Some of the gunny blogosphere has been up in arms recently about some Illinois State Troopers who are being prosecuted in Federal Court for possessing machine guns.
As a long time cop in Louisiana, I say hmmmmm...
I agree that the law should be the same for everyone, everywhere. I also agree that there are certain things that emergency personnel use on a daily basis that are proscribed to the general public. Like flashing blue lights mounted on a vehicle. Most states proscibe the use of flashing lights in their motor vehicle codes. Here in Louisiana, flashing blue lights are reserved to vehicles owned by the government in a law enforcement role. As a cop, I can't have a flashing blue light on my personal vehicle. That is reserved to the government.
Louisiana law recognizes other distinctions. Some may be valid, some may be invalid, but a search of state law leads us to Title 40, starting at Section 1751, 1752, 1753, and 1754 covers the ownership of machine guns in Louisiana. From my reading of the applicable state law, it appears that cops in Louisiana are allowed to own machine guns without paying the NFA tax.
If a cop in Louisiana owns a machine gun in accordance with state law, can he rely on the powers-that-be not prosecuting him under Federal law? My understanding of the issue is that the Legislature of Louisiana wouldn't do anything that violates Federal law, therefore there must be some regulatory provisions that allow the various states to modify the provisions of Federal law for local benefit. Can that same cop rely on state law to shield him from a federal prosecution?
While owning machine guns by cops isn't unheard of in Louisiana, it certainly isn't common, either. I only know a couple of cops who own fully automatic weapons, but they have relied on the provisions of this law, and I don't know of any prosecutions for owning a machine gun in Louisiana.
I have a lot of interesting questions here, and not many answers.
Hat tip to SayUncle.