Just got my supressor, what should I do with my paperwork?


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Soapy5
January 30, 2013, 12:07 AM
So I finally got my SWR octane 9, and man was it worth the 6 month wait! I do have one question: what is the best way to deal with the paperwork? I have read some suggestions a while back that I should make lots of copies of the original, laminate the original, and carry a copy with the suppressor, or something to that extent.

Anyone have any input to that? Are you allowed to laminate the original form, and are copies valid for any on the spot checks? Can you have a half-sized copy to go along with the suppressor?

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Telekinesis
January 30, 2013, 12:48 AM
I've heard some people recommend scanning it into a PDF (so you can print as many copies as you need) and putting the original in a safety deposit box at the bank. Copies should be sufficient for general police encounters of "hey, is that legal?" but if the ATF ever takes serious interest in your can, you'll probably need the actual F4 with the stamp. I wouldn't recommend laminating the original, but it might not hurt to laminate a copy.

I'm about a month out from getting my first can back, but I would personally keep my stamps with other important documents in a safe and have copies just about everywhere, including the PDF files on my iPhone. It is definitely a good idea to keep your form 4 with the can while you are out shooting it (or at least in the car while at the range). I even have a friend who folded up a copy of a Form 4 for a M16 and put it in the storage compartment of the pistol grip!

juan916
January 30, 2013, 01:30 AM
I recommend making copies (several) and putting one in every car that you would drive when u go shoot it, place the original in one of those binder picture sleeves( DO NOT LAMINATE ) and put it somewhere safe like a safe or safe deposit box

lcambre
January 30, 2013, 08:55 AM
I scan mine and then print a copy to bring to the range. The original goes into the safe. Never considered laminating the original, since I wouldn't need to handle it again.

jmorris
January 30, 2013, 09:24 AM
I make 1/4 sized copies and laminate them keep a full set in the range bag and a few other bags that always go with me.

dprice3844444
January 30, 2013, 09:55 AM
scan to a file you can access by smartphone if neccessary

Nasty
January 30, 2013, 10:47 AM
Laminated copies with each item, originals in document protectors in the safe deposit box at the bank.

ATF will be satisfied with this and they are the only ones that can demand to see the paperwork in hand.

I once had a Base Commander once try to tell me that he was going to take custody of an item and I told him that he was more than welcome to do so as long as he understood that the ATF would be there to arrest him immediately after.

lol...*That* was a hoot of a day!

Gtscotty
January 30, 2013, 11:14 AM
I just picked up my first tax stamp yesterday. With a double sided printer and some messing around with Acrobat settings, you can print double sided 1/4 and 1/2 copies. I am going to get a few of them laminated and put one in my wallet, and one in my suppressors pouch. I'm also going to put full sized copies in both cars.

Just out of curiosity, why do yall say not to laminate the original? I was kind of planning on laminating the original and then leaving it in the safe, but maybe the lamination isn't such a hot idea?

jmorris
January 30, 2013, 08:20 PM
I'll add this, my 1/4 and 1/2 scale copies are color. If you make a full scale copy, in color, you break federal law.

You cannot copy a federal stamp to scale in color.

kimbershot
January 30, 2013, 08:58 PM
scan it, email pdf to yourself and put it in a folder on your email account (in addition to photo copies).

you can access your email from any computer and print out as needed. i do same with my concealed permits and drivers license.:D

Gtscotty
January 30, 2013, 10:08 PM
jmorris,

What law are you breaking if you copy your form 4 in color? I know that it is illegal to make photocopies of government ID badges, but I haven't found anything on the BATFE FAQ about that. This is the only question I could find that was related:

Q: Does the owner of a registered NFA firearm have to have any evidence to show it is registered lawfully to him or her?
Yes. The approved application received from ATF serves as evidence of registration of the NFA firearm in the owner’s name. This document must be kept available for inspection by ATF officers. It is suggested that a photocopy of the approved application be carried by the owner when the weapon is being transported.

Telekinesis
January 30, 2013, 10:37 PM
Just out of curiosity, why do yall say not to laminate the original?

I wouldn't because I don't plan on handling the original at all besides the first day when I make copies/scans, and if I ever do end up needing to show the original (say, court proceeding) I want it to be in the exact same condition that it was in when the ATF sent it to me. That's not to say that it looses any legal legitimacy by being laminated, its just that I would rather not change an original in any way. I probably would laminate at least one or two copies of the form for durability's sake, but just not the original.

MasterSergeantA
January 31, 2013, 01:06 PM
I scan mine and then print a copy to bring to the range. The original goes into the safe. Never considered laminating the original, since I wouldn't need to handle it again.
My approach as well.

Landric
January 31, 2013, 10:04 PM
DO NOT LAMINATE THE ORIGINAL!

