Veteran Machine Gun Amnesty Period Gets No Support From Washington Democrats

Veteran Machine Gun Amnesty Period Gets No Support From Washington Democrats
Veterans are losing their property or being labeled criminals because of an antiquated rule.

World War I Machine Gunners
World War I Machine Gunners
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Montana Shooting Sports Association

Montana –-( Below is an important message from the staff of Montana's lone congressman, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT).

Denny has sponsored H.R. 442 to allow an amnesty period for registration of prohibited firearms that U.S. veterans have brought home from overseas.

Although there are over 100 cosponsors to this bill, it has not yet been granted a committee hearing.

Once again, Montana takes the lead on an important issue, but we need help from other states.

Please circulate the link to this article to all your friends in and out of Montana. Ask them to contact their members of the U.S. House and ask them both to cosponsor H.R. 442, AND insist on a committee hearing for the bill.

The bill is called the Veterans Heritage Firearms Act. I have attached a short summary below. We're looking for more grassroots pressure on this because even with the NRA pushing it, we're just not seeing the movement in a Dem Congress.

This is the information published by the NRA:

The “Veterans' Heritage Firearms Act of 2009,” introduced by U.S. Representative Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.), would provide a 90-day amnesty period during which veterans and their family members could register firearms acquired overseas between June 26, 1934 and Oct. 31, 1968, without fear of prosecution. Congress granted a limited amnesty in 1968, but most veterans did not receive enough notice to participate.

The bill would not apply to all firearms brought home by veterans. The only firearms that normally have to be registered at the federal level are those subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA). More common trophies, such as bolt-action rifles or semi-automatic pistols, need not be registered. Therefore, H.R. 442's proposed amnesty would only apply to machine guns and other NFA firearms. (It also would not apply to “destructive devices” such as bombs and grenades.)

H.R. 442 states that “in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary the Attorney General shall accept as true and accurate any affidavit, document, or other evidence submitted by an individual to establish that such firearm meets the requirements.” This allows for the fact that in the chaos of wartime troop movements, many veterans may have acquired war trophy firearms lawfully under military regulations, but without receiving official paperwork to document the guns. Naturally, too, many veterans or their family may have lost such paperwork over the years.

Under the bill, the Attorney General would have to create and distribute clear printed notices providing information regarding the amnesty period and the requirements for registering a firearm during such period.

Recognizing that veterans' trophies represent an important part of the nation's history, H.R. 442 would require the Attorney General to transfer each firearm that has been forfeited to the United States to the first qualified museum that submits a suitable request. The Attorney General would be prohibited from destroying any forfeited firearm until the end of the 5-year period beginning on the date of such a forfeiture. Information about forfeited firearms would have to be made available to the public within 60 days after the forfeiture. Lastly, H.R. 442 would amend federal law relating to machineguns, allowing their “transfer to or by, or possession by, a museum which is open to the public and incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation under applicable State law.” Current law only allows transfer of machineguns to government museums, but many of America's finest collections of historic firearms are in museums run by private organizations, rather than by the government.

Here is a link to a news story about an NFA weapon found in Massachusetts:

And another in Illinois:

If possible we would like to drum up more support from members of the committee and subcommittee that has jurisdiction over this issue. Sometimes they will stay off bills because they don't want to overstep, but any extra support we could drum up would be great.

Here are links to the names of the Members on those committees:

The way we see it this bill is not just a guns issue, it is a vets issue. Mr. Rehberg does not want to see our veterans losing their property or being labeled criminals because of an antiquated rule.

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks loads for your help. Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana

About Montana Shooting Sports Association:
MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit:

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