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Is the $200 tax on mufflers unjust and/or unconstitutional?


Definitely.  And as with most restrictions on firearms, it's built off a dumb reason from people who got their info from Ranbo.


This is the National Firearms Act $200 tax on transfers of various categories of weapons, starting in 1934.


Subjective based on the appropriate faith community.

I guess the state decides that.  I see there was a challenge to the Act, but I think only part of it was unconstitutional.  I'm not reading super-closely, I have to go to work soon.


...I've never heard anyone call them "mufflers." I thought you were talking about a car muffler at first.

I'm not against taxing suppressors, anyway. Now, I've not used suppressors on any of my guns, but to my impression it's not as though you're going through many of them on a regular basis? Essentially it's something I'd classify as specialist equipment. Furthermore it's been in place for almost a century? If anything it's more affordable now than it was then.


>I guess the state decides that.
Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule that the NFA regulation of mufflers is unconstitutional.  They're pretty common nowadays (at least in jurisdictions that allow them), hopefully enough to count under Heller.

>...I've never heard anyone call them "mufflers."
The ATF uses that term in some places.

> I thought you were talking about a car muffler at first.
They operate on very similar principles and in fact Hiram Percy Maxim invented both.

> it's not as though you're going through many of them on a regular basis?
Yeah, as long as you don't suffer a baffle strike, they last a reasonably long period of time, unless you do a real lot of shooting with them.

>Essentially it's something I'd classify as specialist equipment.
In many European countries, they are quite common and recommended for noise abatement when hunting.


If it was a normal sales tax type of deal, I'd agree with you. Who cares.
The trouble is, you have to go through a lengthy annoying process, and pay 200$ on top of the price of the item in question.

Puts them at a point of impracticality for people like myself. Which I can't help but feel was the point of these things.

>If anything it's more affordable now than it was then.
That just makes it worse, and certainly doesn't act as a justification for the process.


In and of itself, taxing the sale of a commercial product in order to raise revenue is a basic function of government and shouldn't be controversial. The taxes may be in practical terms unreasonably high, but that's a matter of tweaking policy. Libertarians and others who mindlessly chirp "Taxation is theft!" like flocks of wayward birds are worth little concern here.

At the same time, the question exists as to whether or not these taxes were intended as backdoor gun regulation in the sense of actively hindering peoples' Constitutional free choices, particularly when it comes to how these taxes are administrated. That may be the case. Still, that would be altering policies and not fundamental change.


Taxation is fine, as long as it is equal.
Extra tax on alcohol is, given it is not present on other items, explicitly for the purpose of discouraging its use.
That's the trouble.

In the case of suppressors, 200$ is being taken where this tax is not present on other objects.
Moreover, a sales tax is still present on purchase.  And even beyond that, a tax is still issued even if you personally hand make your suppressor yourself.


It seems fundamentally unsound to think that a tax on a certain product necessarily is meant to be putting the thing out of use entirely. It just depends. It's circumstance.

To be specific, I'd like to point out that cigarette taxes are such a fundamental part of state revenue in multiple locations that analysts have expressed concern that anti-smoking campaigns (as well as raising the tax itself too high in the short term) might be impossible because it would damage budgets, causing fire departments and other essential services to suffer.


Court ordered fines are vital sources of revenue for many states,  yet I think we should be able to agree,  they are put in place to dissuade the action, not merely to tax it.

 I see taxation on cigarettes and such things similarly. The idea is to dissuade people from using them. Usually because support for an outright ban is impossible, for a number of reasons.

You're right that it doesn't make it completely disappear,  In its entirety, but it still does hurt those who would otherwise be able to afford it were it not for these restrictions.
 It's why I call these types of things a poor tax. Because it seems to me all it does is exclude these things from the poor who are least likely to be able to absorb it.


To be honest, given that libertarians believe "Taxation is theft!" as a principle and have a rather well-documented history of portraying neutrally intended or even positively intended government action as that of an evil conspiracy to hurt others, I'm not sure to what extent their claims about suppressors can be seen as that credible?


