Found in Dad’s Attic

Clayton tells of a guy walking around a gun show with an M3 “Grease Gun” sticking out of his backpack that he was trying to sell. Sounds like it wasn’t in perfect working condition, but was still a real deal submachine gun. I agree with Clayton something like that had a reasonable probability of being a sting, but I think the “found in dad’s attic” types are going to get more numerous as the Vietnam generation starts to die out. I think it’s reasonable to suggest that many of their next of kin will have no idea they are dealing with an unregistered machine gun that could land them ten years in prison, so it seems completely reasonable to believe some of them will try to sell their heirlooms completely ignorant that they are risking getting caught in a serious federal felony. The stings can go both ways.

That’s why I’m very interested in getting the Veterans Heritage Firearms Act made into law before the Vietnam generation starts dying off in large numbers, and while the last of the World War II veterans are still with us. There would be no legal remedy for someone finding a historic war bring back in their dad’s attic. The only legal course of action is to turn it in to be destroyed. The impetus for the VHFA was the discovery of a German machine gun captured by Alvin York, which was unregistered, and which was only saved from destruction by the actions of the local police department. It’s actually illegal for even the cops to have an unregistered machine gun, but I suppose ATF wasn’t willing to do anything about it.

A lot of folks might believe that they are better off not registering these heirlooms, lest they be one day confiscated by a future gun-hating government, and I think those people have a point. But in that case I think it’s important that next of kin are made aware of what they are dealing with. Also, for pieces that are truly historic, or for folks who want to actually be able to shoot their heirlooms, I think it’s important that they have the opportunity.

6 thoughts on “Found in Dad’s Attic”

  1. This is a concern I have had for some time, families finding dad’s or mom’s war souvenirs. While most are harmless some are very unstable. I would like to see some action or legal steps to help save the stable items and protect the family members who find these items. I know if I were to come across one of these items I’d like to think I had someway to protect the item and allow me to keep it; doubt that I’d ever would want to use it. If an item is considered potentially unstable it would be nice if there was a way to render it safe. I have family members in my past that were Veterans and having something of theirs from that time is cherished. The items I have are medals, photos, and trench art. But you never know what you’ll find in the attic.

    1. Well, grenades are probably never really going to be safe to keep. It would get ugly if they cooked off in a fire. But a firearm isn’t inherently dangerous. They don’t degrade or become unstable.

  2. I would rather see the unconstitutional gun registration laws scrapped. There is no authority in the Constitution that allows such laws to stand on the federal level. Quite the contrary, the Second, Ninth and Tenth Amendments prohibit such laws.

  3. “Scrapped” is obviously the long-term goal, but in the short-term is the perfect being the enemy of the good. Repealing the Hughes Amendment (now that he isn’t around to defend his namesake) as a rider to must-pass legislation is a workable first step. Opens the registry to heirlooms and new manufacture which will drive down costs (and increase “common use” status) *and* provides for registration and revenue enhancement.

    Us making the revenue and registration and the innocuousness of private ownership under the NFA the centerpiece of discussion and debate (as opposed to yelling “shall not be infringed”) will force the anti’s and pro-tax Dems into fits trying to argue against such a “common sense” action.

  4. A friend of mine owns a MP40. A few years ago, he noticed an acquaintance was selling some MP40 parts. And then some more parts. Figured out that this guy had discovered an old MP40 that dad had brought back from the war, and was selling it off in parts since he couldn’t sell or possess the whole thing.

  5. It is unbelievable what I have seen in 40 yrs, many items cut up into parts kits, some put in museums, some people still rolling the dice. Smart people put them in museums, along with a legal letter signed by museum owner, if there is another amnesty it goes back to rightful heir. History must be saved, too many went to the torch.

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