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Thread: Has this law ever been questioned ?

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    Has this law ever been questioned ?

    18.2-311.1. Removing, altering, etc., serial number or other identification on firearm.
    Any person, firm, association or corporation who or which intentionally removes, defaces, alters, changes, destroys or obliterates in any manner or way or who or which causes to be removed, defaced, altered, changed, destroyed or obliterated in any manner or way the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's or serial number, or any other mark or identification on any pistol, shotgun, rifle, machine gun or any other firearm shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    Is there a VA law that says a firearm must have a serial number on It when It's made ?


    18.2-288. Definitions.
    When used in this article:
    (1) "Machine gun" applies to any weapon which shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

    So does this mean all semi autos are Considered machine guns in VA ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_gun

  2. #2
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    There is no Va law that I know of. The law that requires a Serial Number is actually an IRS tax code that Manufacturers must comply with.

    The ATF has incorporated it into their regulations as part of licensing manufacturers.

    Non taxable firearms like homebuilt guns are not required to have a serial number so removal isn't an issue. You just don't have to have one.

    Serial numbers can be removed under certain conditions. For instance, if refinishing would remove it, the ATF has a form to fill out that you can have in hand during the refinishing, then the number must be re-stamped.

    For firearms that don't have a number either because of age or removal, it can be stamped with an ATF Number. Another simple form to fill out and the last one I did, there wasn't a charge. That's been a while though.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Part two of your question.

    Automatic means firing more than one shot with one physical movement (Trigger Pull).

    An example:

    You can have a Gatling gun type of arrangement by clamping a crank with a cam on the trigger guard to a semi autol That's legal because when you stop moving, it stops shooting.

    Add an electric motor and switch to the crank, it's illegal because as long as you press the trigger, it keeps firing.
    Last edited by peter nap; 07-25-2010 at 02:10 PM.

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Is there a VA law that says a firearm must have a serial number on It when It's made ?
    I haven't come across any Virginia law that requires manufactured firearms to have serial numbers. I think there may be a Federal law, though. <edit: federal law cited by peter nap in another post>

    There are other Virginia laws related to serial numbers.
    18.2-96.1. Identification of certain personalty.

    18.2-294. Manufacturer's and dealer's register; inspection of stock. (says "shall show the model and serial number...")

    18.2-295. Registration of machine guns.(says "shall show the model and serial number of the gun...")
    18.2-304. Manufacturer's and dealer's register; inspection of stock.(says "shall show the model and serial number...")


    It's kind of messed up. If someone would steal property valued over $200 which has a serial number, then remove the serial number or identifying marks from that property, under 18.2-96.1 they could be guilty of a Class 5 Felony. If that property is a firearm, though, it's only a Class 1 Misdemeanor under 18.2-311.1??? I suppose 18.2-311.1 preempts 18.2-96.1 when the property in question is a firearm.




    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    18.2-288. Definitions.
    When used in this article:
    (1) "Machine gun" applies to any weapon which shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

    So does this mean all semi autos are Considered machine guns in VA ?
    I don't think so.

    Any weapon which shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than one shot:

    1. without manual reloading; and
    2. by a single function of the trigger.

    The 'and' is implied by the construction of the sentence.

    A semi-automatic meets criteria (1), but not criteria (2).

    Furthermore, 18.2-295 acknowledges the existence of semi-automatic firearms that are not machine guns.
    Last edited by virginiatuck; 07-25-2010 at 02:14 PM.

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    I guess I better stop 'double loading' my BB gun. Or putting 2 rocks in the sling shot.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    The Winchester 1897 pump shotgun can also fire more than one shell per pull of the trigger if you hold the trigger back and pump the action (no disconnector). If the definition lacked "without manual reloading" this antique would be considered a machine gun.
    Last edited by zoom6zoom; 07-26-2010 at 02:49 PM.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoom6zoom View Post
    The Winchester 1897 pump shotgun can also fire more than one shell per pull of the trigger if you hold the trigger back and pump the action. If the definition lacked "without manual reloading" this antique would be considered a machine gun.
    It's not per trigger pull. It can be any physical movement that fires the gun. Fanning a sixgun requires you to sweep the hammer for each shot, bumping a semi requires the trigger to be pulled each time, cranking a Gatling gun requires the crank be rotated.

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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=xdm guy;1315546] 18.2-311.1. Removing, altering, etc., serial number or other identification on firearm.
    Any person, firm, association or corporation who or which intentionally removes, defaces, alters, changes, destroys or obliterates in any manner or way or who or which causes to be removed, defaced, altered, changed, destroyed or obliterated in any manner or way the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's or serial number, or any other mark or identification on any pistol, shotgun, rifle, machine gun or any other firearm shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    -My question is:
    I saw a recent post in another thread where a person stated that they covered an SN with a piece of black electrical tape so that an SN wasn't immediately available (visible) for search by a LEO seizure. (Although, unsnapping and removing a sidearm from a holster is an active search already in my mind.) Would covering the serial number be covered under this statute and therefore prosecutable as a misdemeanor?

