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  1. #1
    Smiling Down On Youse SurferJoe46's Avatar
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    Arrow Americans & Firearms

    An interesting op-ed just hit my desk and I generally perused it - but it sure kicks around the Second Amendment of The US Constitution, and here this article MIGHT clarify the divisiveness of the new liberal lefties who want to control (at least) handgun ownership.
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    There's not a 'snowflake's chance in hell' of repealing the Second Amendment - Analysis by Z. Byron Wolf , CNN/Mar 27, 2018

    — How could all those high school kids have marched en masse and not achieved any meaningful reform?

    That seems to be the state of affairs: The gun laws seem intractably set, despite growing public support to change them, at least on the periphery of the laws. Measures passed in Florida after the Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School shooting seem to have no prospects at the national level.

    But former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is not talking about frittering around the edges of anything.

    He issued a modest proposal in The New York Times to get rid of the Second Amendment altogether. Repeal it, he says.

    Stevens argued that a right to bear arms, which the Supreme Court has said the Second Amendment guarantees, should mean something different in the era of today's weapons and today's civil society (Me: HUH?) , and, in the spirit of many gun-control advocates, pointed out the Second Amendment is talking about militias when it brings up "arms."

    The entire text of the Second Amendment, remember, is this: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Stevens has railed in the past about how far we've gotten from the idea of militias in the interpretation of the Second Amendment -- and he channels that view in the op-ed.

    "Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that 'a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,'" he writes in the Times. "Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century."

    He then launches into a Supreme Court history lesson on how gun laws evolved from 1789 to a unanimous decision against sawed-off shotguns in 1939 because they weren't appropriate for use in a "well-regulated militia" -- through the landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller that threw the whole idea of a well-regulated militia out the window.

    That case changed the interpretation of the Second Amendment's clause concerning guns to be an individual right for self-defense. Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in the case, by the way, is a marvel of grammatical gymntastics, that decides the amendment is not about the well-regulated militia discussed in the text, but rather that "it surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."

    Stevens was appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford, but he often sided with the more liberal wing of the court during his tenure and he resigned during the Obama administration, resulting in Elena Kagan being confirmed to take his spot on the bench.

    So he's bringing a more liberal mindset to this issue. It's also unlikely to happen. Probably ever.

    Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and Second Amendment expert who supports gun control, was tweeting Tuesday about Stevens' piece, and said, "there's not a snowflake's chance in hell we are going to repeal the Second Amendment any time soon."

    Adam Winkler (@adamwinkler )
    The Second Amendment is not a barrier to enacting good gun laws. The @NRA is. It’s the politics of guns that controls our gun laws, not the law of the Second Amendment.
    Adam Winkler (@adamwinkler )
    Of course all this overlooks the obvious problem: There’s not a snowflakes chance in hell we are going to repeal the Second Amendment anytime soon.

    March 27, 2018

    "We can't even get Congress to pass a law banning bump stocks," Winkler wrote. "We can't get Congress to mandate universal background checks. And Stevens thinks 2/3s of Congress will vote to repeal the 2A? And 3/4 of the states will ratify such an amendment? Nonsense."

    But it's still worth examining whether repealing the Second Amendment is actually that what people want.

    There is, indeed, great support for tighter gun laws -- seven in 10 Americans said in a CNN poll after the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that they'd support new gun restrictions. That's the highest such support in 25 years.

    But on more specific proposals that could be seen as limiting gun rights, there were very partisan divides.

    A ban on semi-automatic weapons, for instance, had the support of 80% of Democrats and 53% of independents, but just 34% of Republicans, for instance. The idea of limiting the number of guns an individual can own garners 69% support among Democrats vs. just 23% among Republicans, according to that CNN poll.

    It's hard to find any recent reliable polling on the larger idea of repealing the amendment completely, but if there are sharp divides on specific efforts to curb gun rights, it's a good bet that an entire repeal would be even more controversial.

    A minority of American households have guns -- 30%, according to a Pew survey in 2017, with 16% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans owning guns.

