Is a 13 Inch Barrel Too Short?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Malum Prohibitum, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,351
    383
    83
    So, this guy is cleaning out granny's garage and finds an old shotgun. Not sure what to do with such a dangerous instrumentality, he locks it in a bathroom.

    Now this gun's overall length is 1 and 5/8 inches shorter than allowed, and the barrel is 5 inches shorter than allowed.

    A week later, Officer Friendly appears looking for Mr. Juvenile offender. Mr. Williams, being the dutiful citizen that he is, helps Officer Friendly.

    You know it means no mercy
    They've caught him with a gun . . .

    Officer Friendly arrests Mr. Williams but not Mr. Juvenile Offender, who was, as Mr. Williams initially stated, not at the house.

    Mr. Williams contends he did not know the shotgun was illegal. Ignorance is no excuse!


    The Opinion

    The Concurrence

    The Dissenter, who had the silly thought that the case implicated the constitutional right to keep and bear arms

    Somehow, the opinion has to drag out how the law is "for the children."


    What is really interesting about this case is that it cites U.S. v. Staples, in which the U.S. Supreme Court stated that one must know about the illegal characteristics of the gun in order to violate the law. One of the reasons is that somebody who inherits a gun but leaves it untouched in an "attic or basement" would be subject to prosecution otherwise. In THIS case, it was granny's, and he put it back in granny's room.


    Court held:

     
  2. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

    6,172
    0
    0
    So....... What happened to the poor bastid?
     

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,351
    383
    83
    It's in the opinion. 45 days. Long enough to lose a job - and a weapons violation on your record for life . . .

    Search? Just say no!
     
  4. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    24,299
    110
    63
    Stupid Law

    The NFA provisions against short-barreled rifles and shotguns should be repealed. Instead, they should be classified as "handguns." Anybody who can legally possess a standard police or military-style pistol should be able to possess a short rifle or shotgun, because both have similar characteristics. They are made for defense/combat. They are not sporting weapons. They are concealable. They may be useful for criminals to commit violent crimes with, but they are also useful for citizens who wish to keep a gun with them for personal protection under circumstances when a full-length rifle or shotgun would be unwieldy, or would draw too much unwanted attention.

    I mean, what sense does it make to have a law that says you can have an AR-15 rifle with a 16+ inch barrel with no special permit or paperwork, and you can have an AR-15 pistol, with no shoulder stock at all and a 7" upper, with no special permit or paperwork, but if you want to put a 12" barrel on your AR-15 rifle receiver, you have to pay $200 and get prior federal approval to "manufacture" a short barreled rifle? What's the point of such a law? Who benefits? And who, if anybody, would be endangered if the law were repealed?

    As far as this poor slob goes... I can only hope that he doesn't have any significant criminal history, and the gun was not recently stolen, and he could introduce evidence of his own good chararacter. That way he could ask for a light sentence, or a downward departure from the federal sentencing guidelines (which are now to be treated as advisory, rather than mandatory).
     
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,351
    383
    83
    Re: Stupid Law

    It's in the opinion. State charge. He's already been sentenced.
     
  6. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    What they should have done was take the barrel off of the shotgun and removed the barrel from the property so that no one clould claim "constructive possession."
    At that point the reciever becomes title I and no longer NFA. They could have put a legal length barrel on it makinmg it just a "regular" shotgun or they could have filed a form 1 for $200 (if they could get a sign-off) and put the old short barrel on it.
     
  7. john

    john New Member

    532
    0
    0
    short barrel

    I hate to brag, but I have a 13 inch. Its only a $5. tax stamp from your friendly ATF and about 90 day wait.
     
  8. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    Technically what you have is not a short-barrelled shotgun if the tax was only $5.

    What you have is a smooth-bore pistol (AOW).
     
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,351
    383
    83
    John's is an AOW, and he knows that. The issue here is not the federal law, however. Washington flat out bans machine guns, short barreled shotguns, and suppressors. Therefore, it does not matter that the federal law allows it. The man in the original case was charged with a violation of state law.
     
  10. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    I'm pretty sure that John knows his gun is an AOW. I was just talking to the "board" so to speak and displaying some of the technicalities of Fed law on this topic.

    Washington State does not "flat out ban" supressors. You may have a supressor but you are banned from using it. Many people in Washington get them and travel to bordering states to use them. You can posses them in Washington as long as you don't shoot them.
    Secondly, even though you didn't say this above AOWs are legal there too.
     
