Huge Tax on Machine Guns Led to Decline in Purchases and Decline in Machine Guns Used in Crimes

Prohibition in the 1920s led to a massive increase in organized crime and the use of machine guns to massacre innocents. In the 1930s, Congress passed, with the support of the National Rifle Association, a huge tax on machine gun purchases, equivalent to $3500 in today’s dollars, meant to discourage use. “In the 1960s, the import of machine guns was banned, and by the 1980s, all new manufacturing in the U.S. for civilian use was outlawed,” NPR reports.

MCEVERS: Today there are a fixed number of machine guns available to buy, which means they’re expensive – tens of thousands of dollars. A purchase also requires a thorough registration process through the government, including being photographed and fingerprinted.

SIEGEL: Today the guns covered by this law are almost never used in crimes, and in the more-than-80 mass shootings that have taken place since the early 1980s, not one is known to have involved a machine gun.

Perhaps the same strategy could be used against AR-15s or assault weapons? The difference, of course, is that today the NRA is in the pockets of gun manufacturers eager to maximize profit, without concern for public safety.

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