    It's important here to say that Stevens did not say in his op-ed that guns should be taken away from anyone who has them, just that the Second Amendment should be repealed. What would be left to regulate the many millions of guns already in the country? That would have to be figured out.

    But you can hear the slogan opponents would use against an effort like Stevens' proposal: They're trying to take your guns away!

    In fact, that's a slogan President Donald Trump used effectively against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016 (and since then), accusing her of wanting to "take your guns away" even though Clinton said she was a supporter of Second Amendment rights.
    Trump: 'Hillary Clinton wants to take your guns away'

    Winkler also argued that Stevens' proposal is counterproductive because it backs up the claim by Trump and the NRA that supporters of gun control want to take away guns.

    "Stevens's call to repeal the 2A is not only ineffective but worse: it makes it even harder to pass good gun laws today. It plays right into the hands of the @nra which can now point to this op-ed and say, 'See, we told you they want to take away your rights and your guns.'"

    Current Democratic leaders, even as they have pushed for new gun control, have made clear they support the Second Amendment. If national elections are going to be won and lost in the Rust Belt, Democrats will need support from gun rights supporters if they're going to win congressional or presidential elections.

    "I believe in the Second Amendment, there's a right to bear arms,"
    said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in February. "Every law-abiding citizen has the right to have a gun unless you're a felon, or you're adjudicated mentally ill, everyone agrees to that."

    Even if Democrats turned wholesale against the Second Amendment (and gave up any claim they had on moderates and gun lovers in their party), there's the not-so-small difficulty of actually changing the Constitution.

    The Constitution has been amended 27 times in US history, including the original 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights, which includes the Second Amendment. The last amendment ratified was the 27th in 1992, which made it so Congress can't raise its own wages until the following Congress. That took decades to pass.

    Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin and CNN contributor, said it's not impossible to repeal the Second Amendment, but perhaps Stevens was trying to reframe the arguments.

    "I wonder if Justice Stevens was trying to take a step back from the politics of the moment to situate the debate in a broader context," he said, although he pointed out that changes to the Constitution have been few and far between.

    "There have only been 17 amendments in 231 years, and most of those have been about the structure of government/elections/voting, not substantive rights. It's really quite difficult to get an amendment through, especially on a divisive question of social policy," Vladeck said.

    None of the original 10 amendments has ever been repealed or changed, so you're well into uncharted territory with Stevens' idea.

    The only amendment which really took something away from citizens was the 18th Amendment, which was enacted in 1920 and made alcohol illegal on the national level.

    And maybe the precedent for what Stevens proposes is the 21st Amendment, by which the 18th Amendment was repealed 13 years later. It takes an amendment to repeal an amendment.

    Article V of the Constitution lays out that process, which requires supermajorities in Congress and of state legislatures and/or constitutional conventions.

    So politically and procedurally, Stevens' idea is a conversation-starter (and maybe a much-needed conversation-starter), but not much else. Repealing the Second Amendment isn't likely to happen any time soon. To say the least.

    But Stevens doesn't seem to be worried about those details. He's making a broader point about the court and guns. Later in his piece, Stevens suggests the entire aim of getting rid of the Second Amendment would be to overturn that decision in Heller, which made gun ownership an individual right.

    "Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the NRA's ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option," he writes.

    Adam Winkler (@adamwinkler )
    I agree! We are seeing a real transformation of the gun control advocacy movement. It’s finally starting to look like a movement. Instead of repealing the 2A, gun control proponents need to mobilize politically. That seems to be happening now.
    March 27, 2018

    Winkler said marchers and other activists should stay the course they are on.

    "We are seeing a real transformation of the gun control advocacy movement. It's finally starting to look like a movement. Instead of repealing the (Second Amendment), gun control proponents need to mobilize politically," he wrote.

    Vladeck argued there is plenty of gun control legislation that can be achieved under the current structure and he pointed to a Maryland assault weapons case as proof.

    "So we may not need either a different Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment to achieve most of what reformers are seeking; we just need folks to realize that the principal objections to many of these proposals are political, not constitutional," Vladeck said.

