Originally Posted by Dillinger
You have to go back to the End of Prohibition and the National Firearms Act of 1934.
The US Attorney at the time, some guy named Homer something or other, wanted to put an end to the ability of "Gangster's & other criminals" to securely hide and carry powerful weapons to commit crimes with in their travels.
Essentially, if the weapon was not a pistol or revolver, and it could be concealed easily under modern clothing, it was to be legislated, required to have a Federal Approval in the way of the infamous $200 tax Stamp ( a ton of money at the time ) and would be regulated to only the few.
Originally asshat wanted to include pistols & revolvers and thus make every firearm strictly regulated by the government, but it was quickly learned that would be in violation of 2A, so the sneaky effer, who was probably a kid toucher to boot
, snuck the 18 inch requirement through without much of a hitch.
It's been "modified" a couple of times, but the requirement has stuck for 76 stupid years.
And that's how I saw it, minus the kid touching stuff... A high power weapon that was small enough to hide under normal clothing was seen as too dangerous to be unregulated. Of course, criminals don't really care too much about the law to begin with, so I'm not sure if it has stopped a whole lot of crime.
At the time, pistols carried 5 to 7 mediocre shots, but a sawed-off shotgun or cut-down BAR under a coat could really tear someone up. Now that we have 18 rounds of highly-potent hollow points easily carried in a pistol, the law doesn't seem to add any extra safety and/or security.