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Old March 3, 2013, 06:51 PM   #1
tmorone
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Carrying Form 4's (or F1's)

Interesting one for everyone..

I was at the range today and an RO came up to me and said, "I didn't know you were shooting a silencer, can I please see your class three license."

Didn't bother to have the argument that it's called a F4, not "class three license" since it's similar to the mag vs. clip talk- and he was an RO. Not to mention the "license" thing was weird. Sure thing boss, here's my form.

Then it got weird. The guy was very adamant that not only was I legally required to carry a paper copy, I was required by federal law to carry THE ORIGINAL copy. Then when I reminded him that I was being nice and playing by their range rules, since I'm not legally obligated to show that form to anyone but an ATF agent he had a different opinion.

According to law (as he reads it, and couldn't tell me what law), you have to show it to ANY law enforcement officer or they will promptly confiscate your NFA item. I say, uh no.. He says, uh yes. We go back and forth until finally I just said ok and let him have the last word and walk away.

It made me curious though, has anyone ever had someone come at them that persistently? Or in a way that the guy was citing laws you are fairly certain to be incorrect? Put me in a funk for a while, and makes me want to print the law to wave in his face next time. That and scan the forms to PDF and keep the copy on my iPhone

Last edited by tmorone; March 3, 2013 at 07:37 PM.
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Old March 3, 2013, 08:13 PM   #2
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This guy had a similar problem. http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=512304

It is pretty common problem.

It is a good idea to have a copy on you. I carry a full sized copy in my range bag and a pocket sized one in my wallet.

I dont believe it is required any where that you have the paper work on you but it can save you a huge hassle. AFAIK the only people you are required to show it to is ATF agents but I have shown mine a few times.
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Old March 3, 2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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You do NOT have to have a copy with you, but it is a good idea. You do NOT have to have the original, and in fact there's NO WAY I would carry the original around with me. I put photocopies of all my forms in my range bag and take all of them with me whenever I go out to shoot anything. That way I know I have all of them with me all the time.

All it takes for any LEO to check them is a quick call to the local BATF office and they can quickly confirm that in fact the guns are registered to you. Remember, those documents are really TAX FORMS and as such contain privileged personal information that can only be disclosed to specific parties. I don't think a local LEO can call BATF and get the information directly but I'm not sure of that.
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Old March 4, 2013, 10:10 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Solve the law argument by carrying a copy of the law too.

I'd staple them together, law on top.

Start by saying, I don't mind showing it to you.... as you hand it over... but you'll notice a copy of the pertinent laws right there on top. It clearly says that I do not need to carry the document at all....
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Old March 4, 2013, 04:18 PM   #5
tmorone
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Brian, off the top of your head- do you happen to know which law it is or where I can find it? If you don't know big deal, the my google-fu is strong.
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Old March 4, 2013, 04:46 PM   #6
James K
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For good or bad, a RO is a little god, at least to the extent the range owner allows him to be. There are no laws regulating his behavior (except those that regulate any person's behavior) and no one to question any rules he has or makes up. At one time, many range officers routinely refused to allow blacks or women on the range until some lawsuits changed that behavior. (Gun control activists, of course, can still discriminate by using code words like "wrong hands" or "inappropriate persons", but that is another story.)

I don't know the law on carrying papers but in this state there is state machinegun registration as well as federal, so any state or local officer can ask for evidence of state registration and does not have to accept evidence of federal registration. I always carried copies of both sets of papers.

The business about showing papers to BATFE is on the transfer form itself. It says "This approved application is the registrant's proof of registration and it shall be made available to any ATF officer upon requiest."

Note it does NOT say that ONLY an ATF officer may ask for that proof. Whether a copy is sufficient, I don't know. I do know that in other cases (e.g., a drivers license) a copy is definitely NOT acceptable, but BATFE has advised that the original form be kept in a safe place, so presumably a copy would be OK as long as the registrant could produce the original if required.

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Old March 4, 2013, 09:09 PM   #7
tmorone
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Good info, thanks James
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Old March 4, 2013, 10:13 PM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmorone
Brian, off the top of your head- do you happen to know which law it is or where I can find it? If you don't know big deal, the my google-fu is strong.
Sorry, I have no idea.
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Old March 4, 2013, 10:21 PM   #9
James K
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One note on keeping the original papers. Ordinarily BATFE can easily check the registration whether the possessor of the gun has the forms or not. But in a few cases, BATFE has dropped the ball and failed to enter the firearm in the NFRTR. In that case, the owner's copy is the only thing preventing serious problems, and perhaps even an arrest. So definitely hang on to those papers.

