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Old 09-06-2011, 11:08 PM   #1
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Default Legality of military pistols and others

Friend of mine and I were going through some of his uncles old stuff. We found quite a few older pistols but one is getting us curious.

From what I can remember off the top of my head, its a .45 M1911 US Army pistol, pristine condition, but has age. Says "Property of US Army".

But the main question is, is it legal for a citizen to own a pistol like this? It has a serial number (i think, not too much of a gun nut) so can it be registered or? I have tried looking up some information but i cannot find anything on this subject that directly answers my question.

We also found some belt feeds filled with bullets for some sort of a machine gun, as well as a shell of a M1919 Browning.

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by svenweb86 View Post
Friend of mine and I were going through some of his uncles old stuff. We found quite a few older pistols but one is getting us curious.

From what I can remember off the top of my head, its a .45 M1911 US Army pistol, pristine condition, but has age. Says "Property of US Army".

But the main question is, is it legal for a citizen to own a pistol like this? It has a serial number (i think, not too much of a gun nut) so can it be registered or? I have tried looking up some information but i cannot find anything on this subject that directly answers my question.

We also found some belt feeds filled with bullets for some sort of a machine gun, as well as a shell of a M1919 Browning.
The government sells all kinds of stuff that is marked U.S. Government property. It is not unusual to have a "legal" pistol marked like you described. If your friend's uncle was not a crook, I wouldn't worry about it.

If the "shell of a machine gun, includes a reciever that is not registered, that I would worry about; in fact I wouldn't want to be in the same house with an illegal machine gun. I am far to pretty to spend the next 10 years in prison.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:12 AM   #3
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The government sells all kinds of stuff that is marked U.S. Government property. It is not unusual to have a "legal" pistol marked like you described. If your friend's uncle was not a crook, I wouldn't worry about it.

If the "shell of a machine gun, includes a reciever that is not registered, that I would worry about; in fact I wouldn't want to be in the same house with an illegal machine gun. I am far to pretty to spend the next 10 years in prison.
What do you mean receiver? What it looks like is the stand, the barrel and the base, but it looks like the trigger(s?) are missing, as well as some internal parts I would assume. I looked up some pictures of a fully built one and some of the peices sticking out of it are missing on the one thats there.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:35 AM   #4
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The receiver of a firearm is the frame. In the case of a 1919A4 Browning machine gun, the receiver is the rectangular boxy part between the trigger and the barrel. It is usually the part with the serial number.

1919a4-m2.jpg Click the pic to enlarge

By law, the receiver IS the gun- everything else is parts. Possession of an unregistered machine gun is a SERIOUS violation of Federal law, carrying long prison sentences, and breathtaking fines.

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:43 AM   #5
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The receiver of a firearm is the frame. In the case of a 1919A4 Browning machine gun, the receiver is the rectangular boxy part between the trigger and the barrel. It is usually the part with the serial number.

Attachment 32622 Click the pic to enlarge

By law, the receiver IS the gun- everything else is parts. Possession of an unregistered machine gun is a SERIOUS violation of Federal law, carrying long prison sentences, and breathtaking fines.
by looking at your picture, the slide is missing, trigger, all those parts are empty holes and the inside looks almost empty. Should we turn it in to someone or?
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:02 AM   #6
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by looking at your picture, the slide is missing, trigger, all those parts are empty holes and the inside looks almost empty. Should we turn it in to someone or?
If you have an illegal machine gun receiver, you had best talk to an attorney before doing anything including "turning it in to someone."

There is a chance that your friends uncle registered this thing in the 1960s in which case it would be worth a lot of money.

If it were me, and I knew, or strongly suspected that it was illegal, I would take a saw and reduce the reciever to several pieces then throw it away, and I would do it right now, not tomorrow. The other parts have some value, and it would not be necessary to destroy them.

The government does not play when it comes to illegal machine guns.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:51 AM   #7
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If you have an illegal machine gun receiver, you had best talk to an attorney before doing anything including "turning it in to someone."

There is a chance that your friends uncle registered this thing in the 1960s in which case it would be worth a lot of money.

If it were me, and I knew, or strongly suspected that it was illegal, I would take a saw and reduce the reciever to several pieces then throw it away, and I would do it right now, not tomorrow. The other parts have some value, and it would not be necessary to destroy them.

The government does not play when it comes to illegal machine guns.
Glad it isnt in my house. His uncle recently passed, hence why we are going through things for his aunt. I think he used to have a federal gun permit due to him going to gun shows across the country and needing to transport them across state lines, would that expire upon his death? or would his aunt still have the papers if it IS registered?

edit: the bullets would be ok right?
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:45 AM   #8
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The bullets are .30 caliber right? I don't know of any laws that would make owning them a crime.

As for the Browning. Hide the thing, talk to an attorney ASAP, and if it is illegal, destroy it and despose of the pieces. It would be sad to destroy a gun like that but it's not worth the risk of going to prison.

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Old 09-07-2011, 02:54 AM   #9
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MOstly up until the vietnam war Military who were getting out were allowed to buy there service rifle and/or pistols from the government if they wished. This was more so as we go back in time many after the Second World War took theirs home.

The Actor James Earl Jones took his M1 Garand and .45auto home after he was discharged from the MIlitary.

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Old 09-07-2011, 03:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by svenweb86 View Post
Glad it isnt in my house. His uncle recently passed, hence why we are going through things for his aunt. I think he used to have a federal gun permit due to him going to gun shows across the country and needing to transport them across state lines, would that expire upon his death? or would his aunt still have the papers if it IS registered?

edit: the bullets would be ok right?
Consult an attorney familiar with nfa laws. Not just any attorney. You nor your aunt will get in trouble for the gun if it is illegal by just tuening it into the police. At the least the police department might find a use for it.

If it is a legal full auto your aumt or yourself would have to go through the nfa proccess. A legal full auto 1919 is worth between 15-25k$ so it would be worth it to find out.

You can also call the atf with the serial number and if its legal it will be in the registry they will tell you. If its not you can turn it in. Destroying a reciever has to be done correctly in accordance to batfe regulation. Just beating it with a hammer isnt enough.

Search his effects very carefully the registration stamp is attached to a form that is 8.5x11 sheet of paper. The stamp is bluish in color and attached to the upper right corner. It will have the guns serial number etc. Inherited nfa stamps often get tossed because people assume they are worthless or dont recognize it as valuable.
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