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuc65 View Post
    Would covering the serial number be covered under this statute and therefore prosecutable as a misdemeanor?
    No, because the serial number is still 100% intact.

    The difference is that someone would have to actively remove the tape to read it, quantifying a "search".

    A search consists of deriving information not readily visible by making extra steps. A screen is all "visible" or "open" areas.

    Trust me when I tell you I was unnecessarily informed of the, umm, "difference" by the Ferry Gestapo at Scotland Wharf.
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  10. #10
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    No, the officer can easily lift the tape.
    I suspect encasing it in epoxy would be OK also because it could be scraped off.

    Welding over it ir stippling it would certainly be considered obliterating.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    I think that the problem with 18.2-311.1 is the phrase "obliterated in any manner."

    I acknowledge that the definition of obliterate is "remove all trace of", but even filing off numbers does not remove all trace and that has been found to be a no-no.

    Regarding the black electrical tape protection of numbers, has there ever been a case where a decision was rendered on this?
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    I think that the problem with 18.2-311.1 is the phrase "obliterated in any manner."

    I acknowledge that the definition of obliterate is "remove all trace of", but even filing off numbers does not remove all trace and that has been found to be a no-no.

    Regarding the black electrical tape protection of numbers, has there ever been a case where a decision was rendered on this?
    Not that I'm aware of but there is a simple test GS.
    Virginia has always followed the Federal definition on technical firearms questions.
    One could easily request a ruling from the ATF Technical Review Board.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Not that I'm aware of but there is a simple test GS.
    Virginia has always followed the Federal definition on technical firearms questions.
    One could easily request a ruling from the ATF Technical Review Board.
    Now there would be an interesting situation, because I think that the ATF (like the IRS) is bound by their own decisions or so it would seem.

    Can you abbreviate your home state in your request or must it be spelled out?
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Can you abbreviate your home state in your request or must it be spelled out?
    Zing.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
    Novos ordo seclorum ~ Mustaine

    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Now there would be an interesting situation, because I think that the ATF (like the IRS) is bound by their own decisions or so it would seem.

    Can you abbreviate your home state in your request or must it be spelled out?
    I guess you can abbreviate. I send a couple requests a year and I don't know how to spell Virginia.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Now there would be an interesting situation, because I think that the ATF (like the IRS) is bound by their own decisions or so it would seem.

    Can you abbreviate your home state in your request or must it be spelled out?
    Dayam! I meant to say is NOT bound by there own decisions or so it would seem.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Dayam! I meant to say is NOT bound by there own decisions or so it would seem.
    Actually, Technical Review is.
    When you have that letter in hand, it's law.

    When you read "As approved by the Director of ATF"...the Tech Review Board speaks for him.

  18. #18
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Actually, Technical Review is.
    When you have that letter in hand, it's law.

    When you read "As approved by the Director of ATF"...the Tech Review Board speaks for him.
    I'm likely responding to tales of ATF welding and cutting guns to fire full auto then blaming the owner of the gun.

    Also have heard that they criticized/sanctioned some gun shops records when the only error was abbreviation of the state.

    ATF does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    I'm likely responding to tales of ATF welding and cutting guns to fire full auto then blaming the owner of the gun.

    Also have heard that they criticized/sanctioned some gun shops records when the only error was abbreviation of the state.

    ATF does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    I'll be honest, the years I had an FFL, I had very few issues. There were nit picky things but it was always handled in a professional manner and always with the "In the future, do it this way" comment.....AND Yes, abbreviation was one problem.

    That said, I always dealt with the Regulatory side. The criminal enforcement people are different and I suspect much of what you read is true.

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    Then how can one cover the serial numbers to stop a dishonest LEO from illegally running the numbers? Possible fill them in with wax and still comply with the law.
    Last edited by All American Nightmare; 07-26-2010 at 05:30 PM.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Then how can one cover the serial numbers to stop a LEO from illegally running the numbers? Possible fill them in with wax and still comply with the law.
    It's hard if you're wearing the gun. I have a nylon holster I use in the truck that has a hole through it and I can run a cable lock through the hole and trigger guard of the gun. Just give him the whole thing....and listen to him bitch about it.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    It's hard if you're wearing the gun. I have a nylon holster I use in the truck that has a hole through it and I can run a cable lock through the hole and trigger guard of the gun. Just give him the whole thing....and listen to him bitch about it.
    Hmmm - makes me day dream about a holster with a finger print key pad or magnetic coded ring release - now if I could only beat the battery thing.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    It's hard if you're wearing the gun. I have a nylon holster I use in the truck that has a hole through it and I can run a cable lock through the hole and trigger guard of the gun. Just give him the whole thing....and listen to him bitch about it.
    You should get that on tape

  24. #24
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    You should get that on tape
    I'd have to rate it as a Comedy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Then how can one cover the serial numbers to stop a dishonest LEO from illegally running the numbers? Possible fill them in with wax and still comply with the law.
    Get a Ruger Redhawk and some aftermarket grips like Pachmayer's. The serial number is on the bottom of the grip. Several aftermarket grips cover it.

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