BATFE Reform Introduced

Sadly it does not also include “Prevent the BATFE from assisting criminals trafficking firearms,” but we’ll take it, regardless. In what should be of interest to your NFA folks:

Allow importation and transfer of new machineguns by firearm and ammunition manufacturers for use in developing or testing firearms and ammunition, and training customers. In particular, ammunition manufacturers fulfilling government contracts need to ensure that their ammunition works reliably. H.R. 1093 would also provide for the transfer and possession of new machineguns by professional film and theatrical organizations.

This is obviously not a repeal of Hughes, but it’s one chip. While this won’t directly affect ordinary Joes, it will indirectly affect them, because the organizations that this does affect will no longer be competing in the transferable market. In fact, many of them will likely dump their expensive transferable inventory and replace it with cheaper and newer inventory. In short, this will take some of the pressure off prices for pre-86 machineguns.

17 Responses to “BATFE Reform Introduced”

  1. mike says:

    “H.R. 1093 would also provide for the transfer and possession of new machineguns by professional film and theatrical organizations.”

    F that. The second amendment isn’t about giving Hollywood machine guns to use in their anti-gun propaganda movies.

    They should have to abide by the same laws as the rest of us. Also, if they can get new machine guns, then they have no interest in repealing Hughes. I cannot understand how any gun owner would support a special exemption for – of all people – Hollywood.

  2. IllTemperedCur says:

    I’ve always hated that film/theatrical exception. Especially when Hollywood also gets a pass on letting convicted felons handle firearms *cough, cough Mark Wahlberg cough, cough*.

  3. Sebastian says:

    You have to convince Congress of that. I agree it’s not ideal, but it’s better for everyone is theatrical companies can get new ones, so they will sell their current inventory to collectors.

  4. Patriot Henry says:

    So if I start a theater company I can get my MP5/10?

  5. PT says:

    So would reenactors be able to get FA’s if they organized a theatrical company?

  6. mike says:

    “I agree it’s not ideal, but it’s better for everyone is theatrical companies can get new ones, so they will sell their current inventory to collectors.”

    Win the battle, lose the war. So Hollywood gets a permanent exception to get whatever guns they want and can sell some off. And then the armorers have zero interest in undoing the Hughes amendment, because their little niche has been carved out. I couldn’t care less about them *hypothetically* selling a few machine guns. If you’re hoping that’ll depress prices enough that you can afford one, then that’s very short sighted.

    I’ll say it again: The second amendment wasn’t created for movie studios. This reeks of “some animals are more equal than others.” It also rewards some of the greatest opponents of the second amendment. How you or anyone thinks this is a good thing is beyond me. It’s like the anti-gun politicians in CA who want concealed carry permits.

    Maybe NRA should stick to their word and just fix the Hughes mess, like they said they would. This isn’t chipping away at it – this is the endgame for the people supporting it.

  7. Sebastian says:

    If the Hughes mess could have been fixed, it would be by now. The fact is the politicians don’t want to touch the machine gun issue. Even this is asking them to do a lot. Take a look at the Veterans Heritage Firearms Act, and look how modest that is. You know how many Congresses that’s been introduced? At least the last three, just off the top of my head.

    Any progress we can make on this issue is welcome. We lost the machine gun issue in 1934, unfortunately. I am not optimistic Hughes is ever going to go away…. so I’ll take what I can get.

  8. mike says:

    “I am not optimistic Hughes is ever going to go away…. so I’ll take what I can get.”

    But you’re not getting anything – unless you’re a movie armorer. Currently the second amendment applies to you differently depending on which of these groups you fall into, arranged in descending order of rights:
    1. Military/LE
    2. Common knuckle-dragging American taxpayer

    It sounds like this is what the NRA (and you) want:
    1. Military/LE
    2. Hollywood
    3. Common knuckle-dragging American taxpayer

    I guess I have a huge problem with Hollywood having more gun rights than I do, for no other reason than they need them to pretend to shoot people in front of a camera. I’ve never pretended to shoot anyone with a machine gun – and I imagine if I did, I’d jeopardize my ability to ever do it again.

