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Old September 14, 2010, 01:00 PM   #1
ADB
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Unregistered AK-47s brought back from Vietnam?

Theoretical question: somebody brings back a real, full-auto AK-47 from Vietnam, and sticks it in their hall closet for the next few decades. Let's assume that he didn't register it. Then the guy dies. His wife pulls it out, not knowing anything about the NFA or machine gun law. She shows it to a gun dealer, who offers her around $500 for it. Let's also assume that the gun dealer doesn't realize he's not buying a semi-auto knockoff.

When somebody buys the thing off the dealer and discovers that it's full auto, what would the odds be of the widow getting in legal trouble for having possessed the thing all these years?
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Old September 14, 2010, 01:07 PM   #2
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In your scenario, there's little chance of an uninformed widow getting the shaft from the Feds. Although technically she was party to an illegal transfer, I doubt they'd try to prosecute in such an instance.
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Old September 14, 2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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IMHO, keep your mouth shut in such a case. And remember that no one operates that thing but you. And only use the dead last selection when you use it.

Cuz I don't feel like having the ATF question me and to my knowledge, the founding fathers never specified what type of arms we were allowed to have which means they're all good to go. The corrupt government can eat me for all I care.

But by the grace of God that hasn't happened to me. It'd be one heck of pickle.
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Old September 14, 2010, 02:21 PM   #4
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Cuz I don't feel like having the ATF question me and to my knowledge, the founding fathers never specified what type of arms we were allowed to have which means they're all good to go. The corrupt government can eat me for all I care.
Cool. Put your money where your mouth is, stand on the steps of your local state capital with an M16 with the press there and excersize your rights. I'll kick in for your legal defense.

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Old September 14, 2010, 02:53 PM   #5
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I find it too difficult to believe that a dealer can't recognize the difference between a full-auto AK and a semi-auto AK from 5 feet away just by glancing at it. Especially if it was a VietNam bring-back. Come on!

I wonder how common Viet Nam bring-backs really were?
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Old September 14, 2010, 07:00 PM   #6
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I recall reading a story in either a military magazine or book, I dont recall the exact details however, it was about a Military official for the US who was over in Vietnam, when his time was up over there, as a farwell gift, the South Vietnamesse presented him with a captured Ak47. The story went on to say that he was unable to bring it home with him, and he had to leave it behind due to various military policies and laws in the US. Thats all I remember and my .02 cents.
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Old September 14, 2010, 08:39 PM   #7
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Lets say, it depends.

Let change the scenario a little.
Lets say you are smart enough and skilled enough to make a machine gun.
You put it in your closet and never allow anyone else to shoot it.
You are never heard on your property shooting it.
It will exist as a full auto gun with no one getting in trouble because the feds don't know about it.

Option2.
Someone sells you a gun the you believe is semi-auto but when tested is full auto.
You put it away.
Only you know about being full auto.
Again no one gets in trouble because the feds don't know about it.

Option3.
A machine gun falls off a truck
You take it to a public range and shoot it.
It is full auto.
Two things happen at this point.
#1. You decide to toss it into a large deep lake, before the feds show up at your door.
#2. The feds show up at your door and you have some explaining to do.

It doesn't really matter where the machine gun came from. If someone finds out, sooner or later, the feds will find out. When they do, you will be in trouble.

The gun shop is going to claim that they sold you a semi-auto rifle.
The old lady is going to claim it was a semi-auto rifle.
You get to hold the bag.
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Old September 14, 2010, 08:40 PM   #8
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There is ALOT of paperwork involved in a bring back/war trophy. There was so much that I decided not to get my AK-47 bayonet war trophy from Panama. I can't imagine a full auto AK!

I would think that the gun dealer would at least clean and preform a function check on said weapon. Then he would make SERIOUS phone calls to get that gun out of his shop.
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Old September 14, 2010, 08:43 PM   #9
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A full auto AK for $500 bucks, WAY TOO COOL
I think that would be a secret I would keep from the Ol Lady, and everyone else for sure!
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Old September 14, 2010, 09:43 PM   #10
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Cool. Put your money where your mouth is, stand on the steps of your local state capital with an M16 with the press there and excersize your rights. I'll kick in for your legal defense.
No, if you do it you have to do it through systematic government change initiated by the people, for the people, from the people.

The anti went from being foxholed in the system to being bunkered. You have to replace the leaders with someone that will do the job he or she is asked to do, the way they're told by the people to do it.

Congress has the power to remove a judge from the supreme court and won't do it because they're in the corruption with them. The executive branch (President) has the power to arrest them on corruption, ethics violations, treason, whatever charges he can levy against them and he or she (eventually there will be a she and hopefully a damn good conservative one.) won't do it because of one reason or another.

It's a we thing, not a me thing. I'd be willing to enforce it if I were elected president but I'm not dumb enough to want the job.

