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Old July 27, 2001, 03:13 PM   #8
chetchat
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Join Date: November 6, 1999
Location: Miami, FL USA
Posts: 73
Robert,

In the two areas I addressed there is no gray area.

In the first, I was referring to your statement about having to surrender NFA weapons when moving to a non-NFA state that they must be sold or surrendered. That is simply not true.

If you want to address casual or temporary storage of weapons while on vacation or business, or the BATF's reaction when those weapons are stolen, that is another subject.

There are dozens of cases where NFA owners have moved to non-NFA states and elected to store their weapons (in a NFA friendly state) in a secure method that allows only the owner's access to the weapons. In this way, the weapons remain under the owner's control - this is a requirement of NFA weapons ownership, whether moving or at the shooting range.

In these cases, the BATF is advised of the circumstances of the owner's move and where and how the weapons will be stored, usually by way of a 5320.20 and accompanying letter. The BATF could, if so inclined, advise the owner of the weapons that these provisions are not satisfactory, or simillar response. There's nothing gray about it if the owner follows the appropriate protocol.

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My second point, regarding Fourth Amendment rights, let me refer you to the "cool link" you noted in an earlier post. Mr. James Bardwell is a prominent attorney in the NFA arena. Though he will be among the first to suggest there are many areas where the NFA/GCA regulations and laws are seemingly contradictory, the Fourth Amendment is not one. At the end of his discussion regarding these rights, and the occasions where the BATF can legally enter your premises (when you are a SOT or have an FFL ), he has this final statement :

As to one who is neither a FFL nor SOT, but only owns weapons regulated under the National Firearms Act, ATF may only compel you to show an agent upon request the registration paperwork, that is the Form 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or whatever else might have been used to register the weapon. See 26 U.S.C. sec. 5841(e). They do not have any right to compel you to produce the weapon. As always the Fourth amendment applies, and ATF may not enter your home or other place of storage of the NFA weapon, nor seize the weapon, without a warrant, or without falling under an exception the Supreme Court has created to the operation of the Fourth amendment, or without your consent.

As was pointed out in another thread http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...threadid=67224
the examples you're referring to may be those of SOT/FFL holders, warrant searches, or searches by consent. The BATF has no legal right to enter any premises - corporate or otherwise - without that warrant or other exemption.
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