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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
While I was visiting a local gunsmith this afternoon, a fellow brought in an AK that he had inherited from his father. The fore end was wrapped in electrical tape and the barrel was very rusty.
The 'smith looked it over and went "Oh crap". The gun was fitted with all the parts and capable of firing in FULL AUTO mode.
The fellow had no idea and no NFA documentation. He had brought it in to see about getting it cleaned up and functional.
The 'smith told him he(the smith) would not be able to return it to him and would have to notify the ATF to pick it up.
Needless to say, the guy was not real happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Since he got it from his father I wonder if it was smuggled back from Vietnam.
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I asked him if his father had been a Vietnam Vet. He said no. He thought he may have gotten it from someone he worked with.
 
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Its still worth the effort looking into running the serial number with the atf to see if it was registered at one time. If not then its contraband and has to be turned into a parts kit.
 

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I was in a Class 3 LGS when a young man and his mother brought in an AR-15 that he had inherited from his grandfather. The owner saw the selector switch. He said, "I can't touch that. Take it home and find any paperwork your grandfather had on it." They brought back the M-16 with the paperwork and the LGS ended up buying it.
 

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As much as that sucks, probably better than some cop seeing him at a range shooting it and busting him for it. Would have been nice if his dad would have told him what he had. All this assuming the guy wasn’t just playing dumb about it of course.
 

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More than a few AK's found their way to the US during the Vietnam era. Even more arrived from across the Mexico border with smugglers. Several thousand were illegally delivered from China while Mr. Clinton presided, and the Chinese company's US agent was a frequent guest at the White House. I suspect that there have been some coming in from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places in more recent years.

Maybe if we make these things illegal they will just go away forever. Maybe not.
 

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I didn't know it was the duty of the gunsmith to enforce ATF policy. Confiscating someone's property can go really wrong really quickly
Exactly!

What does 'taking it into possession' really mean? Is it considered transferred when the gun is physically touched by the gunsmith? Or when the gun enters through the door? At what point did the smithy sense his responsibility was to disarm the owner of his property? And because I don't take some laws too seriously, why didn't he just say get that out of here it's not legal for you to own unless...blah, blah blah?

I walk in with one and even if I'm playing dumb you try to take my property without compensation you are going to get hurt very quickly. I call it stealing. Even if the item may not be legal but I came into it honestly, it's mine.

If the smith wanted to call the ATF that's his right. But taking it? I'm looking that up in the code book, just doesn't appear safe for the smith.
 

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I knew someone who was in 'Nam and picked up one and brought it home, perfectly legal. Unfortunately, it was stolen in route home.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Exactly!

What does 'taking it into possession' really mean? Is it considered transferred when the gun is physically touched by the gunsmith? Or when the gun enters through the door? At what point did the smithy sense his responsibility was to disarm the owner of his property? And because I don't take some laws too seriously, why didn't he just say get that out of here it's not legal for you to own unless...blah, blah blah?

I walk in with one and even if I'm playing dumb you try to take my property without compensation you are going to get hurt very quickly. I call it stealing. Even if the item may not be legal but I came into it honestly, it's mine.

If the smith wanted to call the ATF that's his right. But taking it? I'm looking that up in the code book, just doesn't appear safe for the smith.
What are the penalties for possessing an NFA firearm illegally?

A: A conviction for a violation of the NFA will result in a felony conviction, punishable by up to ten years in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine. See 26 U.S.C. sec. 5871. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines ordinarily require prison time, even for a first offense with no prior criminal record, however various mitigating and aggravating factors can raise or lower the possible sentence range for a first offense.

The statute of limitations on violations of the NFA is three years. See 26 U.S.C. sec. 6531. The statute of limitations does not begin to run on possession offenses until the possession stops. As long as you possess the contraband item, you are in danger of being prosecuted.
The smith is a Class 3 dealer. When you step up to the counter, you are on high res. video. Would you rather him leave the guy at risk of prosecution? Even now, he can be prosecuted any time within the next three years.
ATF will determine if the serial number was registered and, if so, to whom. If it is not on the registry, it will be destroyed.