If the ATF ever needs to validate your paperwork (like they loose their copy), they cannot determine whether or not the stamp is authentic if it is laminated. That means you cannot prove the form is legitimate no matter how many copies you have.

I keep several hard copies, I have PDF scans saved on my computer, and I keep my originals in my safe deposit box.

Queen_of_Thunder
February 10, 2013, 10:39 AM
Seems to me that having copies Notarized would be a prudent action to take.

Aaron Baker
February 10, 2013, 10:51 AM
That doesn't make any sense to me.

Notaries verify your signature on a document is your signature. What you're really wanting is "certified" copies, but only the ATF could provide that.

Just put the original in a safe place and keep some copies around. Don't get too paranoid about it.

Aaron

Captains1911
February 10, 2013, 11:39 AM
I make a few photocopies, and scan. I carry photocopies with the cans, and store the originals in my safe. If something ever happens to the copies or originals, I still have the electronic scans.

MasterSergeantA
February 10, 2013, 12:44 PM
Like most of the posters, I copy and scan my forms before storing them. I have one 9mm can that I use on a couple of pistols and an AR; a copy goes into each pistol case and one in the grip of the AR. Just being prudent.

Donut Destroyer
February 10, 2013, 02:26 PM
Laminated copies with each item, originals in document protectors in the safe deposit box at the bank.

ATF will be satisfied with this and they are the only ones that can demand to see the paperwork in hand.

I once had a Base Commander once try to tell me that he was going to take custody of an item and I told him that he was more than welcome to do so as long as he understood that the ATF would be there to arrest him immediately after.

lol...*That* was a hoot of a day!
Base Commander? Military bases have their own restrictions for possessing firearms on base. The base commander and/or his designee (OSI, SFS) would certainly be within their legal right to seize any firearm/weapons not properly registered on base. Don't forget too, that many states have NFA requirements of their own and any local officer can certainly ask for that as well.

Donut Destroyer
February 10, 2013, 02:28 PM
Best answer? A copy is sufficient as long as it is legible. Don't laminate the original, keep it in a safe place. The copy MUST accompany the NFA item wherever it goes. Don't cross state lines with an NFA item without prior ATF approval.

Aaron Baker
February 10, 2013, 05:04 PM
The copy MUST accompany the NFA item wherever it goes. Don't cross state lines with an NFA item without prior ATF approval.

Must according to whom? Cite a law, regulation or at least an ATF recommendation that says that.

It isn't bad advice to carry a copy with your firearm, but there's nothing legally required. The ATF can ask to see it, as can local law enforcement if there are state laws in your state regarding NFA firearms. If you don't have it on you, it might create a temporary hassle, but once you produce the paperwork, problem solved.

The law in question is 26 U.S.C. 5841(e). It generally requires proof to be shown, upon request, to ATF agents. Just because they request it doesn't mean you have to be able to pull it out of your pocket right there. They might temporarily seize your firearm until you produce the proof, but you're breaking no law.

Personally, the only time I've ever met an ATF agent is when I was in an Assistant United States District Attorney's office, and it wasn't a surprise. I doubt you'll encounter them at the shooting range.

Also, not all NFA firearms require ATF approval to cross state lines. You can cross state lines without approval with a silencer.

Aaron

Lonestar11
February 10, 2013, 06:11 PM
Irritating the authority having jurisdiction is not a good idea. Without the paperwork, the weapon or item is illegal. Having a copy of the paperwork on hand will make your life a lot simpler.

Aaron Baker
February 10, 2013, 06:41 PM
Irritating the authority having jurisdiction is not a good idea.

True, but the ATF is the authority having jurisdiction, and ATF agents don't just wander shooting ranges asking for paperwork. And they only suggest you keep the paperwork with you--it's not legally required. So I doubt it would irritate them much as long as you were nice about it.

Without the paperwork, the weapon or item is illegal.

That is absolutely false. If an NFA firearm is registered, it is always legal, whether you have the paperwork with you or not. You may not be able to "prove" to someone on the spot that it's legal, but that doesn't make it illegal.

Having a copy of the paperwork on hand will make your life a lot simpler.

Yes. That's true. Which is why keeping a copy with you when going to the range isn't a bad idea. But it isn't legally required, and I've never been stopped by anyone at the range, much less encountered the ATF.

Aaron

Lonestar11
February 10, 2013, 07:02 PM
Aaron,

Everything you said, is true. But without the paperwork, how does the authority having jurisdiction, Game Warden, local Sheriff, etc., know that. They can make you life very miserable until you can prove it is legal.

The ATF is the ultimate AHJ, but having to involve them at a local because you do not have the paperwork with you or do not want to produce it unless it is to the ATF is simply not worth the hassel.