    SIDEBAR: It is a congressional right of a seated president to call for another Constitutional Convention to re-write any part of - or the whole - US Constitution. That's just plain scary!

    Last edited by SurferJoe46; 28-03-2018 at 05:21 PM.

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  2. #2
    Its ok I am from Motueka. prefect's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans & Firearms

    I think as long as mentally ill people and ex cons cant buy guns in the US all will be all sweet. But I guess getting 50 states to agree on it would be hard. In NZ gun licence is relatively easy to get, its a still a right to own guns in NZ but easy to lose. A mate of a mate when sent notice for jury replied to the clerk of the court you wont want me on a jury I am crazy and dont like blacks. Got his gun license pulled immediately. Any hint of wanting it for self defence will see it declined. Every 10 years you apply to renew, Feldpolizei came to work and spoke to my work mates, came to my shack and spoke to the dragon (alone) for part of it. Rules are the gun has to be locked in a cabinent and the ammo stored separately. There are categories on the license for various types of guns, when the new licensing law came in I had to ditch my Russian SKS because it had a 10 shot capacity, a bayonet lug and a pistol grip. Could have converted it by making the capacity smaller with a SKK mod, machining off the lug and putting on a "sports" pistol grip but wasn't worth it.
    Its amazing how Potatoes give us chips,fries and Vodka.

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  3. #3
    Smiling Down On Youse SurferJoe46's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans & Firearms

    I wonder about the furor an assault rifle makes, as it is just a 22 with military appearances that make it look sinister. It's not much more dangerous.... except for the bayonet mount.

    Is that called a Picatinny Mount under the barrel? I have a Picatinny Mount under of my Glock too if it's the same thing.

    I cannot see a bayonet under a pistol though it's a good place for a green laser. But then again, if looks mean anything, a laser is more for targeting people than bears I guess. I won't get a laser though...... just to keep my visual impact low.

  4. #4
    Large Member plod's Avatar
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    It’s not so much the gun laws in the US I don’t agree with. It’s the total lack of responsibility and care from the gun owners I have a problem with.

    9 year old boys shoots sister for not letting him have game controller. I could rattle off close to 20 examples I have heard in the last 12 months without even going looking. Of course this is a slightly different situation to mass shooting. Just seems there is to much of a she will be right attitude.

  5. #5
    In a 1920s time warp Terry Porritt's Avatar
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    The Second Amendment is anachronistic, written after the English were defeated and America having no standing army then, can't see it has any present day relevance, IMHO and others, except for the red necks........

    "Almost every element that was present when the Second Amendment was enacted is absent now."
    Remembering Rich Conaty, 1954 - 2016....."and don't you never forget, rhythm saved the world, Aloha"

  6. #6
    tweakedgeek tweak'e's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans & Firearms

    usa has a ridiculous amount of gun laws.
    however a lot of that can be bypassed one way or another.
    however one thing i do like is they do make it possible to own and use some very big nasty toys, responsibility.

    i do like nz stance, especially on domestic violence. history of domestic violence, forget a gun license.
    Tweak it till it breaks

  7. #7
    Senior Member Digby's Avatar
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    The 2nd amendment as regards militia and right to bear arms is very anachronistic in today's modern world.
    Does the USA have a militia ? No

    I think its the availability of automatic weapons that is bad.
    And the lack of interstate reporting on mental issues.
    I also think that you should not be able to own an automatic weapon unless you are a member of a bona fide gun club.
    So what colour is your Adkaf?
    Have you joined Proud to Be Kiwi yet?

  8. #8
    Smiling Down On Youse SurferJoe46's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans & Firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Digby View Post
    The 2nd amendment as regards militia and right to bear arms is very anachronistic in today's modern world.
    Does the USA have a militia ? No

    I think its the availability of automatic weapons that is bad.
    And the lack of interstate reporting on mental issues.
    I also think that you should not be able to own an automatic weapon unless you are a member of a bona fide gun club.
    Yes.... the US has a militia in each state. They are separate from federal police or military. Most state militias are vested into the local Deputy Sheriff's department and their individual High Sheriff. They exist in real time, not unlike Andy Taylor in Mayberry.

