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  #1  
Old 11-28-2001, 08:35 AM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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If a person were so inclined, could s/he purchase an old howitzer? A TOW missile? A tank or guided-missile frigate?

Johnny L.A.'s thread regarding private ownership of .50 caliber sniper rifles makes me wonder what upper limits exist in America's "right to bear arms."

In this age of overkill, surely there must be some sensible restrictions in place, though I can easily imagine certain individuals arguing that "arms" are arms, and that the U.S. constitution supercedes any federal/state law that would attempt to curtail private ownership.

How has this been addressed in court? Certainly someone has challenged it.
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2001, 08:37 AM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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The sniper rifle thread was actually posted by justwannano.

Didn't sound like a Johnny L.A. question.
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2001, 09:21 AM
geepee geepee is offline
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I'm not that sure about the US but in England you can buy old self propelled guns and old tanks or tanks captured in battles the British army fought.

The turrets are welded in place and the gun barrels filled with concrete and drill breaking debris mixed into it. You can cut the welding to make the turrets go round if you want but you need a firearms license for that and still can't drill out the barrel.

Armoured cars are fair game they just remove the guns and put in newer engines to meet the pollution regulations.

You can buy yourself missiles last time i checked jeans military memories but they are usually immitations ie just a cast piece of iron in the shape of the actual missile.Or inert rounds (saw a GAU-8 avenger 30mm innert round once)

not checked up on all this lately its I think this is right in 1995 laws may have changed.
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2001, 10:03 AM
45ACP 45ACP is offline
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Tanks, artillery, bombs, etc. all fall under the auspices of the National Firearms Act of 1934 as “other destructive devices.” In general this means they may be privately owned, subject to the payment of a transfer tax, and filling out all of the requisite paperwork.

Although this quote is talking more about ownership of machineguns, the paperwork and tax issues are the same--From http://www.faqs.org/faqs/talk-politi...gun-faq/part1/

Quote:
All NFA weapons are subject to a $200 tax every time their ownership changes from one federally registered owner to another, and each new NFA weapon is subject to a manufacturing tax when it is made, and it must be registered with the BATF in its National Firearms Registry.

To become a registered owner of NFA weapons, a complete FBI background investigation is done, checking for any criminal history or tendencies toward violence, and an application must be submitted to the BATF including two sets of fingerprints, a recent photo, and sworn affidavit that transfer of the NFA firearm is of "reasonable necessity" and that sale to and possession of the weapon by the applicant "would be consistent with public safety." Because the transfer tax for one NFA weapon is just as high as the cost of a Class III dealer's license, most
machinegun enthusiasts opt for the dealer's license also, if they want to buy more than one NFA weapon. The Class III FFL (Federal Firearms License) is good for three years, and a renewal fee of $90 must continue to be paid in order to maintain the license, every three years. The license fee to be a dealer in "destructive devices" (tanks, artillery, and bombs, for example) is considerably steeper, at $1,000 a year. Even with a dealer's license, the transfer taxes must still be paid, but some of the paperwork involved in the transfer is reduced, such as for the background investigation.
The Defense Department does not sell any used ordnance or equipment unless it is demilitarized. Usually this means anything of any military usefulness is destroyed--guns, HUMVEES, M151 Jeeps, etc. are cut into pieces; boats have everything taken out including pintles for gun mounts; all nav equipment is removed from aircraft, etc., etc.

