Call For Another General Amnesty Of NFA Firearms
Contact your Senators and Representatives!
Most people believe it is illegal to own a machine gun. Contrary to that belief, machine guns are completely legal - provided they are registed with the federal government. Thousands are owned by lawful shooters and collectors in the United States. Before 1934, all firearms (including machine guns) were owned and possessed - without restriction - by individuals in the United States. Since the passage of the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA), Federal law permits individuals to own pistols with shoulder stocks, machine guns and other restricted firearms - provided they are registered with the BATF in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). Today, there are over 1,200,000 registrations in the file! Registered NFA weapons have proven to be no threat to public safety. Even BATF admitted these registered firearms have never been used in any crime, except for one used by a police officer in a crime of passion.
After passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act, BATF began administratively
removing certain specified firearms from the registration requirement of
the NFA - by classifying them as "primarily collectors items and not
likely to be used as a weapon.
(C&R List Section III) BATF also determined these were "Curios
and Relics". Many others were found to be antiques (pre-1898) and
completely exempt from registration.
(C&R List Section IIIA)
These firearms include many (but not all!) pistols with shoulder stocks,
some short barreled rifles, certain smooth-bore shot pistols, most cane
guns, and many others in the 'any other weapon' category. Many of these
firearms had been registered in the NFRTR. With (perhaps) few exceptions,
the registrations were not removed from the NFRTR and still exist to clutter
As a side note, it is interesting to note how quickly tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of these rare collector items appeared on the market! Many shoulder stocked pistols still have their original matching numbered shoulder stocks. Since they were illegal (or registered) from 1934 until 1970 (some 36 years), it makes us wonder if there was (is?) wide-spread civil disobedience regarding collector guns?
The BATF also classified many, many other NFA weapons (including machine guns) as "Curios and Relics" - historically significant, of higher monetary value - thus not likely to be used as a weapon, but these have not been removed from the NFRTR registration requirement.
Serious and significant errors and problems exist with the NFRTR file. As a direct result innocent citizens are at risk of financial loss and/or felony prosecutions by BATF. ANY violation of the NFA is a serious felony, with penalties up to $10,000 and 10 years imprisonment per violation! The burden of proof is on YOU (not the government) to prove your NFA weapon was registered! If you lose your paperwork you could be convicted of a felony - if BATF is unable (or unwilling) to locate the registration in the NFRTR.
We ask for your active support for efforts to remedy these problems
now underway by the following (among others!):
(1) Rep. Don Sherwood
(2) Rep. James A. Gibbons
(3) Rep. John T. Hostettler
(4) Rep. Ernest J. Istook, Jr.
(5) Sen. Bob Smith
In testimony before the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government of the Committee on Appropriations - May 1, 2001, Mr. Eric Larson documented many of these problems. The Treasury IG has also investigated and documented these and additional problems ( OIG-99-009, dated October 26, 1998, and OIG-99-018, dated December 18, 1998). The problems and errors include:
In other words, BATF has lost track of
hundreds of thousands of machine guns, and other restricted firearms!
Where are they? Who owns them? BATF doesn't know! However, BATF
"...we do not believe that the fact that an individual registrant is
deceased affects the accuracy of the Record or that it make the registry
unreliable or ineffective as a law enforcement tool. To the contrary, the
registry is reliable and effective for law enforcement purposes...."
So, although BATF doesn't know how many machine guns are registered, who has them, nor where they are, if they can't find yours in their file, you can go to jail!
To try to cover their tail, BATF recently began an expensive program to "image and index" the NFRTR - "back to 1934", knowing full well the file contains thousands of erroneous, obsolete and irrelevant records. Is this how you want your tax dollars spent? Recently, Congress allocated an additional $500,000 for BATF to "clean up" the NFRTR ( Public Law 107-67). However, BATF has consistantly denied the problems (including many in the Inspector General investigations!). Consequently, we have no confidence that the problems will be corrected - or even addressed. ( See Neal Knox report )
Why should any citizen be subjected to the risk of prosecution and financial loss for trying to comply with the law by contacting BATF about their NFA firearm? - or, for that matter, any firearm? In many cases, only an expert can identify certain firearms that require registration! (See illustrations below) Further, many other firearms have been reclassified by BATF as NFA firearms long after they were sold to citizens and in general circulation! BATF appears far more interested in pursuing their own agenda - by prosecuting citizens and confiscating guns, than in helping citizens comply with the law. It's no wonder that many law-abiding citizens are terrified of contacting BATF for advice - or for any other reason. They well remember BATF's ill-advised and botched raid at WACO (reported by 60 Minutes (Mike Wallace) as a BATF publicity stunt which resulted in the death of the Branch Davidian members - and they remember the Ruby Ridge fiasco! - where a government sniper killed Vicki Weaver and the court ordered the government to pay $ 3.1 million dollars (of your tax dollars) in a wrongful death settlement.
