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A question of Morality

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by Officers'Wife, Jun 7, 2010.

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  1. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    Suppose you bought a 'war relic' rifle at a garage sale and on bringing it home discover it is full automatic. Further assume you know the person selling the weapon had no idea 'grandpa' brought home an illegal weapon.

    Do you;

    Violate the law & keep the weapon.

    Look up the nearest 'no questions asked gun buyback'

    or turn the weapon in giving full particulars on the purchase, possibly bringing the full weight of the federal government on a veteran's ignorant and somewhat ditzy grandchild?
     
  2. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    In reality, it would be a moot point because it would be fairly simple to check for full auto functionality (check chamber, pull bolt out of battery, hold trigger back, drop bolt, if the hammer drops, steer clear) before purchasing.

    As a hypothetical, it's against forum rules (and common sense) to discuss illegal actions (which you would be committing if you came into possession of an unregistered machine gun). I'll leave it at that.
     
  3. speaksoftly

    speaksoftly Member

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    IF this is the case then I'll delete my post...which is still answering the question in its own way haha.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  4. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    First, contact an attorney familiar with NFA law.

    There is a chance the weapon might be registered in the NFA registry. If it is, than it is very valuable and could be legally transfered to you.

    A knowledgeable attorney could help you try to determine if the weapon is in the NFA registry or not. If it is, than you can do a transfer.

    If it is not, than you need to surrender it to the ATF. I believe you only need to surrender the receiver, and as the other parts have value, I would strip all the other parts off of the receiver before turning it in.

    Have your attorney contact the ATF about surrendering the weapon.

    Don't just contact the ATF to say, "Hey, I have this Machine gun..."
     
  5. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    I have to agree. I could understand why one would go either way with that situation. I would have no desire to get someone in trouble, but I also don't want to get yours truly in trouble. It's a catch 22.

    Perhaps it would be best to discuss matters with the seller. They could possibly refund you and then you could let the seller decide which ethical decision to make.
     
  6. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    I'd call a Class III FFL dealer (like the guys at Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns, who post on THR and are very helpfull) and solicit their opinion....

    It may be legit pre-ban and simply require a tax stamp.

    but I am NOT an authoritative opinion by any means... just stating that not all full auto weapons (and I suspect not even most ) are illegal.

    They just have special registration requirements.
     
  7. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    If it wasn't registered before May of 1986, then it can't be registered now, even if it was manufactured prior to '86.
     
  8. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    yup.... and it "may" have been registered.

    ya never know untill ya know
     
  9. Hatterasguy

    Hatterasguy Member

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    I'd lose it in a boating accident.:D
     
  10. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    That's a very interesting but a rather improbable question. After some thought and assuming no paperwork involved, I would keep the the full auto firearm, figuring what they don't know won't hurt them. Possibly there may be another amnesty some day.
     
  11. strambo

    strambo Member

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    Using an attorney to determine it's legality sounds best. I'm sure I couldn't remember the name of the person I bought it from though, esp. since it was a garage sale. I'm bad with names (it's true ask my wife.)
     
  12. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    I would be deeply saddened by the malfunction of my semi-auto firearm and would repair it as fast as possible.
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    This isn't a question of Morality, as far as THR is concerned, it is a question of law. I'm moving it to "Legal" so that we can get a few words in about what REALLY happens (or can happen) in these cases.

    Being in possession of an unregistered (to you) machine gun in the hopes that it might have been registered at some point to someone leaves you SUPER out of luck. Not only are you in jeopardy of a 10 year stint in federal prison for possession (and up to a $250,000 fine), but you can't go get it registered to you later and the transfer itself was a felony.

    The ATF says:

    It has to be registered at the time of making, and the chain of registration has to remain unbroken.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  14. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors // I gave the one I found to the gun store for parts in 1992.

    Not a military weapon simply a .22 someone had played with.
    I won it shooting pool and took it out back a few days later to try it out. Some one had managed to get a Savage 987 to fire in 3 round bursts,or single shot, each pull of the trigger was a surprise. Even though the "chunk,chunk,chunk" felt cool I did not want it in that condition.