    Again..... an AUTOMATIC weapon is a machine gun, pistol-style or long barrel MACHINE GUNS/PISTOLS ... which are not allowed to be owned by common citizens, but only in the hands of duly licensed collectors or federally licensed owners or manufacturers.

    Most of these guns have had the feds weld up and render as useless, the actions on these weapons to make them a wall hanging only.

    I have NEVER seen a true automatic weapon outside of my US Navy enlistment where I qualified on the Browning "BAR" and the Thompson 45 caliber Submachine Gun, commonly called "Tommy Gun" or "The Grease Gun" because it generally sprayed bullets in the general direction the barrel was pointed. The 3inch/50, 5inch/38 and twin 50cal anti-aircraft guns don't count.

    A SEMI-AUTOMATIC weapon is one that has a cyclical fire rate determined by pulling the trigger each time. The only thing "automatic" about a semiautomatic weapon is that it automatically rechambers a fresh round for the next trigger pull.

    Hence the corrected term you should use is: SEMIAUTOMATIC.

    SIDEBAR: Montana has it's own machine gun factory where a Montana citizen in good standing, CAN purchase one for personal use. These machine guns cannot be taken out of state because they are illegal to transport interstate, only intrastate.

    I'll buy fully in to the lack of communication state-to-state..... but it goes much further than that in reality. Intraoffice communication in the various agencies at the federal level, has allowed a BCD'd ex-GI (see note) to purchase a weapon, directly in violation of the federal and state gun purchasing and owning laws that are already in effect but poorly enforced.

    That the US Department of Goofy Guys With Bad Military Discharges did NOT report him nor had posted his un-worthiness to be a firearm owner-slash-purchaser....which allowed him to shoot up a school was bad on all levels. That screwup is now spearheading the drive or "incentive inducer" for that office to get it's a$$e$ off their cushy chairs ... and do the job for which they were hired: to keep nutcases from purchasing a firearm. I hold them responsible for the shootings.

    Note - BCD means Bad Conduct Discharge from the US military..... any branch! Certain civilian rights are denied such persons for the rest of their life.

    Warum werden wir so früh alt und klug so spät?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: Americans & Firearms

    and there's many many more of those sites

  10. #10
    Smiling Down On Youse SurferJoe46's Avatar
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    Default Re: Americans & Firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy121 View Post

    and there's many many more of those sites
    That's a broker's site - not commonly allowed for purchase by individuals. I can see that there's a lot of confusion here about 'machine guns', US firearm(s) Laws, The ATF, and semiautomatic weapons. It grieves me somewhat - but I have a c/p of the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Act in the USA to post here.

    I'm sorry if this seems to be a US Constitution and Federal Law class. Can youse guys get credit for US Civics classes in Upsidedown Land?

    This is long and might require a day or two to peruse.

    Here goes:

    __________________________________________________ _______________


    Federal law strictly regulates machine guns (firearms that fire many rounds of ammunition, without manual reloading, with a single pull of the trigger).

    Among other things, federal law:

    1. requires all machine guns, except antique firearms, not in the U.S. government's possession to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF);

    2. bars private individuals from transferring or acquiring machine guns except those lawfully possessed and registered before May 19, 1986;

    3. requires anyone transferring or manufacturing machine guns to get prior ATF approval and register the firearms;

    4. with very limited exceptions, imposes a $200 excise tax whenever a machine gun is transferred;

    5. bars interstate transport of machine guns without ATF approval; and

    6. imposes harsh penalties for machine gun violations, including imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both for possessing an unregistered machine gun.

    The lawful transfer of a machine gun generally requires (1) filing a transfer application with ATF, (2) paying a transfer tax, (3) getting ATF approval, and (4) registering the firearm in the transferee's name. Transferees must pass an extensive criminal background investigation and meet the criteria for possessing firearms under state and federal law. Among those ineligible are felons and people (1) addicted to controlled substances, (2) discharged under dishonorable conditions from the U.S. Armed Forces, or (3) adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution.

