Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

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galconv500
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Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by galconv500 » Wed May 22, 2013 12:51 am

Another question geared more towards the legal types in the crowd. Ran across an item (AK) that was registered during the Amnesty. However, in block 16 of the form ("If firearm is unserviceable, explain how it was made unserviceable"), the form indicates that the item had been altered to fire semi-automatic only. Per the owner, the ONLY alteration was to the trigger mechanism with no alterations to the receiver or any other part of the gun. Please note that this gun is still registered on its original Amnesty papers and has not been tranferred on a Form 4, etc.

Questions:
1) Since the Amnesty form indicates that it has been altered to fire semi-automatic only, would it be legal to convert this AK back to its original select fire configuration by re-installing select fire trigger parts or is this AK now classed as a Title I weapon due to the info in block 16? [NOTES: 1) barrel lenth in block 10 is listed as greater than 16" so I don't see how it would be considered a SBR; 2) Logic says since it's Amnesty registered you can re-install the parts but logic doesn't always work with NFA related items.)

2) IF it is legal to re-install the select fire parts:
a) How would you notify ATF / NFA to update the registry? Just a letter? Any particular form? Can the Form 4 transferring it from the original owner cite the AK as a MG?
b) Are select fire trigger parts readily / legally available for an AK and if so, who is a reliable source / SOT gunsmith who can 'fix' it?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

galconv500
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by galconv500 » Fri May 24, 2013 4:30 am

Got an answer - it is a legally registered MG.

Now regarding the question about repairs, can anyone recommend a good gunsmith who could 'repair' it so that it's back to its original select-fire configuration? Also, does the gunsmith have to be specially licensed (Class 2?) to work on NFA items?

Thanks again.

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Bendersquint
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by Bendersquint » Fri May 24, 2013 8:39 am

galconv500 wrote:Another question geared more towards the legal types in the crowd. Ran across an item (AK) that was registered during the Amnesty. However, in block 16 of the form ("If firearm is unserviceable, explain how it was made unserviceable"), the form indicates that the item had been altered to fire semi-automatic only. Per the owner, the ONLY alteration was to the trigger mechanism with no alterations to the receiver or any other part of the gun. Please note that this gun is still registered on its original Amnesty papers and has not been tranferred on a Form 4, etc.

Questions:
1) Since the Amnesty form indicates that it has been altered to fire semi-automatic only, would it be legal to convert this AK back to its original select fire configuration by re-installing select fire trigger parts or is this AK now classed as a Title I weapon due to the info in block 16? [NOTES: 1) barrel lenth in block 10 is listed as greater than 16" so I don't see how it would be considered a SBR; 2) Logic says since it's Amnesty registered you can re-install the parts but logic doesn't always work with NFA related items.)

2) IF it is legal to re-install the select fire parts:
a) How would you notify ATF / NFA to update the registry? Just a letter? Any particular form? Can the Form 4 transferring it from the original owner cite the AK as a MG?
b) Are select fire trigger parts readily / legally available for an AK and if so, who is a reliable source / SOT gunsmith who can 'fix' it?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.
According to your explanation the owner has falsified records and has a VERY good chance it is classified as a destroyed MG in the registry.

Simply changing out or modifying a trigger doesn't mean its not an MG, just means there is a semi-auto trigger in it and nothing more, it can still be readily converted to a MG. He may have very well screwed the pooch by his choice of words.

Answer1 - Where the registration form says it WAS a MG but NOW it no longer is then its not an MG and never can be, because in order to legally make it an MG again it would have to be MADE into a MG, which involves putting the third hole in...(which in this case it is still there) but the ATF might consider it a new MG and as a byproduct illegal. Doesn't matter if they can look at the hole and see that it was never plugged, that only proves that he falsified the records, its all about the legal documentation and him saying....."It's not an MG".

Answer2 - Based on my experience I would not say that it could legally be brought back to MG status.

a) The ATF can't update the registry to ADD a new MG to it, a Form4 transfers the item it can not be used to update records or change classifications....what is on the registration form is what goes on the Form4.

b) nothing to worry about at this time.

If the current owner really wants to deal with this and try and get a reclassification as a serviceable MG what I would recommend is have the current owner write the ATF NFA Branch Legal Counsel a nice long letter and explain the entire situation to them and get their legal opinion. (Local ATF won't know what to do so don't waste your(or their) time asking, they are just Federal cops, you need to talk to the specialists....the NFA Branch). Once you have their opinion then proceed accordingly and forever keep that letter. Be sure all the facts are there including that the third hole was never obliterated or welded. It should also be known that there could be legal ramifications against the current owner since his form says "Not a MG" and in reality it "IS a MG".

Its a crapshoot, the ATF could say "well its a 68 registration so there is no issues" or they could say "well the 68 registration says its no longer a machinegun but it still is though so....lets get a prosecutor to look this over to see if we have a case"

I have seen this on 4 different occasions and all were denied to be brought back to registered MG status with one prosecution for an illegal mg.