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The NFA tax on suppressors was most definitely intended to prevent people from owning suppressors.  Back in the 1930s when the $200 tax was enacted, $200 dollars was worth the equivalent of $3,000 dollars of today's money.  It was many times more than the price of the suppressor itself.  The only reason that Congress enacted a tax rather than an outright prohibition was that the Supreme Court still enforced the 10th Amendment back in those days.

And it's not just a simple tax either.  You need to get fingerprinted and wait MONTHS for the government to approve it.

Also, selective taxes (as opposed to generally applicable sales tax) on Constitutionally protected rights are generally illegal.  Minneapolis Star Tribune Company v. Commissioner, 460 U.S. 575 (1983).


I would say it's self evident given nothing else has this.
Scrutiny is fine, but don't let it blind you to reality. Having a bit of scepticism because you think somebody is untrustworthy is perfectly reasonable. But in this case it's pretty clear cut.


I would say that it appears to me from a casual analysis that the processing around the tax as well as the total monetary value of what's charged appear to add up to something unjustified, with the product being unfairly restricted.

It appears unlikely for this to change, though, since while the American courts might see it as unreasonable (and gun rights as a broad topic are, as the saying goes, 'so hot right now') there doesn't appear to be much of a movement behind pushing the matter before judges.


There's a bit, but unfortunately this practice has been in place for a while, and the NRA was the predominate 'gun rights' advocate for a while, despite being absolutely terrible at its job.

I don't expect this will change. Especially since the machine gun ban has been maintained, despite that clearly infringing as well.


As long as the NRA and related groups are the ones that determine how American "gun culture", for lack of a better term, works out, there will likely be a decay in popular views about everything to do with gun rights to an extent that more and more individuals will simply turn off, psychologically.

I wish that there was some kind of a broad social movement against the NRA that stated that gun ownership should be something positively celebrated for everyone, a movement that actively encouraged groups such as disabled people, blacks, Jews, transgender people, political centrists, and others to be not just tolerated but celebrated in terms of self-defense.

The fact that a kind of cultural myth has come about, for lack of a better term, that a high school jock asshole (the guy with the cowboy boots and the sunglasses who goes "Guns don't kill people. I do.") is the typical gun owner in America... this stereotype is horrid... but for some reason the NRA and others appear to embrace the stereotype (to the extent of, say, getting bumper stickers saying "Liberal Hunting Season" or wearing shirts saying "Rope. Tree. Liberal. Some assembly required.") rather than oppose the stereotype?


My trouble with the NRA I was meaning is more that they are the "compromise" gun group.
As in, we compromise your rights, in return for nothing.
They basically do nothing to actually protect your rights, and happily sell out import stuff because it helps the corporate suits in internal manufacturing.

I'm more in to the GOA. Although I'm starting to really like the FPC as well. They seem to be going a lot further than the usual just lobbying politicians, and are actually challenging things in courts.

Can't say much on the cultural stuff you point to. I've not seen it, but that's due to not being a part of the NRA, and considering them a bunch of losers who sell our rights to the highest bidder.


I'm not familiar with either the FPC and GOA. Can you provide context?


The FPC is the Firearms Policy Coalition, which seems to, rather than do the typical thing, attempt to challenge laws in courts instead wherever possible, as well as more generally push specific laws and bills, and does a fair bit of cataloguing new changes.

The GOA is the Gun Owners Of America, with the tagline "the only no-compromise gun lobby in washington". They're a more traditional type of rights lobbyist group, with the main distinction that they oppose any new violations of rights, regardless of if it's called a 'compromise' or not.
Their stuff is more the general lobbying type function, which is why I'm starting to lean more to the FPC, as it seems while lobbying certainly has an affect, the FPC is able to do a lot more with a lot less.


Thank you.

My general viewpoint is that the primary threat to gun rights in the long run isn't government actions to restrict freedoms but a general change in the culture such that social attitudes keep evolving, with possibly gun ownership might eventually be seen akin to ownership of cartoon child pornography in the sense of being de jure legally defended but de facto broadly hated (please don't misinterpret this as me making the moral comparison myself as I'm only saying that others believe it).

I admit that while I see this as possibly happening... I don't really know how to respond.

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