My family used to run whole nations (distant relatives were kings and queens and such). Been there, done that, no thanks.

But I'll support any efforts to overturn these bull**** gun control laws. I'm taking a hit just like every other gun owner.


It doesn't matter though about the scenario except the last one. You keep your trap shut if you want the thing.

The last one you're better off handing it over. You're foot is already in the jail cell. If they want you, they got you. To the ATF, they don't accept innocence by lack of knowledge. You're better off handing it over and praying to God that they don't lock you up for the next 20 years. That and making it real clear that since you were dumb enough to never check what trigger group was installed, you don't want that thing anywhere near you and as far as you're concerned you'll help them torch-cut the thing. It's now a one way ticket to the big house. They knock you tell them where it is and do whatever it takes to let them know you don't want it.

And that's why I still follow the gun control laws despite my pure hatred of them. I may be crazy (but I doubt it), but I'm not stupid.
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Old September 14, 2010, 09:55 PM   #11
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And that's why I still follow the gun control laws despite my pure hatred of them. I may be crazy (but I doubt it), but I'm not stupid.
Gee thats a 180 degree turn from saying that the "corrupt government can eat me for all I care"

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Old September 14, 2010, 10:13 PM   #12
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It's not worth it...

"Bring-Back" weapons are subject to the same laws as any other weapon, regardless of time in this country or any personal adventures, connections, etc.

It's become a not too infrequent thing for grand-dad to pass away and someone find a cool toy in the attic or wherever, but it doesn't make that weapon legal to possess. Agree with the laws or not, they still are the laws, and you will be prosecuted if you are found in possession of such a weapon.

It's been demonstrated that if you go to the ATF and say "I found this in Grandpa's stuff, and I'd like to turn it in", you won't be prosecuted. If it's some crazy rare weapon or has some huge amount of history, you may be able to get it donated to a qualified museum, otherwise; it will be destroyed.

You can't fire full-auto weapons without attracting attention, or any of the other cool toys you may find. It's a crying shame, but if you're found firing one of these things somewhere, it doesn't matter if grand-dad took Hitler's personal MP-40 off him right before he offed himself, you're still going to prison.
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Old September 14, 2010, 10:26 PM   #13
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It's become a not too infrequent thing for grand-dad to pass away and someone find a cool toy in the attic or wherever, but it doesn't make that weapon legal to possess.
It appears to be a generational thing, but I've been hearing about Thompsons showing up out of the blue the last few years. I saw one myself.

It was fun to handle for a few seconds, but not so fun explaining to the widow that it was worse than a basket of angry snakes. I had the same situation with a Street Sweeper about a year back. It stinks to tell someone, "I'm sorry your husband passed, but this weapon cannot be sold. In fact, you're breaking the law by being in possession of it, and you'll have to turn it over to the government without compensation."

Quote:
It's been demonstrated that if you go to the ATF and say "I found this in Grandpa's stuff, and I'd like to turn it in", you won't be prosecuted.
But it's not official policy, which is what worries me. I have an attorney who will intercede on behalf of the person turning it in. Basically, the owner goes to his office, he calls the ATF, and the handover is done there.

Remarkably, the ATF agents I've spoken with agree that this is a sound idea.

Quote:
IMHO, keep your mouth shut in such a case. And remember that no one operates that thing but you. And only use the dead last selection when you use it.
Let's be really careful with that kind of talk. If I'm reading it right, you're suggesting that someone keep an illegal NFA weapon but "keep it quiet." That's horrible advice, and should someone follow it, they could suffer for doing so.
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Old September 14, 2010, 10:29 PM   #14
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I saw a bring-back AK47 at the Laporte Historical Society Museum the other day. It was a real AK47, too. Milled, early rooski model, not an AKM.

They have an exceptional collection of other arms, but that one put a smile on my face, if only because the "AK47" label on the thing was actually completely correct.
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Old September 15, 2010, 12:04 AM   #15
Dr. Strangelove
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove
It's been demonstrated that if you go to the ATF and say "I found this in Grandpa's stuff, and I'd like to turn it in", you won't be prosecuted.
But it's not official policy, which is what worries me. I have an attorney who will intercede on behalf of the person turning it in. Basically, the owner goes to his office, he calls the ATF, and the handover is done there.

Remarkably, the ATF agents I've spoken with agree that this is a sound idea.
You sir, are correct. That's the right way to do things.

Additionally, resist the urge to take these guns to the range, even once. It's a shame to lose these pieces of history, but it's worse to be jailed because of them.

I have known of folks that have these firearms/devices and it's not worth having them around. You can't sell them legitimately, and they'll come back to bite you in the butt when you least expect it...

