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Old September 24, 2012, 02:45 PM   #1
Fox1
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ATF makes Bonnie Parker's .38 legal

The ATF recently made Bonnie Parker's (of Bonnie and Clyde notoriety) .38 Special legal for resale by issuing a new ATF serial number for it to replace the serial number that had been filed off.

I think it was very decent of them to allow this firearm that is a piece of history to be made legal rather than to insist it be destroyed.

Bonnie Parker's .38 Special made legal by ATF ahead of auction

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/24...#ixzz27PymyYlN
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:42 AM   #2
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It would have been nice if they would have allowed the original S/N to be "restored." But good nonetheless.
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:06 AM   #3
Stressfire
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Could someone loan me $200k?

Yes, it would have been nice if they could have restored the original SN, but without a way of telling what it might have been - better that it get a new one than be destroyed

Help me out here though, if the gun is 1926 production and the SN was filed off prior to the '68 law - why would the 1968 SN requirements have any effect? Why wouldn't it essentially be "grandfathered" in?
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:18 AM   #4
Gary L. Griffiths
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Help me out here though, if the gun is 1926 production and the SN was filed off prior to the '68 law - why would the 1968 SN requirements have any effect? Why wouldn't it essentially be "grandfathered" in?
No, a gun manufactured prior to '68 wasn't required to have a serial number. As such, it would be "grandfathered" and is still legal to own. The law states that any gun with a serial number or other manufacturer's identification that has been obliterated or altered is illegal to posses, period. It couldn't be any other way, if you think about it. How would you prove when a serial number was obliterated, or, with the number gone, when it was manufactured, for that matter?

As for restoring the original serial number, the only way to sometimes recover an obliterated serial number is to use acid to etch away the metal where the number used to be. The metal under the stamped numbers will be compressed and hardened, so will wear away slower than the surrounding metal, leaving a faint impression of the original number. However, to do so ruins the appearance and hence the collector's value of the gun.
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Old September 25, 2012, 04:08 PM   #5
carguychris
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Help me out here though, if the gun is 1926 production...
The article doesn't say that the gun is 1926 production; it says it has a 1926 patent date, presumably on the barrel. Patent dates were commonplace on prewar firearms, but all the date tells you is that the gun was made no earlier than 1926.

I presume that the gun was obtained illegally, most likely with the s/n already removed, and there is no way to trace the gun's origin without using destructive methods described by Gary.

Re: the gun's history, I'll share a couple of tidbits re: Bonnie & Clyde, having read quite a bit on the subject.
  • There is no irrefutable evidence that Bonnie Parker ever actually fired a gun in anger during any of the gang's criminal escapades, although she frequently carried one. The only time she was allegedly seen shooting someone was during the 4/1/34 Grapevine, TX murders of two state troopers, but the eyewitness was over a hundred yards away, and other gang members have stated that the shooter was a male gang member with similar colored hair and that Bonnie was in the car at the time. (Bonnie's participation in robberies was a fiction invented for the 1968 movie.)
  • Clyde preferred stealing guns from National Guard armories because they generally had almost no security(!) and contained 2 of his 3 favorite weapons: the BAR and the Colt M1911. (His other favorite was the Remington Model 11 shotgun.) He reportedly greatly disliked buying black market guns because the sellers were, well, crooks; he thought these guns were overpriced, and he was concerned that the sellers could subsequently confess having sold the guns to him, giving the authorities an additional excuse to arrest him. The provenance of most of the gang's non-National Guard weapons is in dispute. (The gang's use of Thompson SMGs and various S&W .38 revolvers is also a fiction invented for the 1968 movie.)
  • As an interesting aside to this news story, Frank Hamer, the former Texas Ranger who tracked down Clyde, famously kept most of the guns recovered from Bonnie & Clyde's "death car", and reportedly never attempted to return them to their rightful owners- including the National Guard!- and never registered the BARs as NFA machine guns!
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Old September 25, 2012, 04:35 PM   #6
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Frank Hamer, the former Texas Ranger who tracked down Clyde
He shot them, with his hunting rifle. Both had a bullet hole in the back of their heads.

Frank was quite a guy there.
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:17 PM   #7
Gary L. Griffiths
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He shot them, with his hunting rifle. Both had a bullet hole in the back of their heads.
Source? I've seen a copy of the original autopsy report and don't recall any such information therein.
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Old September 26, 2012, 12:22 PM   #8
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Thanks Gary & chris - that clears it up.
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Old September 26, 2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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Actually all most anyone that had a gun stolen and recovered by a PD with the serial number removed can use a BATF program that will put a new serial number on a recovered/defaced stolen gun. Takes some money (couple hundred anyway), paperwork and time, you have too allow the ATF lab branch to re-install the new number, (they take custody of the gun from the recovering police dept) but its done all the time, just not well known...Had a subject do it on an HK that he valued very highly and wanted back after it was recovered from the thief.
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