Second Amendment Rights Once Again at Risk

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Americans continue to watch their Second Amendment rights diminish, this time as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ( still known as ATF) launches a campaign to change the definition of u201Cshotgun.u201D According to the blog Beregond's Bar, a recently released study by the Bureau will ultimately make shotguns illegal, and may also have negative implications for all guns.

The ATF states that the purpose of the study is to u201Cestablish criteria that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives will use to determine the importability of certain shotguns under the provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) …[which] generally [prohibit] the importation of firearms into the United States.u201D

The study focuses specifically on the sporting purposes of shotguns, just as the ATF 1998 survey provided guidelines for determining the sporting purposes of rifles.  

Beregond's Bar notes, u201CSporting is one of the three main thrusts of gun control efforts in America. The other two are racism and those who openly advocate complete bans except for military and police.u201D

Providing background on how sporting criteria is often utilized to advance gun control, Beregond's Bar explains:

Sporting use was how the original distinction was made about what weapons would be subject to a special tax in the National Firearms Act (NFA) in 1934, and again in Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968.  The congressional power to tax was used selectively to make ownership of weapons the government didn't like burdensome and expensive. This was gun control via the back door, as even the ATF admits. As would become the pattern, politicians found that actually dealing with crime and criminals was difficult and expensive. Blaming guns and passing a law to look like they were doing something about it was much simpler.

Declaring that activities that were u201Cgenerally recognizedu201D as legitimate u201Csporting purposes in previous studies are not necessarily the same as those activities that are generally recognized as sporting purposes in the modern era,u201D the study outlines a number of features of shotguns wherein u201Csporting useu201D cannot apply, many of which are common in hunting and self-defense:

  • Folding, telescoping, or collapsible stocks;
  • bayonet lugs;
  • flash suppressors;
  • magazines over 5 rounds, or a drum magazine;
  • grenade-launcher mounts;
  • integrated rail systems (other than on top of the receiver or barrel);
  • light enhancing devices;
  • excessive weight (greater than 10 pounds for 12 gauge or smaller);
  • excessive bulk (greater than 3 inches in width and/or greater than 4 inches in depth);
  • forward pistol grips or other protruding parts designed or used for gripping the shotgun with the shooter's extended hand.

The study concludes that there should be a u201Climited exception to the general prohibition on the importation of firearms without placing any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions of burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms.u201D Though the ATF contends that its determinations will have no impact on u201Ctrue sporting shotguns,u201D it admits that they will u201Ccertainly prevent the importation of certain shotguns.u201D

The study also recommends that u201Csporting determinations for shotguns not specifically addressed by this study be reviewed by a panel pursuant to ATF orders, policies and procedures, as appropriate.u201D

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