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NFA laws are dumb, part whatever

So, an acquaintance of a friend of someone who works in the medical field told me the tale of someone recently incapacitated in a car accident. That person also has a few NFA weapons and the medical people are saying that the family should probably get the guns out of his house for safety reasons. And they’re probably right in this case, since it’s a pretty bad scene. I told them that if they went to his gun safe and grabbed his suppressors, or whatever, and took them home, they were probably breaking the law. What say you?

20 Responses to “NFA laws are dumb, part whatever”

  1. DocMerlin Says:

    Yes, broke the statute… felony even. I still claim that the NFA is unlawful due to the second amendment.

  2. uscitizen Says:

    If the owner died and family (or whoever) was heir that that property from the estate, complete a Form 4 NFA transfer naming the Decedent’s Name, Address and Date of Death on line 3c.

  3. Mike V. Says:

    I think it depends on whether the NFA paperwork was to an individual or a trust.

  4. pop n fresh Says:

    Can they lock them up in the location specified on the atf forms? Without the travel 20’s filled out, signed and returned that’s where the nfa stuff lives. Best bet is find a way to lock them up at his residence where he Xanax get to them I’d think.

  5. wizardpc Says:

    We have backup trustees or whatever they’re called on our trust for exactly this reason.

    But yeah, atf don’t care, and now they’re doing a search of your known associates for recent car crashes 🙂

  6. weaserdapi Says:

    I think one could remove all the non NFA items and leave the suppressors in the safe. Also I would explore field stripping the NFA firearms and taking a few parts that aren’t considered NFA parts. Taking all the ammo and magazines for starters would put a big dent in some short sighted plans.

  7. ben Says:

    You can send NFA stuff to a gunsmith, even machine guns without any special paperwork.

  8. Alien Says:

    You don’t define what constitutes “a pretty bad scene” nor do you provide extent of the incapacitation. If Party A – the owner of the NFA items – was incapacitated, and hospitalized, it doesn’t sound like he would have access to the safe contents.

    If the issue is other parties having access to the safe, then – assuming there is no additional reason for concern about theft – just have an independent third party (such as a bonded locksmith) change the combination and place the new combination in trust with the family’s attorney, to be made available to Party A when he/she recuperates.

    That would mean the attorney (and probably a member or two of the attorney’s staff) would be the only party with access to the NFA items. Since it’s extremely unlikely the attorney would be named on the Form 4, I’m not sure how that would play with BATFE, but I suspect if estate issues are involved, having an attorney manage assets in an estate might past muster.

    As a side note, if Party A – who is incapacitated – is the only one with access to the safe, and the possibility of having to manage assets of his/her estate is an issue, it seems reasonable (not that BATFE routinely proceeds in any sort of reasonable manner) that an attorney with some degree of responsibility for managing the estate assets be the controlling party for the NFA assets.

    Once again, an argument in favor of NFA trusts.

  9. Mike Says:

    I think they should follow all the laws since they were written by wiser men than us peasants. People taking these weapons away from the government would be wrong.

  10. Patrick Says:

    Call ATF NFA Branch ASAP.

    The family cannot just leave them “locked up in the safe” because as non-owner/non-trustees, having access to the safe (knowing combo, having keys, etc.) constitutes access under the law and could (theoretically) be construed as constructive possession.

    If not a trust: they need to call the ATF NFA Branch to get them to do a rapid transfer to a dealer. The ATF allows a certain leeway time during these circumstances (see: http://www.atf.gov/press/releases/1999/09/090599-openletter-nfa-estate-transfers.html ) but it’s predicated on working with them ASAP. This is guidance on estate transfers, but I think this case might be treated the same:

    For registered NFA firearms in the estate, the executor should take action as soon as possible to arrange for the proper registration of the firearms. Possession of an NFA firearm not registered to the possessor is a violation of Federal law and the firearm is subject to seizure and forfeiture. However, we do allow the executor a reasonable time to arrange for the transfer of the registered firearms in a decedents estate. This generally should be done before probate is closed.

    ATF will probably get the paperwork set up for a local NFA FFL to hold the firearms during permanent transfer or sale. From this perspective, a transfer between family is no different than a transfer to me. FFLs hold NFA stuff between transfer, all the time. It’s legit, but you gotta jump the right hoops.

    If this is a trust: then a current trustees can add new family people to the trust in order to properly secure the firearms on-location (and they could even remove the first trustee). This will require either the existing trustee to sign off on the change, or (in the event the person is not capable of signing), having his/her designated person sign under their power of attorney.

    NFA Branch at ATF has a form for transfer of firearms by inheritance. This may apply here, if the original owner is no longer capable of maintaining themselves. Not sure. Give ATF Branch a call (they are not evil people…that’s a title their bosses keep for themselves).

    Call ATF. It’s not worth effing it up.

  11. Tam Says:

    Patrick and Alien have the correct answers here.

  12. Jake Says:

    Another suggestion: They need to be getting everything done through a lawyer who is familiar with NFA issues. Let the lawyer deal with the BATFE, and make sure all the paperwork is done correctly the first time, so an innocent mistake or misunderstanding by the family doesn’t lead to a felony charge or forfeiture later on. Depending on the circumstances, the lawyer should also be able to help them get a trust established at the same time, which sounds like something that needs to be done ASAP.

  13. FiftycalTX Says:

    What is he going to DO with a suppressor and no gun? Hit himself on the head with it repeatedly?

  14. Kristophr Says:

    Tam: Yup.

    If you are worried about personal incapacitation, you need to put trusted family members on the form 4 as “responsible persons”.

  15. ShallNotBeInfringed Says:

    Wow, I read incapacitated as decapitated. Anyway, the guy on my right shoulder says: “Yes, absolutely a crime!” The guy on my left shoulder says “Suppressors and NFA weapons? What suppressors and weapons?” That guy tends to get me in a lot of trouble and probably jail in this case.

  16. Lyle Says:

    It’s none of any government’s business, and it sure as hell isn’t the business of any medical people.

    Since we’re starting with insane assertions (that this IS government’s and medical people’s business), no sane solution exists which can go unpunished. Most people therefore will choose between various insane options rather than face the legal/political consequences of being sane.

  17. HSR47 Says:

    @Kristophr: NFA items are registered to single entities: Actual persons, trusts, corps, etc.

    The only way that there can be more than one authorized responsible person for an NFA item is for it to be registered to a legal entity (trust/corp). If the items in question are registered directly to an individual, there is no way to add/remove/change/modify/bend/spindle/mutilate the duly authorized responsible party without another, likely tax-paid, transfer.

  18. Kristophr Says:

    HSR47: One entity does register the item, but you can add more responsible persons to the form … this is usually the case for trust owned firearms.

  19. Kristophr Says:

    HSR47: And yes, this becomes a problem with an individually registered firearm.

    I suggest appointing a guardian, who can then act in the owner’s name. A previously given power of attorney could also handle this, allowing transfer immediately to a competent person.

  20. Kristophr Says:

    And yea, the ATF gets another tax payment. I don’t see a way around this for a non-trust owned firearm.