The National Rifle Association has been holding its annual meeting in Richmond, Virginia, at which it’s widely believed that it will be discussing the reinstatement of the National Firearms Act (NFA), which effectively puts most federal and state-level regulations in the hands of the gun manufacturers and manufacturers’ associations. The NRA claims that reinstating the NFA was one of their biggest successes.
There’s one small problem: it may not be a big success for them. The NFA re-legalization bill in question was introduced in late 2013 along with the Violence Against Women Act and the so-called “Fix NICS” bill. It passed the Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committees and now lies in the House Judiciary Committee, where it has been met with mixed reactions.
Gun-control advocates claim that the National Rifle Association’s agenda on the House Judiciary Committee will be to re-establish “the old NFA, which is a license to shoot that allows the transfer of machine guns, pistols, and revolvers with a handful of exceptions.” (This is not a fair comparison to the current NFA—the old version is now expired—since the current version is still valid. In the old version, any machine gun was prohibited unless it had a registration certificate, which only applies to handguns.)
For this reason, some gun-control advocates are suspicious that Rep. Chris Collins has used the NRA-supported NFA re-legalization bill as an excuse to pass the House NICS bill, a proposal that would have extended “the license to purchase” in place since 1986, which would essentially remove gun-owners’ right in the United States to buy any kind of gun at all.
Collins has said that his legislation would restore the “legitimacy” of the NFA, which he is sure would have been destroyed had the NFA been repealed.
The NFA re-legalization bill in question would do precisely that, but there are no indications the current NFA will be used by the new Congress to re-establish it. A report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found, “Since January of 1994, more than 9,600,000 firearms and explosives have been purchased by NICS,” mostly using “an open-ended process designed to increase an applicant’s likelihood that its gun purchase is lawful.”
That said, NRA officials have been known to play a major role in getting gun control legislation re-introduced, though this time around it seems
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