    Under Connecticut law, private citizens may own machine guns, provided the firearms are registered pursuant to federal law and with the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Failure to register a machine gun with DPS is presumed possession for an offensive or aggressive purpose. Possession of a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for five to 10 years, or both.

    There is no age requirement for “possessing” machine guns as a class of weapons under federal or state law. Age restrictions generally apply to handguns (pistols and revolvers) and long guns (shotguns and rifles) and transfer of these firearms. Federal law prohibits federal firearms licensees from transferring handguns to people under age 21. It generally prohibits nonlicensees from transferring them to people under age 18 and prohibits such minors from possessing them. Under state law, the effective age for possessing handguns appears to be 21. With regard to long guns, minors age 12 to 16 must obtain a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) junior firearms hunting license, which allows them to hunt with firearms under supervision. People over age 16 can get a DEP license for unsupervised firearm hunting.


    Federal law defines a machine gun as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” This definition includes the frame or receiver, any part or combination of parts designed and intended, solely and exclusively, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled (26 USC § 5845(b), 27 CFR §§ 478.11 & 479.11). It does not include “antique firearms” (26 USC § 5845(a) & (g)).

    Since 1934, Congress has strictly regulated the manufacture, transfer, and possession of machine guns. The firearms are regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) (26 USC § 5801 et seq.) and the 1968 Gun Control Act as amended by the 1986 Firearms Owners' Protection Act (18 USC § 921 et seq.).

    The agency responsible for administering and enforcing federal firearm laws, including machine gun laws, is the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (Until January 24, 2003, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was within the Treasury Department. The 2002 Homeland Security Act transferred it to the Justice Department and changed its name to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.)

    National Firearms Act

    With limited exceptions, the NFA imposed (1) a $200 excise tax (making tax) on the manufacture of machine guns (other than by qualified manufacturers that pay a special occupational tax and on the manufacture of machine guns by or on behalf of a state or federal agency) and (2) a $200 excise tax on each transfer of a machine gun (transfer tax). It also imposed a special occupational tax on people and entities engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing, and dealing machine guns (26 USC §§ 5821, 5852(b), 5853(b), 5852(c), and 5811(a), and 5801).

    The NFA also required all machine guns not in the possession, or under the control, of the U.S. government to be registered with the Treasury, including those possessed by states and political subdivisions (e.g., police departments) (28 USC § 5841).

    For transfer tax purposes, a “transfer” involves “selling, assigning, pledging, leasing, loaning, giving away, or otherwise disposing of” the firearm (26 USC § 5845(j)). It does not apply to (1) transfers of registered firearms between licensees (importers, manufacturers, and dealers) who have paid the special occupational tax; (2) transfers to state or federal agencies; (3) exportation of firearms (provided appropriate proof of the export is provided to ATF and documentation completed); or (4) transfer of unserviceable firearms as defined in law (26 USC §§ 5851-5854 & 27 CFR §§ 479.88-91). ATF also does not consider any of the following activities as a transfer for tax purposes (1) possession of machine guns by employees who take custody of the firearms within the scope of their employment and for the licensee's business purposes, (2) distribution of registered firearms to lawful heirs, and (3) temporary transfers to federal firearm licensees for repair.

    The registration requirement applies to manufacturers, importers, and anyone or entity transferring a machine gun. It applies when a firearm is made, transferred, or imported, and to functional and unserviceable firearms as well as curios and relics. The registration information required includes the (1) identification of the firearm, (2) registration date, and (3) identification and address of the person to whom the firearm is registered (26 USC § 5841). A registered owner who moves to a different in-state address must notify ATF of the new address.

    The Firearm Owners' Protection Act

    The Firearm Owners' Protection Act banned civilian transfer and possession of machine guns not in circulation before May 19, 1986. Specifically, it restricts the transfer and possession of machine guns except for:

    1. “transfers to or by, or possession by or under the authority of, the United States or any department or agency thereof or a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or

    2. any lawful transfer or lawful possession of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before [May 19, 1986]” (18 USC § 922(o) & 27 CFR § 478.36).

