Monday, December 10, 2012

Wait, Wait, Wait...

Common sense is breaking out... at gun buybacks???

First, Weerd finds this story at DOOT about an honest-to-goodness STG44 being rescued from a buyback. The police saw the STG, realized what it was and what it was worth, especially the historical significance, and spared it from the smelter. Thirdpower questions whether the ATF will go after the woman who turned it in, which is an entire valid question. Simply put, this woman was committing a Federal felony by possessing an unregistered machine gun.

Secondly, I saw this story whereby a WWII bringback Arisaka - complete with bayonet - was rescued from the recent gun buyback in Worcester, MA. Rather than submit the Arisaka to be destroyed, they are going to look into donating it to a museum. Here's the kicker: They were offering a $25 gift card and a flu shot for long arms. Someone turned in a piece of history for $25 - but fortunately someone recognized the significant and importance of the rifle and spared it from becoming a flippin' manhole cover.

Common sense may be on life support and fading, but it's not dead yet...

That is all.

13 comments:

Mopar said...

The STG story is from my neck of the woods. The general consensus among the locals is either A: it *was* registered (as noted, fairly painless to do back in the day), or B: it wasnt registered and even the local cops don't know the law well enough to understand it wasn't legal.
Most of the local money is on A, since some of the local stories at least SOUND like the cop knew what he was talking about, mentioning how it would have to be transfered through a dealer and stuff. Still cool that they didnt take it. BTW, that gun buyback was the first one in that city in years, and only took in like a dozen guns.

Wally said...

Doesn't need to transfer through a dealer but the cop had a small clue.

Without knowing the reg status, tough to say. Can local law enforcement offer amnesty from federal charges ?

BTW uncle Wally can handle such research into registration without being it a felonious act

Geodkyt said...

Based on teh news report (gun was brought back from WWII on trophy paperwork, lawful heirs in possession), it seems to qualify as "properly registered", and just needs the transfer under inheritence rules to be documented.

A nearly identical case settled teh issue a few years ago, when a widow tried to sell the Thompson SMG DEWAT her late husband had stored in the attic (widow found it after his death). Since the 1968 NFA reauthorization specified that any previous registrations were grandfathered in. The court ruled that ANY possession legitimized by the US government acknowledging that you have THAT particular gun, even if it was not considered an NFA item THEN, counted as a valid registration, because teh statute did NOT specify the registration had to be on a particular ATF form (makes sense, asthe same law also added new definitions to the NFA law; DEWATs were not NFA items prior to then, for example, nor were bare receivers).

So Granny got to sell her DEWAT Thompson (I think it was just lead filling the bore) for fair market value, and this family will get to sell their STG44.

Old NFO said...

Yeah, but who knows what ELSE has gone down the tubes that everyone missed... sigh...

wolfwalker said...

Wait, an ARISAKA? Even with the chrysanthemum mark defaced, an authenticated Arisaka Type 38 is a very rare and special thing. Not many of them survived the war.

Wally said...

"War trophy"does not imply legal registration. Dewat does.
a traditional war trophy would have been authorized by the units command but in order to be legal today it would also need to be registered nfa (nfrtr to be exact). that window closed in 1968,with the only exceptions being for servicemen demonstrably overseas during the night 1967 so called amnesty.

is it Thursday yet?

8Notch said...

I just want to know what anyone who would recognize it wasn't one of those turrurist AK-47's was doing at a gun buyback in the first place. I guess the captain told them to be there.

Anonymous said...

did ya notice the M-14 complete with select fire lever as well as the era correct m-16 as part of that collection?

Geodkyt said...

War trophy paperwork WOULD qualify, if it identified the soldier bringing it in and the gun by serial number. There is JUST such a mandatory field on the official war trophy tags they used in WWII. The forms were issued under the authority and by the direction of the senior US government official in question -- the local Theater Commander.


The 1968 GCA which reauthorized the NFA DOES NOT state that the NFRTR is the only US registration scheme -- ANY federal registration, even if Uncle Sam didn't bother to keep HIS copy, authorizing a private individual to bring a particular gun into the country, is a "registration". Under the 1968 GCA, ALL pre-1968 "registrations" for guns covered under the post-1968 NFA are automatically considered actual NFA registrations.

ALL the grandfather clause in the 1968 GCA reauthorization of the NFA required was lawful possession of a machinegun (or anything else considered NFA under the post-1968 NFA) that was lawfully possessed at the time the 1968 GCA went into effect. War trophies, brought back under legitimate war trophy paperwork, were "lawfully possessed", because the US Government signed off on that possession AND importation (the war trophy registration form ALSO acted as an approved Form 6 import ticket) for private ownership.

One point of confusion is that the 1968 GCA stated that the entire NFRTR was grandfathered over when teh NFA was reauthorized. But again, YOU are not responsible for ensuring the federal government actually does what it is supposed to do with its files, so long as you can prove you did your end.

