….The National Firearms Act that is

(Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

In an effort to show solidarity to firearms owners Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas posted a video of him shooting a fully automatic rifle at a gun range. He commented, “The fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Particular emphasis on “shall not be infringed.” Quoting the second amendment while on a gun range seems like the stereotypical thing for a Republican politician to do. It shows your base that you are “not going to take their guns,” like those evil democrats, and lets you shoot automatic weapons, which, to be honest, is a lot of fun.

Upon seeing this tweet, I immediately commented, “Does Tom Cotton want to repeal the National Firearms Act?” I mean, there is no reason to be at a range firing an automatic weapon that is heavily regulated unless you want to repeal the NRA. Otherwise, you are okay with a little infringing. Most of the comments on my post simply commented back, “no.” He does not want to repeal the NRA, and this was a chance to shoot guns and make a photo op. Cotton isn’t up for reelection until 2026. Losing public support in Arkansas isn’t something he is worried about.

The NRA should be repealed for the simple reason that it is a federal law that violates the second amendment. The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” I come at this question as someone who reads the Bill of Rights as binding to the Federal government and not the states. Therefore all federal gun laws are infringing on the rights of the people and violate the 10th Amendment.

The National Firearms Act does not ban the items under its control. Still, it does require specific items such as shotguns and rifles with barrels less than 18 or 16 inches respectively in length, machine guns, a firearm “mufflers and silencers,” and firearms such as cane guns described as “any other weapons” be regulated and a tax established that was due whenever the device was made or transferred. The base price for most of these taxes was set at $200 per item, equal to $3,853.84 in 2021. While the NRA was not a ban on firearms, with the average hourly wage in 1939 being .30, it would take a worker over 600 hours to pay the NRA tax.

Taxes like the ones imposed by the National Firearms Act essentially work to disarm and discourage lower-class Americans while not affecting the wealthy. Everything from gas taxes, cigarette taxes, soda, and gun taxes is a much higher percentage of a poor person’s income than affluent citizens. A new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs shows that poorer households pay up to ten times more in sin taxes than wealthier households as a share of their income. Except for air passenger duty, all sin taxes take a more significant share of income from the poor than from the rich.

Poor people in heavy crime areas deserve the same accessibility to firearms as those who live in gated communities and shoot their guns at the range on the weekend. Ironically these regulations are passed by those who claim to champion the little guy but effectively set up two different Americans — one where you can exercise your second amendment rights only if you have enough money. If you champion equality and the poor, you should support repealing the NRA.