I have asked the local Police, Sheriff's office, and Game Warden, and even my local gun range, they all came back with the same answer, YOU NEED THE PAPERWORK with the NFA item. They may be wrong, but I am not willing to challange them.

boricua9mm
February 10, 2013, 07:12 PM
Make yourself some double-sided color copies. I keep one in the car along with my vehicle registration and proof of insurance. In case I happen to get pulled over with it, everything is at hand. I keep a copy in my range bag also.

Some ranges request to see the "paperwork" and you will find that 9 times out of 10 they have no idea what they are looking at. You will be amazed at the misinformation that's out there amongst "gun people." Congratulations, you now get to explain that there is no such thing as a "Class 3 License" and that there is no license required at all, but rather a tax stamp. You'll also get to explain that you've actually NOT given up all your rights to privacy. Remember, this all started because you wanted to have some fun :D

thorazine
February 10, 2013, 07:26 PM
You are allowed to do whatever you please with the original as you see fit.

Mine are setup in an alter like configuration along with spot lights, disco balls, fog machines, flame units and other theatrics all choreographed precisely through my soundboard to the music of my choice.

-and-

They are laminated!! (gasp) :what:

Donut Destroyer
February 10, 2013, 11:36 PM
Must according to whom? Cite a law, regulation or at least an ATF recommendation that says that.

It isn't bad advice to carry a copy with your firearm, but there's nothing legally required. The ATF can ask to see it, as can local law enforcement if there are state laws in your state regarding NFA firearms. If you don't have it on you, it might create a temporary hassle, but once you produce the paperwork, problem solved.

The law in question is 26 U.S.C. 5841(e). It generally requires proof to be shown, upon request, to ATF agents. Just because they request it doesn't mean you have to be able to pull it out of your pocket right there. They might temporarily seize your firearm until you produce the proof, but you're breaking no law.

Personally, the only time I've ever met an ATF agent is when I was in an Assistant United States District Attorney's office, and it wasn't a surprise. I doubt you'll encounter them at the shooting range.

Also, not all NFA firearms require ATF approval to cross state lines. You can cross state lines without approval with a silencer.

Aaron
You are correct Aaron, the registration doesn't have to be with the NFA item if you don't mind having it taken from you and going through the process of proving registration. So I guess MUST was not the best choice of words, but it is certainly a good rule of thumb. You are also correct about not requiring prior approval to take a suppressor across state lines, but most other things do require it. As for not seeing any ATF agents at the range, well, don't hang your hat on that one. ATF does not own a single shooting range in the country, so they have to practice somewhere.

Aaron Baker
February 11, 2013, 08:20 AM
Frankly, guys, I think it is important not to put out misinformation by trying to pass one's opinion off as the law or rule.

That's why I've said in every post that it's a good idea to have your paperwork with you. As has already been pointed out, some ranges will insist on seeing it. Or you might run into a local law enforcement official that will give you a hassle if you don't have it on hand. Or there's always a tiny chance that you'll meet an ATF field agent some day.

But while I might think it's a good idea to keep a copy of the paperwork at hand, it isn't legally required, so I don't want to misinform people by saying it is. You won't go to prison for not having your paperwork on you. It might create hassles, and in the cases of some uninformed LEOs, it might be a big hassle, but it isn't illegal.

Also, unless your state has laws on NFA firearms, which my home state of Kentucky does not, the game warden or sheriff isn't the authority having jurisdiction because he doesn't have any jurisdiction. Where I live, the only laws governing NFA firearms are federal laws. Local law enforcement don't enforce federal laws. That doesn't mean that they might not try, but the statute is clear that only federal agents have the authority to ask for your records. That's the point of citing the statute.

Then again, I'm a lawyer, so I know what I'm doing when I have a confrontation with law enforcement and so what I choose to do isn't necessarily what other people should do.

Which means keeping a copy with you is a good idea. It just isn't the law and it isn't illegal to have your NFA firearm without the paperwork nearby. Period.

Aaron

MasterSergeantA
February 11, 2013, 02:53 PM
Aaron makes some very excellent points. And the difference between what is legally required and what might merely be a 'good idea' should always be considered.

ATF agents are typically taught to always think 'confiscation', so if you were asked for your paperwork and had to go home to get it, you would likely be missing your firearm for a while. I will not fathom a guess at how long that might be or what hoops you might have to negotiate to get it back.

And with state and local constabulary, being clueless doesn't stop them from acting...at least initially. As the saying goes, you might beat the rap, but not thride.

So I will continue to keep my paperwork with me and hope that I never had a need of it.

Aaron Baker
February 11, 2013, 05:58 PM
I think that expression about "beating the rap, but not the ride" sums up exactly my feelings on the issue. It's good to keep the paperwork handy to minimize problems. I recommend it.

