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Old 02-02-2005, 07:31 PM
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Why are sawed off shotguns illegal?

Are they more powerful than regular shotguns? Are they uber-handguns? Why are they illegal?
Old 02-02-2005, 07:37 PM
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The shorter a shotgun barrel is, the wider the spread of shot when its fired. Thus, much more damage at close range. Usless at longer ranges. Ergo, no sporting use.
Old 02-02-2005, 07:37 PM
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I suspect it has more to do with the fact that a "sawed off" shotgun is more easily hidden and handled, which makes it a little more useful to criminals. At least, that's the theory.

Handguns can be hidden easily, but handguns tend to be a lot less powerful then shotguns.

I think that sawing off a shotgun's barrel also shortens the range and distance at which the shot begins to spread, so you get a wider pattern at any particular range from the shotgun then normal.

And techically, at least in the US at large, they are not illegal, but are like Automatic weapons in that you have to jump through a bunch of hoops and shell out a lot of cash in order to perchase them.
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Old 02-02-2005, 07:39 PM
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probably because they combine short-range lethality with concealability. And as they arguably have no legitimate sporting purpose (if you cut the butt down as well as the barrel, which is what usually happens, you have a zero-range assassination weapon that can do little else)
Old 02-02-2005, 07:40 PM
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In general, "sawed off" shotguns are shotguns that have barrels less than 18" long. Often, this is accomplished by sawing off the barrel with a hacksaw. They are illegal because they are easier to conceal than full-sized shotguns. A criminal could saw down the barrel and trim the stock to hide under a trenchcoat or maybe under a large car seat. Shotguns make good assault weapons when modified like this because they are easily concealed and send pellets in a spray pattern when fired lestening the amount of accuracy and skill needed to hit a target.
Old 02-02-2005, 07:43 PM
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Because if you shoot one off in a crowded room, it'll look like the floor of a pizza parlour after a pie fight.
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:27 PM
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So guns need a "sporting" reason to be legal? What about self defense? It sounds like a sawed off shotgun would be a good home self defense weapon.
Old 02-02-2005, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satasha
So guns need a "sporting" reason to be legal? What about self defense? It sounds like a sawed off shotgun would be a good home self defense weapon.
Many of us on this board would agree with you that guns do not need a sporting reason to be legal. However, that is a matter for Great Debates. Shotguns, in general, are good home defense weapons. I see little reason why that would need to be a sawed off shotgun. Why would you need to conceal it in your own home? As noted above, short-barrel shotguns are not actually illegal in many states. You simply need to go through more red-tape to have one legally.
Old 02-02-2005, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satasha
So guns need a "sporting" reason to be legal? What about self defense? It sounds like a sawed off shotgun would be a good home self defense weapon.
Can we keep that debate confined to one thread at a time? I suggest the ".50 BMG rifles banned in Clalifornia" thread in the Pit. Its been lively lately.
Old 02-02-2005, 09:10 PM
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No, I was really asking.
Old 02-02-2005, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satasha
No, I was really asking.
In that case, the I would say no, there does not have to be a sporting use for many other types of guns. There have been a number of tiny, legal pistols made whose only purpose is very close-range self-defense. They are not very practical for any type of shooting sport. That is but one example. There are many more.
Old 02-03-2005, 12:39 AM
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You may have a hard time getting a factual answer to the "why." As others have said they are not banned, just tightly regulated by the 1934 national firearms act along with several other categories such as machineguns, silencers, cane guns, etc.. One of the inderect reasons may have been marketing by the Auto Ordnance corporation, makers of the Thompson submachinegun. Unable to secure military contracts they sold directly to the public which was perfectly legal at the time. One ad poster shows a Tom Mix-ish cowboy defending the ranch house with a Kansas City typewriter. The weapon was also popular among depression era gangsters as documented on AO's own website which no doubt prompted the passage of the NFA.

http://auto-ordnance.com/ao_ao.html
Old 02-03-2005, 01:39 AM
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A reason is that in most states handguns are much, much more regulated than longarms (i.e. rifles & shotguns). Shotguns are usually much cheaper than rifles, as well as more easy to saw off the barrel (its thinner). Ergo, its to discourage criminals from buying a cheap shotgun at Walmart and easily turning it into a quasi-handgun rather than the (arguably) harder method of buying an illegal pistol off the street.
Old 02-03-2005, 08:48 AM
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As alluded to previously, it's the image of the sawed off shotgun as a criminal weapon. Sure, you can defend your home with it. But that wasn't on the mind of the politicians who banned it. They imagined honest John Q Public using his hunting rifle or full shotgun whereas only a opium-fiend gangster would use a sawed off shotgun. So logical arguments or not, sawed-off shotguns = bad for the gun control groups. I myself favor banning them because of the concealability issue.
Old 02-03-2005, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
The shorter a shotgun barrel is, the wider the spread of shot when its fired. Thus, much more damage at close range. Usless at longer ranges. Ergo, no sporting use.
This isn't really true. If you hit someone with any shotgun in any vital loaction at close range, they're dead anyway. There might be a slight difference in lethality if the sawed-off is just the right distance away, but the difference is probably meager.
Old 02-03-2005, 10:39 AM
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I think the main reason is concealability. IIRC at the same time minimum barrel lengths were established for rifles and shotguns, minimum overall lengths were established as well.

Clyde Barrow liked to use what he called a 'whippet', which was a shotgun with a shortened barrel and sawed-off stock that could be 'whipped' out from under a coat.
Old 02-03-2005, 02:34 PM
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Check out the Super-Shorty shotgun. I want one!
Old 02-03-2005, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padeye
just tightly regulated by the 1934 national firearms act along with several other categories such as machineguns, silencers, cane guns, etc..
What's a "cane gun"?
Old 02-03-2005, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eats_Crayons
What's a "cane gun"?
Use the net Luke
Old 02-03-2005, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by UncleRojelio
Thought that was too cartoony to be real. Thought it was one of those "only in the movies" things.
Old 02-03-2005, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eats_Crayons
Thought that was too cartoony to be real. Thought it was one of those "only in the movies" things.
That's probably what the first person to get shot by one thought too.
Old 02-03-2005, 06:16 PM
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Cane guns fall into a category literally called "any other weapon" or AOW. One definition is a gun that looks like something else such as a pen or cane gun. The ATF ruled that certain types of holsters for mini revolvers constitute an AOW because they look like a wallet and allow the gun to be fired without removing it.

That super shorty shotgun by Serbu that Crafter_Man linked to is technically not a short barrel shotgun but an AOW. It can get by with a $5 transfer tax as it was built from a "virgin" reciever which had never been assembled as a shotgun and does not have a shoulder stock.
Old 02-03-2005, 06:31 PM
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A shorter barrel (not necessarily "sawed-off") works better for home defense because you can move through the house more easily with the shorter weapon. My 870 Remington's barrel is so long that quickly getting it out of the closet and out of the case and then into a usable firing position without knocking a hole in the wall or breaking something is difficult at best.
Old 02-03-2005, 06:32 PM
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yeah the super shorty looks nice. i was wondering our business is a corporation and i saw on the website that a corporation can own one without the sign off by the sheriff. wonder if i can get one that way.
Old 02-04-2005, 12:33 AM
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I posted a reply to your other thread, you are correct that you don't need county sheriff signoff but you need all the BATFE red tape.
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