View Full Version : How many machine guns in civilian hands?

Brett Bellmore
May 19, 2000, 01:25 PM
A question has come up at another site I frequent, as to how many many legally owned, functioning machine guns are owned by private citizens in the US. Anyone here know?

Sic semper tyrannis!

Victor Romen
May 20, 2000, 11:44 AM
I don't know the numbers, but I've heard it said that civilian's own half of all machine guns in the U.S. the rest being in the possession of LE. I'm not sure if that fraction includes the military or not, but I doubt it. I saw this on a TV program about machine guns (Discovery Channel, History Channel or one of those).

Victor Romen
May 20, 2000, 11:45 AM
Doh! Double post.

[This message has been edited by Victor Romen (edited May 20, 2000).]

May 20, 2000, 01:55 PM
Call the ATF and ask them how many NFA weapons are on the rolls.
For some reason or another the # 250,000 or so keeps comming to mind but I have no idea if it's correct. I've heard that # tossed around from time to time.

May 20, 2000, 07:17 PM
I heard the 250,000 number about 15 years ago. It has probably more than doubled by now. At that time, there was not a single case of a legally-registered Class 3 weapon being used in a crime. Is that still the case?

Victor Romen
May 21, 2000, 12:53 AM
There is one case of an NFA weapon being used in a crime. I believe it was a Mac 10 with a suppressor owned and used by a police officer to kill a drug dealer. Can anyone second that information? I'm not positive about it.

May 21, 2000, 06:35 AM
There are currently in excess of 265,000 permit holders for "destructive devices;" however, this number includes suppressors and sawed-off shotguns and rifles, as well as auto weapons.
I saw that TV show, too. Approximately half of the Browning M1917's & M1919's made are in civilian hands (there were about 64,000 made of each.)
The most reliable source I can quote on MG's being used in crimes reports that one LEO used a Mac to "grease a snitch."

I have often wondered how many people there are in this country who have great uncle John's old trunk in the attic which they've never opened-and which contains a Maxim MG, or other WWI souveniers.
It is estimated that returninig doughboys brought in at least 1 million guns as war trophies. While it is certain that many of these are the prosaic rifles and pistols of the era, it stands to reason that since no firearms laws were in effect in 1918, a good many of them were MG's. It also stands to reason that a good many of them are still around and still unregistered 'cause the current owner doesn't even know he owns it.

Shoot straight & make big holes, regards, Richard at The Shottist's Center (http://forums.delphi.com/m/main.asp?sigdir=45acp45lc)

May 21, 2000, 11:02 AM
What I meant by "being used in a crime" was being used for criminal purposes. Surely this LEO wasn't using it for criminal purposes? Details, please, if available.

Brett Bellmore
May 21, 2000, 01:48 PM
Lunde: I recall a LITTLE of that case, and, yes, he WAS using it for criminal purposes; To wit, murder; A badge isn't a license to kill, you know. Really don't recall much from the case beyond the fact that he didn't kill whoever it was in self defense, just went out and executed them.

Sic semper tyrannis!

Art Eatman
May 23, 2000, 05:24 PM
During the time leading up to the passage of the ban on newly manufactured machine guns being sold to civilians, I saw a quasi-offical number of around 98,000. This number doubled during the summer, I next heard; I imagine this was in large part drop-in sears for AR-15s. The last number I've seen was a few months back, and I think it was around 238,000 total civilian-owned full-auto critters.


Eric Blair
June 2, 2000, 03:47 PM
What I heard/read was that the bad guy had raped someone in the officers family. (Wife/sister/etc) Below is what I found on Deja news, it doesn't mention a rape, but give all the rest of the details.

From Deja News:
Since 1934, only one legally owned machinegun (of some 100,000+) has ever been used in crime, and that was a murder committed by a law enforcement officer. On September 15th, 1988, a 13-year veteran of the Dayton, OH police department, Patrolman Roger Waller, then 32, used his fully automatic MAC-11
.380 cal. submachinegun to kill a police informant, 52-year-old Lawrence Hileman. Patrolman Waller pleaded guilty in 1990, and he and an accomplice were sentenced to 18 years in prison. The 1986 'ban' on sales of new machineguns does not apply to purchases by law enforcement or government agencies. ---
Thanks to the staff of the Columbus, OH Public Library for the details of the Waller case.