    The gun smith said it would cost more to fix then it was worth so I gave it to him for parts. They have been good to me so I figured this was better than the buy back program.
    I had the ID info from the guy I got it from but the GS said it was not a big enough deal to track him down now that it is off the streets and he would just deny it anyway. Heck he might have gotten it the same way/ condition I did.
     
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Keep in mind that most machine guns, submachine guns, assault rifles, etc. -- in civilian legal form -- are substantively different from their full-monty cousins. Generally the receivers must not be able to accept some critical part of the full-auto fire control system, or the full-auto bolt itself, etc.

    Simply adjusting it so it doesn't go "rock-n-roll" doesn't change the ATF's definition of that weapon as an unregistered machine gun.
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oddly enough, that isn't always a VERY bad thing. Some guns (FALs, for example) that are completely compliant can still have a selector switch that rotates to the "fun" position and the hammer will follow. The design of the gun will keep it from actually firing a round, though. In reality, I'd probably still steer clear!
     
  17. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Sam1911, it can't be a real full-auto gun, those are illegal to own unregistered and therefore do not exist. Therefore it is a malfunctioning semiauto.
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Ohhh. Well, in that case, consider that a true semi-auto that is malfuntioning is considered an unregistered machine gun and will cost you 10 years / $250,000.

    On the other hand, a gun that DOESN'T fire full-auto, but the receiver of which is in the original configuration to accept full-auto parts is considered an unregistered machine gun and will cost you 10 years / $250,000.

    Note the important difference between the two!
     
  19. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I can't think of ANYTHING that you're likely to buy as a "war relic" that a reasonably well informed person wouldn't EXPECT to be full-auto if it was typically manufactured that way... nevermind the fact that it's apt to be an SBR anyway. I doubt that I'm going to come across an unregistered full-auto ZH29 at a "garage sale".

    If I see a PPSh, MP40, Stg44, MG42 or the like, I'd be surprised if it WEREN'T full-auto.

    Besides, the typical function check for anything that COULD be full-auto involves testing the disconnector to ensure that it PREVENTS full auto. If you hold down the trigger, work the action and the hammer or striker falls without you releasing the trigger, there had better be paperwork.

    If somebody had something that was full-auto that SHOULDN'T be, without the proper paperwork, and I discovered that, I'd politely thank them and walk away. I don't want ANYTHING to do with the BATFE, either as a suspect OR an informant.
     
  20. deadin

    deadin Member

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    Over the years I've seen several M2 Carbines that were brought back from the war being offered for sale by the heirs of the vet that brought it back. They didn't have the slightest idea that it was a FA and therefor illegal.
    (I also saw one that was purchased by a buyer that didn't have any idea what the little switch was for. Not everybody is a "gun expert" like we have here.:rolleyes:)
     
  21. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    A cursory examination and function check should tell you something's up... not to mention the fact that it says "M2" and not "M1".
     
  22. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Sam1911, you are absolutely correct, which is why I hope to never be in this situation, because I'd be mightily opposed to handing a functioning piece of machinery over to one of my least favorite agencies for destruction or (more likely in my opinion) theft by the people who are supposed to be controlling those tools.

    Add in that the BATFE doesn't inspect my gun cabinet too often, and the internals of my firearms even less often ... ... well, we don't discuss illegal actions here on THR, so I'd be repairing that malfunctioning semi-auto in a hurry and making sure I didn't do things that would garner attention.
     
  23. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    There was a thread around here, just like this one, a few years ago. A member here, in Florida? I think, had a local Class III dealer/manufacturer there join in on the discussion. That guy only made a couple posts in that thread, but he said that he has seen this type of scenario happen many times. i.e. - Descendants find Grandpa's war trophy in the attic and start asking around for advice on what to do with it.

    For some reason, I think I recall the dealer posting that he has been able to destroy a portion of the receiver and manufacture a new one in semi-auto, or something like that. I don't know... I can't find that thread for the life of me now.
     
  24. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    I've seen this type scenario on this very board before. Poor guy posted pics of an MP-44 found in a closet, had no idea what it was or the legal ramifications thereof.
     
  25. wishin

    wishin Member

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    As a practical matter, the odds of the BATFE finding out are pretty slim. However, it's like having a stolen Van Gogh original painting that no one can know about........For me, 10 years in prison is a good deterrent. Coming up with $250k is out of the question.
     
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