45ACP
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2001, 11:18 AM
DougC DougC is offline
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Quote:
...Usually this means anything of any military usefulness is destroyed--guns, HUMVEES, M151 Jeeps, etc. are cut into pieces; boats have everything taken out including pintles for gun mounts; all nav equipment is removed from aircraft, etc., etc...
- - - Usually the (US) gov't keeps one critical, central component, and destroys it afterwards. Sometimes due to errors the gov't forgets to keep the one piece though, and puts it up for auction. Serious dealers in this stuff know what all the missing pieces are, and they snap them up when they find them.
- But not always: many VFW posts have war relics parked out in front (many have mortar or artillery pieces, one local has a whole sherman tank), and there is a market in older military vehicles such as Sherman tanks. I don't know how the VFW posts got them, but from the examples I see around my area it looks as though all the pieces are there. -The Sherman tank was towed into place on its display pad, but I am told it still has its drivetrain intact. I understand they do something to the gun/cannon barrels to make them unusable, but that's all I've heard. - DougC
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2001, 11:46 AM
geepee geepee is offline
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- - - Usually the (US) gov't keeps one critical, central component, and destroys it afterwards. Sometimes due to errors the gov't forgets to keep the one piece though, and puts it up for auction. Serious dealers in this stuff know what all the missing pieces are, and they snap them up when they find them.
- But not always: many VFW posts have war relics parked out in front (many have mortar or artillery pieces, one local has a whole sherman tank), and there is a market in older military vehicles such as Sherman tanks. I don't know how the VFW posts got them, but from the examples I see around my area it looks as though all the pieces are there. -The Sherman tank was towed into place on its display pad, but I am told it still has its drivetrain intact. I understand they do something to the gun/cannon barrels to make them unusable, but that's all I've heard. - DougC


Well the US dumps alot of its old military gear into the oceans (after stripping of course) Sherman tanks and A-6 intruders were dumped to form artificial reefs which increase fish numbers which is good for fishing.
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2001, 12:33 PM
Tranquilis Tranquilis is offline
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Actually, the Gov't will sell obsolete military equipment to the general public as long as that equipment has no significant military purpose or use anymore. Witness the number of Willies Jeeps floating about (many sold as "surplus"). If you personnaly wish to own a used military vehicle, here's a good place to start.

In North Chicago, when I was going through Electronics School for the Nav, there was a gent that owned an M-16 AA halftrack (M-3 halftrack with quad-mounted M-2 .5 cal machine guns). He drove that thing about town every winter. I'll guess that the machineguns were demilled, but it's possible that he had the appropriate licenses.

John DuPont used to bash about the Delaware (USA) countryside in his own personal APC before he murdered Dave Schultz (olympic wrestler). Of course, if you want to own armor, being a mega-millionare helps quite a bit.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2001, 12:50 PM
starfish starfish is offline
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In the US ownership of these are restricted as destructive devices. To be be legal for private ownership they have to be registered with the US government.

To buy one you have to get the local police to sign off on it. Then you have to pass a backgound check.

The first step to buying one is to find the owner of a registered one who is willing to sell it. The manufacturers are in business to sell to the government. The government won't buy unless the manufacturer restricts sales.

If you want a non-government design, you can get a fabrication shop built you a custom howitzer or tank. They would have to get a manufacturers license so they could register it. Since they don't depend on government sales, they would sell you one. Of course you would be dependent on them for parts.

Also, ammo for destructive devices must be registered. You have to get approved for each round you buy.

Those you see in front of VFW halls still belong to the US government. They are on loan to the VFW. They are made inoperable, but have not been actually destroyed. They have enough stuff missing that they can't be used. You can not buy one of those from the VFW. If you steal it, the police will find you before you get it working.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2001, 01:48 PM
Tranquilis Tranquilis is offline
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Ex-military vehicles, including tanks, are supported by a variety of private enthusiast groups. This rag boasts 17,000+ subscribers. Here is a list of events where you can see them up-close and personal.
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2001, 03:00 PM
Sofa King Sofa King is offline
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I believe Tom Clancy has the distinction of owning both an American M-60 and a Soviet T-72, both of which are main battle tanks. I'm certain they are non-firing.
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2001, 03:14 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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So, if a wealthy man suddenly has a hankering for a guided-missile cruiser, could he buy one from China, dock it in his marina, and take it out for pleasure cruises--fully locked and loaded--whenever he pleases?

Please tell me no.
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2001, 03:20 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
So, if a wealthy man suddenly has a hankering for a guided-missile cruiser, could he buy one from China, dock it in his marina, and take it out for pleasure cruises--fully locked and loaded--whenever he pleases?

