The Dope on FOPA
FOPA Dope and More!
My Word on Automatic Weapons
My good friend, Adam, had the winning (read only) idea for this week’s blog; repealing the ban on automatic weapons in FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986).
How can a Firearm Owners Protection Act ban a firearm? Yes, it banned the future sales of
automatic weapons which means that all full auto weapons manufactured after the FOPA was
passed in 1986 were outlawed for civilian sales. How can that be a protection for firearm
owners? Well it is and for very good reason. The following is the dope on FOPA. Allow me to
approach the whiteboard.
The FOPA did many good things. Previously, the ATF was given wide latitude on enforcing
regulations on FFL dealers. Allegations of abuse of these enforcements were around and for a long time. Many US Attorney Generals and Directors of Treasury and ATF believed that the 2d Amendment pertained only to militias, as in the National Guard, and not individual rights.
The Republican Senate declared that the 2nd Amendment was, most decidedly, a protection of
an individual right. What’s more, their study showed that about 75% of ATF prosecutions were
aimed at ordinary citizens who had neither criminal intent nor knowledge. The ATF was out of control to say the least and in response to this study they produced and passed the Firearm
Owners Protection Act (FOPA).
Among the reforms of the ATF:
1. Reopening of interstate sales of long guns (previously outlawed).
2. Legalizing the shipment of ammunition through the postal service (previously illegal).
3. Removal of the requirement for record keeping on sales of non-armor piercing
4. Federal protection of the transportation of firearms through states where possession of
those firearms would otherwise be illegal.
5. The ATF was limited to conducting compliance inspections to only once per year (unless violations had been found).
Now, here is the King Kahuna of what exactly made the FOPA so important for gun owners, it
forbade the US Government from keeping a registry of firearms (with a few exceptions).
Now that the reader has been reacquainted with the blessings of FOPA, why did they ban the
machine guns? Probably a compromise as that’s the way our government works. A whole lot of
good with a little bad is still good.
Even though we had the older machine guns grandfathered in, the limited number caused them to constantly rise in price and now it’s nearly impossible for someone to get a full-auto anymore.
It has become a practical full-on ban.
Should we allow for the resumption of full autos? Well keeping them under NFA rules from the GCA of 1934 would still place limitations on them while theoretically allowing for sales of new guns. This would bring the prices down for sure but it would still limit who could get them. The benefit of this would be a boost to industry and a net increase to the economy, with an increase of freedom and an increase in tax revenue. Is an increase in tax revenue a bad thing? Usually yes but as this would be accompanied by many more blessings it would be a huge step in the right direction.
Lets face it, asking the government to allow us to buy full-autos just like a semi-auto right now isn’t going to happen. I will discuss this in more detail in another upcoming blog but for now I would love to hear your comments below.