David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines
hradzka

the BAR in white collar crime

The gun nut chatter today involves this discussion on subguns, a gun-nut forum for those who love their *seriously* blasty weapons. By which I mean, full-auto. Most people don't realize that it's quite possible to own fully-automatic weapons legally in the United States, provided your state law allows it. You have to pass a hefty background check, get the necessary clearance, pay the government tax for the transfer, and fork over a hefty amount of cash for the gun. And by hefty, I mean thousands. Sometimes an awful lot of thousands.

The reason full auto guns are expensive is that there are not a lot of them. You can't import them, and you can't make new ones -- at least, not for the civilian market. The supply of full-auto guns that can be legally transferred to civilians is not all that large, and this has the effect you'd expect: automatic weapons are pricy as hell, and getting pricier all the time. And the options are limited; if, for example, you think that FN's P-90 is a nifty weapon and you think it would be cool to own, tough, because you can't buy one. It's too new. I realize that hefty controls on super blasty fun joy full-autos are a political reality, but I think the restrictions on supply are a dumb idea. The recent news is an interesting account of a related scam. Some full-autos are much more rare or desirable than others. A Mac-10, for example, is relatively affordable as these things go, running a few thousand. A Browning Automatic Rifle, OTOH, is a) much cooler and b) worth maybe ten grand more. The BAR is a classic weapon, a piece of military history, and really sweet, so lots of people would like to own 'em. You could, of course, manufacture a new BAR clone, if you're a gun manufacturer. But that would be very illegal. And you can't transfer it, because it's not registered with the ATF.

Unless, of course, you give it the serial number of your registered Mac-10, cut up the Mac-10 so nobody knows it exists, and simply change the make and model of the gun when you submit the transfer information for your newly-made BAR to the ATF.

Of course, that's fraudulent, and illegal as all hell, and it's *insanely* blatant, given the level of scrutiny the ATF gives these things. Right?

Well, no. Despite the fact that these transfers take weeks or months to approve, despite the fact that fingerprint checks are involved, despite the fact that law enforcement checks you out from stem to stern, apparently they don't check that the gun you sell is the same make and model as the gun you bought, because an innocent purchaser who went to every length to comply with the law got a knock on his door regarding just such a BAR he bought in all innocence. Four years ago.

These are the most scrutinized and heavily regulated gun purchases in the country, with hefty taxes to fund said scrutiny and regulation. And the ATF *didn't even notice.* For four years. I feel bad as hell for the innocent gun owner, who's now lost an expensive investment and money for legal fees, but I really wonder what the heck ATF was up to. And how many fraudulent BARs are out there. And how many *legal* guns were cut up so somebody could use the piece of paper associated with them to pocket several extra thousands of dollars per gun. And how many innocent people are facing knocks on the door and visits from the ATF when they're not the ones who did anything wrong.
Tags: guns
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