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WWII "Bringback" weapons

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by tnhillbilly, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. tnhillbilly

    tnhillbilly New Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    I didn't want to derail the thread on the college professor talking about filing serial numbers off at gun shows, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    Several people stated in that thread that pre-1968 guns with defaced serial numbers are legal to own. What I want to know is does that go for WWII "bringback" guns? I've heard for years and even seen a couple of guns in my day, that had the serial numbers filed off by vets returning from WWII. I figure some guys who "liberated" some pieces felt their chances of getting caught were reduced by filing the numbers off. Now with that generation dying off at an alarming rate, more of those "liberated" guns are going to hit the market, so what is to become of those? Are they legal to own? I'd hate to think a cherry Garand, carbine, or 1911 with a filed serial number would get melted down into Toyota parts....
  2. General Geoff

    General Geoff Mentor

    Nov 28, 2006
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    No, pre-1968 guns without serial numbers are legal to own. A pre-1968 gun with a ground-off or otherwise obliterated serial number is just as illegal as a 2008 one.
  3. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

    Feb 18, 2007
    NE Ohio
    I'd have to agree with General Geoff. Any obliterated serial number would be taken as an attempt to conceal a stolen or illegal gun, and the reference to pre-68 guns without numbers is for gun made before that that NEVER had numbers.
  4. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Mentor

    Feb 23, 2006
    I wonder what the chances are for getting any sort of amnesty passed for old war trophies (ours or theirs). Probably not good given the political climate but the WWII generation may have left some very cool and interesting, yet illegal items in their old footlockers. Even if they wouldn't be able to be transferred again, it would still be nice to keep them intact rather than having some gen-x goon melt a thompson or mg42 down into a windmill or solar panel frame.
  5. rocky branch

    rocky branch Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    I started collecting vet pieces back in the early 60s when I was in High School.

    My rural are wasa thick with WW2 vets and WW1 guys as well.

    My dad and all his buds were vets.

    I acquired and got to see a lot of pieces still owned by the guys who souveniered them.
    Saw plenty ground Mum japanese rifles, but never a ground serial number.

    "Capture papers" were pretty much non existant.

    I saw one for my dad's HSc, never any more.
    I still find the ocaisional closet piece, but they are scarce.
    I belong to the VFW and Legion.
    Most of the WW2 guys are gone or pretty feeble.
  6. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Apr 29, 2006
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    I've heard from a couple of people I trust that at least at one time it was possible to get a new serial number issued and stamped by BATF. I don't know if that can still be done, nor do I know exactly what the procedure is.
  7. jpwilly

    jpwilly Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Phoenix AZ
    Maybe back in the day.
  8. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Senior Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    I've heard from a couple of people I trust that at least at one time it was possible to get a new serial number issued and stamped by BATF. I don't know if that can still be done, nor do I know exactly what the procedure is.

    My understanding is this is for when the serial number has accidentally been obscured or do to some customization of the firearm the factory number is going to be obscured or removed.
  9. everallm

    everallm Participating Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    The example for serial numbers is that if, for example, you send a firearm back to manufacturer due to a catastrophic failure, the manufacturer can reuse that serial number *for you only* if they replace and return your firearm with a like for like.

    One firearm that now no longer exists has been replaced with a clone in effect.
  10. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Senior Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Northwest IL--the other 'Downstate'
    In general, run and don't walk from defaced serial numbers.

    However, *IF* the number can be read and replaced on the weapon (doccument that you did so) you would likely be OK. Still, if it is a special weapon,---ask ATF if THAT weapon can be declared a C&R as it sits (it CAN be done). ASK THEM---they work for you, after all. And while its not the 'cowboy' side of their department, agents that work on such matters don't get shot or killed very often and get the same nifty bennies and retirement. So...make that call!
  11. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 19, 2002
    An x-ray can also lift the numbers if you're interested in having an engraver restore them.
  12. clem

    clem Active Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Arizona Territory
    A lot of low cost pre-1968 .22 rifles and shotguns never had factory serial numbers stamped on them.

    I have my original Sear's J.C. Higgens .22 bolt action rifle that I got when I was 16 years old. It does not have a serial number on it.
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    I've never heard of vets grinding off serial numbers.

    I have seen where criminals ground off serial numbers to weapons that vets had brought back. There was an otherwise beautiful Luger that had the serial number ground off that was headed for the parts box after a police department evidence sale.
  14. Zoogster

    Zoogster Senior Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  15. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Senior Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Of course...on some Guns, Serial Numbers occur in more than one location...where, if the ostensibly primary Number is missing or has been removed, possibly, the remaining locations could provide a basis for appeal.
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    Friend of mine worked in a gun & pawn and took one in with the main serial number filed off. He pawned the gun to secure it and furnished the guy's name and address to the cops and BATF. He then showed them another serial number location which they were able to use to get the gun back to its rightful owner. That was some years ago and I do not know current policy.

    I have READ on the internet that the BATF will authorize renumbering a recovered stolen gun if the legitimate owner can identify it otherwise. This does not apply to Grandpa's 1911 with the serial number and United States Property stamp filed off because he was afraid of prosecution after he pilfered his service sidearm. Such cases turn up on the 1911 boards on about a weekly basis.

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