NFATCA Report: The Truth about Amnesty
By John Brown

A lot has been written about an amnesty and all of the issues surrounding the potential to have another amnesty as soon as possible. The plain truth of the matter is that isn’t going to happen, not anytime in the near future. In this article the NFATCA will to tell you why it won’t and the reasons supporting our logic.

Nearly two years ago the hope of a new amnesty was started by now retired Assistant Deputy Director Carson Carroll at the SHOT Show in Miami. During a brief meeting with the industry Carson stated that he knew a lot of people supported having another amnesty period and that ATF would be assigning special personnel to perform the research necessary to investigate the requirements allowing the industry and ATF to move forward with some form of amnesty. After the Miami show, Ernie Lintner with the NFA Branch was assigned the task of researching thousands of criminal cases to ascertain if any of the potential weapons that would be eligible for an amnesty have ever been used in the commission of a crime. That research took months to complete and the final results were never revealed for obvious reasons of confidentiality. If only one case involved the use of a weapon that would be eligible for an amnesty program, that case would likely kill the potential for such a program.

In addition to the potential for a criminal case ruining the chances for an amnesty we faced a much bigger problem: the current political environment. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, even with a clean slate in the criminal case arena, someone had to take all of the evidence forward to Attorney General Eric Holder. At this stage let your common sense take over and figure out why this would not be such a bright idea. Take into consideration that most of our congressional representatives are not aware of the many latitudes we are afforded in the NFA world and this one action could very well jeopardize the freedoms we currently have.

Now we could act like a bull in a china closet and push everything forward and take our chances; but personally, I think that would be a suicide mission for an effort that could and should be tabled for a friendlier political environment. Remember: “Patience is a virtue.” Although we can never know the final results of the criminal cases, and whether or not any of the proposed amnesty weapons have ever been used in the commission of a crime, the timing for moving forward with an amnesty is all wrong. That is the plain and simple truth about having another amnesty today. The current realm of politics in power in Washington today does not support any of us carrying the amnesty torch forward with the Attorney General.

I want to make certain that everyone knows that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to ATF for taking the amnesty ball and running with it on everyone’s behalf. We should all be thankful that they worked so closely with the industry and we all agreed that the timing is all wrong.

In the right political environment, with the right administration, we could and we should move forward with such a worthwhile endeavor. The truth is the timing couldn’t be worse and no one wants to take the risk of losing more ground than we have jointly gained in the last several years. So with an ounce of patience we, the industry and ATF, will continue to track this action and the correct timing for all of us.

This is the right organization that can keep you tuned in and fairly represent you in all matters of NFA concern, whether it’s an amnesty program, or any one of fourteen programs the NFATCA has advanced with ATF in the last twelve months. The NFATCA is truly the only organization that can and is representing your best interests in the worst storm we have ever seen on the political front. What amazes me is the simple fact that many of you today still have not joined us and supported our efforts. I would only say it is time for you to take a good hard look at where you are going to get the best bang for your NFA buck when it comes to protecting your interests.

Time to join the ranks of the NFATCA if for no other reason but to keep informed on who and what is happening with your NFA interests. Log on today at www.nfatca.org and join us today.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V13N6 (March 2010)
and was posted online on April 27, 2012


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