    Under ATF regulations, qualified manufacturers may make machine guns for sale to federal agencies or qualified licensees and special occupational taxpayers as “sales samples” for demonstration to prospective government customers (27 CFR § 479.105). They may also make them for export in compliance with the Arms Export Control Act and Department of State regulations (27 CFR § 479.105).

    Procedure for Acquiring Machine Guns

    An unlicensed individual may acquire machine guns, with ATF approval, from its lawful owner residing in the same state as the individual (27 CFR §§ 479.84 & 479.105). The transferor must file an ATF application, which must be completed by both parties to the transfer

    and executed under penalties of perjury, and pay a $200 transfer tax to ATF. The application must include detailed information on the firearm and the parties to the transfer (26 USC § 5812 & 27 CFR § 479.84).

    The transferee must certify on the application that he or she is not disqualified from possessing firearms on grounds specified in law. He or she must submit with the application (1) two photographs taken within the past year; (2) fingerprints; and (3) a copy of any state or local permit or license required to buy, possess, or acquire machine guns (27 CFR § 479.85).

    An appropriate law enforcement official must also certify whether he or she has any information indicating that the firearm will be used for other than lawful purposes or that possession would violate state or federal law (27 CFR § 479.85).

    Approvals and Denials. Anyone acquiring a machine gun must, as part of the registration process, pass an extensive Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background investigation. If ATF denies an application, it must refund the tax. Gun owners must keep approved applications as evidence of registration of the firearms and make them available for inspection by ATF officers.

    Eligibility Criteria for Acquiring Machine Guns

    ATF cannot approve an application if the transfer, receipt, or possession of the firearm would place the transferee in violation of law. . . (27 CFR § 479.65).

    Federal Law. It is a violation of the NFA for any of the following to acquire or posses firearms, including machine guns:

    1. anyone under indictment for or convicted of a felony,

    2. fugitives from justice,

    3. illegal aliens,

    4. anyone unlawfully using or addicted to controlled substances,

    5. anyone subject to a domestic violence restraining order (issued in accordance with specified terms),

    6. veterans discharged under dishonorable conditions, (a BCD)

    7. anyone who has been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution,

    8. people who have renounced their U.S. citizenship, or

    9. anyone who has been convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (18 USC § 922g).

    An applicant wanting to register a machine gun must certify, under penalty of perjury, on the required ATF form that he or she is not disqualified from acquiring or possessing firearms on any of these grounds.

    (The NFA also contains age requirements as they pertain to firearm transfers. These and state requirements are discussed at the end of the report.)

    State Law. It is a violation of state law for convicted felons and the following people to possess any firearms, including machine guns—anyone:

    1. convicted of a serious juvenile offense;

    2. who knows he or she is under a protective or restraining order in a case involving the use or threatened use of physical force;

    3. subject to a firearm seizure order issued after notice and a hearing opportunity; or

    4. prohibited under federal law from possessing or shipping firearms because he or she was adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution, unless granted relief from this disability (CGS § 53a-217).

    Machine Guns in Interstate Commerce

    It is generally unlawful for anyone, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector transporting relics or curios, to transport a machine gun in interstate or foreign commerce (18 USC § 922(a)(4) and 27 CFR § 478.28(c)). But ATF may

    authorize a registered owner to transport a machine gun in interstate or foreign commerce where reasonably necessary and consistent with public safety and applicable state and local law (27 CFR § 478.28(a)).


    Under federal law, it is illegal to do any of the following with regard to machine guns:

    1. engage in business as a manufacturer, importer, or dealer without registering or paying a special occupational tax;

    2. make, receive, possess, transport, deliver, or transfer the firearm in violation of the NFA;

    3. receive a firearm not identified by a serial number as required;

    4. obliterate, remove, change, or alter the firearm's serial number; or

    5. make or cause to be made any false entry on any application, return, or required record (26 USC § 5861).

