Amnesty: GCA ’68 vs. FOPA ’86

I’m going to be posting another column tonight. This is going to be background material for it.

Some people are defending the NRA’s call for regulating bump-fire stocks under the National Firearms Act; the NRA’s… thinking… being that there could have been an amnesty to grandfather in existing stocks.

An interesting theory. The Gun Control Act of 1968 did allow for amnesty and registration periods.

But then, just 18 years later, we got the Firearms Owners “Protection” Act of 1986.

FOPA flat out slammed the door on registration of “machineguns” manufactured or imported — for civilians — after the May 1986 deadline. The possibility for other NFA items — suppressors, short-barrel firearms, etc. — might still be there. One might even argue that machineguns that had, at some point, been lawfully possessed prior to the ’86 deadline (had been registered, but somehow got improperly transferred) could still get an amnesty.

But nothing manufactured or imported after ’86. Like bump-fire stocks, which suddenly became “machineguns.”

Sorry, NRA. You should have read those laws, in which you are complicit, a little more closely.

I did. In fact, I always read legislation as, “What’s the worst possible interpretation an abusive ATF or administration could make of this?” The NRA should do the same. You aren’t going to be fundraising on your screw-ups forever; folks are getting tired of your backstabbing.


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