Legal Now Or Not?


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deadwhitemale
September 17, 2004, 12:43 AM
A Mak-90 AK knockoff. Sometime in the early Nineties (exact date unknown), someone traded a Ruger Mini-30 for it at a gun show. The Mak-90 at the time of the swap had original AK-configuration wood on it -- I mean with the regular pistol grip and buttstock, not any kind of thumbhole stock.

He traded the Ruger Mini-30 even for the Mak-90 with a licensed FFL dealer who had a booth set up at the show, where the Mak-90 was on open display. He had no reason to suspect anything was not kosher, and went on his way, basically satisfied with the swap. He had no idea if the Mak-90 had come with the regualr pistol grip, or if someone had put that on after-market. If the latter, he had no idea when that was done, nor by whom.

He test fired the Mak-90 enough to satisfy himself that it was functionally reliable, cleaned it well, took steps to preserve it, put it into long-term storage, and basically forgot about it for 10 or 12 years.

On Monday the 13th, hearing that the 1994 "assault weapons" ban had expired, and finding himself strapped for cash, he looked around at his gun collection, chose the weapon he considered the most expendable and easiest to replace -- the Mak-90 -- and went out and sold it, for cash, to a licensed FFL dealer, in a sporting goods store.

Now what, if any law or laws were broken here, and by whom? If someone way back in the untraceable mists of time changed the wood on that Mak-90, and that was illegal, did the man who traded the Ruger for it in the early Nineties break any law just by having it? Does that matter anymore since the 13th? Was any law broken by him selling it on the 13th, when the 1994 ban was dead?

Someone -- who may very well be an informant of some kind -- called him up and told him that the gun was illegal under the *1989* law that required thumbhole stocks and *a certain number of American-made parts* in the gun. He kept saying so, and trying to get the man who sold the darned thing on Monday to admit it, perhaps on tape(?).

So what's the real deal here? I thought it didn't matter anymore about the shape of the stock and such nonsense as that. I thought you could put any kind of stocks or grips or handles you liked on a gun now, no matter when it was made or by whom :confused: :uhoh: :confused:

DWM

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artherd
September 17, 2004, 05:07 AM
Have your friend tell this stooge to cease and desist contacting you, and to get a ????ing warrant or contact your attorney.

There is a certin ban on the IMPORT of a weapon with a certin number of forign-made parts. Not sure if you are futrhur restricted once the gun is in the US.

deadwhitemale
September 17, 2004, 05:27 AM
Thank you very much for the response, Artherd. I was beginning to think no one would ever respond.

DWM

Tamara
September 17, 2004, 08:12 AM
I thought it didn't matter anymore about the shape of the stock and such nonsense as that.

Yes, it still matters very much on imported rifles.

The MAK-90 originally shipped (in 1990) with a thumbhole stock and five-round mags. This is because in 1989, President Bush issued an EO requesting the ATF to re-define "sporting firearms" that were allowed into the country to specifically exclude things like flash suppressors, bayonet lugs, folding or collapsable stocks, and pistol grips "that protruded conspicuously below the action." Some guns were also, IIRC, banned by name. Foreign manufacturers immediately ditched the flash suppressors, ground off the bayo lugs, fitted hideous thumbhole stocks, and renamed the guns.

Anyhow, the heart of the matter is that if someone has a MAK-90 with a pistol grip and standard buttstock, and it doesn't have enough of a US parts count to transform it into a "domestic" rather than an "import", then, yes, it's just as big a federal felony today as it was last week.

deadwhitemale
September 17, 2004, 08:29 AM
How could anyone trading for a used/pre-owned MAK-90 at a gunshow 11 or 12 years ago possibly know, or be expected to know, how many or what proportion of U.S.-made parts such a gun had in it ?

Is it really possible that even now, after the *expiration* of the AWB, someone could be criminally prosecuted for the shape or color of a gun's stock/grip/ handle? Astounding.

o/`Ain't that America ... o/`

DWM

Tamara
September 17, 2004, 09:02 AM
Is it really possible that even now, after the *expiration* of the AWB, someone could be criminally prosecuted for the shape or color of a gun's stock/grip/ handle?

Possible? Yes. Probable? No. Is the gun in that person's possession any more? If not, I wouldn't sweat it too badly.

As far as being "after the *expiration* of the AWB," like I tried pointing out above, the rule in question has nothing to do with the AWB. It was around for five years before the AWB was passed, and will be around for many years after unless repealed by law or countermanded by EO.

Whether the AWB is in effect or not doesn't change the import rules. It's like complaining that you weren't speeding when you are being given a parking ticket.

Old Fuff
September 17, 2004, 09:13 AM
Tamara is right on both points. The Feds could do something, but it is VERY unlikely they will. For one thing thay have to show criminal intent, and the rifle's previous owner bought it in good faith from a licenced dealer, and then sold it back to one - if I understand the story correctly. There is no evidence that he knew that the gun wasn't in its original configuration when he bought it, and it is unlikely the ATF&E could prove he was the one who changed the stock.

It would appear that for some reason someone is trying to make an issue of this for an unknown reason. Be that as it may, if there's not more to the story I don't think it will go anywhere.

BTR
September 17, 2004, 11:57 AM
It is my understanding that it is legal to possess such a rifle, but not to manufacture one. Can anyone comment?

jefnvk
September 17, 2004, 12:27 PM
There is a certin ban on the IMPORT of a weapon with a certin number of forign-made parts. Not sure if you are futrhur restricted once the gun is in the US.

IIRC, the gun can't be put into a configuration that would not be legal to import. However, if enough parts were swapped out that there were ten or fewer parts foreign parts, then it would have be legal to do anything that wouldn't have been against the AWB, if it was after 1994.

deadwhitemale
September 17, 2004, 01:57 PM
Old Fuff,

Does intent even matter anymore?

All the guy who sold the gun on Monday the 13th knows is that the gun's stock was like that when he traded for it , sometime prior to May, 1993.

The person who seems to be trying to make an issue of it has a very checkered past, including at least one "accidental" homicide. He's *exactly* the sort of person the government lkes to employ as paid informants.

The guy who sold the gun on Monday the 13th has always been an extremely unpopular person locally, whom no one ever hesitated to snitch on for anything, including things no one would ordinarily be turned in for, and including things that never even happened at all.

Also, he got himself a little too famous as a pro-gun rights activist in the middle and latter Nineties, to the point of drawing some unwelcome attention from "law" enforcement. It is possible that something like this might be what they've been looking and probing for all along -- for eight years, anyway.

And to think, a good and honest man can be destroyed for the shape of the handle on a gun he no longer even has, and didn't fire for 11 or 12 years.

Land of the free, home of the brave. Yeah, right.

DWM

Destructo6
September 17, 2004, 04:58 PM
It is my understanding that it is legal to possess such a rifle, but not to manufacture one. Can anyone comment?
That's my understanding, too. The crime was commited by the "maker", not by subsequent possessors.

The rifle would still be considered contraband and subject to confiscation, but the owner would not be subject to prosecution.

That's my take, anyway.

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