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Is This Really Legal?


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#1 LSU Tiger

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 01:32 PM

I was reading this on the NRA-ILA site, and it doesn't sound like it could've passed under the rules. What do you think?

The Hughes Amendment

In 1986, to reaffirm Congress`s intent in passing the GCA and prevent improper law enforcement by BATF, Congress approved the Firearms Owners` Protection Act (FOPA).7 Near the end of debate on the measure, late at night with most members of the House of Representatives absent, Rep. William Hughes (D-N.J.) introduced an amendment related to fully-automatic firearms. Despite an apparent defeat of the amendment by voice vote, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), at the time presiding over the proceedings, declared the amendment approved. Hughes and Rangel were longtime "gun control" supporters.

BATF interpreted the amendment as a prohibition on the civilian possession of any fully-automatic firearm manufactured after May 19, 1986. The effect of the interpretation has been to "freeze" the number of privately owned fully-automatic firearms at roughly 150,000, an exact figure being unavailable due to privacy protection requirements that apply to tax-based laws such as the National Firearms Act. The crime-fighting utility of the 1986 "freeze" was questionable, since no legal, civilian-owned fully-automatic firearm had been used to commit a violent crime. BATF`s director at the time, Stephen Higgins, had testified before Congress in 1986 that the misuse of legally-owned fully-automatic firearms was "so minimal as not to be considered a law enforcement problem." Farmer v. Higgins

After passage of the FOPA, a law-abiding Georgian named Farmer applied for the registration of a fully-automatic firearm manufactured after May 19, 1986, but his application was rejected by BATF. Farmer contended that BATF`s interpretation of the measure as a prohibition on possession of fully-automatic firearms manufactured after May 19, 1986 was incorrect, since the law exempted fully-automatic firearms newly-manufactured under the authority of the United States, thus it would exempt firearms approved for registration by BATF. Farmer also questioned whether Congress had the power, under the Constitution, to ban the mere possession of a type of firearm and whether the exercise of any such power would violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia ruled in Farmer`s favor. On appeal by the federal government, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the decision with respect to BATF`s interpretation, but did not rule on the constitutional issues raised. The NRA`s Firearms Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review the case. The Court declined, as it does the vast majority of cases. Thus the decision stands in the Eleventh Circuit, which encompasses Alabama, Florida and Georgia
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#2 LSU Tiger

LSU Tiger

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 09:36 PM

Thats what I get for taking cold medicine and trying to type.

In the first paragraph, it says that the Hughes Amendment apparently failed to pass on a voice vote, but the commitee chair declared it to have passed. If it fails by a voice vote, how could it possibly pass? It seems that this could be a challenge to the Hughes Amendment's being included in the FOPA.
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