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Old March 1, 2013, 05:29 PM   #1
WillyKern69
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Transfer of a gun with no serial number on it.

Dear All, a friend of mines father in law is terminal, he built a gun for himself back in the 60's. It never had a serial number. A semi auto handgun. He wants my friend to have the gun. But my friend is scared because he does not know how to handle the tranfer. So what should he do to keep things legal? I have seen post on this before, but when I did a search I did not find much. Also if the staff wants to direct this to that post that is cool.

Thanks in advance,

WK

Last edited by WillyKern69; March 1, 2013 at 06:03 PM. Reason: add info
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Old March 1, 2013, 06:08 PM   #2
Willie Sutton
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It's legal to manufacture a firearm for ones own use.

They do not need to be marked in any way.

As long as there is no intent to manufacture for resale, they can be sold at a later date in order to dispose of them.

In any event, serial numbers were not required even on factory produced arms until 1968, and in the case of an older self-made firearm, "good luck" to a law enforcement case trying to prove date of manufacture.


From the face of it, there should be no problem in a transfer.


Willie

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Old March 1, 2013, 06:19 PM   #3
WillyKern69
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Thanks. does he have to go through a FFl or can he give it to him with a bill of sale?

WK
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Old March 1, 2013, 06:30 PM   #4
Willie Sutton
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In Texas?

It's a private transfer... If the recipient is not known to the owner as a criminal, and is a resident of Texas, he can hand it over with a handshake and a smile and a pat on the back and a "I hope you enjoy this, son"....

This should be a family treasure.


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Old March 1, 2013, 06:58 PM   #5
WillyKern69
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Actually Idaho.
Thank you he will be excited.
WK
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:33 PM   #6
FrankenMauser
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If it was made before 1968, it was not required to have a serial number and can be transferred without an issue in Idaho.

If it was made after 1968, it will need to be 'registered' with the ATF, including having a model number and serial number added. After that is approved, it can be transferred like any other firearm. (One note - if it fires from an open bolt, or has a fire control system easily modified to become full-auto, the ATF will NOT approve it, and will declare it a machine gun - because it's being 'manufactured' today, as far as they're concerned, and today's rules don't allow those features.)
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:53 PM   #7
Pezo
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You went from a treasure to a forbidden machine gun! Too funny. I'd say no worry but I wouldn't parade it around much either.
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:55 PM   #8
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You went from a treasure to a forbidden machine gun! Too funny. I'd say no worry but I wouldn't parade it around much either.
Yep. Unfortunately, that's the ATF we have to deal with, in today's world.
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Old March 2, 2013, 12:41 AM   #9
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenMauser
Yep. Unfortunately, that's the ATF we have to deal with, in today's world.
What law states that a firearm someone makes for him/herself must have a serial number on it before it can be transferred within the state where it was made?
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Old March 2, 2013, 12:53 AM   #10
Bill DeShivs
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Home made guns don't require a serial number, even if it was made yesterday.
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:17 PM   #11
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Home made guns don't require a serial number, even if it was made yesterday.
Absolutely true ...unless you want to transfer it.
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:39 PM   #12
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenMauser
Quote:
Home made guns don't require a serial number, even if it was made yesterday.
Absolutely true ...unless you want to transfer it.
Unless you want to transfer it through an FFL. Most states still allow unregulated transfers within the state, and within the same state Federal laws don't come into play. The only reason a serial number would be required for a transfer through an FFL is to allow the FFL a "key" to record the firearm in his bound book. No FFL ==> no bound book ==> no need for a serial number.

Alternatively, bequests do not have to go through an FFL, even for interstate. The executor can deliver a bequest firearm directly to the named heir. So the gentleman who is nearing the end could simply write into his will (or add a codicil) that his home-built ___ is to go to his son, John Doe.

