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Below The Radar: S 443 Re-Define “Antique Firearms”

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United States – -( Sometimes, a pro-Second Amendment lawmaker can introduce a piece of legislation where the idea makes sense, but the execution is a little off. What happens as a result is that a gain for the Second Amendment either does not happen, or it is not as big as it could be.

This is the case with S 443, introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The idea is a good one, to re-define “antique firearms” under federal law. But what Senator Cassidy does, in some ways, is actually a miss in terms of advancing our Second Amendment rights.

One thing to be noted about when it comes to antique firearms: They are less heavily regulated than modern firearms. Current federal law at 18 USC 921, enacted as the Gun Control Act of 1968, states that any firearm manufactured before 1898 is considered antique. Cassidy’s legislation changes the definition to say that if the firearm was manufactured more than 100 years ago, it is antique.

On the one hand, this is an advance, as time is marching on, and the technology of firearms is advancing over the years. It’s been 52 years since the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted, and an update of the definition is way overdue on some fronts. However, when the law was enacted in 1968, the 1898 date meant that Congress had decided that a 70-year-old firearm was antique.

In S 443, Cassidy adds 30 years to the “antique” status. So, while updating the definition of “antique firearm” is the right thing to do, Cassidy has managed to mess up on the execution of this legislation in a manner that is, effectively, a slight setback for our Second Amendment rights. This is not to say that Senator Cassidy is not supportive of the Second Amendment. On the contrary, he has a good track record in Congress. In this case, it may sound like nitpicking, but in this case, this poor execution means the gain in our Second Amendment rights is not as much as it could be.

If a gap of 70 years was good enough to declare a firearm antique in 1968, it’s more than good enough now. Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Senators and Representative and politely ask them to support S 443 if it is amended appropriately.

About Harold HutchisonHarold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.

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