Please tell me no.
On the other hand--and I'm no gun nut, trust me on this--how can the U.S. government restrict the purchase/ownership of tanks, artillery, etc. given the Second Amendment? Hasn't someone challenged this ruling in court? How can federal law re: restriction/prohibition supercede Constitutional rights?

I'm on the side of the governnment on this issue, but it seems that some nutty group would raise the obvious constitutional questions. Given you can legally own a .50 caliber sniper rifle, it isn't that far away from a TOW missile, all things considered.
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2001, 03:29 PM
Tranquilis Tranquilis is offline
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In general, the militia was/is expected to provide personal arms only. Crew-served and above are the responisbility of the Gov't. Machineguns fall on the border, and are available to persons willing to endure the rigamarole of the licenseing and fees, but anything beyond that is pretty much the realm of Gov't equipment.
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  #14  
Old 11-28-2001, 04:58 PM
45ACP 45ACP is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tranquilis
Ex-military vehicles, including tanks, are supported by a variety of private enthusiast groups.
Quite right, Tranquilisand I should have noted earlier when I posted the thing about the NFA that it's the GUN on the tank (and/or the various machineguns mounted on it) that is the "destructive device," not the big metal vehicle thingy it rides in.

The deal about the guided missile frigate reminds me of the Russian sub now moored in San Diego--(old story) http://news.zdnet.co.uk/story/0,,s2076001,00.html

I'm sure they would love to find a buyer!

tsunamisurfer, I guess anything's possible, but the idea of China selling a nuclear frigate (with nukes) to some rich dude is a bit beyond the pale. Playing soldier or swabby requires not just money, but the ability to print lots of it. None of this stuff is user friendly, and requires at least a couple of really dedicated and friendly helpers, and probably even an owner's manual.

All things considered, a Barrett .50 IS pretty far from a TOW, and even further from a frigate. One of the reasons so many gun owners get upset about legislation regulating individual weapons is that those weapons are just that--individual, and they are affordable and useful to the average person.

A typical gun owner is not going to start a dubious constitutional legal challenge over government regulations regarding disposal of stuff he would never be able to afford anyway. He has enough trouble keeping his own personal weapon.

As far as "how can the government restrict," etc. in the face of the Constitution--well, it restricts that right the same as other rights--through the passage of laws (the US Code). The determination of whether or not a law "supersedes" the Constitution is why we have courts.

Just because I have the right to do something does not mean that my fellow Americans have no right through the legislative process to regulate how I exercise my right. I have a right to vote, but that doesn't mean that the government does not have the ability to set up polling stations, and require identification, or registration as a voter.

As to your initial OP, yes there are regulations regarding the purchase of an old howitzer, or a tank, or a TOW, and even guided missile frigates. These regulations (as far as I know) have never been challenged in court to test their Constitutionality with respect to the right to keep and bear arms. My opinion is that no challenges have been mounted because there is little general benefit to the population for either an individual or a group to do so. The fact that there are "limits" imposed by these regulations does not negate the purpose of the Second Amendment, nor does it add anything to the arguments regarding individual gun ownership. (Check section 2.2 of this link http://www.faqs.org/faqs/talk-politi...gun-faq/part1/ for some more opinions)

Sorry, enough of the negative waves
Woof woof
45ACP
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  #15  
Old 11-28-2001, 06:35 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Why buy, when you can rent?
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  #16  
Old 11-28-2001, 06:59 PM
starfish starfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by tsunamisurfer
So, if a wealthy man suddenly has a hankering for a guided-missile cruiser, could he buy one from China, dock it in his marina, and take it out for pleasure cruises--fully locked and loaded--whenever he pleases?

Please tell me no.
Of course he can, as long as his marina is in China.

Also, the guided missle cruiser is nothing but a ship. If he leaves the missles and other weapons off, he can bring the ship to a US marina.

The US regulates the importation of weapons. He can't bring missles or other weapons into the country without approval from the US government. If the government chooses to let him bring them in, it can.

The US did not even let the Soviet Union cruise arm warships near the US without approval. It certainly won't let anyone else.
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