BATF policy toward DEWATs (Deactivated War Trophy - welded machine guns) has drastically changed over the years. These guns were welded so they could never be fired and many thousands were lawfully sold to innocent citizens. Since then, BATF changed their mind and decided DEWATs had to be registered, but to the best of our knowledge, provided no method for registration! Consequently, thousands of 'illegal' DEWATs are in basements, garages and attics all over the country. A similar situation exists for DEMILs (Demilitarized firearms), which have been cut so they cannot be fired. However, BATF still considers some to be NFA firearms which must be registered!
The laws and policies of the United States regarding machine guns (and other restricted firearms and devices) are the laughingstock of many civilized countries in the world. In those countries, when an unregistered machine gun is found, it is not a crime. They simply register it - so it can then be controlled. These countries are not interested in prosecuting citizens for minor technical violations. The possession of a machine gun or other restricted firearm is a victimless crime - where no one is harmed by mere ownership or possession. These countries recognize that the criminal use of the gun is the problem - not simple possession! In England, France and Finland, silencers are not controlled in any way - in fact, they are encouraged so you don't disturb your neighbors! DEWATs [welded up machine guns] are not considered to be guns at all - ownership and sales are not restricted in any way.
There is a simple solution - Another general amnesty!
Under Section 207(d) of the Gun Control Act of 1968, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to establish unlimited numbers of amnesty periods, not to exceed 90 days each, after publication of notice of his intention to do so in the Federal Register. A 30 day amnesty was declared in Nov./Dec., 1968, but none since! BATF has consistently objected to another amnesty - even though multiple amnesties were the specific intent of Congress in 1968! Many people think BATF should have other, more important work to do instead of prosecuting otherwise honest citizens for technical violations and spending time objecting to an amnesty - especially considering the September 11 attack.
An amnesty would benefit veterans who shipped a NFA war trophy home and didn't realize it was supposed to be registered, or simply neglected to register it, or lost their registration. During such an amnesty, all citizens should be able to register, re-register, or resolve problems with the registration without fear of prosecution or confiscation! They should also be able to obtain a ruling whether their gun needed to be registered - or not.
In November 1968, following passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act as specifically authorized under the law, the federal government initiated a 30-day amnesty to allow registration of previously unregistered firearms - no questions asked. No background check was performed, nor was the registration verified in any way. Over 50,000 firearms were registered during this period.
However, many people were:
As a member of a gun collectors organization at the time (1968), I have personal knowledge that many people were afraid to take advantage of the amnesty. Many thought the government would not honor the amnesty, and they would be prosecuted. If that amnesty was honored as promised, they would register their guns in the next amnesty However, since 1968, none have been offered.
No congressional action is necessary to declare an amnesty. However, Congressional action may well be necessary to require the Secretary to act!
Your active support is needed. Please write your Senators and Congressmen. NRA members, please contact the NRA to ask for their support, and ask your collectors club for their support.
To locate your Congressman, Click Here
To locate your Senators, Click Here
For additional information, please visit:
Send email to email@example.com with questions or comments about errors in the NFRTR.
Which is the NFA firearm, and which is not?
A mistake could put you in jail and cost you $10,000 in fines - or far worse!
Anybody remember WACO?
CLUE: (It's the one on the right)
The one on the left is a rare semi-auto version.
One more time, which is the NFA firearm, and which is not?
CLUE: The one on top is probably ok..... probably.
We're not too sure about the one on the bottom.....or is it the other way around?
How about these two - which is the NFA firearm, and which is
We don't know either!
But you could be prosecuted by BATF if you possess the wrong one!
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