Someone I know, knows a police officer. He has a M14 that he purchased from his then police dept. as a semi-auto rifle in the seventys.
I assume it's considered a machine gun.
My question is, can the rifle be sold to a class 3 dealer or will it have to be destroyed. He has all the papers he got when he bought it. I'm told the gun is near mint.
Thanks in advance.
If this rifle was not registered as a machine gun prior to 1986, it is contraband. The BATFE considers any and all M14s, whether M14, M14M, or M14NM, as "readily restorable" and thus remain machine guns.
There is only one exception: TRW M14 NM A/N 143711; see U.S. v. One U.S. (TRW) 7.62mm M-14 National Match Rifle, Serial No. 143711, 1980 WL 95647 (S.D.Ohio, May 20, 1980)
"In this case the trial court turns down an ATF attempt to forfeit a TRW M-14 rifle, built by TRW as a National Match rifle. The court decides that ATF failed to prove the gun was a machine gun, as ATF argued - the gun was not registered as anything. ATF claimed the gun was readily restorable to a machine gun, and tried to prove that by welding the selector lockout to the lug on a regular M-14, then restoring that gun to take a selector. However, the court found that they did not weld the lockout in the manner that was done on the NM guns, nor did they refute the evidence that the NM guns never were machine guns, but were made as semi-autos at TRW."
You indicate that he "purchased" the rifle as a "semiauto." The consequences of this vary somewhat. For example, if the M14 came from the DoD, the DoD is going to want its property back. Unless things were very different back then, the "sale" of an M14 or an M16 to a LEO agency entails continued accounting for the weapon, which remains subject to recall. In the last year or two the DoD had all the M14s "loaned" to State Rifle Associations recalled.
If the rifle's source was not the DoD (as is the case with 143711 above) but the manufacturer, it may have been a non-tax transfer to a government agency (the police department). While the rifle would not be subject to DoD audit and/or recall, a transfer to a private individual without NFA registration would have been unlawful. A PD of my acquaintance has a mint Colt Thompson M1921; they would love to sell it to the collector market to use the funds for other purposes, but they cannot do so.
Now, I'm not an NFA owner or dealer, so I don't know if a rifle in the latter case can be transferred to a SOT as a post-'86 sample, but if so, that would keep it out of the clutches of the Federal authorities.
Were I he, I would keep a very low profile