Gun-inspired but not gun-specific legal question.

In 1934 the National Firearms Act placed a stamp tax and registration requirements on certain classes of firearms. In 1986 the Firearm Owners Protection Act included a provision known as the Hayes Amendment which closed the federal registry to new full-auto firearms. So if you wanted to own a new full-auto firearm, if you don’t register it you’re in violation of the NFA; but the government won’t let you register it.

“Regulate something- then make it impossible to meet the requirements”. Turning regulation into a de facto ban. Has the Supreme Court, or any lower or state court, ever addressed the legality of this general tactic?

In principle, why do you think an effect should not result from the combination of two pieces of legislation? Surely there are innumerable cases of this. It seems to me that it’s a problem only if a legal effect - however it arises, from one piece of legislation or many combined - is unconstitutional.

Well as far back as McCulloch v. Maryland, the SCOTUS recognized that “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy”; and that using taxation as an extralegal power to do things the federal government didn’t have the enumerated power to do wasn’t kosher.

ETA: And while I really, really don’t want this to bog down into another gun thread, the de facto result is making full-auto firearms all but illegal for non-government actors to own; something that would almost certainly have been challenged in court if the federal government had tried to do it directly.

I vaguely remember the 1968 act and I was an active competitor at the time. Although I should have gone out and bought some $250 machine guns that are now worth $30,000. What I can’t remember is the NRA’s, or the shooter’s reaction to it. I don’t remember it being a huge deal for some reason. There was an amnesty period, maybe people figured that was enough. Even in 1968 $200 for a tax stamp was a lot of money. I guess everyone that wanted a machine gun and could afford one already had one. So the government didn’t so much ban full auto weapons as it did raise the price.

Now when Clinton helped get the assault weapon ban enacted, it was a very different scenario. Manufacturers ramped up production of pre-ban guns and magazines. There was never a shortage although prices did rise a bit. I think if there had been market demand in 1968 they would have done the same thing.
Dennis

Did you mean 1986, or are you thinking of the Gun Control Act of 1968? (The Hayes Amendment was 1986).

ETA: can anyone please cite a non-gun example before we get bogged down?

This is pretty much the exact scheme Washington DC used to ban handguns. If I get some time, I’ll look and see if the Heller decision touches on that at all.

Somewhat vaguely in the same ballpark, there was the “Marihuana” Tax Act of 1937, which eventually led to the 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision Leary v. United States.

Similarly, a law was passed to allow for prohibited persons to apply for relief from firearm disabilitys. The ATF was then prohibited from spending any money to actually review or act on the applications.

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/there-way-prohibited-person-restore-his-or-her-right-receive-or-possess-firearms-and

Idon’t know how it works in the USA, but in big chunks of the world you can’t drive on the road in an unregistered vehicle, and you can’t register a vehicle unless it is roadworthy. ie complies to a bunch of restrictive regulations.

And in some places you cannot legally build your own trailer: to register a trailer, it must be built by a registered manufacturer.

I am not trying to hijack this thread but this appears in other places. For instance, if you find yourself on a no-fly list you have almost no chance to get yourself off the list. Just sucks to be you because the government has no mechanism for doing so and the courts have deferred to the government agencies to do their thing.

Pennsylvania has this issue. I once sold a totaled trailer for $100, and the purchaser didn’t take the trailer, just the registration. He had built a trailer and needed a registration to use it.

Interesting, although iirc IRS penalties for not declaring criminally derived income are not considered to violate the Fifth Amendment rule against self-incrimination.

I dont wanna turn this into a marijuana thread. . .
IL made medical mj legal in 2014 but they didnt certify any dispensaries until a couple years later. So it was legal to use medicinally, but there was no place to buy it. Also a de facto ban.

Currently there are only 54 dispensaries in the entire state even tho 35,000 people have their cards. Not a ban so much anymore, but still not an option for many in the state.

mc