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

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by Soapy5, Jan 30, 2013.

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  1. Donut Destroyer

    Donut Destroyer Member

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    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.
     
  2. Donut Destroyer

    Donut Destroyer Member

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    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.
     
  3. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Member

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    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.

    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.

    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
     
  4. Donut Destroyer

    Donut Destroyer Member

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    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.
     
  5. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Member

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    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'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
     
  6. Lonestar11

    Lonestar11 Member

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    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?
     
  7. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Member

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    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
     
  8. crazyelece

    crazyelece Member

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    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.
     
  9. Crash_Test_Dhimmi

    Crash_Test_Dhimmi Member

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    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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