For good or bad, a RO is a little god, at least to the extent the range owner allows him to be. There are no laws regulating his behavior (except those that regulate any person's behavior) and no one to question any rules he has or makes up. At one time, many range officers routinely refused to allow blacks or women on the range until some lawsuits changed that behavior. (Gun control activists, of course, can still discriminate by using code words like "wrong hands" or "inappropriate persons", but that is another story.)
I don't know the law on carrying papers but in this state there is state machinegun registration as well as federal, so any state or local officer can ask for evidence of state registration and does not have to accept evidence of federal registration. I always carried copies of both sets of papers.
The business about showing papers to BATFE is on the transfer form itself. It says "This approved application is the registrant's proof of registration and it shall be made available to any ATF officer upon requiest."
Note it does NOT say that ONLY an ATF officer may ask for that proof. Whether a copy is sufficient, I don't know. I do know that in other cases (e.g., a drivers license) a copy is definitely NOT acceptable, but BATFE has advised that the original form be kept in a safe place, so presumably a copy would be OK as long as the registrant could produce the original if required.
Last edited by James K; March 4, 2013 at 10:17 PM.