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Old September 24, 2017, 10:03 AM   #1
twhidd
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FFL Responsibility

A situation came up at one of our retail locations the other day. The store manager stated that a guy came into the store with three Glock auto sears. The guy wanted to know what we would pay for all of them. It was obvious from the guys statements that he had acquired them illegally. The manager told the guy to take the parts, leave the store and don't ever come back.

The manager called me and asked what I think he should have done. I told him that I would have probably confiscated them and called the ATF. He said he never really got his hands on them or he might have done that.

I'm just looking for opinions on what the FFLs responsibilities are in situations like that.



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Old September 24, 2017, 11:13 AM   #2
raimius
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I don't think you would want to take possession. First, you don't want possession of stolen goods. Second, "confiscating" might wind up as theft in the eyes of the law. If you want the law involved, let them figure it out.
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Old September 24, 2017, 11:34 AM   #3
FITASC
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You do not know that they were stolen; they could have been made by the guy in question in his garage. I might have tried to at least get his name, politely ask him how he came into possession, etc., and then turned that over to the ATF.
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Old September 24, 2017, 01:08 PM   #4
twhidd
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Originally Posted by FITASC View Post
You do not know that they were stolen; they could have been made by the guy in question in his garage. I might have tried to at least get his name, politely ask him how he came into possession, etc., and then turned that over to the ATF.


I never assumed that the guy stole them. He could have very well made them. He could have even bought them. Either way, he was not a licensed manufacturer, nor did he have an FFL of any kind. So, he was in possession of them illegally.
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Old September 24, 2017, 01:17 PM   #5
ShootistPRS
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I take it that these sears were not just sears for a semi-auto Glock but that they would be used to make a Glock into a full auto pistol?
Is it really THAT easy to make a Glock full auto? I may have to reconsider owning a Glock. (not!)
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Old September 24, 2017, 01:17 PM   #6
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Yeah, confiscating them would have been a terrible idea. First, an FFL isn't a law enforcement entity, and confiscating them would have been a vigilante act in my opinion. Usually law enforcement discourages vigilanteism.

Second, taking them could have opened you up to all sorts of liability, from having illegal items on your premises to perhaps theft (if the items turned out to be legal). Also, what if you had had to use force after the guy realized you were confiscating the items?

I managed at two different FFLs over the last six years, and I had things like that happen several times. Almost always it was a customer who didn't realize they had made an illegal SBR or AOW, and in every case the very first thing I would do is tell the customer to get his illegal firearm (or the part that made it illegal) out of our store immediately.
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Old September 24, 2017, 01:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twhidd
Either way, he was not a licensed manufacturer, nor did he have an FFL of any kind. So, he was in possession of them illegally.
Do you know for a fact that there are no pre-May 19th, 1986 transferable Glock auto-sears out there? I don't, so I wouldn't have been 100% sure they were illegal. Also, do you know for sure that the man wasn't an employee of an FFL/SOT? An employee can take possession of those kinds of items off the premises of his employer if he's doing it in the scope of his job. Maybe he was just really bad at explaining things?

My point is that you're not a law enforcement officer and it's not your responsibility to determine if something like that is illegal or not. And it's certainly not your responsibility to take vigilante-type action after making that determination, at least not in a case like this where nobody's safety was in immediate risk.

Call law enforcement if you feel it's warranted, but you don't need to try to perform the duties of law enforcement yourself.
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Old September 24, 2017, 02:28 PM   #8
twhidd
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Originally Posted by Theohazard View Post
Do you know for a fact that there are no pre-May 19th, 1986 transferable Glock auto-sears out there? I don't, so I wouldn't have been 100% sure they were illegal. Also, do you know for sure that the man wasn't an employee of an FFL/SOT? An employee can take possession of those kinds of items off the premises of his employer if he's doing it in the scope of his job. Maybe he was just really bad at explaining things?

.

There are no pre1986 full auto Glock 18s registered with the ATF. I called the manager in question. He said the guy bought them online and told him they were for airsoft guns and they work in a real Glock. So now the picture is a little clearer. The guy was kinda ignorant of the legalities of possessing the things.
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Old September 24, 2017, 02:35 PM   #9
Nathan
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Any chance they were one of the unfinished kits sold online?
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Old September 24, 2017, 06:11 PM   #10
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twhidd
There are no pre1986 full auto Glock 18s registered with the ATF.
I didn't say anything about Glock 18s, I said Glock auto sears. And your previous posts didn't mention Glock 18s either, you also referred to Glock auto sears.

