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Old March 23, 2013, 12:14 AM   #1
ScottRiqui
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How many transferable machine guns on the registry?

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I pointed out that legally-owned machine guns aren't really a concern, crime-wise, since their criminal use is almost negligible. He then asked the (reasonable, in my opinion) question "why don't we just regulate ALL firearms in the same way as the NFA items?"

My response was that the rarity of their criminal use isn't because of the regulation, but rather because of the fact that there are very few of them, relative to the total number of firearms in the country, but I'd like to have actual numbers if they're available.

I remember hearing that there were something like 175,000 guns on the registry when it was closed in 1986, but I don't know if there have been any estimates made since then, or even if that was an accurate number to begin with.
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Old March 23, 2013, 02:00 PM   #2
pcb911
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Adamsguns, the guy that got raided by the feds a few months ago, has a very good webpage about the NFA weapon system that ATF runs. He says 1,200,000 guns in the system. After reading the article, I wonder if anyone knows the number.

When I worked for a big Class 3 Dealer back in 1973 and 1974, I asked how ATF kept records of the transfers. Supposedly, my boss had been to Washington and seen the system that was in use at the time. According to him, each gun had a index card showing every transfer and the more transfers, the more full cards were attached to the last entry. Kept in cabinets similiar to a Dewey Decimal System in the library.

There was always a fear that a registered gun could become illegal if the cards somehow got misfiled or jumbled. If the card was not found the form was denied. So everyone gathered as much paper on every gun so they could prove registration if needed. The only time a card was touched, was when a request for that certain gun was made.
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Old March 23, 2013, 11:13 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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I think about 200,000 full autos.
if they are claiming 1,200,000 it probably includes all the wannabe SBRs and sawn off shotguns bought since 1986 by commoners whose rulers do not trust them with real military weapons. Maybe the silencers, too, so as to support the Feds' budget.
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Old March 24, 2013, 01:09 AM   #4
colbad
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A bit of trivia. There has never been a crime committed using a registered machine gun.
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Old March 24, 2013, 02:40 AM   #5
dakota.potts
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I have heard there have been 2 or 3 but this may have been in the NFA registry alone.
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Old March 24, 2013, 09:25 AM   #6
Tom Servo
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Quote:
There has never been a crime committed using a registered machine gun.
In 1988, an Ohio police officer used a MAC-11 from his department to kill and informant. There was at least one other involving a doctor, if I recall.

In Targeting Guns, Gary Kleck interviewed an ATF official, who claimed there had been less than 10 crimes committed with machine guns since the inception of the registry. However, even those were most likely procedural violations (ie. bad paperwork).
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Old March 24, 2013, 03:16 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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Well, duh, we tax the guns.
The $200 tax in 1934 was punitive, 80% the price of a Thompson, intended to discourage ownership.
So to keep the bookkeeping simple, we include a 100% tax for recordkeeping on all "assault weapons," or just all guns. If that isn't enough, we increase it.
And offload a lot of the work to call centers and data entry contractors abroad.
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Old March 24, 2013, 04:16 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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I am sure not an antigunner, but I have no delusions about how far the statists will go.

We gunowners "let" the government tax the Thompsons to start with, "let" them excise tax all guns and ammunition, "let" them completely ban new retail sales of full autos, "let" them ban new sales of military looking rifles and standard capacity magazines (for "only" 10 years... the first time), and "let" state and local governments put in untold numbers of repressive laws that have little to do with public safety.

If they want a punitive tax on all guns to support a new bureaucracy, I suspect we will "let" them do that, too.

England went for a good number of years with a 2/3 tax on new car sales; such stuff is never far from the minds of professional government.
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Old March 24, 2013, 06:57 PM   #9
Tom Servo
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Let's keep this NFA related, guys.
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Old March 25, 2013, 10:08 AM   #10
Skans
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I've seen this question asked before and statistics batted around. After reading the responses of those that regularly deal in machine guns and/or attend machine gun shoots regularly, I have come to the conclusion that no one, outside of BATFE, knows how many registered machine guns, sears, or bolts there are out there. In fact, I question whether anyone at BATFE knows the exact number.
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Old March 25, 2013, 09:29 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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From what pcb says, it is likely the number is not known at all.
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Old March 26, 2013, 12:38 AM   #12
gc70
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Here is a start on some statistics - NFA Registered Weapons by type and state in March 2012 and year-end 1999. Unfortunately, the numbers are not broken down by ownership -civilian or government- but they at least give a starting point to think about what the actual holdings may be.
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Old April 4, 2013, 05:45 PM   #13
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My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I seem to remember that prior to the amendment to the Gun Owner's Protection Act banning new manufacture of machineguns for civilians, there were around 128-134,000 machineguns registered. From the time the bill was introduced, until the May 16th, 1986 effective date, there were an ADDITIONAL similar number added. It took 52 years (1934-1986) to reach the first number, then a matter of weeks to reach the second. End result, in that few weeks, the number of transferable machineguns effectively doubled.

Unintended consequences of Charlie Rangles "Voice Vote" of the Amendment.
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Old April 4, 2013, 08:04 PM   #14
mboylan
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The number thrown around most often on sturmgewer and similar sites is 181,000.
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