From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Nebraska Sportsmen, They really are after your hunting firearms

Yes I have mentioned this in the last few days, but the seriousness of it demands another look. Say Uncle has a link to an AP story concerning Sportsman John Kerry's comments on the Homeland Defense Firearm ban.

Kerry's Comments
"I mean, heavens to Betsy, folks, we've had that law on the books for the last 10 years, and there's not a gun owner in America who can stand up and say, 'They tried to take my guns away,'" Kerry said.

The here and now
While that contention is debatable, I won't address the last ten years. I am simply going to address the bill that would make it permanant. It is not what we have been subjected to for the last 10 years that we need to be worried about, the bill that will make it permanant redefines what a semi-automatic assault weapon is and does indeed include your semi-automatic "hunting" shotgun.

Sportsmen, John Kerry really is after your guns.
Lets take a look at that bill for a few moments, and since a large number of Sportsmen in Nebraska are Upland Game and Waterfowl hunters, I will confine, for brevity, my analysis to the portion of the legislation that deals with shotguns.

What is a semi-automatic assault weapon as defined by the bill?
(a) IN GENERAL- Section 921(a)(30) of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`(30) The term `semiautomatic assault weapon' means any of the following:
`(H) A semiautomatic shotgun that has--
`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
`(ii) a pistol grip;
`(iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine; or
`(iv) a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds.
(bold for emphisis on my part)

1)"A semi-automatic shotgun" is a pretty broad statement that needs to be narrowed down some. The proposed bill does that in these ways and with these definitions.

Most hunters do not use a folding or telescoping stock, true, but how many competition trap and skeet guns have adjustable stocks that TELESCOPE?

Read the definition of a telescoping stock
`(40) FOLDING OR TELESCOPING STOCK- The term `folding or telescoping stock' means a stock that folds, telescopes, or otherwise operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability, of a firearm.

2) A pistol grip, as most of us apply it to a firearm is not something generally found on a sporting shotgun is it? If you have a semi-automatic shotgun with a curved lower portion of the stock immediately behind the tripper guard you have a pistol grip. Even if you have a "straight English style stock it may be considered a pistol grip, depending on who is checking your shotgun for compliance.

Read the definition of a pistol grip.
`(42) PISTOL GRIP- The term `pistol grip' means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.

According to that definition any portion of the firearm you hold onto is considered a 'pistol grip'.

Wait it gets better. How about the forward stock on any shoulder firearm, surely that is not a 'pistol grip'?

Read the definition of Forwward Grip
`(41) FORWARD GRIP- The term `forward grip' means a grip located forward of the trigger that functions as a pistol grip.

Since we have already established that the Bill defines a pistol grip as anything you hold on to it is indeed a pistol grip.

3)But wait, you say, my semi-automatic shotgun only holds 4 rounds in a fixed magazine. That is true, but that is 4 rounds of standard 2 3/4, 3 or 3 1/2" shotshells. Where in that Bill does it state that when checking for compliance, it has to be with standard shotshells. A company called Aquila maunfactures 1 3/4" 12 gauge shotgun ammunition with a choice of 7 1/2 birdshot, buckshot and/or a rifled slug.
(Don't think it will happen? I'll donate a case of AA shotshells to one of the high school trap clubs if I am wrong. If I'm right you donate one.)

The Frosting on the cake
`(L) A semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General. In making the determination, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any Federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.'.

There is not one single semi-automatic shotgun on the market today that is not ORIGINALLY made to be used in Law Enforcement or the Military, or BASED on the design of such a firearm. Just because you have used it for years in SPORTING EVENTS does not make it a SPORTING FIREARM.

Time to lick the Spoon
Section 922(v) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(5) It shall be unlawful for any person to transfer a semiautomatic assault weapon to which paragraph (1) does not apply, except through--
`(A) a licensed dealer, and for purposes of subsection (t) in the case of such a transfer, the weapon shall be considered to be transferred from the business inventory of the licensed dealer and the dealer shall be considered to be the transferor; or
`(B) a State or local law enforcement agency if the transfer is made in accordance with the procedures provided for in subsection (t) of this section and section 923(g).

If you want to pass the family shotgun on to a favored son or daughter you'll have to go to the police station to do it leagally.

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting at the end the following:
`(z) It shall be unlawful for any person to transfer any assault weapon with a large capacity ammunition feeding device.'.
(2) PENALTIES- Section 924(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(z) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
(Can't say you didn't know, I just told you.)

Kerry also said; He has pledged to protect Second Amendment rights and said the ban can be reinstated without trampling those rights.

Well pardon me all the way to my favorite gunshop John, but how the hell you figure that?

So there you have it, if you own a very high dollar 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, with an adjustable stock and a fixed magazine that will hold more than 5 rounds of Aquila ammunition, your posession is apparently Grandfathered under this renewal bill.

If you ever want to trade it in you'll have to replace it with a New England Firearms Single barrel though. (Ok you can get a pump, bolt or lever action too).

In theory you could bestow it upon an heir in you went to the police station to do it. However if it holds more than 5 rounds then any transfer is illegal. Go ahead give it to your kid anyway, and send him/her to jail for 10 years.

Still don't think Chuckie, Hillary, John F., Teddy, Barbie and DiFi want your sporting firearms?

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