Believe me, the smith was not pleased to have the gun in his shop. It's a pain in the butt for him to deal with it.
 

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§72.21 Personal property and carriers subject to seizure.

(a) Personal property may be seized by duly authorized ATF officers for forfeiture to the United States when involved, used, or intended to be used, in violation of the laws of the United States which ATF officers are empowered to enforce, including Title 18 U.S.C. Chapters 40 (explosives), 44 (firearms), 59 (liquor traffic), 114 (contraband cigarettes), 229 (liquor); Title 26 U.S.C. Chapters 51 (distilled spirits), 52 (tobacco), 53 (firearms); and Title 27 U.S.C. 206 (liquor). Carriers, as defined in §72.11, similarly may be seized when used in violation of Title 49 U.S.C. App., Chapter 11 (transportation, et cetera) of contraband firearms or contraband cigarettes.

(b) Any action or proceeding for the forfeiture of firearms or ammunition seized under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 shall be commenced within 120 days of such seizure.

(c) Upon acquittal of the owner or possessor, or the dismissal of the criminal charges against such person other than upon motion of the Government prior to trial, or lapse of or court termination of the restraining order to which such person is subject, firearms or ammunition seized or relinquished under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 shall be returned forthwith to the owner or possessor or to a person delegated by the owner or possessor unless the return of the firearms or ammunition would place the owner or possessor or his delegate in violation of law.

§479.93 Transfers of firearms to certain persons.

Where the transfer of a destructive device, machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle is to be made by a person licensed under the provisions of Title I of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (82 Stat. 1213) to a person not so licensed, the sworn statement required by §478.98 of this chapter shall be attached to and accompany the transfer application required by this subpart.

§479.105 Transfer and possession of machine guns.

(b) Machine guns lawfully possessed prior to May 19, 1986. A machine gun possessed in compliance with the provisions of this part prior to May 19, 1986, may continue to be lawfully possessed by the person to whom the machine gun is registered and may, upon compliance with the provisions of this part, be lawfully transferred to and possessed by the transferee.

This to me says that the smith should have rendered his opinion on getting a NFA permit to own the machine gun. This is only pursuant to Federal laws. The state laws prevail however.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
§72.21 Personal property and carriers subject to seizure.

(a) Personal property may be seized by duly authorized ATF officers for forfeiture to the United States when involved, used, or intended to be used, in violation of the laws of the United States which ATF officers are empowered to enforce, including Title 18 U.S.C. Chapters 40 (explosives), 44 (firearms), 59 (liquor traffic), 114 (contraband cigarettes), 229 (liquor); Title 26 U.S.C. Chapters 51 (distilled spirits), 52 (tobacco), 53 (firearms); and Title 27 U.S.C. 206 (liquor). Carriers, as defined in §72.11, similarly may be seized when used in violation of Title 49 U.S.C. App., Chapter 11 (transportation, et cetera) of contraband firearms or contraband cigarettes.

(b) Any action or proceeding for the forfeiture of firearms or ammunition seized under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 shall be commenced within 120 days of such seizure.

(c) Upon acquittal of the owner or possessor, or the dismissal of the criminal charges against such person other than upon motion of the Government prior to trial, or lapse of or court termination of the restraining order to which such person is subject, firearms or ammunition seized or relinquished under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 shall be returned forthwith to the owner or possessor or to a person delegated by the owner or possessor unless the return of the firearms or ammunition would place the owner or possessor or his delegate in violation of law.

§479.93 Transfers of firearms to certain persons.

Where the transfer of a destructive device, machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle is to be made by a person licensed under the provisions of Title I of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (82 Stat. 1213) to a person not so licensed, the sworn statement required by §478.98 of this chapter shall be attached to and accompany the transfer application required by this subpart.