But it's mostly irrelevant whether or not they were illegal. Either way, it's a bad idea to play vigilante and confiscate them. And it's also a bad idea to intentionally take possession of possible illegal items. Let law enforcement deal with that, that's their job.
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Last edited by Theohazard; September 24, 2017 at 06:46 PM.
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Old September 24, 2017, 08:22 PM   #11
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First, an FFL isn't a law enforcement entity
This is the correct answer. I'd have probably given a heads-up to law enforcement (who, in my experience, would have done nothing), but that's the limit of the FFL's responsibility.

Here's the thing: people talk drivel all day long at gun shop counters. There's a chance they weren't even real auto sears. Getting into a physical altercation while trying to confiscate them? Nope. Not worth it.
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Old September 24, 2017, 09:07 PM   #12
twhidd
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Thanks for all the input.


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Old September 25, 2017, 12:18 PM   #13
ShootistPRS
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Is an FFL a mandatory reporter?
As a minister, if I am made aware of certain activities I am bound by law to report them or at least what I know of them. Is this true of an FFL too?
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Old September 26, 2017, 03:35 AM   #14
mag1911
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In the strictest sense, taking them would have put you in possession of an illegal item and subject to prosecution. Some people, SJWs like news anchors or etc, can get by with that but a FFL in Georgia likely wouldn't qualify.
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Old September 26, 2017, 10:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Either way, it's a bad idea to play vigilante and confiscate them. And it's also a bad idea to intentionally take possession of possible illegal items. Let law enforcement deal with that, that's their job.
Quote:
In the strictest sense, taking them would have put you in possession of an illegal item and subject to prosecution.
OK, to be fair by that logic a store clerk or banker who is handed counterfeit money would be prosecuted for keeping the counterfeit money even if they immediately notified law enforcement. That is simply not the case.

I don't buy the guys innocence explanation so much, but then again it would truly take an idiot to try and sell a known illegal item to a FFL holder... Someone who will obviously have a good understanding of the law.
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Old September 26, 2017, 11:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5whiskey
OK, to be fair by that logic a store clerk or banker who is handed counterfeit money would be prosecuted for keeping the counterfeit money even if they immediately notified law enforcement.
The first quote you quoted is mine, so I'll only address your response to me.

First, that's not a logical equivalency: You're referring to a situation where someone passes illegal fake bills to a bank teller. At the moment of transfer, the bank teller wouldn't have necessarily known they were illegal. In the OP's scenario he was referring to he used the word "confiscate"; the manager would have actively taken items from someone that he knew at the time were illegal. There's a difference.

Second, I never said anything about anyone being prosecuted, the other guy did. I simply said it's a bad idea to intentionally take possession of illegal items. And I stand by that statement.

Considering an FFL can have its premises inspected and inventoried by the ATF at any time (yes, I know the restrictions and how often they can do this, I just don't want to get into too many details), it's probably not a good idea for an FFL to have illegal firearms on the premises. I've been through several of these inspections, and each time it was completely unannounced; an ATF agent simply walked in and showed their badge.
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Old September 26, 2017, 11:29 PM   #17
Aguila Blanca
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Is a Glock auto sear by itself illegal, or is it only illegal if you also possess a Glock pistol it will function in?
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Old September 26, 2017, 11:52 PM   #18
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Is a Glock auto sear by itself illegal, or is it only illegal if you also possess a Glock pistol it will function in?
I spent my entire firearms career in a non-full-auto state, so my knowledge of the ATF's enforcement of machine guns is limited. That said, there are plenty of cases where specific combinations of parts are considered machine guns by themselves.

I'm pretty sure that the parts required to make a Glock full-auto are considered a machine gun by themselves (usually that's just a different backplate).

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/at..._lqEwve2AGbzOg

Quote:
Originally Posted by the ATF
The National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. 5845(b) defines “machine gun” to include any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

Held: The auto sear known by various trade names including “AR15 Auto Sear,” “Drop In Auto Sear,” and “Auto Sear II,” is a combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. Consequently, the auto sear is a machine gun as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(b).
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Last edited by Theohazard; September 27, 2017 at 12:02 AM.
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Old September 27, 2017, 04:12 AM   #19
mag1911
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And I said "In the strictest sense, taking them would have put you in possession of an illegal item and subject to prosecution."

Meaning mere possession might get you prosecuted. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't but I wouldn't bet my freedom, my life savings and/or my FFL on the later.
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Old September 28, 2017, 02:34 AM   #20
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Contact LE/ATFE, make copies of the video recording available if asked. Otherwise, smile politely and invite the individual to leave the premises. Immediately.
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Old October 1, 2017, 02:05 AM   #21
JoeSixpack
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Im not sure if there is any legal duty here.

But baring that knowledge I would have handled it just the way it happen.
Take your parts and get the hell out and don't come back.
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