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View Full Version : ABC News trying to mis-represent ease of purchasing 'Nade launchers


PEBKAC
01-27-2010, 5:43 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/easy-grenade-launcher/story?id=9679518


When police in New Jersey reported they had discovered a grenade launcher among other weapons including two assault rifles in the hotel room of the man they had arrested a short time before, it was that possibly military-grade weapon that shot to the front headlines across the country.

Though investigators later determined the device was actually a Cobray 37mm flare launcher, many were left with a simple question: How does someone get their hands on a grenade launcher?

According to an FBI investigator, the suspect, Lloyd R. Woodson, 43 said he purchased the rifles "on the streets of New York."

But for a grenade launcher, depending on a customer's state of residence, street connections aren't necessary. Often just a phone, a permit and a little patience will do.

<insert menacing picture of a crosshair, phone, and money>

Bonus for Buying in Bulk?

To see what the procedure is like for a citizen to purchase a grenade launcher, ABC News contacted an online seller by phone.

According to the seller, as long as the customer lives in a state that allows grenade launchers and can get an ATF permit, they should not have a problem purchasing a grenade launcher.

Customers can order it from the online seller who would then ship the weapon to a local dealer in that state. The customer could pay the seller directly by credit card but pick up the weapon from the dealer. The customer has to fill out some paperwork in order to get the ATF permit.

It would take about two and a half months for the launcher to be shipped to the dealer, the seller said. For this particular deal, if the customer buys in bulk the deal would be done with free shipping.

The color selection, however, was limited.

Federal, State Laws on Grenade Launchers

According to the Justice Department, the grenade launcher is considered a "destructive device" and therefore falls under the National Firearm Act and requires transfer approval from the administration.

Woodson is facing charges related to the two rifles in his possession. As a felon due to another gun-related incident in the mid-90s, Woodson cannot legally possess a firearm, officials at the U.S. Attorney's New Jersey District said. The rifles were also in violation of the state's assault weapon ban, which spurred multiple state charges.

A map of Fort Drum in northern New York was also discovered among the weapons and equipment in Woodson's supposed cache. The base issued a statement in response which said officers were "confident" in the base security and there was "no threat as a result of this incident."

It's a fortunate outcome because for many, with all the firepower available to Woodson the question right on the heels of how? Is what if?


It seems they are trying to imply it is much too easy to get an actual grenade launcher which is simply not true. There is going to be a news report <edit> on World News which for me has already started, as it started at 5:30, report upcoming sometime in the next 15 minutes before the SOU speech </edit> this at some point on ABC, not sure when.

Report involved Chris Cuomo semi-sarcastically asking questions of a seller of M203 grenade launchers, and while they did have Larry Vickers on to say that it was not actually easy, they did not really explain why it isn't (cost prohibitive/going through ATF). Mentions seller says an order has never failed to go through, adding to the implication of ease, without qualifying this by saying that there are not many orders from civilians and those that do typically have their stuff in perfect order.

We can only hope this increases sales instead of more bans. :rolleyes:

spddrcr
01-27-2010, 6:47 PM
I loved how they were talking about launchers yet then they cut up the audio on the guy talking about how hard it was to get "GRENADES" to shoot out of launchers. for all anyone knows they could have been flare launchers that the reporter was talking about on the phone :rolleyes:

bigcalidave
01-27-2010, 7:32 PM
What the hell. I knew this would happen. Even though they admit it was a flare launcher they start *****ing about grenade launchers. And he had two rifles. What an arsenal. Ugh. Oh well. At least he was a felon so the laws still work.

timdps
01-27-2010, 7:53 PM
The most inane "news story" I have ever seen. The FUD was piled way high and way deep. Makes Diane Sawyer look like a complete idiot.

ajaffe
01-27-2010, 8:44 PM
Well technically it is really easy to get a launcher.

Meplat
01-27-2010, 8:47 PM
OOOOOOOOOOOO.................... Scary! Lobbing something out of a smooth bore tube with a low pressure charge! 18th century technology. Any reasonably intelligent Jr. high shop student can make one in his garage.

cdtx2001
01-27-2010, 10:16 PM
The most inane "news story" I have ever seen. The FUD was piled way high and way deep. Makes Diane Sawyer look like a complete idiot.

