by Justin Hinckley
LPNC 2nd Amendment Liaison Coordinator
The words "gun" and "legislation" rarely appear together bearing good tidings, especially at the federal level. When laws are proposed that do simple things like remove some degree of state interference with your ability to exercise your basic rights, we at the LPNC like to point it out.
Senate bill S4986, also known as The Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today Act (SHORT Act), is a bill that seeks to remove short-barreled rifles (SBRs), short-barreled shotguns (SBSs), and a classification known as any other weapons (AOWs) from the National Firearms Act (NFA). This would eliminate the federal requirement to register such devices with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It would also eliminate the tax stamp required for each, an amount that currently sits at $200 per SBR or SBS and $5 per AOW. Other elements of the bill include requiring the ATF to destroy all records related to these devices and their owners within one year of its enactment, qualifying a background check as meeting all state requirements for the registration and licensure of such devices, and prohibiting future federal or state taxes being levied against such devices. The SHORT Act accomplishes this by removing "shotgun,” "rifle,” and other similar terms from the definition of "firearm” in section 5845 of the NFA.
Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA) introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives, known as HR 9033. Clyde’s bill is intended to prevent a new ATF rule change to the years' long pistol brace debate. He said, "By deregulating these NFA firearms, this legislation prohibits the ATF from enacting an unconstitutional pistol ban through a simple rule change." Unlike most modern Congressional bills, the SHORT Act consists of just six pages, certainly an element that should make any Libertarian pleased.
Of course, this bill is unlikely to pass, especially with Senate Democrats discussing more gun control as a proposed solution to gun violence, notwithstanding that it occurs in whatever area with already-strict gun control the media is currently panic-pimping. Regardless, we as Libertarians should never stop supporting laws that reduce overall government power and do so using short, easily read bills.
Regardless of all the political maneuvering, I would urge readers to contact your Congressional representatives, and demand that they prove their commitment to our rights by supporting the SHORT Act. It is a positive when laws chip away at the NFA, which is perhaps the worst example of government overreach codified; it limits Constitutional rights and does so while imposing an immoral and reprehensible tax on citizens wishing to exercise that right.