§479.105 Transfer and possession of machine guns.

(b) Machine guns lawfully possessed prior to May 19, 1986. A machine gun possessed in compliance with the provisions of this part prior to May 19, 1986, may continue to be lawfully possessed by the person to whom the machine gun is registered and may, upon compliance with the provisions of this part, be lawfully transferred to and possessed by the transferee.

This to me says that the smith should have rendered his opinion on getting a NFA permit to own the machine gun. This is only pursuant to Federal laws. The state laws prevail however.
You are assuming that the weapon is in the registry. If it isn't, it will be destroyed. Even if it was in the registry, one would still need to go through the whole transfer process. It would be held in a class 3 dealers safe until the paperwork clears, that typically is taking over ten months.
If it is in the registry, ATF will contact the last registered owner to determine why he is not in possession of it (lost, stolen,??) and return it to him.

ATF recently recovered multiple NFA items that had been stolen three years ago from a friend of a friend. They were all returned to the registered owner.
 

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I didn't know it was the duty of the gunsmith to enforce ATF policy. Confiscating someone's property can go really wrong really quickly
You are assuming that the weapon is in the registry. If it isn't, it will be destroyed. Even if it was in the registry, one would still need to go through the whole transfer process. It would be held in a class 3 dealers safe until the paperwork clears, that typically is taking over ten months.
If it is in the registry, ATF will contact the last registered owner to determine why he is not in possession of it (lost, stolen,??) and return it to him.

ATF recently recovered multiple NFA items that had been stolen three years ago from a friend of a friend. They were all returned to the registered owner.
True, I did assume that from what you said. That the guy said he inherited it from his Dad. I guess the impression I got was that this person with the gun was some clean cut guy that was a pillar of society, wore pleated khakis, and polo shirt when in fact he might have been a gang banger gansta shrimp with a body of piercings. (Yes, I am judgemental)

My argument is the smith did something that was actually unnecessarily dangerous (in my book) and wasn't part of his duties as a FFL licensee. What skin was taken off his nose over a rusted up and supposedly not in firing condition NFA firearm that was illegally owned? Whether the person was dishonest looking or otherwise?

We can't assume someone/anyone is going to do harm in the future. That's just something that nobody has the ability to conjure. (even though I AM judgemental)
 

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I knew someone who was in 'Nam and picked up one and brought it home, perfectly legal. Unfortunately, it was stolen in route home.
I have no doubt that you knew someone who told a story. I was in Vietnam 1969-71, no way anyone was allowed to bring back a full-auto weapon. War trophies were permitted with proper documentation, and limited to weapons that did not violate the Gun Control Act (no full-auto, no short-barrel rifles/shotguns, no explosive devices, no destructive devices, etc). A semi-auto pistol was fine, most semi-auto rifles were OK (Chinese SKS being the most common), indigenous cross-bows were relatively popular. A few US Springfield rifles were captured, which the US had given to Ho Chi Minh's forces during WW2 to fight the Japanese occupying forces. Each piece had to be presented for inspection and the documentation prepared, registering that piece to that soldier and authorizing its importation to the US.

Some units collected captured weapons for military displays, and those included machineguns, anti-aircraft guns, and similar items. Those remained in military inventories, not individual hands. Any individual caught trying to bring back a AK-47 was risking court martial and several years in the US military prison at Leavenworth, Kansas. I knew a guy who tried sending a dismantled AK home inside a set of stereo speakers; he was taken away by CID agents and not seen again.

I recall one outfit near Da Nang that had a fully-equipped aircraft maintenance facility. Troops were allowed to bring in a captured AK-47, have it cut in half lengthwise (barrel, action, stock, everything), and have one side of the weapon mounted on a finished hardwood plaque for display. Those were obviously not weapons, nor was there any way to restore the cut pieces to functional condition.
 
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