Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Gun Controller Wants Glocks Regulated Like Machineguns

Monday, November 7, 2022

Gun Controller Wants Glocks Regulated Like Machineguns

Violence Policy Center (VPC) is a handgun prohibition organization. The group’s website still hosts a document declaring “Handguns should be banned from future sale except for military and law-enforcement personnel.” It should come as no surprise then that the group is advocating for executive action to ban some of America’s most common handguns.

In recent years, some criminals have illegally modified common semi-automatic Glock pistols into machineguns. Typically, this has been done using illegal parts (sometimes called Glock switches) acquired from unscrupulous overseas manufacturers or intensive personal manufacture.

It is not illegal to own a machinegun in the U.S. However, their transfer and possession are regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA).

The NFA requires certain firearms and firearm accessories to be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Prospective machine gun buyers must apply to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for permission to transfer the firearm and pay a $200 tax.

A last-minute amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, dubbed the Hughes Amendment for sponsor Rep. William Hughes (D-N.J.), prohibits civilians from transferring or possessing machine guns not registered by May 19, 1986. The general public may still transfer and possess machine guns registered before that date, but the available supply of these items is frozen.

18 U.S.C. §924 provides that the transfer or possession of an unregistered machinegun is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Further, the same code section makes clear that a person who uses a machinegun in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime “shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 30 years.”

Rather than focusing on the illegal machine gun parts or violent criminals who use them, according to VPC Government Affairs Director Kristen Rand, common semi-automatic Glock handguns should be regulated as machineguns.

An October 28 Chicago Sun Times article reported,

Rand says ATF should consider using its authority to reclassify certain types of firearms that are easily converted into fully automatic weapons. Other firearms besides Glocks also are “readily convertible” into machine guns by machining or adding a few parts, she says.

“ATF should be looking at using their existing authority to classify some of these firearms as ‘machine guns’…

Recall that the general public may not transfer or possess machineguns not registered by May 19, 1986. Therefore, under such a proposal, semi-automatic Glock handguns owned by law-abiding gun owners would become contraband. In other words: gun confiscation.

Now, consider VPC’s reading of the law.

Rand claimed that Glocks and other unspecified firearms should be classified as machineguns because they are purportedly “readily convertible” to fire automatically. Rand’s use of the “readily convertible” language may stem from the definition of “firearm” in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), which states in part,

The term “firearm” means (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;

However, this “readily convertible” or “readily be converted” language does not appear in the federal definition of a machinegun.

26 U.S.C. § 5845 defines a machinegun as follows,

The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

The “machinegun” definition contemplates a weapon that can be “readily restored” to shoot automatically. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “restore” to include, “to put or bring back into existence or use” and “to bring back to or put back into a former or original state.”

As a commercially available semi-automatic Glock pistol has never had the capability to fire automatically, it certainly cannot be “restored” to do so.

Note that the definition does include “any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun.” Therefore, anyone found in possession of a Glock switch or similar device, whether or not that item is equipped to a firearm or even whether or not the item is possessed at the same time as a firearm, can be charged with illegal possession of a machinegun.

It is clear from a plain reading of federal law that the machinegun definition cannot be applied to commonly-owned semi-automatic pistols like the Glock. However, it is instructive to examine how extensive VPC’s proposed handgun ban would be.

According to ATF’s annual Firearm Commerce in the United States report, pistols (separate from revolvers) were the most popular type of firearm manufactured in the U.S. in 2019. ATF’s 2020 Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report noted that Glock manufactured 445,442 pistols in the U.S. that year. ATF data shows Glock’s home country of Austria accounted for 1,279,123 pistols imported into the U.S. in 2020. As The American Rifleman pointed out in early 2021, “In 2020 the Glock G19 was the top-selling semi-auto pistol sold by FFLs using the services of GunBroker.com.”

Glocks are ubiquitous and used by millions of Americans for lawful purposes like self-defense and target shooting. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that the Second Amendment right extends to the possession and use of arms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes like self-defense. Under any conceivable consideration, Glock pistols fall under this protection and the Second Amendment precludes any attempt to ban them.

As noted, semi-automatic Glock pistols cannot meet the federal machinegun definition. But consider if VPC’s twisted logic were combined with Supreme Court precedent.

