What’s funny about this article is that it doesn’t mention the real reason automatic firearms skyrocketed in value.

It was the Democrats.

When debate on the H.R. 4332, the Firearm Owners Protection Act, was ending in the House, Representative William Hughes, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced several amendments. One of these, House Amendment 777, prohibited the sale of new machine guns to civilians. Representative Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who was chairman of the committee, claimed the amendment was actually a substitution and it passed a voice vote. Rangel refused to hold a recorded vote. Despite efforts made to remove it, it was included in the legislation sent to the Senate and signed by President Reagan, Becoming Public Law 99–308, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.

What the Hughes Amendment actually prohibited was the addition of new firearms to the federal registry established by the National Firearms Act of 1934 after May 19, 1986, the effective date of the new law. Civilian ownership of machine guns is not, and never has been, banned in the United States. Some individual states prohibit citizen ownership, which is their right. States have much more authority to regulate firearms within their borders than the federal government.

Since there were no more guns that could be added to the pool of available machine guns, prices for the existing guns quickly soared.

In the mid-1970s, I briefly toyed with the idea of buying a submachine gun. To be specific, a brand-new Smith & Wesson Model 76, a 9mm submachine gun based on the Swedish Carl Gustav m/45. A man I knew was a licensed dealer and had one for sale. The price was $140 plus the $200 transfer tax and all the necessary paperwork (there was a lot of paperwork). I worked a deal to trade a then-new Smith & Wesson Model 59 pistol even-up for the Model 76.

I realized that the only use I would have for a machine gun was as a way to burn through lots of expensive factory ammunition, something my friends and I could do quite well with the guns we already had. So I made the trade for a different gun.

A couple of years ago, I checked the asking price for the same gun, though obviously it was not new. The best price I found was $13,000.

So Mr. Goepfert owes his riches to the two Democrats.

Incidentally, despite what Mr. Geopfert claims, machine guns will easily last more than 100 years unless they are fired a lot. The Thompson submachine gun that was introduced as a civilian firearm in 1921; they still work fine today. Although the 1921 and 1928 models are long out of production, there are still parts available for them. Negligence can make them less “pretty” but they will still reliably send bullets down the barrel 600 or more times a minute.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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