It was the fact that copies of these war trophy forms WERE NOT automatically filed in the NFRTR (as they should have been) that caused the Treasury Department to beg the War Department to end the war trophy program for machineguns in May 1945 -- but guns brought back under it ARE legitimate. The War Trophy form WAS a federal registration document authorizing lawful private possession and importation of a particular gun.

Remember, DEWATs were NOT originally NFA controlled at all. The DEWAT program from 1955 - 1968 merely removed DEWATs from NFA control AT ALL. (The 1968 GCA restroed DEWATs to their previous status of "registered" but "unserviceable" firearms.) Nor was there any central registry of DEWATs (why would there be, when they weren't NFA items at the time?), even though DEWATs created from guns in the NFRTR were logged in the NFRTR as DEWATs. But the existance os a simple piece of paper (in the extant widow case, a letter) from Uncle Sam specifying the DEWAT status of a Tommy gun, S/N123456, in the hands of a (now deceased) indidual, also counts as "registration" for the purpose of the registration grandfathering and inheiritence. Not even an "Amnesty" registration -- literally it is legally considered a pre-1968 registration.


An approved Form 6 (import certificate) for a particular gun for a particular individual is also an acceptable substitute for an NFRTR tax stamp form, according to ATF. After all, Fed.Gov KNEW you had the gun, APPROVED you importing the gun, and either collected the tax at the border or decided they didn't need to collect the tax. Any conditions on the importation MUST be stated on teh approval of the Form 6 (for example, if an FFL/SOT brings in an MP5 for a police or military sale, the Form 6 will state it is imported for police or military sales ONLY.

Robert said...

While Geokyt's post includes correct info, there are a number of incorrect assertions.


>War trophies, brought back under legitimate war trophy paperwork, were "lawfully possessed", because the US Government signed off on that possession AND importation (the war trophy registration form ALSO acted as an approved Form 6 import ticket) for private ownership.<

This has never been tested in court and there are no examples evident of 'bringback' paperwork being used to register an unregistered MG between '68 and the present. there are a few coourt cases where ATF allowed the registration of NFA controlled firearms, but not because of the evidence of bringback documents. The affadavit document from a soldier's CO is only an authlorization to allow the soldier to possess the weapon, nothing more, and the form is not defacto registration, as a CO had no legal eligibility to act as an agent for the Treasury. Nor did the CO have any legal or other obligatioin to 'register' any NFA weapon for which he signed a capture document. The regulations at the time concerning any weapon that might be restricted by fed, state or local laws required that the soldier comply with such regulations. US customs was responsible for border control of all weapons entering the US with returning soldiers, or weapons sent from overseas to the US. Due to NFA '34, the burden was on the soldier to either file a form 6 for import or a form 1 registration for any NFA controlled items. The prohibition on returning with NFA items actually was part of an early Navy circular, in 1943 that stated MGs nd other types of NFA were no loonger eilgible to capture documentation, but the circular and change in regs is circumstantial. The general prohibition came under circular #155 in May of 1945.
The issue of "lawfully possessed" is the best basis for any person in a family eligible to possess a bringback with CO docunentation to bring a suit against ATF for registration of the weapon, but it is a very long shot. Again, there has never been a case where the basis for registration of an MG was the CO's bringback document.
I get about twenty calls more or less a year from peiople with MGs wantig to know what to do. Usually only one or two can be found in the NFRTR by serial number, and every once in a while, the person with the MG is related to the deceased or the family. If the person with the unregistered MG has no connection as an heir or a relative to the person who allegedly is the registrant, the hope of finding a person legally eligible to sign a transfer applicatiion is about gone. I have been assisting in a case where the son of the deceased owner might be allowed by ATF to sign a transfer application to a new registrant, even though he has no power of attorney or executorship, nor was he willed the property, and his father died twenty years ago. We are trying to locate the executor, but it remains to be seen if ATF will allow the transfer. In cases like this, often the only recourse is to open up probate again.

contined in post below due to character limits

Bob Naess
Black River Militaria CII

Robert E. Naess said...

>War trophies, brought back under legitimate war trophy paperwork, were "lawfully possessed", because the US Government signed off on that possession AND importation (the war trophy registration form ALSO acted as an approved Form 6 import ticket) for private ownership.<

