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Modern listed as Antique auction

tipupstipups Member Posts: 48 ✭✭
edited June 2014 in Ask the Experts
Who takes the fall with the ATF? The buyer or the seller, when a modern firearm is listed as antique?

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    mark christianmark christian Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 24,456 ******
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by tipups
    Who takes the fall with the ATF? The buyer or the seller, when a modern firearm is listed as antique?

    [?]
    There is no crime involved in incorrectly listing a firearm.

    By God, he listed a Remington 870 in with the rifles but its a shotgun...Toss him in the slam!
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    tipupstipups Member Posts: 48 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    So I can buy the firearm in question and bypass the paperwork? I don't think it works that way. Should have worded it different. Firearm on auction side listed as antique. If I buy said firearm is not some type of reg. being sidesteped?
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    mark christianmark christian Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 24,456 ******
    edited November -1
    We answer questions here in this forum based on what is posted. I'll take another look at it from some other angle:

    quote:Originally posted by tipups
    Who takes the fall with the ATF? The buyer or the seller, when a modern firearm is listed as antique?


    The responsibility for ensuring that the sale of a firearm complies with all Federal, state and local laws falls on the seller.
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    Spider7115Spider7115 Member, Moderator Posts: 29,714 ******
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by tipups
    So I can buy the firearm in question and bypass the paperwork? I don't think it works that way. Should have worded it different. Firearm on auction side listed as antique. If I buy said firearm is not some type of reg. being sidesteped?

    A lot of auctions get miscategorized. It's ultimately up to the buyer to know the law. E-mail the seller and bring it to his attention. He can either change his auction or add a statement if there's a bid on it.
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    tipupstipups Member Posts: 48 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks Spider. I was fairly sure that was the answer. Its stated in auction as antique and no paperwork needed. As a seller I would think that it would be better be safe than feel the wrath of the Gov.
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    toad67toad67 Member Posts: 13,019 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sometimes the definition of an "antique" is in the eye of the beholder and not necessarily as the ATF (or C&R side) see's it by definition.
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    GrasshopperGrasshopper Member Posts: 16,811 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The "fall" ,,,well I am just not going to say anything,,,,nevermind-
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    competentonecompetentone Member Posts: 4,698 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If two people actually tried to complete a transaction as if it were an antique -- when it actually isn't -- both the buyer and seller could be held criminally responsible.

    When it came to actual prosecution, if one party had more knowledge about the firearm -- and it was pretty easy to prove he knew, or should have reasonably known, the transaction wasn't supposed to be handled as it was -- that person would likely be prosecuted more vigorously.

    "Ignorance is no excuse" when it comes to breaking the law, but prosecutors -- and juries -- will tend to be more lenient if one made an honest mistake as opposed to if one acted with specific knowledge that one's action was breaking the law.

    So in short, if the seller thought something was an antique, and you know otherwise, you run the greater risk "going along" with the seller's mistaken position.
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by tipups
    Who takes the fall with the ATF? The buyer or the seller, when a modern firearm is listed as antique?


    As already posted above, merely listing a firearm for sale incorrectly isn't a crime. There is no "fall" here.

    The question is, if seller A lists a firearm as antique (even though it isn't) and ships it directly to buyer B, AND the BATFE actually finds out about this, AND decides to pursue a prosecution, who might be held criminally liable?

    The answer is that there are WAY too many undescribed hypotheticals here to answer definitively. EG:

    Is the gun REALLY not an antique? Says who? How do they know? (IE did they inspect it personally? Are they knowledgeable about antiques?) Did the seller KNOW this modern gun wasn't an antique? Was it an "innocent" mistake? (IE was it a gun that a reasonable person would/should think is antique?). When did the seller find out? How about the buyer? When did the buyer find out? What did the buyer do when he found out? How did the BATFE find out about this? What do THEY know about it? What can they PROVE?

    So depending on what the answer is to these questions, I could imagine situations where both the buyer and seller could be held criminally liable, where only one would be (more usually seller. . .but that depends), or where neither would be.

    Let me add here, that despite the perhaps common misconception and individual exceptions, its generally NOT the policy of the BATFE to prosecute what might be termed "innocent" mistakes. They tend to get worked up about illegal machine guns, suppressors, NFA type guns, manufacture of guns (particularly in quantity), and guns with serial numbers filed off and such. They tend NOT to get so "excited" about antique type black power guns and otherwise conventional 120 year old collectors pieces.

    To answer the second unasked question, for Pete's sake, just use your common sense. If you know a gun isn't an antique, then don't try to sell or buy it as such. If you aren't sure, then MAKE SURE before buying or selling. I think there probably are individual cases where it can't be determined with absolute certainty the year of manufacture of a given gun, but these are probably pretty exceptional, and in such a case, if the gun otherwise COULD be OK (ie its of a make and model otherwise OK to be an antique), I'd think the BATFE probably wouldn't even care (let alone try to prosecute something that's effectively unprosecutable).
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    tjh1948tjh1948 Member Posts: 464 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You really need to look at what the actual Statute says about the transaction. IIRC, it is just as illegal to receive a weapon in interstate commerce as it is to ship it if the transfer does not meet all the legal requirements of the GCA. It could be that knowledge is not an element of the offense, kind of like possession of a weapon with a altered\removed serial number. You are the one who is assumed to have removed it. The long & short of it is you will spend a small fortune defending yourself & probably end up pleading to a Felony with no jail time just to put it past you.
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