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Examiner article has me confused

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by il_10, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. il_10

    il_10 Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Martinsville, VA
    I just read this article:


    And now I'm thoroughly confused. Are there, indeed, legally transferable machine guns out there that aren't subject to the NFA, need no tax stamp, and need not be entered into the system? The article suggests that this is the case.

    I'm also curious as to how this would apply to me in VA if I were to find one; VA law bans machine guns unless they are registered with the state, but if I'm not mistaken there's also a provision requiring them to be registered with the BATFE. So if these guns don't fall under the NFA, aren't registered, and post FOPA can't be registered, where would that leave someone in VA or a similar state?
  2. CapnMac

    CapnMac Participating Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Color me confused by that article, too.

    The year for the Dread Act is 1986, so why the pre/post 1982 date quoted matters is another confusion.

    It's my understanding that if it was not in the NFA Register by the '86 cut-off date, was too-bad-so-sad; sorry Charlie.

    But, I've been wrong before; likely will be again.
  3. 4thPointOfContact

    4thPointOfContact Active Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    Funny,,, they didn't even mention a certain firearm that could be converted to full auto with nothing but a stiff finger. (Well, until it was modified by Generation-3).
  4. fulltanghalo

    fulltanghalo New Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    West Central FL
    The following is from memory of other articles and remembrances, I make no claim that I am right but this is what I "THINK" he is going on about

    Pre 1982 Macs were open bolt, ATF changed their interpertation of what a MG, this administrative change made these Macs MG's. Because of the original open bolt mac design it was considered easy to modify to shoot full auto. But instead of confiscation they grandfathered all the pre 82's and all guns produced from then on fired from a closed bolt.

    I think this Examiner article has key portions left out in the quoted sections.

    The way this article is written sounds like it was passed through an anti-gun filter. None of these so called "unregistered MG's" have select fire capacity. They are simply more easy to illegally convert to an unregistered mg. These are no more "unregistered machine guns" than my shoelaces.....

    I believe this is full text of the ATF Rul. 82-8. with attached download link from atf.gov

    "ATF Rul. 82-8

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has reexamined firearms identified as SM10 pistols, SM11A1 pistols, and SAC carbines. The SM10 is a 9 millimeter or .45ACP caliber, semiautomatic firearm; the SM11A1 is a .380ACP caliber, semiautomatic firearm; and the SAC carbine is a 9 millimeter or .45ACP caliber, semiautomatic firearm. The weapons are blowback operated, <b>fire from the open bolt position with the bolt incorporating a fixed firing pin,</b> and the barrels of the pistols are threaded to accept a silencer. In addition, component parts of the weapons are a disconnector and a trip which prevent more than one shot being fired with a single function of the trigger.

    The disconnector and trip are designed in the SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and in the SAC carbine (firearms) in such a way that a simple modification to them, such as cutting, filing, or grinding, allows the firearms to operate automatically. Thus, this simple modification to the disconnector or trip, together with the configuration of the above design features (blowback operating, firing from the open bolt position, and fixed firing pin) in the SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and in the SAC carbine, permits the firearms to shoot automatically, more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The above combination of design features as employed in the SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and the SAC carbine are normally not found in typical sporting firearms.

    The National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. ยง 5845(b), defines a machinegun to include any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

    The "shoots automatically" definition covers weapons that will function automatically. The "readily restorable" definition defines weapons which previously could shoot automatically but will not in their present condition. The "designed" definition includes those weapons which have not previously functioned as machineguns but possess design features which facilitate full automatic fire by a simple modification or elimination of existing component parts.

    Held: The SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and the SAC carbine are designed to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. Consequently, the SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and SAC carbines are machineguns as defined in Section 5845(b) of the Act.

    With respect to the machinegun classification of the SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and SAC carbines, under the National Firearms Act, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 7805(b), this ruling will not be applied to SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and SAC carbines manufactured or assembled before June 21, 1982. Accordingly, SM10 and SM11A1 pistols and SAC carbines, manufactured or assembled on or after June 21, 1982, will be subject to all the provisions of the National Firearms Act and 27 C.F.R. Part 179.
    [ATFB 1982-2 49]"

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  5. il_10

    il_10 Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Martinsville, VA
    Ah-ha! I should have known that. Thanks for the help Fulltanghalo! You've put my mind at ease.
  6. GoingQuiet

    GoingQuiet Member

    Jun 10, 2010
    Melbourne, FL
    There are plenty of NON transferrable machineguns out there but they are entered into the NFA database.
  7. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Active Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    Lexington, KY
    fulltanghalo did a great job of posting the actual ruling, but if I may be so bold as to clarify what the ATF is saying because some people probably still don't quite "get it."