Personally, I don't always follow my own advice, but I'm confident in my chances to prevail in "roadside court" since I know the law and am an attorney. However, I may just be acting foolish, since hardly anyone ever wins in "roadside court." I suppose it's a matter of "do what I say, not what I do."

But I do think we should tell people the truth about what is legally required because otherwise we're spreading misinformation out of a desire to scare people into acting the way we think is prudent. I'd rather give factual information and good advice, and let adults make their own informed decisions.

Aaron

MasterSergeantA
February 11, 2013, 10:57 PM
I wholeheartedly agree, Aaron. Having the facts is always a better starting point than relying on "he said" or flat out rumour. There is a lot of crap flying around the 'Net and it is always nice to have someone who actually knows the law.

Donut Destroyer
February 12, 2013, 11:26 PM
I do agree with putting the truth out, but the thing you have to consider in attending "roadside court" is that, while you may be confident in your chances to prevail being a lawyer, the officer is the judge in that particular court. As a career law enforcement officer, I never lost a "roadside court" verdict. I never met anyone who could talk me out of a ticket, but I certainly met quite a few who could talk me into one. Don't dismiss a local officer's authority to question the registration of an NFA firearm either, even in states with no specific NFA laws of their own. There are many local officers who serve on federal task forces and they are commissioned as federal officers, which may give them the authority to ask for NFA registration. Of course they will have federal ID to prove their commission, but they are still local officers. Just sayin'.....

Bovice
February 13, 2013, 02:35 AM
I do agree with putting the truth out, but the thing you have to consider in attending "roadside court" is that, while you may be confident in your chances to prevail being a lawyer, the officer is the judge in that particular court. As a career law enforcement officer, I never lost a "roadside court" verdict. I never met anyone who could talk me out of a ticket, but I certainly met quite a few who could talk me into one. Don't dismiss a local officer's authority to question the registration of an NFA firearm either, even in states with no specific NFA laws of their own. There are many local officers who serve on federal task forces and they are commissioned as federal officers, which may give them the authority to ask for NFA registration. Of course they will have federal ID to prove their commission, but they are still local officers. Just sayin'.....
So you're admitting to being part of the problem and not the solution.

This is THR, and LEO or not, your actions are not high road.

Aaron Baker
February 13, 2013, 07:52 AM
Donut Destroyer, your attitude makes me sad.

NFA firearms are required to be stamped with the maker's name, city and state. I am confident that anyone who has the ACTUAL authority to ask for proof of registration under 26 U.S.C. 5841(e), which does not include all federal agents and certainly excludes local authorities who are not commissioned federal agents, will know that a person carrying an NFA firearm that is properly engraved or stamped is extremely unlikely to be illegally possessing it.

In other words, if I have an SBR with my name, city and state stamped on it, or a suppressor made by a suppressor company with their info engraved on it, chances are I'm legally in possession. And "chances are" translates into a lack of probable cause for you to believe it's illegal. And since I've already proven that you don't know the law and that a copy of the paperwork accompanying the firearm at all times isn't a "MUST," you don't have the authority to seize my firearm or my person.

If you were to seize my firearm or my person without probable cause, especially if you actually lacked the authority to enforce the federal law in question, then it sounds like I'd lose in "roadside court," which wouldn't surprise me in the least.

But that's nothing compared to you and your department losing a civil lawsuit in federal court brought under Section 1983 for violation of my civil rights.

Throwing your LEO weight around without the actual legal authority to back it up is definitely not High Road, especially when you're penalizing fellow gun owners for violating what you THINK the law is.

Aaron

Aaron Baker
February 13, 2013, 07:56 AM
As a post script, Donut Destroyer...

Your Gestapo-esque "show me your papers" attitude towards legal, law-abiding gun owners is extremely anti-Second Amendment and anti-American, and it's the unfortunate reason that I DO recommend carrying a copy of your tax stamp when you aren't legally required to. Because cops like you exist.

MasterSergeantA
February 13, 2013, 02:12 PM
Hear, hear!

PGT
February 13, 2013, 02:16 PM
random Q which I'm sure has been answered 1000 times; who holds the can while the paperwork goes through? The manufacturer/vendor or your FFL?

Captains1911
February 13, 2013, 02:41 PM
random Q which I'm sure has been answered 1000 times; who holds the can while the paperwork goes through? The manufacturer/vendor or your FFL?
The manufacturer holds it until Form 3 is approved, the dealer holds the item until the Form 4 is approved.

