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What if you found a class III firearm?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Whirlwind06, Sep 28, 2006.

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  1. Whirlwind06

    Whirlwind06 Member

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    What if you were cleaning out the attic of a recently passed away uncle or grandfather. And you found a war trophy say a German MP-40 or a Thomson 45.
    Or an full auto AK-47 for that matter.

    Would there be anyway legally own it? Could you register it with the BATF? Or would they take it and destroy it?
     
  2. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    If they have a war record, from what I've heard, the best way to keep it from being destroyed would be to contact the forces they'd served with, their museum, and see about getting it donated as an exhibit.

    If they took it, you'd get it in a case with their name below it, usually, and it's better than BATFE torching it or using it as a demo toy for 'evil guns'.
     
  3. Keith Wheeler

    Keith Wheeler Member

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    If there's no paper trail, it's a no go sort of item. No way to register, almost no way to safely get rid of it....yes, people have gone to jail for "finding" an unregistered full auto.

    But sometimes there is a paper trail. A fellow on another board was contacted by the family of a WWII vet who had passed on and had a papered type 99 Japanese LMG in the attic. It was a papered DEWAT (DEactivated WAr Trophy), which means it could be transferred and even reactivated.

    If it has no papers, it has no papers. It's verboten, big time bad juju and neither the ATF nor the NRA give a flying handshake how many Nazis your grandpappy killed to recover it, it's just plain illegal.

    Besides the well known "four rules", I follow a fifth when it comes to guns: "thou shalt not touch a non-papered NFA item".
     
  4. wuchak

    wuchak Member

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    I like the museum idea. I think my first call would be an anonymous one to a museum curator at a museum with a firearm collection of this type. They would certainly know the procedure and what if anything you could do to be able to either outright donate it to them or put on a "long-term" loan if there is a way you can legally possess it and you intend to go through the process to do so.
     
  5. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    All good advice here. I will note that my dad was a well-known expert on German WWII military weapons once, and was close with the curator of a university museum. The curator periodically called him to ask help identifying and valuing things that had been donated. The museum did indeed get unpapered machine guns from time to time, including once when my dad showed up and saw an MG42 in excellent condition sitting on the table, complete with tripod and accessories. As was often the case, it was brought in by a family member of a deceased gentleman.

    The museums do sometimes have a way to keep them, but I don't know the specifics.
     
  6. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    And when you think about it, it really is depressing that they've managed to make gun owners so fearful and cowed about that. That it's accepted.

    That finding an inanimate object automatically makes you a criminal.

    Sad.

    Or if it's a US military-issued weapon and it lacks papers, it could be said that the US military still owns it. And if you contact a museum operated and staffed by actual members of the military, they could well be willing to reclaim it as US property, if they're a decent sort. :)
     
  7. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    Find such an item in an attic or the like? Why wall it up for the evil day when such historic artifacts have been banned from civilian ownership.

    Oh, wait a minute...

    The museum option is 'prolly the best best bet, unless one felt that its time to make a grand entrance into Valhalla.
     
  8. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

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    Gun, what gun? Get yourself a shovel, and a good piece of PVC pipe, just kidding :neener: . No paper no play. I would get rid of that thing quicker than a case of the crabs. Once it enters your possesion as far as the ATF is concerned its your unregistered auto, and your jail time.
     
  9. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    Have an attorney (NOT YOU) call the ATF NFA Branch with the appropriate information about the firearm (make, model, caliber, SN, etc.) to see if it is in the NFRTR. If yes, you can transfer it even if you can't find the paperwork. If no, strip and torch-cut the receiver, and sell the parts.

    Unfortunately this situation is coming up more and more as WWII and Korean War vets die off.
     
  10. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

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    I'm just kidding, too:D Maybe:D Possibly:D
     
  11. Keith Wheeler

    Keith Wheeler Member

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    Dreadfully sad. For me it's not a question of fear, but of facing reality. I don't have 10 years and $250,000 to "donate" to Uncle Sam just because I'm in close proximity to something with a little bit of barrel cut off the end or with a couple of extra parts installed.

    This isn't a conspiracy theory "they're comin' ta git us" fear, this is based on the fact the if you have in your hands or your immediate control an unpapered NFA item, you are in possession of an illegal firearm as far as the ATF is concerned. It has happened. Everything from broken guns to rusted relics found and turned in by good samaritan types have led to people being charged with an ugly federal felony.

    The saddest part to me is how the bulk of the RKBA types look at this and shrug their shoulders, "yeah, but only weirdos want machine guns".
     
  12. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    This was the heavy-handed use of the courts against reasonable citizens
    that the Founding Fathers fought against.

    It's not just gun-owners and the 2A.
     
  13. Phenom

    Phenom Member

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    If it was an AK-47 I would just keep my mouth shut about it. If it was anything else I would call the authorities and explain the situation to them and have them pick it up. I doubt you'll be arrested if you found a NFA item in an attic of a house you just moved into to.
     
  14. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

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    Actually, yes, there's a good chance you will be arrested and charged with a felony, or at least have to endure some legal hell.

    BAD idea to call the po-po's, unless you want to get a closeup of your kitchen floor with someone shouting at you after they charge in your door...and then get indicted on a felony charge. I can just about guarantee that they won't hear any word after "machine gun" or "full-auto". It's an evil unregistered machine gun, it's in your possession, end of story. You're a criminal.

