Author Topic: Laws on deactivating weapons  (Read 7813 times)

Offline mhh

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Laws on deactivating weapons
« on: September 07, 2012, 11:04:55 PM »
Here in Denmark the law states the a deacticated rifle need to have the barrel cut in two seperate halves! They say that this law is to prevent certain criminal types acquire a WWII weapon and use it!
When I first helped a guy I know to deactivate a rifle it was enough to drill some holes ind the barrel, I have seen a lot of the crappy jobs people have done when deactivating by drilling, it seems that no one knows how to deburr afterwards! When the mutilation by drilling was not enough anymore they decided that to deactivate a barrel you needed to slit it om one side almost all the way! This was actually the best way to do it because you could slice it on the bottom half and leave the first 40mm and the last 40mm. Then they decided that this was not enough... Reason:Certain criminal types could take the last 40mm and make it into a gun....... Yeah right! I have had the misfortune to meet some of these criminal types when I was younger and trust me when I say they could not open a can of tuna If theyre lives depended on it! So their solution? Cutting the barrel into two separete halves! Do you know what happens when you do that? The two halves twists! Alot! Specially if the gun has been fired! To me it is a crime! I can understand that it needs to be deactivated! But not why it needs to mutilated!
Rant finished! Hehe

I was curious, what is the criteria for deactivating in other countries?

Offline Lew_Merrick_PE

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Re: Laws on deactivating weapons
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 12:40:21 PM »
Here in the U.S. we consider owing a firearm an unalienable right.  The problem with focusing on the firearm is that they are (generally) nothing more than precision machined steel -- something that is virtually impossible to control.  It only requires a few thousand dollars to set up a shop that can manufacture firearms -- especially if one is not particularly concerned with real, at a distance, accuracy.  Further, and you can verify this by looking at the history of firearms, it is easier to make a fully-automatic (it keeps firing so long as the trigger is held in the fire position) firearm than it is to make a semi-automatic (one trigger-pull, one bullet fired) firearm!  (Take a look at the British STEN from WWII to see how simple it is to make a fully-automatic, not very accurate, firearm!)

Guns do not kill people (unless used a clubs), bullets kill (and maim) people!  Please, let us be clear about this.  Back when the American 2nd Amendment was written: (1) firearms operated because a piece of flint struck a piece of steel; (2) firearms were loaded by ramming everything down the end of the barrel; (3) rifling of barrels was virtually unknown (maybe as many as 500 well-rifled barrels were in existence in 1792); and (4) projectiles were powered by saltpetre/sulfur/charcoal propellant.

Modern firearms bear little resemblance to such weapons.  The first war where more people were killed or injured by propellant powered projectiles than sharp pointy things was the Crimean War!  Modern azide-based primers did not come into use until the very end of the 19th century -- and fulminate primers were still in not-uncommon use during WWI!  When I purchase primer and propellant materials to make explosive bolts (which I do a few times a decade for the USAF and NASA), I have to show my explosive's license and have the taggent ID numbers registered against my license.  However, if I say that I am buying such things to reload ammunition, it is (here in the U.S.) a federal offense to record such information!

I have been working with propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnic devices since I was 11 years old.  I have designed & built propellant mixing equipment for most of the companies in that business here in the U.S. (and one in Germany).  I have known and worked with 3 of the "top 10" pyrotechnic chemists in the world for more than three decades now.  Please believe me when I tell you that somebody making modern primers or propellants on their own will be caught by their local fire department in very short order!

This focus on firearms (while ignoring ammunition) is idiotic!  The current fad here in the U.S. is to try to ID every firearm by it's rifling profile -- another idiotic idea.  I have a rifle (primarily used for protecting my neighbor's herds from predators) with which I can place 5 rounds in a 4 inch (100 mm) circle at 1200 yards (1100 m) consistently.  (OK, I have an exceptionally good scope on my rifle.)  I lap my barrel every 500 or so rounds fired.  A record made of the rifling pattern in 1989 (when the rifle was new) would bear no resemblance to the rifling pattern it has today!  If one does not care about the condition or accuracy of the firearm (which describes most criminals), making a rifling comparison useless is simple (and well-documented in various novels).

Now, not knowing the situation in Denmark (not having been there since the early-1970's), what does it take to buy ammunition (or components thereof) there?

Offline Powder Keg

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Re: Laws on deactivating weapons
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2012, 10:05:38 AM »
There are guns that are brought into the USA that were originally fully automatic. To be sold to the public they have to have the receiver torched into 3 pieces. I'm planing on getting a 9MM British Sterling that has had this done to it.

Wesley P
A Gismo ??? If it has a flywheel or spins and is made with small parts. I'll take one! If it makes noise, moves, or requires frequent oiling and dusting it's a better deal yet. It's especially right if its shiny and bright; but if it's dirty and dull it wont mater at all...


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Re: Laws on deactivating weapons
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 10:58:25 AM »
In Australia,  unregistered firearms are destroyed by the police when handed in (or seized), you don't do it your self (well you can but the firearm must still be surrendered)
Unless you have a collectors license, you can't own replica firearms or (I think) real firearms that are unable to fire through some permanent disabling.

