It is what you get when you have to rules-lawyer around a 80-year old law intended to prevent ownership of anything that wasnâ€™t a hunting or fowling piece by the poor, then clumsily edited by politicians to exempt handguns when it turned out that an effectively-complete ban on anything that was smaller than a breadbox was politically untenable.
Now, Linoge notes that there are two pieces of arcane interpretation of unclear law that make this a pistol instead of Any Other Weapon or a Short-Barreled Rifle; and that the BATFE could change their minds at any time. I have to wonder, though, if the BATFE is wary of doing so given that the arcanities of the GCA that separate those three categories are actually quite hard to explain to the layman judge; and that they might have some difficulty keeping a prosecution based on where the lines were drawn in their own admin proceedings these daysâ€¦
Historically, the BATFE has preferred to rule by interpretation rather than regulation, probably because thereâ€™s less oversight on that process. But it has bitten them in the nethers a few times, and with the decade-long trend of various pro-firearms-rights organizations willing to actually make federal cases out of infringements, I have to wonder if the BATFE permanent leadership is a little leery of what might happen in a real court instead of their administrative proceedings.
As a side note, I want one; but may not have one as long as I live in NJ. As a pistol, itâ€™s way over the line of being an â€œassault firearmâ€ (A semi-automatic pistol with a detachable magazine that has a magazine outside the handgrip, barrel shroud, weight of 50 oz or more, AND is probably a semi-automatic version of a fully-automatic firearm, well more than the 2 strikes permitted). Which reminds me, does anyone know why the federal ban and its imitators has that odd weight restriction?