SayUncle relays a story of a someone who’s run into a situation where doctors have asked that the family remove firearms from the home of a person who was incapacitated in a recent car accident. The problem is he’s an NFA owner, and presumably the family isn’t on a trust. So is taking them even legal?
[UPDATE: See more here.]
The answer is no. It’s absolutely illegal for family to take them for safekeeping while he recovers. But there are alternatives. First, if there are suppressors, they are useless without the guns they attach to. Just leave them and take the guns.Â Second, if they are firearm NFA items, the receiver is usually the registered part. Take parts that aren’t “firearms,” but in whose absence the gun won’t function. If it’s a short barreled rifle, say an AR, it’s legal for someone to have the short upper provided they don’t have a receiver to go with it. Having a firing pin or a bolt is not usually a problem (though you have to be careful with machine gun parts if you own a non-machine gun that would accept the part). But for people who don’t own guns, or don’t own those guns, taking a firing pin, bolt or non-serialed upper out of a registered machine gun shouldn’t be illegal. It’s the receiver that’s the machine gun. There’s also the option of putting a lock on the gun and keeping the key, changing a safe combination, etc.
Now of course, I’m speaking generally. I can think of specific ways someone who doesn’t know what they are doing could end up violating the law and spending 10 years in federal prison. There are registered machine guns out there where the sear is the NFA serial numbered part. There are some firearms where the upper is the “firearm.” Like I said before, you have to be careful about taking parts where you might have firearms that those parts fit. So be careful. The “safe” bet, for you, as a family member, is to let your loved one take his chances, and hope he or she doesn’t off themselves. Â The law does not have compassion, and seldom has common sense. There are always unintended consequences.