Again, I don't believe any serial number would be necessary, since there would be no bound book entry involved.
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Old March 2, 2013, 04:02 PM   #13
Webleymkv
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Quote:
The only reason a serial number would be required for a transfer through an FFL is to allow the FFL a "key" to record the firearm in his bound book. No FFL ==> no bound book ==> no need for a serial number.
So how do FFL's handle transfers of factory-produced firearms which were made before 1968 and have no serial number? For example, I have a Sears & Roebuck shotgun (manufactured by High Standard) that never had a serial number to begin with as it was made and sold before 1968. How would an FFL go about transferring such a firearm?
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Old March 2, 2013, 06:20 PM   #14
Aguila Blanca
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^^^ Well, that's a good question.

Where is Tom Servo when you need him?
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Old March 2, 2013, 06:51 PM   #15
steveno
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I have seen N/A ( not applicable) or NSN (no serial number). the atf knows this exists on old guns
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Old March 2, 2013, 07:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
So how do FFL's handle transfers of factory-produced firearms which were made before 1968 and have no serial number? For example, I have a Sears & Roebuck shotgun (manufactured by High Standard) that never had a serial number to begin with as it was made and sold before 1968. How would an FFL go about transferring such a firearm?
I simply enter "none pre 1968" in the serial # column in the bound book and on all other paperwork.

It's satisified the ATF for the last 25 years.

Transfer is the same as a serialized firearm.
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Old March 2, 2013, 07:06 PM   #17
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If your friend is worried about it, why not just have his father in law put a number on it?
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Old March 2, 2013, 07:27 PM   #18
Willie Sutton
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^^^

He does not need to deface it with a number. Don't complicate a simple thing.

This is a simple thing. It's legal as-is. It can be given away as a gift as-is.


Willie


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Old March 2, 2013, 10:21 PM   #19
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Where is Tom Servo when you need him?
Sorry, I was busy fighting crime and protecting the integrity of the space-time continuum. Nice work if you can get it.

Several others have posted the correct information. Your friend doesn't need to worry about a serial number because the firearm was made prior to 1968. When licensed dealers interact with such guns, we list make, model, type, and caliber. For serial number, "none" or "NA" is acceptable.

Blanca is correct about transferring. If the gun is manufactured with the intent of resale, the person making it must be licensed. If it is for personal use, no license is required.

All that scary verbiage in 27 CFR ยง 478.124 applies to licensed manufacturers and importers.

Unless your friend lives in a state that requires private transfers to go through an FFL, none of that applies.
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Old March 3, 2013, 12:47 AM   #20
rc
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Isn't it a moot issue in texas as a private transfer. Does it really matter if he made it himself if he is legal to possess and nobody can say he didn't make it himself? With printed gun technology this is going to be a growing question.
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Old March 3, 2013, 07:12 AM   #21
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
Several others have posted the correct information. Your friend doesn't need to worry about a serial number because the firearm was made prior to 1968. When licensed dealers interact with such guns, we list make, model, type, and caliber. For serial number, "none" or "NA" is acceptable.
Tom, the law still allows us to build our own firearms. This is the basis of the (now disappearing) market for "80% receivers." My understanding from perusing the ads for these things is that no serial number is required on a home-built firearm even today.

Suppose I built an AR-15 a couple or three years ago from an "80% receiver," and then this week I decide I can't afford to shoot it so I'm going to give it to my nephew in New Hampshire. (I don't live in New Hampshire.) It would be an interstate transfer, so it would have to go through at least one FFL. Would I have to mark it with a serial number and my name and city as the maker before it can be legally transferred?
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Old March 3, 2013, 10:38 AM   #22
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My understanding from perusing the ads for these things is that no serial number is required on a home-built firearm even today.
You're correct.

I'll have to do some digging for the regs on transfers. The ATF has sent out letters saying that the item must then be in acccordance with 27 CFR 478.92, but again, most of that applies to licensees, which the OP is not.
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Old March 6, 2013, 12:55 AM   #23
johnwilliamson062
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I have read several letters issued by ATFE on the subject and they ALWAYS include a REQUEST that the firearm be serialized if it is going to be transferred in any way. I imagine that if it turns up later at a crime scene they might look on having followed that request favorably. Unlikely as that may be.

Personally, I'd just hand it over. If going through an FFL the FFL is the one responsible for such things. If you find an FFL willing to transfer without one, and if you say it is pre-68 you probably can, then I don't think anything will come back on you as long as ATFE can't prove it is not pre-68.
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