Captains1911
February 13, 2013, 02:42 PM
I do agree with putting the truth out, but the thing you have to consider in attending "roadside court" is that, while you may be confident in your chances to prevail being a lawyer, the officer is the judge in that particular court. As a career law enforcement officer, I never lost a "roadside court" verdict. I never met anyone who could talk me out of a ticket, but I certainly met quite a few who could talk me into one. Don't dismiss a local officer's authority to question the registration of an NFA firearm either, even in states with no specific NFA laws of their own. There are many local officers who serve on federal task forces and they are commissioned as federal officers, which may give them the authority to ask for NFA registration. Of course they will have federal ID to prove their commission, but they are still local officers. Just sayin'.....
This is the reason why so many good cops get a bad name.

PBR Streetgang
February 13, 2013, 03:44 PM
as a NFA stamp collector ,put your original away some place safe such as nonmovable fireproof safe or in a bank safe deposit box. Make yourself some copies and carry one either with you or with your NFA item.

In 98% of original stamp loss cases, you will need to reapply and pay another $200

Donut Destroyer
February 14, 2013, 09:08 PM
Whoa, time out here guys. Getting a little carried away. Aaron, you can quote all the laws you want, but in my state, registration is required at the state level, so local officers do have the authority to ask for registration. Maybe not NFA, but state. I know what information is required to be on a firearm and I have also had occasion (more than once) to encounter NFA weapons on the street, possessed by people to whom they were not registered to and weapons that were not registered at all. It would be a dereliction of my duty not to ask for proof and since state registration is required, reasonable suspicion would exist to take a weapon into custody until proof is offered. I mentioned the "roadside court" issue because the side of the road as it where is not the place for someone to get an attitude when cooperation and courtesy would go much further. By your own statement, your personal inclination would be to argue because you are a lawyer. I take great pride in my personal and professional integrity and have nothing but disdain for LEO's who do not. There is nothing anti second ammendment or American about taking due diligence in enforcing the law. You can take offense all you want, but I was only trying to point out that "roadside court" is rarely the proper venue for arguing a position. Is it easier to stand on the side of the road and just get everybody pissed off or is it easier to just have the documentation at hand. I used the term "must" mainly because most people would not split hairs like you have. It was not the best choice of words, but it wasn't a bad rule of thumb. And no Bovice, I am not admitting to being part of the problem. The problem is that everyone sees boogeymen hiding at every turn, and until you have walked a mile in my shoes, don't be so quick to judge.

Captains1911
February 14, 2013, 09:38 PM
You made it sound like you enjoy harassing honest people for no reason other than you can. Sorry that i misinterpreted your post.

Donut Destroyer
February 14, 2013, 09:50 PM
Hey, no worries Cap. Sometimes things come across different than they were intended. I have never harassed someone just for giggles, never will.

Aaron Baker
February 14, 2013, 09:58 PM
Great, your state has its own NFA laws. Feel free to enforce those. If my state had such laws, I would take a different position personally.

My issue is that you took a long time to get around to saying what you really meant. And I'm sorry if you think I'm splitting hairs, but words mean things.

The word "must" does not mean "is probably a good idea and keeps you safest from overstepping police officers." It means "required." In states that don't have additional state laws, your statement was simply not true.

Beyond that, you said:

Don't dismiss a local officer's authority to question the registration of an NFA firearm either, even in states with no specific NFA laws of their own.

As I already pointed out, I do dismiss their authority. If you're not an ATF agent, you're not entitled to ask me for my documentation of having paid the tax. (Absent state laws to the contrary...)

If you want to offer some state-specific advice when someone asks what to do with their paperwork, feel free to tell people what Louisiana's requirements are. Just please don't misstate the federal requirements.

Aaron

Donut Destroyer
February 14, 2013, 10:17 PM
So, if a local officer, sworn and credentialed by a municipal agency, is also carrying ID showing he is an ATF Task Force officer, you would dismiss his authority to ask for your registration?

Fine Aaron, point taken. I misspoke by saying "must". I was wrong. Words do mean things and your own words that you would not follow your advice regarding "roadside court" because you are an attorney is a reason why LEO's have no respect for lawyers. This isn't a courtroom though, it is a discussion forum. You have your perspectives and I have mine. I doesn't make either of us right or wrong. One of my intents is just that there are many laws, regulations and restrictions at all levels and the best guide is to just keep things simple. Keep the paperwork with the gun and things are much easier for all.

Bovice
February 15, 2013, 02:53 AM
This isn't about perspectives or walking in someone else's shoes, donut. Just because you found a couple unregistered NFA weapons doesn't mean they all are, and it doesn't give you the right to assume guilt. People are innocent until proven guilty.

This is about what's written in the books. Entering opinions into your self proclaimed "roadside court" won't fly here.

