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View Full Version : Are you free to destroy an illegal rifle?


Bishop
06-30-2006, 10:38 AM
This may be an odd question, but I haven't seen it answered anywhere else.

If, for whatever reason, they come knocking for your rifle or lower because they just made it illegal, and know you own one, are you required to produce it for confiscation, and can you claim that you've destroyed it (or just don't know where it is)?

I story would go that you bought your AR/OLL not knowing the law, and when a cop friend told you that they're illegal (regardless of the state of the firearm) you were afraid of becoming a felon, and tossed it in a lake or the ocean while fishing/on a ferry.

Or say that you turned it in to the nearest and most recent no-questions-asked gun buyback program.

I understand they may search your house, but there's nothing illegal about destroying your own property (no matter its legal status), right???

PIRATE14
06-30-2006, 10:41 AM
You can render it inoperable, no weapon, no crime.

PIRATE14
06-30-2006, 10:44 AM
Gotta lotta friends that are cops, you gotta take everything they say with a grain of salt. Know the laws............don't rely on them for your legal info.

insin
06-30-2006, 10:47 AM
what would happen if you lost it?

bwiese
06-30-2006, 10:51 AM
You're not required to produce it.

Conceivably somehow (worst case) there could be a search warrant, or it's discovered in an emergency situation (domestic violence situations w/weapons roundup).

It's up to them to find it in your possession intact. Given that 4473 info isn't recorded, these prospects are weak unless (1) more info came in to them or (2) you do something that has emergency personnel getting into your house.

85% of Calif AW charges are result of domestic/emergency situations at the home, and not while mobile (traffic stops, etc.)

You are allowed to destroy your AW. If it's a named gun, you'd have to cut up the receiver (you can keep the parts). If it's an unnamed/unlisted gun, just remove parts and/or keep it legally configured.

The tenor of your question, however, gives the appearance that you might be trying to wiggle out of possibly AW charges, etc. and still want to retain the weapon and misinform the cops.

IF YOU GET IN THIS SITUATION, DOING THIS WITH THE COPS COULD END UP ADDING 'INTERFERING w/INVESTIGATION', OBSTRUCTION or EVEN A POSSIBLE CONSPIRACY CHARGE ON TOP OF AN AW VIOLATION. Telling 'em you lost it or even that you don't have it could well be construed as the above.

If something like this happens you should NOT talk to the cops and S.T.F.U. and get a lawyer. Remember, most folks talk themselves into jail - and you're messing with felony charges here. Guys like you keep DAs happy and the jails full.

xenophobe
06-30-2006, 10:54 AM
You can destroy the receiver. You can also turn it into the police. Call them and tell them you are bringing in a firearm to turn in.

bwiese
06-30-2006, 11:02 AM
You can destroy the receiver. You can also turn it into the police. Call them and tell them you are bringing in a firearm to turn in.

This may vary regionally.

I have not seen this codified into law or regulation (if someone can show otherwise).

If I had an illegal AW, and for some reason couldn't destroy it, I'd immediately call a lawyer as an intermediary to arrange surrender. The coupla hundred bucks for peace of mind avoiding AW charges is worth it.

[Edited to clarify as per glen_avon's post below: immediate destruction is the best route]

glen avon
06-30-2006, 11:22 AM
you may destroy it. end of story. the public policy is best served by people immediately ceasing their illegal acts.

12285 (b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), no assault weapon possessed pursuant to this section may be sold or transferred on or after January 1, 1990, to anyone within this state other than to a licensed gun dealer, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12290, or as provided in Section 12288. Any person who (A) obtains title to an assault weapon registered under this section or that was possessed pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 12280 by bequest or intestate succession, or (B) lawfully possessed a firearm subsequently declared to be an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.5, or subsequently defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.1, shall, within 90 days, render the weapon permanently inoperable, sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer, obtain a permit from the Department of Justice in the same manner as specified in Article 3 (commencing with Section 12230) of Chapter 2, or remove the weapon from this state. A person who lawfully possessed a firearm that was subsequently declared to be an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276.5 may alternatively register the firearm within 90 days of the declaration issued pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 12276.5.

bill, I would castigate you for your lassitude, but you did some homework for me once. ;)

BTW - MGs and DDs cannot be destroyed but must be turned in for destruction. (Penal Code sections 12251 12307.)

Bishop
06-30-2006, 11:35 AM
The tenor of your question, however, gives the appearance that you might be trying to wiggle out of possibly AW charges, etc. and still want to retain the weapon and misinform the cops.

IF YOU GET IN THIS SITUATION, DOING THIS WITH THE COPS COULD END UP ADDING 'INTERFERING w/INVESTIGATION', OBSTRUCTION or EVEN A POSSIBLE CONSPIRACY CHARGE ON TOP OF AN AW VIOLATION. Telling 'em you lost it or even that you don't have it could well be construed as the above.

...

Guys like you keep DAs happy and the jails full.

Wow.

First, I do not own an AW, nor do I plan on constructing one. My concern was that if this "capacity to accept" legislation passes, and they come knocking for my (currently legal) stripped lower because it was sold with an open mag-well, I wanted to know if I could tell them to jump in a lake. (to find it :cool: )

I'm not an idiot, and would not come to some internet board asking "hey, I was an idiot and broke/am breaking the law, how can I get out of it???" I just wanted to know if my lower was safe or could be safe from confiscation.

glen avon
06-30-2006, 11:44 AM
I think what bill is thinking is that if you tell cops that you lost your AW they will tell you to jump in a lake. ;) I know I wouldn't buy it.

if it has come to door-to-door searches, they won't accept anything in lieu of a search but a receipt, a mangled piece of metal, or an AW. certainly not a story.

bwiese
06-30-2006, 11:44 AM
... I do not own an AW, nor do I plan on constructing one. My concern was that if this "capacity to accept" legislation passes, and they come knocking for my (currently legal) stripped lower because it was sold with an open mag-well, I wanted to know if I could tell them to jump in a lake. (to find it :cool: )


This will be part of the fight. There is no mandate in AW law for existing owners of legally owned, legally acquired rifles to have to modify or surrender their rifles. If the DOJ regulation transitions a gun to AW status, a reg period must open ;)

Furthermore, they don't know you have one. 4473/DROS info for rifles is not recorded in a database. They know you got a rifle or rifles, that's it. They'd only have info you got an OLL if they were actually reading thru the 40+K 4473/DROSes out there.

grammaton76
06-30-2006, 1:57 PM
I believe a Roto-Zip or other right angle cutter with a metal wheel, would be able to destroy basically any receiver you want to destroy...

glen avon
07-01-2006, 12:25 PM
or a BFH. smash the magwell part.

svenu
07-04-2006, 5:00 PM
I assume it is legal to sell or just transfer them in ownership and location to my parents out of state - but in that case, they've won, haven't they?

klmmicro
07-05-2006, 1:45 PM
It is not illegal to store it out of state. If you leave it at your parents' house in another state where it is legal, then there is nothing to render over to the CA based police.

The clause "remove the weapon from the state" is your escape clause. If things go awry at the hearing on the 16th and the DOJ clamps down, move the reciever to another state and you will be fine.