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Why two different legal barrel lengths? Shotguns vs. Rifles. Login/Join 
E tan e epi tas
Picture of cslinger
posted
I don’t know why I just thought of this but why do we have a different legal barrel length requirement for shotguns vs rifles?

18.5 inch for shotguns
16 inch for rifles

I understand where the law in general came from but why wasn’t it written to just say “Blah blah ALL longarms shall have no less then a 16 inch barrel or an 18 inch barrel or a 17.2675 inch etc.”
Has
What practical reason is there for one or the other length based on firearm type??


"Guns are tools. The only weapon ever created was man."
 
Posts: 4117 | Location: Nashville, TN | Registered: July 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of PGT
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concealibility and poaching were two driving forces behind the NFA of 1934. I suspect the longer length for shotgun barrels was all about making them harder to wield out a car window to poach.
 
Posts: 1848 | Location: Leesburg VA | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I have not yet begun
to procrastinate
Picture of KMitch200
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Looking for reason in gun laws is a head scratching look into the abyss.
Some Most of them make you wonder if the people writing the law ever even saw a firearm.


--------
After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.
 
Posts: 3174 | Location: AZ - West side of the valley | Registered: October 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Joy Maker
Picture of airsoft guy
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Because fuck you. It's all arbitrary nonsense, dreamed up by hoplophobes who have long since died and gone to Hell.

Someone else will be along shortly to explain the real answer, but that's just my Sunday Morning Angry Answer.

I do know that originally pistols were going to be NFA items, but that got nixed.

quote:
Originally posted by KMitch200:
Looking for reason in gun laws is a head scratching look into the abyss.
Some Most of them make you wonder if the people writing the law ever even saw a firearm.


And they're usually very proud of their ignorance.



quote:
Originally posted by Will938:
If you don't become a screen writer for comedy movies, then you're an asshole.
 
Posts: 15950 | Location: Washington State | Registered: April 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigless in
Indiana
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Airsoft Guy nailed it.


Politicians are stupid. They hate gun owners.

Any little thing they can do to fuck with us gives them pleasure.
 
Posts: 13434 | Location: The Edge of the Ozarks | Registered: December 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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quote:
Originally posted by PGT:
concealibility and poaching were two driving forces behind the NFA of 1934. I suspect the longer length for shotgun barrels was all about making them harder to wield out a car window to poach.


not so much poaching but gangsters of the era,

al capone etc made famous in the papers , worked up the hysteria to keep the avg guy from getting a thompson, short barrel shotgun, rifle, etc etc,



www.chesterfieldarmament.com
 
Posts: 7628 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
Although airsoft guy is certainly correct, and there may have been no reason for the difference other than what he states, another possibility exists. Sporting shotguns have generally had longer barrels than rifles, and perhaps it was just a matter of choosing the same percentage of the average barrel length for each that resulted in the final, “legal” figure.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's easy. Below 18" you get into the realm of the "sawed off shotgun", and we know those can kill a whole room full of people with one shot.


------------------------------
"They who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin

"So this is how liberty dies; with thunderous applause."
- Senator Amidala (Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith)
 
Posts: 1287 | Location: Southwest Ohio | Registered: October 07, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gracie Allen is my
personal savior!
posted Hide Post
^^ Maybe that's got something to do with it. The popular theory has always been that a shorter barrel on a shotgun would not only make the shotgun more concealable, but would lead to the shot coming out of the barrel spreading faster. Maybe they somehow decided that an 18" barrel wouldn't lead to an especially rapid spread of shot where a 16" barrel would?

Then again, maybe it had something to do with Winchester Trapper lever-action carbines or some other widely-owned rifle that tended to have a 16" barrel, maybe it had something to do with .22LRs, maybe it had something to do with "youth-sized" rifles, maybe, maybe, maybe. As ASG pointed out, anyone who could tell us is long gone.
 
Posts: 23127 | Location: Deep in the heart of the brush country, and closing on that #&*%!?! roadrunner. Really. | Registered: February 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Casuistic Thinker and Daoist
Picture of 9mmepiphany
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by cslinger:
I don’t know why I just thought of this but why do we have a different legal barrel length requirement for shotguns vs rifles?

What practical reason is there for one or the other length based on firearm type??

quote:
Originally posted by PTG
concealibility and poaching were two driving forces behind the NFA of 1934.

Because in 1934, the actions of most common shotguns was shorter than rifles...and they wanted a common length?

SxS vs bolt action or lever action




No, Daoism isn't a religion



 
Posts: 13356 | Location: northern california | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Prefontaine
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quote:
Originally posted by airsoft guy:
Because fuck you.


It’s early in the year but post of the year material Wink



FOR A GREAT BUICK CALL 555-7617
 
Posts: 9273 | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
E tan e epi tas
Picture of cslinger
posted Hide Post
I get the because fuck you and ignorance etc. What I don't understand is why somebody took the extra fuck you time to say you can have a 16inch rifle instead of just saying all longarms can be no shorter than 18.5 inches.

Its a curiosity to me. It's almost like saying we are going to limit you to 10 round magazines in pistols but you can 15 round magazines in rifles and 6 rounds in shotguns, or some such instead of saying there is a 10 round magazine cap period.


"Guns are tools. The only weapon ever created was man."
 
Posts: 4117 | Location: Nashville, TN | Registered: July 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by cslinger:
I understand where the law in general came from but why wasn’t it written to just say “Blah blah ALL longarms shall have no less then a 16 inch barrel or an 18 inch barrel or a 17.2675 inch etc.”


It was, at least initially.

In the original 1934 NFA, the minimum barrel length was 18" for all long guns.

In 1936, an amendment was passed by Congress that allowed rimfire rifles to have a minimum barrel length of 16".

In 1960, another Congressional amendment extended that 16" minimum barrel length to centerfire rifles as well.
 
Posts: 22781 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Have you ever seen the amendment procesess when they are passing laws? Everyone is throwing out their pet amendments and some of them get added and some of them don't. That is why laws are often a confusing patchwork of statements.

Possible scenario: Law was originally written as 18.5" for long guns. Someone involved was astute enough to realize that his favorite rifle has a 16" barrel. He could care less about shotguns, so to reduce possible objections he limits the 16" amendment to only cover what concerns him.


------------------------------
"They who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin

"So this is how liberty dies; with thunderous applause."
- Senator Amidala (Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith)
 
Posts: 1287 | Location: Southwest Ohio | Registered: October 07, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by cslinger:
I don’t know why I just thought of this but why do we have a different legal barrel length requirement for shotguns vs rifles?

18.5 inch for shotguns
16 inch for rifles

I understand where the law in general came from but why wasn’t it written to just say “Blah blah ALL longarms shall have no less then a 16 inch barrel or an 18 inch barrel or a 17.2675 inch etc.”
Has
What practical reason is there for one or the other length based on firearm type??


Gun laws don’t make any sense because the politicians who seek to restrict our rights have clueless when it comes to firearm use, mechanics, etc. It’s a futile endeavor to try and understand the why. You’ll have about as much success determining why a toddler urinated on the floor.


---------------------------------------------
"AND YEA THOUGH THE HINDUS SPEAK OF KARMA, I IMPLORE YOU...GIVE HER A BREAK, LORD". - Clark W. Griswald
 
Posts: 1960 | Location: The South | Registered: September 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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