    I get the part about hoping Hollywood sells some guns off so people can beg for scraps at the end of the table. But after that’s all said and done, we’re still screwed. How will this help my kids and their gun rights? If Hollywood was relegated to using ancient guns in their new blockbusters because of a bad law, they might at least support some changes. This is why I think we should oppose any proposal that treats them differently than us. If we can’t have ’em, then neither should they. Remember Hollywood’s portrayal of machine guns had a huge part in getting them banned in the first place. See also: switchblades.

  9. Jeff says:

    I’m with Mike. The movie exemption isn’t a chip in the Hughes amendment, it’s a nail holding it in place.

  10. btr says:

    Far better would be to get an MG ownership exception for all “corporations”- that might slide through.

    And any of us could form our own “corporation” just like some do now for ownership of NFA weapons.

  11. Sebastian says:

    Show me where the movie studios have been helping us lobby to repeal Hughes? They aren’t. They can afford the inflated prices, and most of them are holding existing inventory they’ve had for a long time.

    There are other benefits to these exceptions aside from the studios, and aside from the pre-86 market getting some more guns ending up on it.

  12. Sebastian says:


    That would indeed be preferable, but also pretty transparent.

  13. Jeff says:

    “There are other benefits to these exceptions aside from the studios, and aside from the pre-86 market getting some more guns ending up on it.”

    And these are? I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just asking what they are.

  14. Matthew Carberry says:


    The benefit is economics.

    Older transferable guns get dumped on the market, prices drop as more guns are available for sale. What does that equal?

    The holdings of rich collectors (there’s nothing wrong with that BTW) become less of an “investment” so they are more willing to sell at more reasonable prices.

    More people can thus afford to buy the increased number of available guns. That means more stamps sold and an increase in demonstrable “Common Use”, which makes it easier to illustrate that the Hughes Amendment is as much a violation of Heller as the onerous restrictions in Chicago and DC.

    Since there is a “presumptively valid” licensing regime in place for MG’s, the Hughes Amendment is an additional “unreasonable” restriction.

  15. mike says:

    I’m wondering if once they get the studios MGs, they can challenge the constitutionality of preventing us sheep from getting them on Equal Protection grounds or something. That is, unless the Republicans keep putting more RINOs up and Obama gets a few more activists on the Supreme Court.

  16. Diomed says:

    I wouldn’t expect much in the way of an expanded transferable market to come out of this in the unlikely event it gets passed. I believe most of the prop houses have divested themselves of transferable guns and use either post-samples or mockups (including propane powered props). Use of real firearms in theatrical productions is as limited as possible, after Hexum, Lee, etc., and the companies that do it have the money and clout to operate their own manufacturing operations and get demo letters for stuff they can’t put together themselves. Why risk damaging or destroying a $10-15,000 asset when a $500 one will do?

    The number would be a drop in the bucket in any case – no more than a couple thousand *at best*. That’s equivalent to a few of the substantial private collections getting sold off. People outside the trade – and inside unfortunately – have a hard time appreciating how few transferables there really are. The usual number of 180,000 (give or take, not even ATF knows for sure) is the best case scenario; due to loss and immobility (many agencies have transferable guns that will never see a lowly civvie’s hands) in reality it’s more like 100-120k guns in the hands of less than 30k people (because most machinegun owners have more than one, some have hundreds or even thousands). And that number drops by a few hundred guns every year.

    Nothing will ever make machineguns “in common use” by the public short of abolishing the NFA. Find another approach to trying to kill 922(o) – not that anything short of a sea change in the American conception of their rights will bring that about.

  17. I agree with Diomed’s assesment.

    The problem is that the number of transferable machineguns is fixed, no matter who owns them – the only thing that would happen is that the availability of transferable machineguns would go up (slightly).

    This is much different than the number of transferable machineguns going up, which is what would be required if there is any hope of significantly reducing prices (and in numbers much larger than what is available now).


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