As one of the most popular firearms, Glocks are certainly in common use for lawful purposes and thus protected under the Second Amendment and Heller. If VPC got its way and the federal government attempted to reclassify Glocks as machineguns, that could result in a so-called machinegun falling under the explicit protections of the Second Amendment. Making clear that the Second Amendment applies to machineguns doesn’t seem like something gun control advocates would support.

With the Supreme Court striking down D.C. and Chicago’s handgun bans, the Right-to-Carry recognized throughout the country, and Constitutional Carry in half the states, VPC is further from its goal of banning handguns than when the group started more than three decades ago. However, with the radical nature of the Biden administration, gun owners must keep an eye on attempts to enact illegitimate executive gun controls. After all, President Biden has made clear he wants to ban 9mm handguns.

An alternative approach to this matter would be to seek 30-year prison sentences for those who use illegal machine gun parts to commit violent crime, as provided under current federal law. Given the prevailing soft-on-violent crime sentiment of many policymakers and a Department of Justice that seems more concerned with wrongthink than criminal wrongdoing, law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t expect such a sensible outcome.

TRENDING NOW
Did Biden Call Most American Gun Owners Sick?

News  

Monday, December 5, 2022

Did Biden Call Most American Gun Owners Sick?

There are few things in life that one can truly count on. Of course, there’s the old saying about death and taxes, and we know the sun will rise in the East and set in ...

Oregon Agrees That Delaying Measure 114’s Permit-to-Purchase Requirement Is Necessary After Challenged in NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit

News  

Monday, December 5, 2022

Oregon Agrees That Delaying Measure 114’s Permit-to-Purchase Requirement Is Necessary After Challenged in NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit

Last week, an NRA-ILA backed lawsuit was filed challenging Oregon Measure 114, which created a mislabeled permit-to-purchase a firearm and banned the possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The lawsuit also ...

Trudeau’s Real Agenda: Ban Legal Firearm Ownership Altogether

News  

Monday, December 5, 2022

Trudeau’s Real Agenda: Ban Legal Firearm Ownership Altogether

How appropriate is it that “gaslighting” (“the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage”) is Merriam Webster’s word of the year for 2022.

Recent ATF Action Shows Need for Suppressor Reform

News  

Monday, March 14, 2022

Recent ATF Action Shows Need for Suppressor Reform

As we reported last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) denied approximately 850 Form 1 applications for prospective makers of suppressors on February 28. These denials were apparently made due to ...

Public Lands Lawsuit Settled—All Lands Remain Open to Hunting

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Public Lands Lawsuit Settled—All Lands Remain Open to Hunting

In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on more than 2.3 million acres of land. That decision was challenged in federal court, and the NRA, Safari Club International, Sportsmen’s ...

On Crime, We Know What Works

News  

Monday, December 5, 2022

On Crime, We Know What Works

In recent years, much of elite opinion has been dedicated to obfuscating the causes and solutions to the increase in violent crime. At its least harmful, this messaging effort has focused on the admittedly complicated ...

NY AG James Sends Threatening Letter to Ammunition Sellers

News  

Monday, November 21, 2022

NY AG James Sends Threatening Letter to Ammunition Sellers

In a move that surprised absolutely nobody, anti-gun New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced last week that she would expand her assault on the Second Amendment by targeting ammunition sellers. AG James claimed, ...

NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit Filed Challenging Oregon Measure 114

Thursday, December 1, 2022

NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit Filed Challenging Oregon Measure 114

Today an NRA-backed lawsuit was filed challenging Ballot Measure 114, which voters passed by a slim margin last month. Measure 114 creates a falsely labeled “permit to purchase” a firearm requirement and bans standard capacity magazines, which it ...

Ohio: Emergency Powers Bill Advances to House Floor

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Ohio: Emergency Powers Bill Advances to House Floor

Today, the House Government Oversight committee voted 8-5 to pass Senate Bill 185, to guarantee that Second Amendment rights remain protected during emergencies. It will now go to the House floor for further consideration.

Colorado: Broomfield City Moves to Adopt Gun Control Package to Diminish Second Amendment Rights!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Colorado: Broomfield City Moves to Adopt Gun Control Package to Diminish Second Amendment Rights!

Earlier this week, Broomfield City Council advanced a gun control package to impose on law-abiding citizens.  The second reading will be held in January.  In truth, none of the slew of regulations will stop criminals ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.