  11. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,351
    383
    83
    I did not know that, but the overall length of the weapon makes it clear that this was a SBS rather than an AOW.

    Washington's laws sound sound really screwy.
     
  12. SheriffOconee

    SheriffOconee New Member

    10,667
    1
    0
    I just wondered if anyone else is noticing the pattern of these type of cases. The deputies were looking for a FUGITIVE (juvenile or not, we don't know what the want was for) and THEN the deputy discovered the firearm. Well, again, this is a family that for whatever reason is bringing itself to the attention of law enforcement, as opposed to the Govt seeking out a short shotgun in order to trample the rights of a law abiding citizen.
    It ain't much of a case on its face (of course, we don't know the history with this family, etc) but when you have a fuguitve in your family these are the kinds of LE contacts that you end up having.
     
  13. wwomack

    wwomack New Member

    160
    0
    0
    The problem with this argument is that one can't choose one's family. This is the person's grandson they were looking for. It's not like this was a disreputable friend or boyfriend or husband that the homeowner had chosen to be associated with. Basically, it sounds like you're saying that this person is being targetted by law enforcement because they have a bad grandchild.
     
  14. kkennett

    kkennett New Member

    2,139
    0
    0
    What I find most troubling here is that no consideration was apparently given to the cost in relationship and community trust that such an encounter might engender. The homeowner consented to the search in order to be helpful. I agree that those that play by the water tend to get wet. All other things being equal, families with fugitives have more LE encounters than those without. Still, the tough part here is that this only furthers the 'us' and 'them' mentality relative to the police. How many people in that community will then be less helpful to the police as a result in the future? Clearly, life is not black and white. If you have a kilo of cocaine in plain sight during the consent search, this is to be expected.

    Look at it from another perspective. My family and I are squeaky clean and boring and having absolutely nothing to hide. Officer friendly comes to my door with the same situation. I don't let him in. Why? Because nothing good can come of it. At best my privacy has been violated. In the middle somewhere, perhaps my boy has just fallen while standing on his Rescue Hero play station and Officer friendly wants to send DFACs over just in case. At worst, perhaps the fugitive has broken in and is now hiding out in my basement. Officer friendly finds him and now I'm looked at for harboring a fugitive. If I send officer friendly away and go search the house myself, all these problems are avoided. If the fugitive were to be in my basement, well -- I could take care of that too.
     
  15. wwomack

    wwomack New Member

    160
    0
    0
    This is the problem with most of these laws. The definitions of various kinds are for the most part arbitrary and meaningless. There is nothing magical that changes a rifle to a pistol when the barrel length changes or when you add or subtract a stock. When you come down to it, all these items are firearms. Really none of these distinctions makes them any more or less dangerous. They're all designed to kill and maim. It's the purpose of ANY firearm / weapon.
     
  16. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

    8,460
    5
    38
  17. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

    8,460
    5
    38
    I have never liked the old saying, "If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide." If you do not know every single local, state, and federal law.. then how do you know you have done nothing wrong?

    You may think you have done nothing wrong, but unless you know every law (and revisions each year) and have gone through your house/car/business making sure nothing in there is in any way a violation of local, state, or federal law, then you could be in violation of some law.
    Then to be on the safe side you would need to check everything that entered the house/car/business to make sure that nothing illegal was brought in.

    So that means if an officer knocks on your door and asks to search for something you absolutly know is not in your house/car/business (whatever the reason that the search is needed), you have a few options...
    1. Knowing all laws of the land and you have searched your home/car/business and found absolutly nothing that is illegal... you allow the officer to search because you know nothing will be found.
    2. Not knowing all the laws and therefore not knowing if there could be illegal items unrelated to the purpose of the search... you allow the officer to search and basically hope he does not find something that could be illegal.
    3. Not knowing all the laws and therefore not knowing if there could be illegal items unrelated to the purpose of the search... you deny entry (they do not cross through the door for any reason whatsoever) and know nothing will be found.
     
  18. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    5,798
    0
    0
    I don't hate cops, but they are not allowed into my apartment short of a warrant.
     
  19. Warp

    Warp Member

    192
    0
    16
    To go even further, you could be the very first person charged for something, and your case becomes the benchmark. You really could have "done nothing wrong" and still be in trouble...just another reason why you really should JUST SAY NO
     
  20. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    63,351
    383
    83
    But if you have nothing to hide . . . :lol: