NFA question


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xtarheel
October 3, 2012, 08:46 PM
An acquaintance asked me to come over and evaluate / appraise a group of firearms that he just inherited from his late father. Everything was going fine until I opened a case with a Thompson Model 1927 A1, serial number 10XXX F. The barrel is 12" long with a Thompson marked compensator. Working the bolt manually, I could not detect any sear engagement. Is this a NFA weapon? I asked if he had any paperwork indicating a $200 tax had been paid. He did not have anything.

What does he have?

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AlexanderA
October 3, 2012, 08:59 PM
This is a semiautomatic "West Hurley" gun made by Numrich or Kahr Arms. The reason you do not detect any sear engagement is because it fires from the closed bolt. It would be OK except for the 12" barrel. That makes it an unregistered SBR. Get rid of it.

Flyincedar
October 3, 2012, 10:23 PM
Don't just get rid of it. Do it properly, and first find out if that has to be done. Have an attorney contact ATF and see if it is in the registry. Just because he has no paperwork, does not mean that it does not exist!

There could very well be paperwork, and if it was left to him, it could possibly be transferred depending on how things were set up.

Flyincedar
October 3, 2012, 10:26 PM
Just realized you are in Illinois. Can't have sbr there, so definitely contact an attorney. I heard that was changing, but highly doubt it will be retroactive, or apply to that one.

AlexanderA
October 4, 2012, 10:34 AM
IMO, Kahr Arms semi Thompsons aren't valuable enough to justify the cost of hiring an attorney. When I suggested "getting rid of it," that was shorthand for the usual procedure -- breaking it down for parts, etc. Actually, removing the barrel and getting rid of that would probably get you in the clear. Thompson barrels are tricky to remove, though, and you can't send the gun anywhere in its present condition. Any way you look at it, this is a hot potato. You don't want to get caught with it.

AlexanderA
October 4, 2012, 12:09 PM
On a state level, I believe SBR's like this are legal in Illinois if (1) you have a C&R FFL, or (2) you're a member of a recognized reenactment group, with a membership card.

You can Form 1 an SBR in Illinois ($200 "making" tax), but this has to be approved before the work is done.

Flyincedar
October 4, 2012, 12:49 PM
You may wanna double check that. I remember seeing threads recently because guys were all excited about new law that would allow them to have an SBR, meaning they could not in the past Form 1 an SBR. If I remember correctly, the first two examples you gave sound right. Maybe someone from Illinois will chime in. We can have it all in Ohio with the proper paperwork, and I'm not totally versed on IL law. Just repeating what I have seen

AlexanderA
October 4, 2012, 01:58 PM
You are right. This is new legislation with an effective date of January 1, 2013.

Since a trust can neither hold a C&R FFL nor be a reenactor, a Form 1 or Form 4 for an SBR will probably require a CLEO signoff.

The question is this: Can the OP's acquaintance "legalize" the gun by removing the 12" barrel (and getting rid of it), and retrofitting a 16" plus barrel? (I know that you can't do this sort of thing with a machine gun, because of the rule that "once a machine gun, always a machine gun." Is there a rule that "once an SBR, always an SBR"?) Maybe it can be legally made an SBR again under the new legislation.

Flyincedar
October 4, 2012, 02:31 PM
The problem is, he currently possesses it, illegally. Doesn't help him right now. Being not 100% familiar with IL law, im not sure there is even someone he could take it to thst could have it in the meantime.

Consider this... He would likely have to find and order a barrel. The whole time, he is in illrgal posession while he waits for it. Then, he has to put it on himself, or involve someone else with an illegal gun, to have them do it.

Seems like a ton of hassle to me. If he can pull the barrel immediately and get rid of it, he might be able to do it.

AlexanderA
October 4, 2012, 05:06 PM
Seems like a ton of hassle to me. If he can pull the barrel immediately and get rid of it, he might be able to do it.

I agree. Unless he can miraculously find the registration paperwork, he's in possession of a contraband item. If he has the skills and tools to remove the barrel himself (obviously he can't take it to a gunsmith), and he gets rid of the barrel, he'll be in possession of something (a semiautomatic receiver) which in itself is legal. Then he can either put on a 16+" barrel, or wait until after the first of the year to try and get approval for an SBR.

Bubbles
October 5, 2012, 08:46 AM
Is there a rule that "once an SBR, always an SBR"?
Nope, an SBR can be turned back into a Title I firearm by removing the short barrel and notifying the ATF via a letter that the rifle should be removed from the registry. We had to send such letter once; the response was received 18 months later.

627PCFan
October 5, 2012, 08:53 AM
Remove the comp and screw on a pipe to the end of the barrel......temporarily until you can sort things out

Flyincedar
October 5, 2012, 08:56 AM
That's still illegal unless it is permanently attached.... Just like a short AR barrel with a long brake to bring it back to 16+".... Must be pinned and welded, or just full fusion welded

AlexanderA
October 6, 2012, 01:43 PM
Bubbles wrote:

Nope, an SBR can be turned back into a Title I firearm by removing the short barrel and notifying the ATF via a letter that the rifle should be removed from the registry.

Yes, but this SBR was (apparently) never registered in the first place. The question is really whether contraband can be legalized by removing the offending feature (the short barrel).

Carl N. Brown
October 6, 2012, 02:23 PM
don't over react ...

Was there a shoulder stock, or any provision for mounting one, and is the model designation 1927 A1 or is it possibly the A5?

Numrich Arms made a semi-auto pistol version of their semi auto Thompson; the brochure I have from the 1970s describes it as the New Thompson Pistol Model 1927 A-5, 26" long with a 13" barrel (13" from muzzle to breech face). Today Kahr Arms makes a Thompson pistol also, but with the original 10.5" barrel length.

xtarheel
October 6, 2012, 04:14 PM
It does have a fixed butt stock. I found a serial number listing, it was made in 1980.

If it was manufactured with the 12" barrel (the onwers manual I found on line shows that as an option) I would think it is in the registry. Is that registry available on line or would I need to contact the BATF?

Bubbles
October 6, 2012, 06:32 PM
Is that registry available on line or would I need to contact the BATF?
It is not online as it's tax information and is considered private.

Also, you should not contact the ATF, an attorney should send a letter to the NFA Branch at 244 Needy Road, Martinsburg, WV 25405 with a description of the gun, make, model, serial number, and asking if it's in the NFRTR.

Sam1911
October 6, 2012, 07:33 PM
I'm going to copy this and re-post it just for emphasis:

Also, you should not contact the ATF, an attorney should send a letter to the NFA Branch at 244 Needy Road, Martinsburg, WV 25405 with a description of the gun, make, model, serial number, and asking if it's in the NFRTR.

This isn't a casual inquiry. Do it exactly like this.

Having determined that the weapon was manufactured this way (or at least you have reason to think that it probably was) there is a pretty good chance that the paperwork WAS done. Manufacturers only send out guns to dealers. Manufacturers only send out NFA guns to Class 02 dealers. Class 02 dealers don't sell NFA guns without a Form 4 -- it isn't worth the risk.

So if it did come from the factory that way, it WAS papered at some point. The Form 4 may be in a safe deposit box, gun safe, or stored with the late father's important papers.

However, your pal STILL needs the help of an attorney, because he cannot simply inherit that gun. There is a specific process for transferring an NFA weapon via inheritance and if he doesn't do it right, that gun is illegal and worth 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

crazy-mp
October 7, 2012, 12:29 AM
Did the person who died always live in IL? I have encountered people who have moved to Missouri and didn't update their form 4's with their new address and have had NFA items, it could have been registered in a NFA friendly state and he just didn't want to give it up so it was hid... Not saying that's legal by any stretch, but trying to give you some hope :)

xtarheel
October 7, 2012, 08:44 PM
This person did also own a residence in Florida.

MachIVshooter
October 18, 2012, 12:08 AM
If you're not comfortable removing and destroying the barrel, go to the hardware store, get a piece of steel pipe that will bring it over 16" and weld it to the barrel (NOT to the removeable compensator). It'll be ugly, but it'll be legal. This is what I would do if I came into possession of an SBR and I wasn't sure about it's legality.

Now you'll have a lawful firearm that you can send somewhere to have a proper 16" barrel attached. In the interim, if you're so inclined, you can inquire as to it being on the registry without worrying about prosecution.

lilguy
October 22, 2012, 02:22 PM
If the SBR law stands through the Illinois veto session could he just register it then or does he have to show a history of ownership of that item?

wally
October 22, 2012, 02:50 PM
Don't panic, if its less than 16" barrel and semi-auto only (closed bolt) Its probably one of the Auto-Ordnance/Numrich pistols.

Unless its been modified to mount a shoulder stock or has had a vertical foregrip added, its just a handgun.

MasterSergeantA
October 22, 2012, 03:01 PM
Actually, if it is one of the AO pistols and is over 26" long, it can have a vertical foregrip and is no longer considered a "handgun" by ATF definition. Of course, the addition of a stock makes that moot.

MachIVshooter
October 23, 2012, 12:37 PM
Actually, if it is one of the AO pistols and is over 26" long, it can have a vertical foregrip and is no longer considered a "handgun" by ATF definition

Barrel still needs to be 16". You can have miles and miles of receiver behind it, but that tube still needs to be 16". Otherwise, regardless of overall length, a VFG or AFG on a handgun makes it an AOW.

If OAL was all that mattered, most of the SBRs out there wouldn't be, because OAL is measured with stock extended/unfolded. Even a 7.5" AR will exceed 26" with stock extended.

Unless he can find out from the manufacturer how this weapon was sold, he needs to operate under the assumption that it was a rifle and get that tube to 16", either by replacing it or permanently attaching something.

As well, unless they've issued a different interpretation very recently, you cannot convert back and forth between handgun configuation and rifle configuration unless the gun was sold as a carbine kit (Like the Beretta Neos or Thompson Encore kits). Unless you have put it on a form 1 and SBR'd it, if you get found with a handgun that was originally sold as a rifle, they can put your butt in a sling. Going the other way is allowed, though.

CoRoMo
October 23, 2012, 12:56 PM
Barrel still needs to be 16".
Not on a machine gun. And not on a SBR.

As Sam posted,
Having determined that the weapon was manufactured this way (or at least you have reason to think that it probably was) there is a pretty good chance that the paperwork WAS done. Manufacturers only send out guns to dealers. Manufacturers only send out NFA guns to Class 02 dealers. Class 02 dealers don't sell NFA guns without a Form 4 -- it isn't worth the risk.

By all indications it is either a machine gun or an SBR made in 1980. Like Sam states, it would have been made, distributed, and dealt according to law in 1980. Unless the grandpa stole the gun or cut the barrel, it is quite likely registered in the NFRTR to him. I'd operate under that assumption until the ATF responded to the attorney's letter. I'd also want that Thompson at the Florida residence rather than Illinois.

I know that not everyone would, but I'd hold off screwing up what might be an extremely valuable item until I knew what it was.

Sam1911
October 23, 2012, 12:57 PM
Barrel still needs to be 16". You can have miles and miles of receiver behind it, but that tube still needs to be 16". Otherwise, regardless of overall length, a VFG or AFG on a handgun makes it an AOW.
This is complicated. IF a weapon is a Title I "Other Firearm," like a PGO shotgun or a belt-fed semi-auto that has no shoulder stock, then barrel length actually doesn't matter. All that matters is the 26" OAL. There are a few shotguns with receivers and pistol grips (especially the "birds-head" style grip) that will let you run a barrel under 18" and still make 26" overall. That's still a legal Title I weapon. (Though it isn't a very common thing to see.) Any hand-held (no shoulder stock) weapon that is greater than 26" overall would transfer as an "Other," not a handgun.

As well, unless they've issued a different interpretation very recently, you cannot convert back and forth between handgun configuration and rifle configuration unless the gun was sold as a carbine kit (Like the Beretta Neos or Thompson Encore kits).Yes, they actually DID reverse that ruling and now as long as the gun started as a handgun or an "Other Firearm" you may shift back and forth between Title I handgun and Title I long gun at will. :cool:

Unless you have put it on a form 1 and SBR'd it, if you get found with a handgun that was originally sold as a rifle, they can put your butt in a sling. Going the other way is allowed, though.This is still true. If your gun started as a rifle, or a shotgun then it MUST be put on a Form 1 in order to go below either the 16"/18" barrel length rules or the 26" OAL limit. As said before, however, if it started out as a handgun or "other" that is not the case any more.

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