The machine gun issue

Throughout the Heller case I think most hard core gun rights activists have been thinking “Will this help or hurt machine guns? Even if the Supreme Court slaps D.C. down on handguns, rifles, and shotguns will they create a rule or test that slams the door on machine guns becoming commonly available?”

I’ve been, behind the scenes, asking people not to even talk about machine guns in the context of Heller. My thought was that if machine guns are ignored in the Heller decision, then if we do things right after a Heller win we can get some machine gun relief eventually. Obviously it came up in a big way during the oral arguments. Some people have been critical of Gura for “throwing machine guns under the bus” during the oral arguments. I am not one of them. I viewed it as unfortunate collateral damage. We needed to bomb the crap out of D.C. and they were holding machine guns as hostages. It was more important to destroy D.C. now than to try and figure out a way to get the machine guns to safety. We might still be able to resurrect machine guns, they aren’t really dead, just on life support.

Now, via Uncle, I find Gura responds. I agree with him.

5 thoughts on “The machine gun issue

  1. First individual rights.
    Next shall issue in all states.
    Then a hard stop on registration.

    Machine guns? Fun, but not nearly as essential as the above.

    As Gura pointed out there are many many years of downhill to reverse. The other side understands incrementalism. We had best learn it. Yeah, it is a pain in the netherend, but it works. It worked for them to corner us.

    We must reverse that along the same path. All of the bad statistics and outright lies must be countered. We need the public along on this. They need to agree that guns don’t kill people, people kill people and that it is harder to kill people when they are armed.

    We need to pose Joe’s “Just One Question”. Access means carry, not locked up and unloaded.

  2. Yes, it’s a tough issue and yes, public opinion has to be there. The Bill of Rights was supposed to protect us from public opinion, no? But alas, it is not so. And isn’t that what all this tap dancing in court is all about– how to acknowledge the Constitution without pissing off or scaring too many people?

  3. I see his point. He would be without support — and without the support of the majority of NRA members, I’d bet. It’s just too bad that despite the personal opinions of these people, “machineguns” are privately and legally owned in the country. Probably not a good idea to point this out.

    The problem is that the federal government continues to exercise an extra-constitutional power to determine the purpose of all the various arms, which pretty much leaves the door open to further bans and other prior restraint. (Handguns have no “sporting purpose” here in CT, for example, because hunting restrictions prohibit taking game with them.)

    I don’t really expect Gura to go in there and wipe out over 100 years of central government paranoia. I’m expecting a very narrow decision as it relates to certain plaintiff’s use of a 500 year old technology to defend their own lives. However, none of us are appearing in front of the court, so let us have our fun and keep taking pot shots at the disarmers.

  4. regarding “Rob”‘s post, I think machine guns are actually an easier sell to courts than registration-as-infringement. By the Miller test, M16s would be clearly protected, for example.

    I think that registration is ultimately more of a threat to liberty than a machine gun ban, but it’d be a tough constitutional sell.

    -m@

  5. Handguns have no “sporting purpose” here in CT, for example, because hunting restrictions prohibit taking game with them.

    Target shooting is not sporting in Connecticut? That is appalling!

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