    When we think of machineguns, we think of guns that fire continuously if you hold the trigger down. But the ATF's definition is more expansive than that. If you can "readily convert" a gun to fire automatically, even if it currently doesn't, then it might fall into their definition of a machinegun.

    Back in 1982, the ATF decided that ANY gun that fired from an open bolt was too easy to turn into a machinegun (because, well... they are). So they reclassified all open bolt guns, even ones that were semi-automatic, as machine guns. You cannot, today, build a new open-bolt, semiautomatic gun. It would be classified as a machinegun by the ATF.

    But since there were lots and lots of guns already in circulation that were semi-automatic and fired from an open bolt, the ATF decided that their ruling only applied to NEW guns that fired from an open bolt, not the ones already in circulation.

    The end result is that semi-automatic open bolt guns made after 1982 are considered machine guns by the ATF whereas semi-automatic open bolt guns made BEFORE 1982 are not regulated at all and are not considered machine guns.

    This is not a loophole that allows anyone to own a REAL machinegun. If your unregistered pre-1982 open bolt gun ACTUALLY FIRES MORE THAN ONE SHOT WITH A SINGLE FUNCTION OF THE TRIGGER, it's a machinegun. Period. Doesn't matter that it was made prior to 1982 if it isn't on the registry.

    If it fires automatically OR it fires from an open bolt, is semi-automatic, and was made after 1982, it's a machinegun. Otherwise it isn't.

    I hope that clarifies things a little. The article is just being silly, or perhaps the author doesn't understand that there aren't 50,000 unregistered LEGAL machineguns floating around. There are 50,000 unregistered LEGAL semi-automatic open-bolt guns floating around.

    Owning one of those guns doesn't gain you anything over owning a closed-bolt semi-automatic MAC made by Masterpiece last week. It's still one shot per trigger pull.

  8. Trebor

    Trebor Senior Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    The article is trying to make the point that the ATF currently considers any open-bolt semi-auto manufactured after 1982 to be a "machine gun." The ATF has banned new manufacture of open-bolt semi-auto's since that time as they consider them so close to being capable of full-auto fire that they are, legally in fact, "machine guns."

    The author then points out the absurdity of this ruling as the ATF still allows any of these open-bolt semi-auto's that were manufactured BEFORE 1982 to be freely possessed and transfered without them being considered machine guns. You could have two identical open-bolt semi-auto firearms, one manufactured the day before the cutoff date in 1982 that banned new manufacture of open-bolt guns, and one manufactured the day after open-bolt guns were banned, and the first would be legal and the second would be illegal.

    The guns are identical, the only difference is that the ATF "grandfathered" in all those made before the cut off date in 1982. Somehow those are not "too dangerous to own" even though they can be readily converted to MG's, while any made after the cut off date are contraband as they can be readily converted.

    The whole thing is convoluted and absurd.
  9. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Participating Member

    Feb 28, 2008
    Central Florida
    Gun Control is always convuluted and absurd. The ATF basically has to use legalese and big words to confuse the heck out of lawmakers, lawyers, and the folks whose taxes pay their bills. If they aren't creating rulings, passing laws, prosecuting law breakers(intentional or accidental) then they aren't justifying their existence. The FBI could absorb the illegal gun running side of things. The DEA could absorb the tainted and unregulated alcohol trade(and yes that is something to be thankful because back when and to this day folks still add wood grain alcohol to knock-off booze), as well as the tobacco side of things if the IRS couldn't take it over.

    The ATF would just make it easier on themselves if they went to the powers that be and said "so if we get rid of this limit on registering new machine guns, basically allowing folks to build their own MGS or buying them through Class III dealers, and so raising the Tax Stamp to $1000 for MGs not to mention any other BS fees like the ITAR, we could make a lot of money off of people doing what they ought to be able to do anyways and we could spend less money on waste and bureuacracy, oh wait then you wouldn't need us."

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