Uhhh, Diane Sawyer always has been and always will be an idiot.

And I always love a story on how to LEGALLY obtain something. I'm waiting for them to do a story on how to get toilet paper.

MrPlutonium
01-27-2010, 10:18 PM
What good is the launcher if you can't find grenades?

dustoff31
01-27-2010, 10:34 PM
Well technically it is really easy to get a launcher.

Yes the story was pretty accurate in that respect. Very often it's even easier, no BATFE permit is required and you can cash and carry. (not valid in CA.)

But as the poster above mentions, the launcher is pretty much worthless without grenades.

SLYoteBoy
01-27-2010, 10:35 PM
What good is the launcher if you can't find grenades?

This. But they could care less , because ZOMFG UCAN BUY NOOBTUBES!?!!?

ajaffe
01-27-2010, 10:36 PM
37mm's are not regulated from what I can remember. It is the 40mm's that will get you.
Actual explosive grenades and not chalk are a completely different story since each one needs a tax stamp and a storage bunker.

dustoff31
01-27-2010, 10:47 PM
37mm's are not regulated from what I can remember. It is the 40mm's that will get you.

Yes, the 37's are not regulated nor are the types normally found on current and C&R military rifles. (again, not valid in CA)

I'd have to read up on it, but I seem to recall that 203's are not regulated because they are grenade launchers, but because of their bore size.

PEBKAC
01-27-2010, 10:50 PM
To be clear, it did seem that he was trying to buy an M203...that's 40mm, not 37mm. They were talking about the real thing (ie needs tax stamp, BATFE approval, etc).

ajaffe
01-27-2010, 10:55 PM
Either way grenade launchers are easy to get whereas the grenades are a pain in the *** to get.

dustoff31
01-27-2010, 11:02 PM
To be clear, it did seem that he was trying to buy an M203...that's 40mm, not 37mm. They were talking about the real thing (ie needs tax stamp, BATFE approval, etc).

I got that. But the thread is titled " 'Nade launchers", not M203s. There are many types of 'nade launchers. All are quite easy to obtain.

The biggest PITA with a 203 is waiting for the stamp to come back from BATFE.

Meplat
01-28-2010, 1:50 AM
You can make both.

What good is the launcher if you can't find grenades?

ptoguy2002
01-28-2010, 11:24 AM
M203s that have never had a barrel, not registered as DDs, or have been de-registered as DDs, will transfer as a title 1 firearm. You can even buy one in California. ORF, Shivak, and LMT provide new stripped receivers (no barrel) that will transfer as title 1 long arms. The barrel is what makes it a 'nade launcher. Having an M203, and having a 40mm barrel, is what makes a DD, including constructive posession. Just having an M203 receiver w/ no barrel does not make it a DD.

ptoguy2002
01-28-2010, 11:26 AM
Unless it is a machine gun receiver (which is instantly NFA), the receiver alone does not make it NFA. DD runs off bore diameter ONLY.

From ATF NFA handbook, page 21:

Large caliber destructive devices that are not also machineguns can be removed from the NFA by
disposing of the barrel. If the barrel of a 37mm cannon is removed and disposed of, the remaining
weapon has no barrel or bore diameter. As an alternative, the barrel of a destructive device may be
functionally destroyed. To destroy the barrel of a destructive device the following operations must be
performed:
• Cut a hole, equal to the diameter of the bore, on a 90-degree angle to the axis of the bore,
through one side of the barrel in the high pressure (chamber) area.
• Weld the barrel to the receiver of the weapon.
• Weld an obstruction into the barrel to prevent the introduction of a round of ammunition.

ptoguy2002
01-28-2010, 11:33 AM
Following is also from NFA handbook. Basically a 37mm is not considered a DD, unless you also have anti-personnel rounds (constructive possession). So conversely, if you don't have AP rounds, its not a DD.