This has never been tested in court and there are no examples evident of 'bringback' paperwork being used to register an unregistered MG between '68 and the present. there are a few court cases where ATF allowed the registration of NFA controlled firearms, but not because of the evidence of bringback documents. The affadavit document from a soldier's CO is only an authorization to allow the soldier to possess the weapon, nothing more, and the form is not de-facto registration, as a CO had no legal eligibility to act as an agent for the Treasury. Nor did the CO have any legal or other obligation to 'register' any NFA weapon for which he signed a capture document. The regulations at the time concerning any weapon that might be restricted by fed, state or local laws required that the soldier comply with such regulations. US customs was responsible for border control of all weapons entering the US with returning soldiers, or weapons sent from overseas to the US. Due to NFA '34, the burden was on the soldier to either file a form 6 for import or a form 1 registration for any NFA controlled items. The prohibition on returning with NFA items actually was part of an early Navy circular, in 1943 that stated MGs nd other types of NFA were no longer eilgible to capture documentation, but the circular and change in regs is circumstantial. The general prohibition came under circular #155 in May of 1945.
The issue of "lawfully possessed" is the best basis for any person in a family eligible to possess a bringback with CO documentation to bring a suit against ATF for registration of the weapon, but it is a very long shot. Again, there has never been a case where the basis for registration of an MG was the CO's bringback document.
I get about twenty calls more or less a year from people with MGs wanting to know what to do. Usually only one or two can be found in the NFRTR by serial number, and every once in a while, the person with the MG is related to the deceased or the family. If the person with the unregistered MG has no connection as an heir or a relative to the person who allegedly is the registrant, the hope of finding a person legally eligible to sign a transfer applicatiion is about gone. I have been assisting in a case where the son of the deceased owner might be allowed by ATF to sign a transfer application to a new registrant, even though he has no power of attorney or executorship, nor was he willed the property, and his father died twenty years ago. We are trying to locate the executor, but it remains to be seen if ATF will allow the transfer. In cases like this, often the only recourse is to open up probate again.

Robert said...

Continued from above post......


>It was the fact that copies of these war trophy forms WERE NOT automatically filed in the NFRTR (as they should have been) that caused the Treasury Department to beg the War Department to end the war trophy program for machineguns in May 1945 -- but guns brought back under it ARE legitimate. The War Trophy form WAS a federal registration document authorizing lawful private possession and importation of a particular gun.<

What is your resource/evidence for making the claim that bringback forms were supposed to be filed with the treasury? And also that the bringback document "...WAS a federal registration document authorizing lawful private possession and importation of a particular gun." The CO had no legal authority to 'register' an NFA weapon, and the document had no legal standing as 'registration". That was the responsibility of the soldier who was importing it into the US! Your claims here are just myth.

>The DEWAT program from 1955 - 1968..."<

A minor point is that the DEWAT program was instituted by the Treasury in collaboration with the armed services in 1945 for returning servicemen with MGs and it ended in 1958 as an official Treasury program, although many MGs continued to be welded up for many, many years. The import of MGs for the commercial/retail sales of MGs to collectors started as early as 1953 although many thousands of MGs and related NFA items flooded back with the returning GIS despite the various regulations, NFA '34 and US customs. I bought my first DEWAT in late 1954 from Cadmus Industries in CA and several more in the next few years from Hy Hunter and from Numrich Arms.

Bob Naess
Black River Militaria CII

Robert said...

continued from above post.......


>Nor was there any central registry of DEWATs (why would there be, when they weren't NFA items at the time?), even though DEWATs created from guns in the NFRTR were logged in the NFRTR as DEWATs.<

Not sure what you are saying here, but all legally imported MGs were registered by the importers on form 6s since they were imported as live MGs. Once they were welded, then they were no longer controlled by NFA '34, but as live, imported MGS, they were certainly in the NFRTR if one could call it that in those days. The Treasury registrations were logged in mostly on 3x5 file cards! The irony here is that anyone could import an MG legally with the proper import application and there was no charge for registration. Thus, the big to do when the government and citizens were upset about owners reactivating their welded MGs was just media since the owners could just register them.

>An approved Form 6 (import certificate) for a particular gun for a particular individual is also an acceptable substitute for an NFRTR tax stamp form, according to ATF. After all, Fed.Gov KNEW you had the gun, APPROVED you importing the gun, and either collected the tax at the border or decided they didn't need to collect the tax.<

Registration was free. Transfer of the weapon was taxed on application by new individual registrant for transfer. The importers of MGs were in a serious bind. Very few buyers would buy a live MG and be forced to pay the $200 tax, so deactivating the guns made them saleable. The per unit cost of live MGs was often less than one dollar and remaining overhead was fairly low. The first DEWAt I bought was an MP28 at $14.95, so the markup was considerable. Hy Hunter claimed that the tax was $300 on the transfer of a live MG to an individual and some of the other retailers made the claim that the tax had to be paid every year! This just was sales hype to move the DEWATs, of which there were many thoousands. The tax is only paid to and from an individual on an F4 for a live MG, or for a 'making' of certain NFA items on F1 application.

Registered DEWATs continue to come into my shop for rreactivation, probablu between 10 and 20 every year so there are lots of them still out there. Before the dummy MG industry got underway, people who wanted an MG of a particular type would buy it and them have it welded up for their own personal reasons. Some states used to allow possession of registered DEWATs, but no live MGs by individuals, but those laws are gone now.
Anyway, hope this is useful information and please feel free to add your own info and comments.

Bob Naess
Black River Militaria CII