Returning from Iraq with captured weapons?


Mark IV Series 80
March 23, 2003, 09:45 PM
We have many servicemen and women in uniform and in harm's way....... so it may not be appropriate to ask this question at this time......... (Moderators, please delete if it's not appropriate)

Are there any rules about returning home with captured firearms?

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March 23, 2003, 09:52 PM
Yes, the individual soldier may not bring home captured weapons. However, some unit commanders may authorize catured weapons to be brought back for unit weapons familiarization training.

March 23, 2003, 10:39 PM
When was this rule established, I'm just wondering because one of my relatives picked up a P-38 on his "walking tour of Europe", as he calls it, and used to keep it handy for home defense up till a few years ago.

March 23, 2003, 10:50 PM
I was in the Somolia 92-93 and that was the rule then. They even had us take everything out of our bags and they went through to make sure we didn't have any unauthorized weapons. We were also patted down before got onboard the 747 for our trip home.

March 23, 2003, 10:56 PM
Not to mention that EOD teams will be tasked to inspect the vehicles... one of the techs said they'd found a MP5 stashed perfectly in the door panel of a CUCV when they Xrayed it.

Then again, stuff does make it back. You can't check *everything*

March 23, 2003, 11:05 PM
It must have happened after Vietnam. Because during that war, a friend of mine "liberated" an especially nice specimen of an SKS from an unfortunate foe.

March 23, 2003, 11:14 PM
It's a shame too, when you walk through a warehouse in Kuwait, and see stacks of captured arms. It's like walking through a grocery store!

There's always ways to bring them back, though. I mean, what if you are the only person to have the combos to the safes with the classified material? They certainly can't search there....

March 23, 2003, 11:18 PM
I've heared that there were more than a few AKs mailed back piece by piece during desert storm, haven't actually seen any though so it may just be a rumor.

March 23, 2003, 11:20 PM
It's easy if you have a job that requires a van...or a tech kit...just hide it. BTDT..


March 24, 2003, 12:09 AM
For what it's worth I have an old rifle my grandfather brought back from WWII.

March 24, 2003, 02:45 AM
The sad fact is that some soldiers will take these weapons home; they will get caught and they will get court-martialed and spend time in jail.

Not worth it. Unfortunately "Joe" always thinks he is smarter than the customs inspectors.


March 24, 2003, 02:54 AM
My understanding is that the ruling forbidding war trophies took effect somewhere in the '84 - '86 time frame. It would make sense that it happened around '86 when Reagan signed the bill that included the ban on further importation or sales of full auto firearms to civilians.

March 24, 2003, 04:02 AM
Units will also bring back large pieces of equipment for unit area decorations, basically.
It's illegal to bring any weapons back but you can go through the chain of command for permission, as long as you can legally own the weapon in the states. However, some of the more creative soldiers will find ways. I knew a guy who brought back and RPK in the fuel cells of a tracked vehicle.

March 24, 2003, 01:20 PM
Remember 1968? What happened that year kids? That's right---the gun control act! When I went over to Vietnam, I was planning on bringing back an AK-47; by the time I left in '69, it was verboten, and they were checking and prosecuting. A few sailors managed to find some hidey-holes on carriers and the like, but 1968 was pretty much the end of guns as war souveniers.

TFL Survivor

March 24, 2003, 03:37 PM
I dont know why I though this but it was my understanding that Pistols were okay to take as trophies anything else was a no no.

I remember after Desert Storm, Ft. Stewart had "Amenesty Boxes" for soldiers to turn in captured weapns without penalty for awhile.
Bunch of AKs and MP5 got turned.

March 24, 2003, 03:42 PM
If the weapon meets all of the legal red tape (not a machinegun, not a semi-automatic assault weapon, not a Saturday Night Special per '68 CGA, ATF approved for sporting use), the individual may fill out the forms and import the gun.

Average Guy
March 24, 2003, 04:27 PM
Then again, stuff does make it back.
Indeed. I'm the proud owner of an East German 9x18 Makarov that came back from Kuwait ('91) in the air cleaner of a Hummer. (I bought it from a guy in the unit.) Boy, did they read us the riot act before we got ready to go home--telling us that if they found anything, the whole unit would be put at the end of the rotation list, and that "some other unit" already got delayed by some guy with a grenade in a canteen. Well, it sorta worked. But then, I'd already mailed all my booty back home.