Offline Jonny

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Re: Laws on deactivating weapons
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 08:59:17 AM »
In UK one of the two Proof Houses does the testing, there are guidlines in the home Office on what should be done, however Proof Houses are a law to themselves.

In the case of converting a side by side shotgun, the owner can do this if he has a section 2 licence and shotty on it.
Is to destroy the action and barrels firstly by cutting out under forend a gaping hole around the lug, then weld in steel round bar.
Action remove firing pins but what they wanted two years ago was to put a massive drill down where facing discs are, like 3/4".

Have seen a wall hanger Purdey from US that had been partially deactivated that was to remove the ejector mechanism on forend. Nice rebuild job with nothing to work from! Thats all that did eject and time the extraction, nothing else.

Cant think what we did with rim and centrefire but couldnt see any reason they could argue with welding in a steel rod down the bore plus other stuff with action.

Offline superc

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Re: Laws on deactivating weapons
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 10:36:39 PM »
Well when I was a kid the law in the US for deactivating (DeWat) war weapons was that the breech had to be welded shut and the barrel and guts filled with melted lead.  This let folks buy Tommy Guns, Schmeissers, Maxim tripod guns, cannons and all sorts of WW2 goodies through the mail from the back of magazines.

Problem was some of the welds were quickly done and more than one person found out you could smack the weld with a cold chisel and often it would break open.  Regarding the filled barrels, well issue one was a loose barrel could be sold intact, so if you could get the lead filled barrel out, just put in a new one.  If not (and this worked for receivers that had lead in them too), the melting point of the steel was much higher than that of the lead.  So you hit the gun with a torch the lead melts and you just pour it out.  Yeah sometimes small parts got ruined.  That's okay, the parts you needed were for sale almost everywhere.  Truth is, although it broke every law on the books, when I was a boy I knew several people who had full automatic supposedly DeWat'd machine guns.  Amazingly the laws on explosives were even laxer.  You could buy dynamite at the hardware store, Amatol too.  You couldn't ship live hand grenades or mortar shells in the mail, but you could by commercial carrier's such as REA or UPS. 

Then came the 1960s with assassinations and Vietnam War protestors and bombs in department store bathrooms and the ilk.  In 1968 (rightly or wrongly) the US Congress changed all those laws. 

The old DeWatt was no longer considered any different than being fully functional.  It either became licensed or it was confiscated, or it was illegally hidden (often with the forlorn expectation that the law would be changed back).  We experienced some mutilations as pistols with shoulder stocks were believed by the politicians and Hollywood to be super accurate murder weapons (see Day of the Jackal and From Russia With Love), so to stay legal for a long time old Lugers, Brownings, Mauser and other pistols designed to take a shoulder stock had the stock attachment either ground off or filled with weld metal.

The US Federal Agency charged with enforcing the law (BATF) set up guidelines for each specific weapons type showing exactly where they had to be cut to no longer be considered a weapon.  Generally each receiver is cut into 3 different pieces.  Even then they ran into problems when US Military surplus firearms were so cut and sold as scrap metal.  Some folks would find 3 parts, build a jig and weld the 3 parts back into one, then fix the gun so it would shoot, then sell it or use it in a crime.  Of course they didn't tell the buyers how they got the gun.  So sometimes those weapons would explode in the consumer's face.  The end result was the scrapped guns were now also sqooshed in a press before being sold as scrap metal.  Congress changed laws a few more times.  In general now a machine gun can not possess it's receiver.  A lot of guns that were banned are now being sold without steel receivers, which of course gives you just so many gun parts without the gun part.  Some vendors also sell 'looks like the real thing' receivers made of zinc or another pot metal.  Up until the 1980s you could buy one of those, then by paying exorbitant  license fees have someone make you a real receiver and then merge that with the parts kit to make a working gun.  This clear threat so terrified Hollywood and the anti-gunners that yet another law was passed prohibiting anyone but government agencies from requesting a machine gun's frame be fabricated.  So now, if the gun is licensed it can be sold and possessed, but no new functional machine guns can be made or imported.  Except on govt. order of course.  Lots of gun kits are out there now with almost complete guns, but no frame/receiver. 

Are there still any DeWatts?  Yes, of course, even though they are no longer being made as DeWatts.  Those pre-1968 DeWatts that were never restored to function are licensed as if they were functional and many still sit in museums and similar places with no one but the owner and the govt. knowing they are DeWatt.  Generally though if you own a DeWatt, sooner or later you will sell it to a licensee who will convert it to full function then sell it at a huge profit.  Likewise, cannons are usually considered legal to own if the breech mechanism is missing.  Further some towns and cities have their own definition of locally permissible DeWatts to possess in your home in certain neighborhoods.  Plugged up shotguns and stuff like you wrote about.  Local rules. 

Because of all this fully functional and licensed military type weapons sell for small fortunes.  Many of the now rarer types have been known to go for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions.  Kind of a good investment if you bought it out of the back of a magazine for $30 back in 1964 then registered it in 1968.