Charles S
February 15, 2013, 04:37 PM
Getting a little carried away. Aaron, you can quote all the laws you want, but in my state, registration is required at the state level, so local officers do have the authority to ask for registration.

As a long time Louisiana resident... No longer... You are correct that NFA weapons must be registered with the State Police. However, no where in the statute does it say an individual...once registered, must produce that on demand. I will concede that as a law abiding citizen I would have produced that information if asked...However you, unless working under the jurisdiction of the ATF have no authority to demand the Federal tax stamp.

I carried concealed in LA for a long time under the jurisdiction of individual parishes, prior to the state wide law, and was never harassed when pulled over.

I am always polite when I deal with a police officer and very cognizant of their safety. I appreciate your service, but I must admit your post has rubbed me wrong and initially gives me the impression you are part of the problem. Your later clarification helps.

There is a great deal of ignorance regarding NFA laws and I feel it is all of our jobs to educate, when appropriate, in a polite manner. I agree the road side when an officer is concerned for his and hopefully your safety may not be the best time.

bill3424
February 15, 2013, 10:45 PM
I'd make some reduced copies and keep it with the can at all times. More often than not, you'll probably never need to show them to anyone....but just in case.

Donut Destroyer
February 16, 2013, 01:36 AM
Yes Charles. My post obviously rubbed a few people the wrong way. I assure you that was not my intent. We already established that local LEOs do not have the authority to ask for federal registrations unless they are ATF task force officers. I also agree that LA does not specify that registration must be carried with a registered gun but my main point is that without the registration, there is no immediate way to prove that a weapon is in fact registered and it can be seized until proof is provided or obtained. So the best policy is to avoid issues is to keep the registration with the gun. LA law is squirrelly. The law does not provide for private citizens to possess NFA type firearms under most circumstances, but registrations are still issued. LA law also gives two different definitions of machine gun in the same section of the law.

Charles S
February 16, 2013, 01:05 PM
Yes Charles. My post obviously rubbed a few people the wrong way. I assure you that was not my intent.

Donut Destroyer,

Thank you for your response,

Just so you know... We (I) appreciate your service and the sacrifices you make to serve the public. It is not an easy job, nor does the pay reflect the risk or simply the headaches you deal with. I hope you know, as a citizen, I am always cognizant of your safety.. and if ever called upon (hopefully not) would help protect you.

You are obviously knowledgeable about the Louisiana law, not every law enforcement officer is, which as you stated is written in a confusing manner.

It is tough (read frustrating) at times on citizens who have chosen to inform ourselves of the law when we deal with others..fellow citizens or LE who have not taken the time to know the law.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked if I have a license for one of my cans. I cannot count the number of times I have been treated as ignorant by "the knowledgeable," who have never taken a course from Gun Sight, Lethal Force Institute.... etc..

Again.. No offense intended.. I appreciate your service.. Welcome to TheHighRoad

Donut Destroyer
February 16, 2013, 04:55 PM
This isn't about perspectives or walking in someone else's shoes, donut. Just because you found a couple unregistered NFA weapons doesn't mean they all are, and it doesn't give you the right to assume guilt. People are innocent until proven guilty.

This is about what's written in the books. Entering opinions into your self proclaimed "roadside court" won't fly here.
Bovice--The fact that I have come across unregistered NFA weapons is very germane to the issue here. I never said they all were illegal and won't begin to believe that, but if I have come across some (and its more than just a couple) then multiply that by whatever number of LEO's you care to use, and the final statistic will be much higher.

While "innocent until proven guilty" is a basic tenet of criminal prosecution, there are still times that this becomes somewhat of a gray area during the initial investigation. If someone is required to have some sort of documentation and they are asked for that documentation by a competent authority, and they can't provide that documentation, there may be consequences. If you are required to have auto insurance and an LEO asks you for that proof and you cannot provide it, the consequence may be the seizure of your license plate and/or impoundment of your car until you can prove compliance with the law. If you have an NFA firearm and an authorized LEO, be it state, local or federal as the case may be depending on state or local laws, asks for your registration and you can't provide it, he is completely within his authority to take the weapon into official custody until you provide the documentation. You are not deemed as being guilty, you are simply being tasked with proving compliance.

As for my "self proclaimed roadside court", I didn't bring that up, someone else did. I only attempted to inject that "roadside courts" rarely end favorably for the individual because the "court" consists of the individual and the LEO, with the LEO being the judge. Obviously there may be other "judges" down the line and the ultimate outcome may be in favor of the individual, but rarely "at the side of the road". That isn't "entering my opinion" that is a fact. You may not think it flies in here, but it will and does in the real world. SO, my entire intent here is to just put across that it is better to have documentation available and not argue or get an attitude about it. It's just common sense, but then common sense isn't really that common.

