Saturday, September 5, 2009

Selective Enforcement of the Firearm Owners Protection Act

If you talk to people who have a passing knowledge about firearm law, they’ll know about the “1986 machine gun ban.” Technically, this law is the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act banned civilian ownership and possession of fully-automatic firearms manufactured after May 19, 1986. For most people that’s where their knowledge of the law ends. However, the ironic fact is that the act was originally intended to rein in the abuses of the BATFE (then the ATF). If you read further in the law, one very important section arises:

Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 926 (2) (a): No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary's authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.

This effectively prohibits “registration” of firearms in the United States, which says that California’s registration scheme and the national database are both technically illegal. The question I have is why are the BATFE and some of the states allowed to continue in this fashion – effectively ignoring a major provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act??? Maybe it’s time we started shining a light onto this dark corner of the law?

Until next time!

No comments: