A little help?

I recently wrote about H.R. 4900, the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007” (the text for which is now available). As I said then, this looks to be much needed legislation, worthy of our support.

As I also said then, though, one part of it doesn’t particularly fill me with joy:

Allows transfer and possession of machineguns for use by federal security contractors. Additionally, H.R. 4900 provides for the transfer and possession of machineguns by professional film and theatrical organizations.

That’s a relief–I was terrified that Pokey Poke, and the Hessians . . . er, Blackwater, et al. might have to get by with the same, paltry firepower to which we of the great unwashed are limited.

The relevant section of the bill is Sec. 202. I don’t really see it as a big enough issue to warrant a lack of support for the bill, and I only bring it up again today because that provision jogged my memory of something I had seen in an article written during the lead-up to the 2006 elections. The part to which I refer is this:

Both men also said they favored doing away with a 1986-passed cap on the number of fully automatic weapons available for sale. At that time, Congress limited the number of fully automatic guns – guns that will fire as long as the trigger is pressed – to those in circulation in 1986. Since then, the price of these limited weapons has gone up. However, civilian police forces are exempt from the cap, and recently Congress allowed certain military contractors to be exempt from the 1986 cap, too [my emphasis added].

So it would seem that private security contractors already had a way around the Hughes Amendment. Try as I might, I have not been able to find any reference to legislation that would have done that, and it’s something that interests me–one reason being to find out why there is apparently the perception of a need for more authorization for private military contractors to be exempt from the Hughes Amendment.

I assume, from that excerpt from the article, that the relevant legislation was passed last year (or at least in the 109th Congress). If anyone knows anything about it, I’d really appreciate hearing about it, either via comments, or by email to 45superman.gmail.com.

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