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In the wake of horrific shootings in Connecticut, Colorado and elsewhere, the need to address gun violence has become paramount. Calls to introduce new controls on handguns and semi-automatic firearms - the weapons of choice, it seems, for large-scale carnage - has reached a new urgency.

But rather than introducing new laws to deal with these threats, existing laws can do so quite well, with only minimal changes required.

More details after the jump.

Since 1934, the National Firearms Act, has placed significant restrictions on various types of weapons such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and short-barrel rifles.

To address constitutional problems with the original Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968 classified these weapons under a Title II designation.

From Wikipedia:

Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968 is a revision of the National Firearms Act of 1934, and pertains to machine guns, short or "sawed-off" shotguns and rifles, and so-called "destructive devices" (including grenades, mortars, rocket launchers, large projectiles, and other heavy ordnance). Acquisition of these weapons is subject to prior approval of the Attorney General, and federal registration is required for possession. Generally, a $200 tax is imposed upon each transfer or making of any Title II weapon.

In order to legally posess a Title II weapon, an extensive background check is required (roughly equivalent to what is required for a lower-level "Secret" security clearance), as well as registration of the firearm and payment of a $200 tax on purchase, transfer or manufacture.

In addition, violation of the Act is a federal felony, with up to 10-year prison sentences and forfeiture of the weapon.

As recent events have demonstrated, recognizing the role of handguns and semi-automatic firearms in America's gun violence epidemic by adding them to the Title II category is long overdue. By passing legislation to do so, under the framework of existing laws, the problems with having to craft an entirely new bill would be avoided.

It's time that we demand that our legislators do so.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    "If you are still playing for Team Republican and want to have any honor whatsoever, you need to leave the Republican Party now, apologize to America, and work to remove it from our political system." - Brad DeLong

    by radabush on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:09:07 PM PST

  •  They should be banned period. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Transmission, koNko, SneakySnu

    If it's not used for hunting then ban it.

  •  Brilliant. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There would have to be a buy back program for the myriad of such weaponry in private hands right now, and that's where the crazies will convene.  

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:47:59 PM PST

  •  I'm alive because of my unregistered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    semi-auto handgun with one in chamber and two 15 shell clips.    (Needed to clear & reload quick when idiot gun jammed.  Have switched to revolver since then.)  

    The attacking crooks had shotgun, pistol, etc. --- and ranged from "clean" record of as yet uncaught barely 18 crook to recently released 6 time felon aged 21. But, they just stole what guns they wanted in house/car burglaries.

    Court orders don't stop abusers from going after escaped battered spouses --- cops can't usually get there in time.  Do not sit in comfy seats deciding what it takes to stay alive when a stalker type makes you his target.  

    Don't put hurdles in the way of people who really do need self defense pistols ---- until we cure the problems of unwanted children growing up angry and deciding that crime pays.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:19:10 PM PST

    •  How was the lack of registration helpful? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You said the semi automatic gun was unreliable.

      would a registered revolver helped you just as much?


      Take back the House in 2014!!!!!!!!!!!! (50 state strategy needed)

      by mungley on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:50:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  glad for you however (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peterfallow, NoMoreLies, mungley

      anecdotal stories matter only to the people involved when it comes to weighing whether or not overall something net saves people or results in killing more people On Average. Laws and rules need to be written for the NEt good.
      Not talking about banning guns but perhaps limiting access and carry of some types and i don't know enough admittedly to get into that. I do know about use of statistics and anecdotes to support what we should do. I am glad you survived and if I were in your shoes I'd  likely feel even more justified and glad to have my gun -just as you do--but the fact remains your example doesn't effect the overal issue if it safe to innocent passersby to have liberal gun laws. perhaps you didn't mean it to.
      I don't have links but I've read that many times the crime victims weapon is used on the victim himself. Other times innocents are accidently killed by carriers poor judgement and lack of training, especially as we've seen in concealed carry states, even worse in Stand Your Ground states. Untrainted citizen makes split second judgement that they can shoot someone because they feel threatened, even if they could just let the person run away. SUpposedly overall it is more are more likely to be states with more liberal gun laws.

  •  Add them and increase the tax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, IreGyre

    To USD$10,000 or more.

    It would be a first step.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:33:37 AM PST

  •  I Like Reclassifying...... (5+ / 0-)

    Like the fines & qualifications, as well.  Establishing a buy back program works for me too.  If they want assault weapons, they would have to pay for the right & the "privilege".

  •  you can't ban handguns. (0+ / 0-)

    or: get cracking on that amendment.

  •  The only that would have stopped Sandy Hook (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    would be a ban on handguns plus a requirement that any handguns in private hands be turned into the government.  I don't think that's happened before - even when machine guns were regulated as you describe, their owners got to keep them, just had to have them registered.  If you have enough time and money and can pass a stringent background check, today in 2012 you can still purchase a fully automatic machine gun.

    Lanza killed with handguns which his mom apparently owned lawfully.  As soon as Lanza took those guns into his possession, he was likely violating a gun control law.  As soon as he went outside with them, he was likely violating a gun control law.  And once he took them onto school grounds, he was certainly violating a gun control law.

    As long as people are allowed to keep handguns in their homes (even "regulated") the Sandy Hook situation can happen again.  The Supreme Court has said there's a constitutional right to have guns (perhaps regulated) in the home, so right now neither the federal or state legislatures have the power to impose an outright ban.  I don't see the situation changing, and I would be shocked if an outright ban was ever passed anyway by the majority of politicians we have right now in most legislatures.

    •  Plus (0+ / 0-)

      Just read that Lanza was turned down at a Dick's Sporting Goods when he tried to buy a rifle before the shooting.  He wouldn't go through the background checks.  So even the minimal gun control we have right now worked for the new gun he wanted to buy, which had not yet been sold.  What about the roughly 300 million old guns that are just floating around.  More than one gun for every person over 18 in the country.

    •  later reports say he used the Bushmaster rifle (0+ / 0-)

      for all the killings... small caliber (.223) but semi-auto, large magazine, more accurate than a handgun.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:34:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  US Presidents are not "safe" from a lone nut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who is willing to die dramatically.  

    We can't regulate our society into absolute safety.

    Perhaps if we did not spend the majority of our national budget buying and using armaments to bomb & bully other nations into submission --- our citizens would not see violence as the answer to frustrations?

    Perhaps if we changed attitudes about providing effective mental healthcare, we could reduce number of incidents.

    Let us ask why his mom was so afraid of society collapsing from unfairness of failure to enforce against rapacious money changers that she went all armed survivalist?  

    What examples, policies, practices do we learn to imprint our citizens with hope against being helpless against a society where bullies win?

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:06:23 AM PST

  •  it is a start (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    increased regulation on weapons that can put out a high volume of rounds.  Increased regulation on gun ownership period.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:04:25 AM PST

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