Donut Destroyer
February 16, 2013, 05:07 PM
Charles,

What you say is all to true about the citizens being more knowledgeable about laws than law enforcement, in some cases. Especially when it comes to some specialized segment like were talking about here. You mentioned training at "Gun Sight, Lethal Force Institute, etc."..I have never heard of these places, and that doesn't surprise me. With the way budgets go, outside training is rare in many places. What you learn in the academy sometimes has to carry you through your career, and that obviously is a weakness. Also, so many of the outside training courses LEOs do get to go to deal with day to day issues like tactics and emergency events. Not much about niche laws and limitations. That isn't a fault of the officer per se, but the system as a whole. There have been a couple of small departments here that have closed down recently due to budget issues. If you can't even pay officers, you sure can't send them to outside training. Which all goes back to my point about just having paperwork at hand and just cooperating. In my career, which began in 1976, the majority of the people I have encountered in "streetside" situations have been cooperative and easy to deal with. It's just the few that think that the side of the road is the proper place to argue that make the entire situation unnecessarily difficult.

Aaron Baker
February 16, 2013, 08:36 PM
So, if a local officer, sworn and credentialed by a municipal agency, is also carrying ID showing he is an ATF Task Force officer, you would dismiss his authority to ask for your registration?

No, and I never said I would. But very few local officers are on ATF task forces. Also, I do dismiss his authority to demand that I have it on the side of the road. That's not what the statute requires.

why LEO's have no respect for lawyers

Well that's wonderfully High Road. I have respect for law enforcement officers who earn respect. One thing that doesn't earn my respect is law enforcement officers who are absolutely certain they know what the law is, and attempt to enforce it, when in fact they don't know the law. One thing lawyers do tend to know is the law, and if a good lawyer doesn't know the law, he admits he doesn't know and looks it up.

If someone is required to have some sort of documentation and they are asked for that documentation by a competent authority, and they can't provide that documentation, there may be consequences. If you are required to have auto insurance and an LEO asks you for that proof and you cannot provide it, the consequence may be the seizure of your license plate and/or impoundment of your car until you can prove compliance with the law. If you have an NFA firearm and an authorized LEO, be it state, local or federal as the case may be depending on state or local laws, asks for your registration and you can't provide it, he is completely within his authority to take the weapon into official custody until you provide the documentation. You are not deemed as being guilty, you are simply being tasked with proving compliance.

Your analogy is horrible. At least in my state (Kentucky), you are required to have car insurance AND the law requires you to carry a copy with you. The penalty for failing to have your proof with you is NOT seizure of your car OR license plate. It's a traffic ticket, and arrest is NOT an option. The ticket is dismissed if you show proof of insurance.

By comparison, federal law does NOT require you to carry your cancelled tax stamp. You're required to have the tax stamp. You're not required to carry it. You're breaking no law by not having the tax stamp on your person, and you're breaking no law by possessing the firearm (since it's properly registered).

What law provides you with the authority to seize a citizen's property if he can't provide you with documentation that he's not required to carry on his person?

That's my question to you.

We both agree that it's a good idea to carry a copy of your tax stamp with you to prevent problems with law enforcement officers.

The difference seems to be that you think I should carry it because law enforcement officers are entitled to seize my property if I can't "show them my papers" and I think I should carry it because law enforcement officers don't always know the extent of their authority, and overstep it.

But, since I'm an attorney, I know that sometimes I'm wrong. So if someone can show me a statute, regulation or case law that says you can seize my firearm if I can't show you my cancelled tax stamp, I'm happy to admit I'm wrong.

Otherwise, I will continue to have disdain for overstepping law enforcement officers and the people that back them.

Aaron

Donut Destroyer
February 16, 2013, 09:51 PM
Aaron, I will admit that arguing with you over this is pointless. You insist on twisting a very simple point I am trying to make into a major deal. It isn't. Don't keep your papers with your weapons, I could care less. If you encounter issues because of it I'm sure you will impress everyone around with your command of legal details. I admitted I misspoke when you pointed it out because I researched it. I will stand by my integrity any day regardless of your defense of "the high road".

Be safe. Take care.

Aaron Baker
February 17, 2013, 08:30 AM
Donut, I'm sorry you think I'm just trying to twist your point. If you don't want to debate this issue any longer, you're more than welcome to stop.

The problem is that you're still making statements like this:

If you have an NFA firearm and an authorized LEO, be it state, local or federal as the case may be depending on state or local laws, asks for your registration and you can't provide it, he is completely within his authority to take the weapon into official custody until you provide the documentation.

If you're a police officer or federal agent who is seizing the property of United States citizens, you had better be sure that you're legally allowed to do so.

