The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > NFA Guns and Gear

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 28, 2010, 09:57 AM   #1
mapsjanhere
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 2,816
"Demilled" Machine gun

I was asked an opinion on a potential Class III infraction, and since IANAL I pass it on to the internet of course. The gun in question is "great grandfather's WWI machine gun". A little bit more details, and it turns out to be a WWI area BAR with the "full auto" selector. Now, at some point (probably before WWII) a steel pin was welded on to prevent the selector to go to FA. Everything else seems original.
The question is, is this legal to own, and if not, can it be legally welded shut to make it legal, or are they better off dropping it in the next "no question asked" bin?
__________________
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
mapsjanhere is offline  
Old January 28, 2010, 04:12 PM   #2
Chipperman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 31, 2000
Location: Live Free or Die, Baby!
Posts: 1,438
Not legal in its current state unless accompanied by ATF paperwork.

Options would be do torch cut receiver to ATF specs, or destroy receiver and sell the rest of the parts to someone who legally owns a BAR.

Trashing the whole thing would be a shame and not necessary.
Chipperman is offline  
Old January 28, 2010, 08:26 PM   #3
James K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
I will try to explain as clearly as I can. (BTW, I use "you" in the general sense.)

IF you find, have, buy, inherit or otherwise acquire an unregistered machinegun, including a "DEWAT"*, you are in possession of contraband, just as illegal as a kilo of heroin. Period.

There is no way you can legally register the gun, deactivate it and keep it, or sell it. You can't even destroy it because possession is a felony and in destroying it you are destroying evidence of a felony.

In theory, you can donate it to a public (government owned) museum, but that could also get you into hot water depending on how you do it.

Like that heroin, the only thing you can do legally is to call the police or BATFE and surrender the firearm. I strongly recommend you work with BATFE, not the local police. Hire an attorney and let him/her make the arrangements. (No, don't walk into the Federal building waving a BAR around - they tend not to have a sense of humor these days.)

With museum quality material, you can ask (ask, not demand) that BATFE consider donating the gun to a military or other museum. Sometimes they will agree.

That is the story.

*GCA 68 required registration of DEactivated WAr Trophies (DEWATS) which had earlier been declared "non-guns." Today, unless a machinegun has been cut up in accordance with BATFE requirements, it is still a machinegun, even if the barrel or other parts have been welded and the gun is not fireable.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old January 28, 2010, 09:13 PM   #4
Lawyer Daggit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 5, 2004
Posts: 1,181
I agree, have an attorney approach the Bureau without mentioning your name and see if they will agree to him handing in the firearm without there being any charges pressed, with the proviso that if the firearm has been used in a crime (other than its possession) the deal regarding charges is off.

From BATF point of view I would think it better for them to get the firearm out of circulation than have it remain there and run the risk that someone may choose to dispose of it in another fashion.

It is clearly a different jurisdiction but i have had some success in Australia with this type of approach.
Lawyer Daggit is offline  
Old January 28, 2010, 09:15 PM   #5
Lawyer Daggit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 5, 2004
Posts: 1,181
PS. If you want to find a lawyer handling firearms cases google the 'shooters bar'.
Lawyer Daggit is offline  
Old January 28, 2010, 09:40 PM   #6
James K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
There is rarely any problem with BATFE in this situation, as they have heard it many times before and have good procedures. That is why I don't suggest going to the local police as they have no experience in federal law and may well over-react.

I know of people who handled the business themselves, and a BATFE agent came to the person's home and left with the gun, no problems. I suggested an attorney because that is never a bad idea, not because I thought the thing could not be handled without one.

When this question is asked on this or other sites, there are always people who insist that "all you have to do is weld it" or "just stick a wood plug in the barrel" or "it's OK if you don't have ammo", or "my granddad has a Tommy gun he shoots all the time and never had no papers" or "you don't need to register guns, it's all in the Second Amendment", and so on and on.

I tried above to spell out the facts. If you (general "you") do have an unregistered MG (or other NFA firearm) there is NO legal way you can keep it no matter who says otherwise about their grandfather or Santa Claus. If you choose to keep it illegally, that is your lookout, but consider that it could be a nasty surprise for your heirs if you pass on.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old January 29, 2010, 08:42 AM   #7
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 10,810
What everyone else has said is correct. The gun is illegal contraband, and as laws stand right now, and for the forseeable future, possession of this gun carries some BIG penalties. That being said, I hate to see historical firearms like this one have to be destroyed. I might have to obey the NFA, but I don't have to like or approve of it. It constitutes an illegal confiscation of property without compensation in my opinion.
Skans is offline  
Old February 1, 2010, 12:40 PM   #8
mapsjanhere
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 2,816
Thank you all for the information, and the privately expressed concerns about my well being with the ATF and other interested groups.
As I stated, I was asked these questions, an no, it's not my family's gun, they all wore field gray. I originally didn't take the story serious at all, since I got the impression the asker may have seen or heard about it, but didn't actually have the gun. It wasn't until several months later that I read an article about the early variants of the BAR and realized how well that description fit; this triggered the post.
Since my range has a very active class III group, with lots of knowledgeable people, and since (to my surprise) this gun is legal if it got registered, my first first assumption is that the asker was as uninformed (but interested) about the legalities as I was, while the owners know what they are doing and have the appropriate paperwork.
__________________
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
mapsjanhere is offline  
Old February 1, 2010, 01:33 PM   #9
James K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
MAPSJANHERE,

"since (to my surprise) this gun is legal if it got registered"

IF THIS IS IN THE U.S., AND THE WEAPON IS AN UNREGISTERED MACHINEGUN, THERE IS NO WAY THE OWNER CAN MAKE IT LEGAL OR REGISTER IT. HE IS VIOLATING THE LAW AND IF HE IS CAUGHT HE CAN FACE FINE OR IMPRISONMENT!!!

I can only can only regret wasting time trying to explain to people who refuse to read what I write. If your friend is in doubt, he can go to the nearest BATFE office and try to register the gun. They will tell him the story.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 1, 2010, 02:30 PM   #10
mapsjanhere
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 2,816
sorry, my unclear English. "Could be legal if it got registered in time" about which I have no knowledge
__________________
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
mapsjanhere is offline  
Old February 1, 2010, 03:02 PM   #11
James K
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
The only two times an unregistered machinegun could have been registered were in 1934, when the NFA was passed, and 1968, when there was an amnesty due to changes in the law.

On rare occasions, BATFE has made exceptions but the conditions were exceptional. Even an Air Force lieutenant general, presented with an AK-47 by the government of South Vietnam, had to leave it with his agency when he retired. He couldn't register it and keep it.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 1, 2010, 09:47 PM   #12
Lawyer Daggit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 5, 2004
Posts: 1,181
If you had the right case- all the right subjectives regarding a war hero etc and the money to take on the Gov't re the BATF on the second Amendment argument could prove interesting.

They may not, under the right circumstances want to run an action that went to the core of their agencies existence and look to settle by allowing someone to quietly licence the gun.

Please note, I am an Australian attorney not an American one who is just ruminating..... not giving advice... could be an interesting fight....
Lawyer Daggit is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07082 seconds with 10 queries