    The criminal penalties in the Gun Control Act include both felonies and misdemeanors. Fines and penalties for felonies are at least $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. For misdemeanors, the fines are up to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for organizations (18 USC § 924). The law also provides for forfeiture of firearms and ammunition involved in NFA violations (26 USC § 5872).

    A willful attempt to evade or defeat the tax is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine ($500,000 for corporations) under the general tax evasion statute (26 USC § 7201). For an individual, the $100,000 for tax evasion fine could be increased to $250,000 (18 USC 3571(b)(3)).


    State law defines a machine gun as any weapon, loaded or unloaded, that shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot automatically more than one projectile by a single function of the trigger without manual reloading. This definition includes any part or combination of parts designed to assemble, or convert a weapon into, a machine gun (CGS § 53-202(a)).

    With limited exceptions, the law requires anyone who owns a machine gun to register it with DPS within 24 hours of acquiring it and annually thereafter on July 1 (CGS § 53-202(g)). The registration requirement does not apply to machine guns (1) manufactured for sale or transfer to the U.S. government, states, territories, or political subdivisions or (2) rendered inoperable by welding.

    Manufacturers must maintain a register of machine guns they manufacture or handle. For each firearm, the register must show the (1) model and serial number; (2) date of manufacture, sale, loan, gift, delivery, or receipt; (3) name, address, and occupation of the transferor and transferee; and (4) purpose for which it was acquired. Manufacturers must make their registers and gun stock available for inspection by law enforcement officials. Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 (CGS § 53-202(f)).

    There is a presumption that a machine gun is possessed for an offensive purpose if it is:

    1. located on premises not owned or rented as a business or residence by the person possessing it,

    2. in the possession of an unnaturalized foreign born person,

    3. possessed by anyone convicted of a violent crime,

    4. not registered as required, or

    5. when empty or loaded projectiles are found in the immediate vicinity of the firearm (CGS § 53-202(d)).

    The presence of a machine gun in a room, boat, or vehicle is presumptive evidence of possession or use of the firearm by each occupant (CGS § 53-202(e)). Using or possessing a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose is punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine, imprisonment for five and 10 years, or both (CGS § 53-202(c)).

    The restrictions on machine guns do not apply to machine guns (1) manufactured for sale or transfer to the U.S. government, states, territories, or political subdivisions; (2) rendered inoperable by welding; or (3) acquired, transferred, possessed, and registered under the NFA (CGS § 53-202(h)).


    There is no age requirement for “possessing” machine guns as a class of weapons under federal or state law. Age restrictions generally apply to handguns (pistols and revolvers) and long guns (shotguns and rifles) and transfer of these firearms, rather than possession.

    Federal law prohibits dealers from transferring handguns to anyone under age 21. It generally prohibits nondealers from transferring them to anyone under age 18 and prohibits such minors from possessing them. Minors under age 18 may receive and possess handguns only with a parent or guardian's written permission for limited purposes (e.g. employment, ranching, farming, target practice, or hunting). Also, minors under age 18 who are members of the U. S. Armed Forces or National Guard can possess them on duty (18 USC 922x and 922b). Federal law prohibits FFLs from selling or transferring long guns to minors under age 18. But it does not address sales or transfers by nondealers or possession by minors (18 USC § 922(b) and 27 CFR § 178. 99(b)(1)).

    State law does not explicitly set a minimum age for possessing firearms. But the practical effect of three laws appears to make the minimum age 21. One law (with one minor exception) prohibits transferring a handgun to anyone under age 21 (CGS § 29-34). Another prohibits anyone from acquiring a handgun without an eligibility certificate or permit (CGS § 29-36f). A third prohibits carrying a handgun without a permit (CGS § 29-35). People under age 21 cannot get the permit or certificate.

    The only age related provision in state law pertaining to long guns (shotgun and rifles) allows minors age 12 to 16 to obtain a DEP junior firearms hunting license, which allows them to hunt with firearms under supervision. People over age 16 can get a DEP license for unsupervised firearm hunting (CGS § 26-27(a) and 26-38).

    Warum werden wir so früh alt und klug so spät?

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