Last edited by Dr. Strangelove; September 15, 2010 at 12:23 AM.
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Old September 15, 2010, 01:31 AM   #16
M4Sherman
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the best thing to do is strip the parts and torch the receiver
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Old September 15, 2010, 02:11 AM   #17
ADB
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Okay, some folks seem to have misunderstood me. I did not buy a full-auto AK from a gun shop. In fact, this question actually IS theoretical, based on a story I heard from a friend of a relative of... you know the drill. I was curious what the chances were that someone would get in trouble for ignorantly being a party to something like that.
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Old September 15, 2010, 07:41 AM   #18
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ADB, Your last line said a lot. 'Ignorance'

In the scenario you described, I do not believe the widow would face prosecution. In her case, ignorance would be an excuse to keep her out of trouble. Although she might need a lawyer and be willing to consent to a search of her home ( as opposed to a search warrant) to show good faith that there were no other contraband weapons.

You, as the current holder of the contraband, ignorance for you would probably not hold up if you were caught with it as opposed to turning it over to the authorities.

With this scenario, were it me, I would see only one choice. Hire a lawyer.

If you were just to dispose of the gun (in a river) and the events of the sale from the dealer (whether on 'paper' or not) ended up coming back to you, you would NOT be able to produce the gun. That would be a REAL problem.

I would imagine your attorney would advise you to come out with the truth of your initial ignorance of the gun itself when you bought it. That would involve the dealer (or soon to be ex- dealer) you brought it from, but it might be enough to keep you from spending more than the 20,000+ the lawyer would need up front to keep you out of jail and/or bigger fines.

Or, quickly learn to make English your second language and ignore the above

My take, JT
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Old September 15, 2010, 07:48 AM   #19
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First off I wouldnt post this on a public internet forum. Second I would find another "dealer" You'd have to be pretty green not to be able to notice this difference within 40 seconds.
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Old September 15, 2010, 11:11 AM   #20
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I don't know how many times this needs to be said, but if you "find" a Thompson SMG, a FA AK-47, or whatever, that is not registered, you CANNOT legally:

Keep it.

Shoot it only on Sundays.

Let only your "kissin cousins" shoot it.

Shoot it only with reloads.

Cut up the receiver and sell the parts.

Stick it in a closet.

Throw it in a lake.

Donate it to a museum.

Why not destroy it? Because that is a crime in itself, destroying evidence of a felony, which is the possession.

Why not donate it to the museum? If the museum is government owned, you might talk BATFE or the police into donating it after you surrender it. YOU can't just give it to the museum, since the museum does not have the authority to accept the surrender of a contraband gun any more than they could accept that heroin.

If the museum is private, they have no more right to have it than you do, and there is no legal way to transfer ownership of something that cannot be legally owned in the first place.

The only thing you can legally do is to abandon (surrender) it to BATFE or the police. I strongly recommend going to BATFE; they have seen that situation many times, where police might go ape and start inventing laws to throw you in jail.

Can you strip the gun and turn in only the receiver? Yes, but clear that with BATFE; tell them what you want to do, and have the means to do it immediately so you don't seem to be delaying the surrender. They should have no problem with that (there is precedent) but it is best not to seem to be evading the law.

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Old September 16, 2010, 04:39 PM   #21
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Now that I think about it, I would love to turn it in during a cash for guns times. They always talk about how they would never prosecute someone for the guns they turn in.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:45 PM   #22
4V50 Gary
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some refinement of the question

Aren't there two elements to a crime?

Actus reas which is the physical act of the crime.

Mens reas which is the mental state during the commission of the crime.

In most crimes, there must be a concurrence of actus reas and mens reas to establish that a criminal act has been committed. Certain low level crimes don't require a mens reas and criminal guilt is established by statute. For instance, sexual intercourse with a minor who stated they were of age and produced (unbeknownst to the accused) phony identification.

So, the question now is, is someone like our widow who unknowingly possess a NFA weapon liable as posed by the question? Must there be concurrence of actus reas and mens reas?
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Old September 16, 2010, 07:00 PM   #23
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Let's be really careful with that kind of talk. If I'm reading it right, you're suggesting that someone keep an illegal NFA weapon but "keep it quiet." That's horrible advice, and should someone follow it, they could suffer for doing so.
BOOOO! noone likes a tattle tale

for the record if i ever found a Full Auto from grandpa (he already passed and left two hangugns from the war, no FA) i would represent the "thou shall shuttith thoust mouth" rule
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Old September 16, 2010, 07:05 PM   #24
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for the record if i ever found a Full Auto from grandpa (he already passed and left two hangugns from the war, no FA) i would represent the "thou shall shuttith thoust mouth" rule
And for the record that makes you a felon and unfit to own a firearm.

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Old September 16, 2010, 07:06 PM   #25
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And for the record that makes you a felon and unfit to own a firearm.
No it WOULD make me a felon-i am not. And definitely very fit
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