On Wednesday, Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced H.R. 4269 (text not yet available), titled "To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes." The bill picked up 123 co-sponsors, all Democrats, the first day. As I said, we don't yet have the text, but Cicilline's self-satisfied press release proudly describes some of the most intolerable aspects of his Intolerable Act. Nothing terribly surprising--from the two "military features" that rendered a semi-automatic, detachable magazine-fed rifle verboten in the old federal AWB, Cicilline's atrocity would lower it to one, which would also be enough to make any semi-automatic shotgun illegal, regardless of the shotgun's magazine arrangements; etc., etc.
Like I said, nothing very surprising. The title itself, though, is kinda interesting--specifically, this part: "to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited." Now that's odd. The gun ban zealots have never, to my knowledge, acknowledged any uncertainty in the past about their contention that the Second Amendment's protection of the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms was quite limited, shall not be infringed notwithstanding. How many times have we all seen the "can't yell fire in a crowded movie theater" trotted out as "proof" that the Second Amendment poses no bar to the current infringement du jour? Now, all of a sudden, they need to see the claimed legitimacy of that argument "ensured"?
But, come to think of it, how could any law provide the "assurance" that Cicilline and friends apparently need, that the Bill of Rights carries no more force than they want it to? The meaning of the Constitution doesn't change just because Congress passes a law that says it means something else now. That's, after all, kinda the point of a Constitution.
Meanwhile, just in time to express my opinion of H.R. 4269, I have this week assembled my reply to Cicilline. It looks like this:
Now first, let's get out of the way the fact that this is indeed legal, even with the 8 1/2" barrel 12 gauge slung underneath like the old "Masterkey" concept. The 12 gauge started as a Black Aces Tactical DTR, which is legal without any NFA paperwork because it never had a shoulder stock (remember, the Sig Brace doesn't count as a stock). Therefore, by the federal definition of "shotgun," which specifies that such arms are "designed to be fired from the shoulder," this is not, legally, technically, a shotgun. It's also not an "Any Other Weapon" (AOW), because the overall length (when the Sig brace is not folded) exceeds 26", and therefore the gun is not considered "concealable," as the AOW definition specifies. This, according to federal law, is simply a "firearm."
I removed the Sig brace, and clamped the top rail of the "firearm" to the bottom rail of an AR pistol (that's vitally important--mounting it on a rifle would magically convert my sweet, innocent little firearm into a wicked, evil short-barreled shotgun--and voilà--a legal, non-NFA Masterkey.
Practical? Nah--but practical isn't really my style. I've actually never tried handling it with the drums full (and actually, since the AR is chambered not for 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington, but instead for 6.5mm Grendel, it's rather unlikely that the snail drum would feed with any kind of reliability). The double drums are mainly for the benefit of the anti-gun cud-munchers. Also, the optics and laser, mounted where they are, would probably be rather short lived under any quantity of firing. I'm working on a better, (slightly) more practical configuration.
Still, imperfect as it is, I think this build expresses my opinion about H.R. 4269 pretty well. Might even shake Cicilline's "assurance" that he can impose limits on that which shall not be infringed.