Yet Another Reason NFA and GCA Need To Die

by Vern Evans

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When Congress defined the term “machine gun” in federal law, they thought it was pretty clear, and in most ways, it really is. If a single movement of the trigger produces only one shot, it’s not a machine gun. If you can pull the trigger back and the gun continues firing, it’s generally a machine gun. Pretty simple, right?

This distinction is important because a semi-auto weapon (assuming it’s not an SBR or other NFA item) isn’t heavily regulated at the federal level—no tax stamp, no need to get approval to transfer or cross state lines, or any of that other stuff. More importantly, a semi-auto gun isn’t subject to the ban on new civilian machine guns that was passed in 1986.

But, lawyers always find ways to complicate things when they so desire. Anti-gun regulators and politicians want to stretch that definition to include things that aren’t machine guns, such as bump stocks, binary triggers, or even shoelaces and belt loops. Those things don’t change the fact that one trigger pull only shoots one round, but they do make the movement of the trigger happen faster.

But, outside of court, there’s an even dumber problem: The fact that there’s not much difference in the sound of machine guns compared to semi-autos that are firing really fast. At shooting ranges, it’s not uncommon for people shooting fast, using a binary trigger, or otherwise boosting the rate of fire to catch the attention of a Fudd who thinks they’re entitled to see your paperwork. Or worse, they call the cops (assuming that machine guns are illegal).

While such things can be sorted out at the range in most cases without causing life problems, a recent post on Reddit shows us that there’s a real danger involved with people who think they know the difference between fast semi-auto and machine gun fire:

“Just because something may or may not be legal, doesn’t mean others won’t try to screw your life over,” said the user, whose profile (but not posts) have since been deleted, showing images of a police car outside of his house. “There will be no more posts from me on this or any other sub. Best of luck to you all, stay safe.”

Further down, this clarification was given: “As someone pointed out I got no knocked. Came out of nowhere. Best guess is someone reported automatic fire from my material testing on SS, that or the fact I just found out my neighbor the next property over is DHS. So yeah I’m kinda fucked.”

Prior to deletion, links could be found showing that the guy was testing the Super Safety, a printable design that replaces the safety on an AR-pattern gun with a push-button system that allows safe, regular fire, or a mode where the trigger gets forced into reset by the bolt carrier group as it moves back forward into battery.

Here’s a video by the Super Safety’s creator explaining in detail how the system works:

One problem with the Super Safety design is that it’s not durable in its three-position form unless you work with a metal 3D printer (expensive!) or have one fabricated from metal by other means. Nylon designs can last for hundreds of rounds, but they eventually give out and stop working. Apparently the user was testing different, more durable 3D printing materials to see if he could come up with a more durable solution.

This, of course, required firing the gun a lot, and needing to drive out to the range kind of sucks. So, he was doing this in his basement using a clearing can of some kind. He thought the sound wasn’t getting out, but apparently at least one neighbor (one of whom works for DHS in a law enforcement capacity) heard what sounded like a machine gun and reported this to the authorities.

Even worse, the user says that police (and presumably BATFE) responded to the complaint with a “no-knock” raid. This means there’s no knock at the door, no warning and no other opportunities given to cooperate. For all you know, the police could be coming in or some criminals could be coming in, and you have no time to decide which it is as the door comes off its hinges.

These “no-knock” raids often have deadly consequences. Courts have ruled that you can reasonably act in self defense when police don’t adequately identify themselves, but that only helps if they don’t return fire and kill you on the spot. Sometimes, these killings happen without any provocation or lack of cooperation with the police.

Even when they don’t kill you, they can severely mess your life up. Damage to the home (which can be extreme, and possibly result in eviction if you’re renting), the neighbors seeing you treated like a criminal, mental health results and losing a job can all come from a no-knock raid, even when police go to the wrong address.

Really, the laws banning and heavily restricting machine guns are pointless and arbitrary when both citizens and cops can’t tell the difference between rapid semi-auto fire and machine gun fire. The lives lost to no-knock raids are likewise a bigger drain on society than any criminal justice gains. On top of all that, the NFA and the GCA don’t comply with the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision.

So, we’re seeing yet another reason these laws should be repealed or gutted by a court as soon as reasonably possible.

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