Jim
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Old March 5, 2013, 11:34 AM   #10
KO3422
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I always carry a copy with me and keep it with my range bag or suppressor case. I shrink them down and laminate them to make them a tad bit more durable.

I've heard before that a copy will not suffice, but a few of my Class 3's have always said to keep the original in the safe since you don't want to lose it. Either way, I just keep a copy with me just in case.
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Old March 5, 2013, 07:16 PM   #11
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Maybe you should ask him for a copy of his RO certification.
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Old March 5, 2013, 08:39 PM   #12
medalguy
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From the BATF NFA Handbook, Section 3.7:

Section 3.7 Maintaining registration documents. A person possessing an NFA firearm registered as required by law must retain proof of registration, that is, the document showing the person’s registration, which must be made available to ATF upon request.

It does not specify whether the document must be original or copy. However, it is simple for BATF to determine rfom a copy that a firearm is indeed registered to the person named in the document.

Also, from Section 3.4.2:

3.4.2 Prohibition on ATF’s disclosure of tax returns or tax return information. NFA forms are treated as tax returns and registration information in the NFRTR is considered to be tax returninformation. ATF is generally prohibited from disclosing tax returns and tax return information. However, firearms registration information may be disclosed to registered owners/possessors of the firearms.
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Old March 6, 2013, 09:10 AM   #13
Skans
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Quote:
Solve the law argument by carrying a copy of the law too.
That's good advice - I might just have to do this.
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:17 PM   #14
tmorone
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I've been looking a little more into this and have noticed that it changes a bit from state to state.

For example, in Texas most NFA stuff is specifically illegal unless they are federally registered (via F1 or F4). So if you can't produce your forms in TX, it's game over.

Knowing that, I looked up FL law (I live in FL) and it's pretty vague. SBR's, SBS's, MG's are specifically defined by law- but suppressors are not even mentioned.

Even the ATF site suggests carrying a copy of forms with you. I'd imagine that if they suggest carrying a copy, it's not necessary to carry originals- so that clears that one up pretty well.
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:26 PM   #15
TheGoldenState
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RO as in Range Officer?

RANGE officer?

I wouldn't have showed him anything.
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:40 PM   #16
tmorone
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TheGoldenState-

I didn't have to show the guy anything, but the conversation would have gone something like this...

Him-"I need to see your class three license"
Me- "I don't have to show you"
Him- "You don't have to shoot here either, play by the rules or go home"
Me- "Ok, bye" -or- "Here's my papers"

I didn't feel like showing the guy, but EVERY range within an hour drive of my house (4 ranges) ask to see the F4's. This particular range is the closest (15 min) so my ability to continue using that range is important to me. Thus, "here's my papers" even though it's not necessary.
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Old March 10, 2013, 06:48 PM   #17
Tom Servo
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tmorone, what state do you live in? As Willie Lowman correctly pointed out in this thread, the Form 4 is an affirmative defense against charges of owning an unregistered NFA firearm.

In plain English, that means you are assumed to be breaking the law until you prove you meet an exemption. The Form 4 is that proof.

Now, is the RO law enforcement? Probably not, but we live in a world of liability and potential liability, and one of his responsibilities is making sure no illegal activity is taking place on his watch.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:48 PM   #18
tmorone
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Tom,

I'm in Florida. After looking at the law there's nothing here like there is in Texas that you're pretty much guilty until proven innocent by forms.

My main frustration is that the RO was telling me that it was literally a crime to not have the forms- which is totally false. Think it's pretty much sorted out though. Thank you ALL very much for the help and input!

-Tom
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:23 AM   #19
eodinert
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Tell him that a 'class III' license is a dealers license for an SOT that deals in title II weapons, and that you're not a dealer.

I understand people not knowing the law, but it irritates me when they don't know the law, and pretend that they do.
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Old March 18, 2013, 03:19 PM   #20
dakota.potts
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tmorone, where are you at in Florida?
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:46 PM   #21
tmorone
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Dakota,

Tampa...
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Old March 22, 2013, 11:24 PM   #22
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I ask because I have awesome range up near Jacksonville that's much nicer about that sort of thing but Tampa's quite a drive. That's where I lived for the first 6 years or so. Good luck with your situation.
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