Firearms Freedom Act – So NFA rules do not apply?

The United States Constitution – 10th Amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Firearms Freedom Act (FFA) is a fight for our 10th Amendment right.

In Montana, Tennessee, and hopefully soon in Utah, it would appear that a person can buy or manufacture NFA items (made in state) such as suppressors, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, 20mm rifles etc… without all the Federal paperwork, tax stamps, and other red tape.

In Montana, the bill states the following specific exemptions:

Section 5.  Exceptions. [Section 4] does not apply to:

  1. a firearm that cannot be carried and used by one person;
  2. a firearm that has a bore diameter greater than 1 1/2 inches and that uses smokeless powder, not black powder, as a propellant;
  3. ammunition with a projectile that explodes using an explosion of chemical energy after the projectile leaves the firearm; or
  4. a firearm that discharges two or more projectiles with one activation of the trigger or other firing device.

Too bad about #4 covering fully automatic firearms.  These bills are definitely a HUGE step in the right direction!

The Tennessee bill, and the Utah one have the same exceptions as the Montana one.

I can’t help but wonder if anyone has tested the limits of this yet.

Link to Montana Bill – HERE

Link to Tennessee Bill – HERE

Link to Utah news article – HERE

Link to Utah Bill – HERE

More info on the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA) – HERE

Hat Tip: SayUncle

9 COMMENTS

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Linoge February 3, 2010 at 03:08 pm

I cannot speak as to all of Tennessee, however, the BATFE did send the state a friendly little letter saying that our 10th-Amendment-reinforcement bill was not worth the paper it was written on. Likewise, the one FFL and firearm-producer I had the chance to talk to concerning the bill indicated that he is a federally licensed firearm dealer/producer, and will abide by whatever federal laws there are, regardless of what states decide to do.

Last I paid attention, Montana was looking for a squeaky-clean gerbil to send a letter to the BATFE indicating that he was about to produce a run of bolt-action .22s without getting the appropriate licenses/permissions, but I am not sure how far that has gone yet. So far as I know, no organizations in TN are considering a similar plan.

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Admin (Mike) February 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Awesome link on your site Linoge. I started a new post with the info and linked you. Thanks!

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Henry Bowman February 3, 2010 at 08:42 pm

“Too bad about #4 covering fully automatic firearms.”

Fully-automatic firearms? It doesn’t even cover SHOTGUNS! :-(

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Admin (Mike) February 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm

hehe good point. I am guessing they count a shotgun cartridge as one projectile because there is ONE set of wadding that follows the shot out of the barrel every time you pull the trigger.

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Chris June 9, 2012 at 03:33 pm

Actually for some strange and unfortunate reason it looks like the drafters of the bill specifically intended to exclude shotguns from the protection, but perhaps not machine guns (depending on how you define an “activation” of the trigger or other firing device, since they only discharge one projectile per cycle of the firing pin).

http://firearmsfreedomact.com/model-version-of-ffa-legislation/

“Section 5. Exceptions. [Section 4] does not apply to:

(4) other than shotguns, a firearm that discharges two or more projectiles with one activation of the trigger or other firing device. (Note: Thanks to Minnesota for this improvement – GM.)”

This looks like an amendment to the model legislation fortunately added after the current FFA states signed their laws. They make no mention of machine guns, where the NFA goes to great lengths to clearly define them. I’m afraid exception 4 would also cover or attempt to cover any firearms shooting saboted ammunition, or really any firearm that shoots more than one piece of anything at once. I wonder how unburned powder residue or tiny incidental metal shavings fall under the definition of a projectile. Fortunately Montana’s and other states’ officially drafted versions of the law are not so specific on this exception, and you might be able to claim that both shotguns and guns firing saboted projectiles discharge a “single projectile” because at the instant it leaves the barrel it is pretty clearly one thing, and spreads apart during flight. If you defined a fully assembled shot cup with shot in the middle as multiple projectiles you might also have to define an unbonded jacketed bullet as multiple projectiles, if you wanted to really get into it. I’m sure this stuff will come up if anyone gets the balls to actually pursue the freedoms in the bill.

I find it strange enough that they would want to exempt shotguns, or even machineguns for that matter. I find it stranger still because a shotgun does not have to fire multiple projectiles at once; there are slugs, and you would be hard-pressed to prove that a shotgun was designed to fire shot over these, especially one with a cylinder choke and rifle sights. Where do you draw the line between a smoothbore gun and a shotgun? On the other hand you would be equally hard-pressed to prove that a rifle or handgun was not designed to fire multiple projectiles at once; sabot ammunition is fairly common in all rifle calibers, especially larger bore ones like 50 BMG, and 20mm which the act is clearly protecting. Yet these details which are specific to ammunition are not covered by exception 4, which very clearly only applies to “firearms”

I really think this piece of wording screws up one of the two main intents of this act; to protect against federal firearm type restrictions, and could even extend to the other intent to protect against federal firearm manufacturing restrictions.

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Fred February 4, 2010 at 01:01 pm

My first thought was right with Henry. I don’t think that was the original thought, but yeah, that’s kinda what a shotgun does.

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