    Yes. It is that bad.
     
  15. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

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    Not to hi-jack this thread but lets say I were shooting my semi-auto rifle and the sear broke making said rifle go full auto. I guess this would be viewed as a illegal conversion. Of course I would fix it quite promptly but if say a person were standing next to me at the range and heard it do I need to fear being reported.

    Wow re-reading that really makes me think of fearing the S.S, KGB, or the Stasi :fire: .
     
  16. Keith Wheeler

    Keith Wheeler Member

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    Guess again. I'm trying to find a good link...but there was a case of some people finding an old rusted subgun on a park, turning it in per good citizen concepts, and being arrested for "possesion" of an "illegal machinegun".

    Yep, that has happened too. People have been arrested and charged with illegal possession for having a legal gun that broke.

    Even if these folks aren't convicted, do you have any idea what being charged with having an illegal machine gun will do to your life? You don't have to be convicted of a crime like that to spend lots of money, lose your guns, your job...it's about like being charged with "child pornography" or perhaps being a congressman...


    Edited to add:

    Folks, this is why so many of us "stamp collectors" have a beef with the NRA. Since the phrase "machine gun" immediately turns off the thinking part of people's minds, be it cops, sheeple, congress critters, or duck hunters, the NRA doesn't want to get involved....but this stuff is going on. All of the fears that you "title I" ("regular" gun) types talk about happening "some day" are going on now. Go look at the issue of Len Savage's belt-fed upper for the M11 SMG. One day the ATF says it's an accessory, next it's a "machine gun"...after he's sold the bloody things! Then the ATF wants the names of all the folks that bought an accessory but now have an "illegal machine gun"...uh huh.

    I'll have to say this -- I don't believe "they" are ready to come stomping down on us all, I'm not fear mongering, just trying to say that some very ugly stuff has happened because of the 1934 NFA, and it is indeed something that all gun owners need to be aware of and take seriously.
     
  17. BobTheTomato

    BobTheTomato Member

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    I think the lawyer is the best idea. There was a story not too long ago about a father who found a sawed off shot gun in his sons room and took it to the cops to be destroyed. Of course as things would go they thought about charging him. If you have any desire to keep it in you possesion having a lawyer trace the paperwork would insulate you and if they said it was unregistered it would give you a chance to destroy the reciever and any full auto parts.
     
  18. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    No such thing as a Class III firearm so I don't have to worry.:D
     
  19. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    LOL, good thing cook-offs don't count.

    And, there are more times where flashbangs are thrown into the wrong
    house that you do not hear about in the news than what you do.

    Best advice so far has been to call a lawyer first. It is quite possible
    that the lawyer could make the un-papered weapon disappear from the
    house through an arrangement with the local prosecutor that allows the
    finder to remain anonymous. There would be plenty of letters and agreements
    back and forth between the two lawyers documenting the surrender of
    the weapon in advance. Obviously, this is to allow the lawyer to CYA and
    more importantly his.
     
  20. DonP

    DonP Member

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    Sigh ...

    We just had that happen near my home last year.

    A guy remodeling the old family home tore down a closet his father had put up years ago and found a NIB Thompson, with three stick mags and some boxes of .45 ACP, vintage 1930's, between the studs.

    They called the small town police about it and the police chief showed up to take possession of the "illegal" machine gun and see to it that it was properly taken care of.

    I'm willing to bet that the gun is sitting in the police armory and the chief will see to it that it is properly "retired" to his home at some point.

    I know the law, and I know Illinois and that's why I'm willing to make that bet.

    Personally, I'd be tempted to clean it, oil it well, and wall it back up again with an 8# sledge leaning against the wall, ... just in case a museum needed it someday.

    Sorry, I trust myself more than many local police departments in a corrupt city, county and state.
     
  21. Keith Wheeler

    Keith Wheeler Member

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    Yep. Very best advice. At least until the day the disappering bit goes the other way around...
     
  22. Keith Wheeler

    Keith Wheeler Member

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    Err, yep. Correct terminology: "Title I" any firearm that isn't an NFA item, "Title II" anything that is.

    NFA items: full auto (be it machine gun, SMG, machine pistol, automatic rifle), short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, silencers, destructive devices, and "any other weapons", like pen guns or "assassination devices".
     
  23. hammer4nc

    hammer4nc Member

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    What would you do...

    The duty to preserve the legacy of a family heirloom, and the sacrifice of that honored uncle or grandfather, would most certainly outweigh fear of possible reprisal due to unreasonable regulations. I would try to find out the specific details related to this piece, and make a written record as to how, when, why it was acquired.

    When the time came to pass this relic down to the next generation, it would make a terrific object lesson as to what is expected when honor and tyranny collide.
     
  24. knuckles

    knuckles Member

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    Could you not just remove the receiver/seer (or whatever part it is that makes it NFA) and have new semi-auto parts machined? In other words convert full auto to semi? I mean, it won't be a machine gun, but it'll still be a great peice of history you could keep and even maybe use...
     
  25. Keith Wheeler

    Keith Wheeler Member

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    Once a machine gun always a machine gun...unless destroyed. You pull all the internals and torch cut the receiver and the ATF will let you keep your pile of scrap metal.
     
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