Machine guns and government abuse

I live in a state where machine guns are legal and people often ask if I have any.  I don’t.  I’m not a fan of machine guns.  I’ve fired a few, when other people were paying for the ammo, but my impression was that I could get more rounds on target in the same amount of time with a semi-auto.  I’ve also read of fairly well done tests and saw one video of such a test where similar conclusions were reached.  The bottom line for me, assuming you are using a reliable gun in the right caliber for the job, is always time and accuracy.  Machine guns just don’t improve my bottom line.  I’ll agree there are valid applications for full automatics but I just don’t envision myself being in a situation where it would be the proper tool for the job.

Regardless of the above position on machine guns, I have a big problem with government restricting firearms of any type.  Part of the reason is the “slippery slope”, part is the obvious “someone else has legitimate use”, and part is the problem of distinguishing between “good guns” and “bad guns”.  This latter problem is addressed on this JPFO web page:

The technicians who work at FTB testify before the courts as “experts” on the technology of firearms. They may or may not have any real-world or industry experience. It is a fact that no technician at FTB has ever held a federal firearms license or ever designed a firearm. Unfortunately the problem runs even deeper than that. The recent public exposure of an incompetent FTB technician, Michael J. Cooney (U.S. v. Glover), which resulted in the dismissal with prejudice of a federal prosecution of an innocent citizen, raises troubling questions about the legal validity of past prosecutions in which Mr. Cooney testified, and possibly those of other FTB technicians.

Congress has given the ATF the task of “classifying” firearms – for instance, determining whether a firearm is a common, semi-automatic that fires one shot with each trigger pull or whether it is a machine gun, designed to fire multiple rounds on one trigger pull (full auto). Numerous gun owners and gun makers have been bankrupted or imprisoned because the ATF stated that their firearms were “illegal machine guns” rather than semi-autos. If the ATF’s classifications were accurate, then this would just be a matter for lawyers and lawmakers. But there is ample evidence – and not only in the case of Mr. Cooney — to indicate that the ATF’s classifications are arbitrary and inaccurate. The ATF seemingly does not employ consistent testing criteria and standards.

The core issue is the methodology (or lack of) in making firearm classifications. The ATF does not employ the time-honored and well-honed methods of scientific inquiry.

In attempting to “prove” that a semi-automatic firearm is, or can easily be made, full-auto, ATF “experts” have been known to attach a variety of devices to the gun being tested. They commonly, for instance, fasten new parts to the firearm or remove parts from the firearm, then hold the resulting device together with duct tape, plastic cable ties, or small metal bars before test firing it. They use these aids because otherwise the components of the jury-rigged test weapon will not hold together on their own. Such a device would be useless in the real world, yet the ATF freely uses these Rube Goldberg contraptions to “prove” that a weapon is illegal, and that the original maker or owner of the firearm is committing a federal crime!

These strange ATF-created lab contraptions can also be so dangerous that the testers hide behind barriers to protect themselves against exploding firearms. Yet ATF agents may still tell a jury that such a weapon is a usable “machine gun.”

I didn’t follow up on the story to verify it for myself but I heard several years ago a guy had a machine gun which was made inoperable by the receiver being cut in half.  He was a successful gun rights activist.  The anti-gun politicians didn’t like his successes.  A police raid on his place turned up the cut in half machine gun.  It was claimed by my story teller than the ATF lab used duct tape to hold the two pieces of the receiver together and got it to fire two rounds with one pull of the trigger before it fell apart.  What I do know is true is that the gun rights activist spent several years in prison for illegal possession of a machine gun.

And as Alphecca points out today:

Poorly worded laws are an open invitation to abuse by authorities.

A bad law is worse than no law.

And I’m with Jeff Cooper on machine guns (full story in tomorrows “Quote of the day”):

As I have often stated, if someone wants to shoot at me, I sure hope he does it on full-auto.

Jeff Cooper
Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries
Vol. 1, No. 9
October 1993

Let’s just get rid of the silly restrictions on full automatics.  There is no valid use for such a law.