View Full Version : Which is illegal?

Bam Bam
July 30, 2000, 05:51 PM
OK, I was debating with a friend. Suppose someone owns a semi-auto and wants to convert it to full. Definitely against the law, but just a thought crime so far. He buys a book about how to convert. Since he owns the firearm and the "how-to" I am pretty sure the law is being broken. What about owning the "how-to" without the gun?

July 30, 2000, 06:12 PM
Well, some, like the HK can be legally converted using transferable registered sears, making it a "sear gun". Providing you live in a state that allows it and you follow the proper procedures.

As for your actual question about the book and the rifle, INAL, so I won't even try to give you legal advise. I personally doubt that just having the info could be construed as "intent" Usually the auto parts must be present on the premises too. (from what I've read on the subject) The USMC TM for the M16/AR goes into great detail of the mechanics of the auto fire system. Most people who own the AR have this manual since it's considered one of the best and it was paid for with your tax $.

James K
July 30, 2000, 10:56 PM
Just having the manual does not show intent to commit a crime. (I shudder to think that owning mystery novels would be evidence of intent to commit murder!) In most cases, even possession of FA parts is not a law violation except where the part(s) individually (drop in auto sear) or collectively (carbine M2 kit) are specifically defined as being a machinegun in and of themselves.

But any attempt to make a machinegun is a violation. For example, the ads say that it is legal to possess a STEN parts kit (true) and it is legal to have a decal tube (true). But the ads don't say that if you touch one drill to that tube you show intent to manufacture a machinegun, which is very illegal. An ad for DIASs that were made before the law changed says they are legal to own (true). But drop one in an AR-15 and you have committed a crime, something the ad does not say.


[This message has been edited by Jim Keenan (edited July 31, 2000).]

Badger Arms
July 30, 2000, 11:02 PM
The manual itself is protected under the first amendment. Like was previously said, you have to actually DO something in order to get busted. My question is, why risk it?

July 31, 2000, 11:28 AM
There are some things that just aren't worth messing with. The BATF is looking for any excuse to nail people with 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Owning the semi-auto and the book together are fully legal, but it shows interest in doing something illegal, which while not illegal in itself, may attract painful attention.

If he wants a bullet hose, he should find out how to do it legally. Depending on what state he's in, he should be able to buy one (expensive, but entirely possible).

Better to generate circumstantial evidence of a strong desire to obey the law than to the contrary.

Remember: the job of the police is not to arrest those breaking the law, but to arrest those that the police _think_ are breaking the law. It's up to the courts to determine precise legalities.

4V50 Gary
July 31, 2000, 12:02 PM
What the ATF has done was argue the presence of the "how-to" manual in conjunction with the firearm to prove "intent" to convert. So much for intellectual stimulation with respects to mechanical curiousity.

James K
July 31, 2000, 04:07 PM
Hi, 4v50Gary,

Can you cite any cases where BATF has actually made an arrest or threatened to do so on the basis of possession of a book and a legal firearm? That should make one great First Amendment case.


Bam Bam
July 31, 2000, 07:28 PM
I think the SAR legal column had something about a case where owning the manual and the gun was enough for the BATF to make an arrest. The memory is vague, though. Is that your source Gary?

Don't worry, I am not intent on making a full-auto conversion (which is outlawed in NY anyway). Just curious about the line where curiousity becomes convictibility in the eyes of the law.

July 31, 2000, 09:13 PM
well I have a brick, and a book on pitching.. guess that means I want to throw bricks at people huh??? Well I also have Bleach and Amonia, and the anarcists cook book, Guess I am making posion gas now huh???

Though Police at work.


James K
August 1, 2000, 09:27 PM
Hi, guys,

I have heard about all the rumors and stories, but I can't believe BATF ever tried to make such a policy or ever tried to make an arrest based on possession of a book. There was one case where a local agent in charge went slightly bonkers and had his guys raid several libraries and seize chemistry books, claiming they showed how to make bombs. They got well and truly burned on that one and have been pretty careful since.