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Legal single, or constructive intent?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by WestKentucky, Feb 11, 2018.

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  1. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I was reading a thread on destroying illegal guns and got to thinking, if a man were to take a "parts kit" for some of the really interesting and historically important guns which are illegal due to NFA law, and were to do an exact copy of the original reciever EXCEPT never cut the magazine slot into the reciever. Exact outside dimensions, exact internal dimensions, just forget that magwell cut. Externally finished to accept a magazine which would not fit due to the feed lips hitting the un-cut reciever slot. Of course you would have to make a dummy mag by chopping off the top 1/4" or so so it looks correct.

    Is this a legal, fires from blowback, single shot replica? Is this a legal nightmare that would be construed as constructive intent for a machine gun? It's technically not a XXXXX, but it sure isn't far from it. I'm thinking about guns like the greasegun or sten
     
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  2. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    There are legal dummy receivers available for guns such as the Thompson and the BAR. These accept the magazines but not the internal parts such as the bolts. I think what you are describing would have a degree of completion that would not pass muster. To be on the safe side, you would need to submit a sample of your proposed receiver to the ATF Technical Branch. If they disapprove it, they'll just confiscate the sample.

    BTW, there's no such thing as "constructive intent." Intent has nothing to do with it. You are either in "constructive possession" of a machine gun, or you are not.
     
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  3. boom boom

    boom boom Member

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    Anytime you are dealing with weapons have once been automatics, it gets complicated as a lot of what the ATF uses to determine whether it is "easily convertible" to automatic weapons are buried in their rulings and letters--not in the black letter of the laws governing the ATF.

    If you were planning on doing this, I strongly suggest consulting a lawyer that deals with firearms manufacturing issues. If you plan to sell them, you would also have to comply with licensing and even ITAR issues.

    As Alexander A says, you either have something that satisfies ATF's criteria for a automatic weapon under the NFA or you don't. To the best of my recollection, this is not an intent standard for violating the NFA when making your firearm but merely simple possession without proper permits. Lack of intent might mitigate your sentence but not from committing the offense itself with all of those implications.
     
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  4. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Some crimes, such as murder, have an intent element as part of the offense. Others -- the so-called "public safety" offenses, such as speeding -- do not have an intent element. Illegal possession of a machine gun falls into the latter category. The jury is not asked to delve into the mind of the possessor.

    A bona fide dummy MG receiver is not a "firearm" and therefore an FFL is not required to manufacture or sell it. Whether something is a "dummy" or "80%" receiver, on the one hand, or a live receiver, on the other, is a question that the ATF Technical Branch has to answer (hopefully before it goes into manufacture).

    As an example, "dummy" or "80%" AR-15 / M16 lower receivers could originally have been made in one of 3 different ways -- either the fire control group cavity could be left solid, the magazine well could be left solid, or the back of the receiver could be left solid so that a buffer tube could not be installed. The "80%" AR receivers available today seem universally to have the fire control cavity left solid.
     
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  5. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    You hit on a very interesting idea...along the lines of making a semi-auto version of an automatic weapon but rather making a fully-functional weapon sans mag well and thus single shot. So if I had one of your replica M3s the weapon's action would function exactly as it should---from the open bolt, etc.---unlike the altered semi-auto replicas that have been sold over the years. I have no idea if ATF has been approached about this...it would seem you'd be only a dremmel-tooling away from legal trouble and I somehow think they might take a dim view. But then again, they do let folks get awfully close to with some rulings.
     
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  6. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    I think this has been covered as much as possible here. The only way to get a definitive answer would be a formal request to ATF for advice.
     
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