven't, for whatever reasons, gotten themselves properly blessed by the BATFE, and are therefore worried about the possible future health of their household pets, not to mention the other consequences resultant from an ATF raid, I guess it sounds nice.

The legislation in question is H.R. 2088:

To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes.
Yeah, amnesty. IOW, admit that you've been felon (by their definition), register your guns, and we'll let you keep them. But only if you jump through our hoops quickly enough. Let's look at some further language in the bill, not mentioned by Mr. Larson.
In the case of an applicable veteran or a member of such a veteran’s family who attempts to register a qualifying firearm in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record at a time other than during the amnesty period, paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) shall apply with respect to such individual if such individual surrenders such firearm to a law enforcement agency not later than 30 days after notification by the Attorney General of potential criminal liability for continued possession of the firearm. [emphasis mine]
Gee, that's sounding a little familiar to me. Register your guns, surrender them, or risk prosecution. Except that when it's been applied to just "assault weapons" — well, at least the NRA didn't support any of those laws. But oh wait! These are those even more eeeeeevil machine guns! Well ... that's different.

Am I saying there's nothing good about this bill? Well, if you take the position that everything is relative, then yes, it's nice that some people who are in possession of unregistered NFA weapons can get them properly blessed by the ATF so that when they die, their heirs won't have to worry about what the heck to do with Grandpa's Kalashnikov. And seen from the point of view of those who already own, or wish to acquire, NFA weapons, I can see how they'd be supportive of a law with he potential to increase the numbers of such weapons in state-endorsed circulation.

But let's be honest here. I'll allow that the NRA has done "quite a bit for the NFA community" when it grows some spine and pushes for repeal of the NFA. Hmmm, well, I guess that would mean there wouldn't be, strictly speaking, an "NFA community" any longer. Nope, just citizens who have been freed from the requirement to get state permission slips to own militia weapons.

Uh, back to the real world here. I'm reading on page 75 of American Rifleman, one of the NRA's publications.

"Our veterans, patriots who fought for freedom and defended America, are currently in jeopardy of being unjustly convicted of serious felonies because they possess war relic firearms that they were authorized to bring home", says Rep. Gibbons. "I am re-introducing my legislation to correct this injustice in our bureaucracy."
No mention by the NRA of any 2nd Amendment right to own such a firearm. But as long as it's a "war trophy", having some sort of sentimental or historic value, well, than as long as you're blessed by the state, then that's all good, eh?

The 2nd Amendment isn't about sentiment. It's about having a population sufficiently armed to resist tyranny. So why is it that the NRA is asking me to support legislation which contains a surrender provision?

(Cross-posted from FreedomSight)

Posted by Jed at December 25, 2005 09:58 PM | TrackBack
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