I have a legal question, and I'd like opinions especially from our members with a legal background (though I'd also like everyone else to join in).
This was on the second page of Justice Stevens' dissenting opinion to the D.C. v. Heller
case last year. (Full text of opinion and dissent here
(Note that Justice Stevens is one of the more liberal members of the SCOTUS, and even he says this.)
In 1934, Congress enacted the National Firearms Act, the first major federal firearms law.1 Sustaining an indictment under the Act, this Court held that, “[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” Miller, 307 U. S., at 178. The view of the Amendment we took in Miller—that it protects the right to keep and bear arms for certain military purposes, but that it does not curtail the Legislature’s power to regulate the nonmilitary use and ownership of weapons—is both the most natural reading of the Amendment’s text and the interpretation most faithful to the history of its adoption.
If I read that right, it seems that the Miller
ruling suggests that arms which are efficient for military use are exempt from the NFA (though certainly the ATF wouldn't see it that way until expressly ordered to do so by a federal court).
Since short-barreled shotguns are used in at least some military capacity now (see here
), is this our ticket to get at least that one portion of the NFA declared invalid? Or, am I totally off base with this?