Looks like we're going to be fighting battles on 2 fronts — the ATF letter on shotguns and the magazine capacity ban legislation. Granted, I'm a known paranoid, but I pretty much don't believe in coincidences, especially when it comes to antigunners.
Here is my take on the politics — BHO is going to issue a stirring call for gun control in his State of the Union Message, but he and his shills know that the McCarthy travesty is DOA in the House...even if through some unseen miracle it gets to the floor, it can't survive an up-and-down vote. Maybe a little different in the Senate, but I (and the legal experts I spoke to last week) don't think the Lautenberg companion bill can win there either.
For those of you who will be writing letter against the gun banners, I strongly urge you to study the language from Ian Argent's The Lair blog, because it is excellent:
To the forces of freedom: we’re fighting this because to allow them to define the number of bullets you “need” in a magazine is to allow them to define the number of bullets you “need”, period. Because after they pass the magazine ban, they’ll be coming for the “spare magazine loop-hole”. After all, the AZ shooter couldn’t have shot 14 people if he had been legally prohibited from having more than 10 rounds on his person. No more than he could have shot them if only the law prohibited him from injuring them…
However, BHO needs a gun control "victory" to throw to the left wing screaming loonies he claims as his base. Hence the "sudden" move by ATF on shotguns. The core issue is that the 1934 Firearms Act restrictions on short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns is fundamentally nonsense. As I'm sure most of you know, the 1934 Firearms Act was a kludged-together monstrosity designed to keep the "revenue agents" orphaned after the repeal of Prohibition working. The Act was originally planned to control not only automatic weapons, but all handguns as well. SBRs and SBSs were added to the Act to prohibit cutting down rifles and shotguns to handgun size.
When it proved to be politically impossible to include handguns, the SBSs and SBRs were left in the language, probably through sheer stupidity. The problem ATF has right now is that we are an amazingly self-regulating culture...we are by far and away extremely legal. That leaves ATF as a agency in search of a mission. I have met hero ATF agents who spend their lives undercover in viscous, deadly gangs who run guns, and I honor them for their service. But, quite frankly, most of the agents I've run across spend their careers trying to think of new and innovative ways to turn citizens into criminals. That is exactly what we're looking at here.
According to my cherubs and seraphim, forces within ATF have been lobbying to turn pistol-gripped shotguns into "Destructive Devices," a la the old Street Sweeper, which was declared a DD largely because it had a scary name. From the ATF standpoint, such a change of status would be a bonanza — there are millions and millions of pistol-gripped shotguns, and virtually any shotgun can be fitted with a pistol grip. Most of the owners of those shotguns wouldn't know they were in violation of federal laws, which would make them sitting ducks for ATF gun round-ups.
We may well see what amounts to the shotgun version of a magazine capacity ban. After all, there was nothing particularly special about the various Street Sweeper/Striker shotguns with revolving cylinders, spring-loaded or otherwise, except for their magazine capacity and ease of reloading. The issue from our point of view goes back to Ian's quote above...multishot shotguns are among the easiest firearms to reload. Most pump action shotguns can be reloaded a single round at a time virtually as fast as magazine shotguns (I refer you to any cowboy action shooting matches or the Blackwater tactical shotgun training tapes). After my GUNSITE 260 shotgun class, it stopped mattering to me whether I had an extended tube or not...as long as I had shells I could run a pump or semiauto all day long. Think about the implications of that...as soon as we let ourselves be pulled into a "do you NEED it" argument, we LOSE!
The "sporting purposes" test, included in, I believe, GCA 1968, is a red herring. It doesn't actually mean anything but exist solely to give gun banners a way to eliminate classes of firearms from importation. Our proper response is NOT to try and prove that this gun or that gun meets the "sporting purposes" test, but rather to OPPOSE the "sporting purposes" test as a fraud, an unprovable, legally vague assault on our rights.
From BHO's standpoint, this is a win-win — he can blame Congress for not stepping up to his stirring rhetoric, but then point to ATF's new mission to attack the oldest shooting technology in the world, the shotgun, which will be deemed the most terrifying weapon in the entire history of mankind, especially if it can be loaded with more than 2 rounds.
I could be wrong on all this stuff..we'll have a little better idea tomorrow, I suppose...
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