ATF has previously held that devices designed for expelling tear gas or pyrotechnic signals are not
weapons and are exempt from the destructive device definition. However, ammunition designed to be
used against individuals is available for these 37/38 mm devices. This “anti-personnel” ammunition
consists of cartridges containing wood pellets, rubber pellets or balls, and bean bags.
When a gas/flare gun is possessed with “anti-personnel” type ammunition, it clearly becomes an
instrument of offensive or defensive combat and is capable of use as a weapon. Since these gas/flare
guns have a bore diameter greater than one-half inch, fire a projectile by means or an explosive, and,
when possessed with “anti-personnel” ammunition, are capable of use as weapons, the combination of
the gas/flare gun and “anti-personnel” ammunition is a destructive as defined in the GCA and the NFA.
As a result, registration as a destructive device is required. Any person possessing a gas/flare gun with
which “anti-personnel” ammunition will be used must register the making of a destructive device prior
to the acquisition of any “anti-personnel” ammunition. In addition, the gas/flare guns are classified as
firearms as defined by the GCA when possessed with “anti-personnel” type ammunition.

ptoguy2002
01-28-2010, 11:51 AM
Now here is California law below, my comments in bold:



12301. (a) The term "destructive device," as used in this chapter, shall include any of the following weapons:
(1) Any projectile containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical substance, including, but not limited to, that which is commonly known as tracer or incendiary ammunition, except tracer ammunition manufactured for use in shotguns. - Applies to ammo, just don't have any no-no ammo.
(2) Any bomb, grenade, explosive missile, or similar device or any launching device therefor. - 37mm is not a grenade launcher (even on an M203 receiver), at least per ATF, and you can't make a 37mm grenade any more than you can make a 12ga grenade.
(3) Any weapon of a caliber greater than 0.60 caliber which fires fixed ammunition, or any ammunition therefor, other than a shotgun (smooth or rifled bore) conforming to the definition of a "destructive device" found in subsection (b) of Section 479.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, shotgun ammunition (single projectile or shot), antique rifle, or an antique cannon. For purposes of this section, the term "antique cannon" means any cannon manufactured before January 1, 1899, which has been rendered incapable of firing or for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade. The term "antique rifle" means a firearm conforming to the definition of an "antique firearm" in Section 479.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations. - Refers to federal law, see above post
(4) Any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of a diameter greater than 0.60 inch, or any launching device therefor, and any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical substance, other than the propellant for that device, except those devices as are designed primarily for emergency or distress signaling purposes. - Applies only to rockets (propellant in the projectile, NOT fixed ammo), , but also has exemption for "signaling" for which the 37mm would be applicable, note that this is the section under which the SKS with the grenade launcher attachments were outlawed, but you can't claim "signaling" with that one, like you can with the 37mm. I'd assume that the rounds for the SKS launcher would also fall under the "rocket" definition because I would think it would have propellant in it. Of course "similar device" is a little vague
(5) Any breakable container which contains a flammable liquid with a flashpoint of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less and has a wick or similar device capable of being ignited, other than a device which is commercially manufactured primarily for the purpose of illumination. -N/A
(6) Any sealed device containing dry ice (CO2) or other chemically reactive substances assembled for the purpose of causing an explosion by a chemical reaction. -N/A
(b) The term "explosive," as used in this chapter, shall mean any explosive defined in Section 12000 of the Health and Safety Code.

ptoguy2002
01-28-2010, 11:54 AM
You can make both.

Grenade rounds have spin-activated fuses, which wouldn't be very easy to just make at home. And if you did try to make one that wasn't spin activated, I give you 50/50 odds on blowing yourself up.

ptoguy2002
01-28-2010, 12:02 PM
To be clear, it did seem that he was trying to buy an M203...that's 40mm, not 37mm. They were talking about the real thing (ie needs tax stamp, BATFE approval, etc).

Yes, if he is buying an M203 that has a 40mm barrel, that is bad.

If it was a title 1 M203 (no barrel & not registered as a DD), used (previously transfered from FFL to individual) comes down to state law, as its a title 1 weapon, and what state laws are on face to face sale, our special "gun show loophole." But I'd assume that it was not under these very specific circumstances.

M. Sage
01-28-2010, 9:45 PM
OOOOOOOOOOOO.................... Scary! Lobbing something out of a smooth bore tube with a low pressure charge! 18th century technology. Any reasonably intelligent Jr. high shop student can make one in his garage.

A typical 40mm grenade launcher (M203, and the M79 before it) is rifled. A 40mm grenade needs three rotations to arm.