As far as the big stuff, it was kinda neat to see Soviet anti-aircraft guns and armored vehicles on the tank ramp at 29 Palms.

March 24, 2003, 05:37 PM
The regulations [27 CFR 178.114(c)] provide that firearms determined by the Department of Defense to be war souvenirs may be imported into the United States by members of the U.S. Armed Forces under such provisions and procedures as the Department of Defense may issue.

For information regarding the classification of war souvenirs or trophies by the Department of Defense, see DOD regulations AR 608-4, OPNAVINST 3460.7A, AFR 125-13, and MCO 5800.6A, describing articles and material that are not considered war trophies and may not be kept or imported into the United States by members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The aforementioned Department of Defense regulations list machineguns and other firearms coming within the purview of the NFA, regardless of the degree of serviceability, among the items which are prohibited from being retained and introduced into the United States by Armed Forces personnel.

The Customs Service is authorized to release a firearm without an import permit from ATF where a properly executed DD Form 603, Registration of War Trophy Firearms, is presented certifying that the firearm to be brought in has been classified as a war souvenir under DOD regulations. To be valid, the DOD Form 603 must have been issued during a period authorized by DOD.

March 24, 2003, 05:51 PM
One of my people is in Afghanistan with the 10th Spcl Forces Group right now.

I asked him where my AK parts were and he told me he didn't believe I would really hold his job until he got out of prison!!

Can't wait to see what he is bringing me...the hints are driving me nuts!

I'll actually be happy as long as he comes home whole.

March 24, 2003, 08:07 PM
Guys, you need to shut up about this stuff, right now!!! The general orders in place prohibit taking any sort of weapon as a war trophy. You can fill out forms all day long but you will not be allowed to bring firearms home. Trust me on this. You guys "hinting" about what your buds are bringing home will do nothing but get your "bud" in trouble. Do you think CID/OSI/NIS?FBI, et al don't read these boards????

Mod, you should close this thread before someone gets real bright ideas. BTW, merely asking another soldier to bring you back a weapon in violation of the GO is the crime of solicitation under the UCMJ. :what:

March 24, 2003, 08:19 PM
paranoya will destroya :rolleyes:

March 24, 2003, 11:09 PM
A healthy dose of paranoia keeps you alive... and occassionally from Uncle Sam's hotel.

March 24, 2003, 11:27 PM
when we go 'urban' here soon........the guys will be way more worried about getting their asses home in one piece

March 25, 2003, 06:53 AM
Jimp, everyone here is capable of taking responsibility for their words. I don't see anything suggesting an active scheme to bring weapons back from Iraq or Afghanistan.

March 25, 2003, 08:23 AM
Remember 1968? What happened that year kids? That's right---the gun control act!

thanks a lot, loser Democrats!

March 25, 2003, 08:42 AM
A unit down the hall from me has an AK-47 and a Makarov on display from Desert Storm. IIRC both were de-milled (don't know how) and had to be declared, then became unit property as a permanent display. Absolutely NO WAY any individual can legally take possession of them.

During DS/DS I worked the aerial port at Rhein-Main. I did see some CONEX containers being completely emptied out and inventoried because someone thought there were weapons hidden inside.

It's not worth the potential trouble. You can talk about it all you want, but my advice is let it end there.

Mark IV Series 80
March 26, 2003, 10:04 PM
What a shame!

We can trust our Men and Women in Uniform with machineguns and artillary, to put their own lives at risk, to protect our country and our way of life...... but we can't trust them with a war memento to show their kids and grandchildren!

March 27, 2003, 01:13 AM
I'm with Mark IV on this one.

Brings to mind the laws on "horrible" fireworks. One shoots off fireworks on July 4 to celebrate American freedoms. But the Government won't let you cause they decided it's unsafe and that it's their job to be your Mommy.

Tells us a lot about American Freedom we celebrate with Fireworks....and Defend with our blood. :fire:

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