I know you CAN. I know you can usually get away with it, even. But I don't think you're legally allowed to. And since I believe in both the 2nd and 4th Amendments, I'd prefer if every police officer and federal agent knew the answer to this question before he started seizing property.

Aaron

Lonestar11
February 17, 2013, 11:04 AM
Donut Destroyer>

What are the majority of the circumstances you have encountered people with weapons or items that require NFA registration?

Aaron/Donut Destroyer>

Under what circumstances do local LEO's have the right to see paper work on NFA registered items, or detain you until ATF can be contacted?

Aaron Baker
February 17, 2013, 12:59 PM
Under what circumstances do local LEO's have the right to see paper work on NFA registered items, or detain you until ATF can be contacted?

I can only speak to states where NFA items are not regulated on a state level, like my own. I can also only give my legal opinion based on the statutes, regulations and case law that I've read. You should not rely on my opinion to guide your actions. In fact, although I believe my opinion is correct, I actually recommend that you carry your papers and show them to people who don't have the authority to ask for them, because it's the simplest way to keep yourself out of trouble with law enforcement officers who don't know the law.

With that said, local law enforcement officers have no right to see or ask to see your tax stamp. It's a tax document. You have a right to privacy in your tax documents. And, in states where there are no additional NFA restrictions (like my own state of Kentucky), there is no independent state law grounds for an officer to believe you've committed a state crime.

Now, if that local law enforcement officer is on an ATF task force and is a sworn federal agent, I suppose I could see an argument that he can insist on seeing your papers. However, he should tell you that he's an ATF task force agent when he asks.

As for federal agents themselves, the federal statute says the Secretary (and that means the Secretary of the Treasury and his agents) can ask to see your papers. It does NOT say that you have to have them on you. I would argue, that as is the case with 03 FFL (Curio and Relic) holders, they can basically ask you to show up at the local ATF office and show your paperwork. If you DO have it in the field, it is a good idea to show it to them.

Our Constitution requires that an officer have a warrant if he wishes to seize your property. There are judicially-created exceptions to the warrant requirement. At least one of those is the "plain view" doctrine, which holds that if a thing's illegal nature is readily apparent from observing it, then an officer can seize that property.

There are some interesting exceptions to that rule, including that if the officer must pick up and manipulate the item in order to discover its nature as contraband, then he must have a warrant or some other independent right to do so.

If I sling my short-barreled rifle up on my back and walk down the streets of my hometown in Kentucky, I have committed no crime because that rifle is registered as a short-barreled rifle with the ATF. If a local law enforcement officer wants to stop me and seize the weapon until I can prove it is legal, he has no authority to do so. I'm not violating any state laws, nor am I violating any federal laws. He has no reason to believe that I am. The duty is not on the citizens of our country to prove that they are doing nothing wrong. The duty is on the police to prove that we are. The standard applied in courts in "beyond a reasonable doubt" and the standard applied in the field is either "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion" (depending on the issue).

If the officer is an ATF agent, he has the authority to ask me for my tax documents. I have no problem with that. But if I respond that I do have the documents, and that the firearm is registered properly, then he certainly has no probable cause to believe otherwise. Without probable cause, he cannot seize my property.

As for the local law enforcement officer, he cannot detain me without probable cause. Since possession of a short-barreled rifle alone isn't probable cause to believe that it's illegal and unregistered, in my opinion, he cannot detain me until the ATF arrives, nor seize my property.

That's my opinion. I'm happy to listen to anyone who suggests they have written authority that is contrary, and I'll stand corrected.

In the meantime, keep a copy of your paperwork on you, because you can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride, especially when the cops overstep their authority because they think they know better than you.

Aaron

crazyelece
February 17, 2013, 10:15 PM
I hate to tell you but any and all LEOs have the right to sieze your property during a stop for their safety should they choose to do so (Most won't unless they are provoked somehow). Also local law enforcement are allowed to detain for federal crimes. So a LEO sees a weapon that they know is restricted, first action - see if its a legally owned weapon. "Do you have paperwork that shows this weapon is legal?" says LEO. "You do not have the athority to see it" says citizen. "Ok, I'll take that and call the BATF to check the serial" says LEO as he tosses it into the trunk of his cruiser.

See how this is going to end? DD has already taken back his statement of "must", and it is correct that there is no federal requirement to show your paperwork to anyone other than ATF. But in most cases there are state and local restrictions on ownership. And in most of those cases, legal ownership is an affermative defense to said restrictions. For those who don't know what this means, it makes it your responsibility to prove legal ownership. And the only way to do that is with your paperwork, that or rely on the BATF's copy.

Crash_Test_Dhimmi
March 1, 2013, 09:48 PM
I shredded mine to keep it safe from identity theives, besides, the government scanned it and kept it in their records for safe keeping.








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