This would have been better in the NFA LEGAL subforum by the way.

galconv500
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by galconv500 » Tue May 28, 2013 2:42 am

Bendersquint,

First, I would like to say thank you for your response. You always provide a good, well thought out reply to members' questions. I can only assume that based on some of the examples you have provided in response to some of the transfer issues presented on this board, that you are in close contact with other dealers and manufacturers.

But your response above has raised another question for me. Regarding the amnesty form and the semi-auto issue that I asked about, the exact words in block 16 were: "Been altered to fire semi-automatic." This comment lead to my asking if this was now a semi-auto rifle or if it's classified as a machine gun. FYI, there's no mention on the form how it was made into a semi-auto. Per my POC (a fairly knowledgeable CL III / DD dealer), the answer he received from ATF (he did say ATF; he might have meant NFA) was that since it was registered back in '68 during the amnesty and if the reciever wasn't modified, then it's still a transferable machine gun.

This brings me to my 'new' question - if the item was registered during the amnesty, why would ATF (was it ATF or IRS who did the amnesty paperwork / approval?) approve a semi-auto rifle which didn't need to be registered, especially if this was altered from a machine gun into a semi-auto rifle? Was there a lot of misunderstanding in ATF / IRS regarding what needed to be registered or not during the amnesty? It seems strange that what was done in good faith back in '68 and trying to follow the rules back then could lead to someone possibly being involved in legal issues now.

FYI, these questions are all for information / learning purposes only as the item in question was sold before I could get back to the owner. Again, appreciate any insight you (or any other member of this board) can provide. Thank you.

You're right about this being in the wrong forum - regret the error. Since I don't know how to move the topic, can the MOD move this or would it be best just to leave this here in the NFA Weapons page since the topic started here?

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Bendersquint
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by Bendersquint » Tue May 28, 2013 3:08 am

Yes, I do work closely with dealers, other manufacturers and the BATFE.

It may have been registered along the lines of ATF's declaration of "once a machinegun always a machinegun".

By documenting that the weapons has been ALTERED to fire semi-automatic I am told in the eyes of the BATFE that means it can no longer fire in full automatic and as such to be restored to full automatic capable then it would have to be ALTERED again to fire full automatic, that construes manufacturing/making a machinegun, which as of this date is a no-no unless you are a 07/02 even the receiver is already registered.

I posed the EXACT wording to one of my guys at BATFE and he said the term "ALTERED" tells him that the capability to fire full auto no longer exists. I asked him if simply swapping out triggers for semi only would warrant those terms, he said absolutely not.

He said the correct terminology would be......"semi auto trigger installed".

"Altered" declares permanence.

What it all boils down to is when the 68 form was filed the registrar guessed at what to document and saught no advice..... ignorance can cost dearly.

galconv500
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by galconv500 » Tue May 28, 2013 5:17 am

Thank you. I definitely appreciate your time, insight (along with the insight of your knowledgeable contacts), and patience on this topic.

Triangle 66
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by Triangle 66 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:22 am

The 1968 GCA changed the definition of 'machine gun' to include recievers, so even if it fired semi auto only it would be a machine gun, by the 1968 GCA definition.

If it was amnesty registered as a machine gun, it is a machine gun. That someone altered it does not change the classification, unless they chopped the reciever into pieces and rewelded it. This doesn't appear to be your situation.

galconv500
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by galconv500 » Wed May 29, 2013 12:57 am

Triangle 66,

Appreciate the information and understand what you're saying (which is very close to what my POC originally said). However, Bendersquint does bring up a valid point, too. If NFA researches this particular item back to its original registration during a transfer, the line "altered to fire semi-automatic" in block 16 of the amnesty paperwork COULD come back to 'haunt' the transferor and cause a lot of legal problems for the owner / transferor.

I don't know about you, but when you're talking about items that cost $20,000+, I want to make sure to the best of my ability that the item is 'clean' and without any issues during a transfer. I'm not a billionaire (or even a millionaire) where $20,000+ is pocket change and if the transfer falls through, no big deal. With this kind of money on the line, I think it's wise to ask the questions up front and make sure all the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed instead of being in the cross-fire of a possible legal issue.

With respect to this particular issue / question, I'd have to go along with Bendersquint's other recommendation - write a letter to NFA and let them give you the 'OK' and then hang onto that letter. As we all know, when it comes to NFA items, you can't be too careful. As the guys in the military say, "CYA" [for those who are unfamiliar with this acronym, "cover your 'backside'" (trying to do my part to keep this site family friendly)].

Thanks, again, for your comments. It's nice to know people are out there with good information and advice.

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Wakko
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by Wakko » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:43 am

What's the cost of the MG?
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galconv500
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by galconv500 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:02 am

I believe it sold for over $30K

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HOT RAM
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Re: Question Regarding the '68 Amnesty

Post by HOT RAM » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:48 pm

If I had a chance to get something like this , well,I better not say ........................

:mrgreen:

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