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How Many Machine Guns Are In Private Hands In The United States?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Cyrano, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    The following brief report, which originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal, was reprinted in the October 13, 2017 edition of The Week on page 16:

    "As of April, 630,019 machine guns, or fully automatic weapons, were registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including more than 11,700 in Nevada. That number includes machine guns to be used by government officials and unserviceable guns that are purchased by collectors as souvenirs."

    The WSJ report appears factual, but look at it carefully. It does not report how many of those working firearms are in private hands; how many of them are in the hands of law enforcement; and how many of those "registered machine guns" are inoperative, unserviceable guns are in private hands. It is a highly misleading report.

    The last time I checked, about a year ago, the BATFE had no idea how many selective fire guns of all types were in private hands in the United States. They had only a wild-a$$ed guess, and that WAG was in the neighborhood of 256,000 of all types. It includes everything from 7.65mm Czech Skorpion machine pistols up to the mighty Ma Deuce. The BATFE had been using that quarter-of-a-million-and-a-bit figure since 1986, when Saint Ronnie the Actor signed the Firearms Owners Protection Act that capped the number of selective fire weapons at whatever was already in private hands, with no more to be imported, and none to be released to the public by the military.

    So why all of a sudden have the official gun regulators of the yankee gummint suddenly come up with a precise figure that is two and a half times greater than what they had previously claimed? Why does that number include "machine guns to be used by government officials," by which we must presume the WSJ means law enforcement? The last time I checked, the police were allowed to have full auto firearms, mostly used by SWAT teams. Why is BATFE including the very expensive paperweights that demilled firearms are? You all know as well as I do that when a gun is demilled, it is rendered inoperable by anything from torch-cutting the receiver to welding the bolt face over and welding a steel rod into the barrel. Outfits like The Sportsman's Guide have, in the past, offered cast aluminum receivers for the purpose of making demilled submachine guns fit to be displayed. Not so the guns can be fired, only displayed.

    And since when have demilled, inoperable guns had to be registered with the BATFE anyhow? I get the periodic BATFE reports because I have a Class 3 C&R license, and I have not seen anything in those reports about registering demilled machine guns -- and even though I don't own one, something like that I would notice and remember.

    What is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives trying to hide by releasing a figure that includes wall-hangers and cop guns, when for thirty years they have been saying they didn't really know how many selective fire and crew-served firearms are in private hands in this country? Do any of our members who are in the law enforcement community have any light they can shed on this subject?

    I may be just a little paranoid, but I think something smells about The Wall Street Journal's report. What does the Band of Fellers think?
  2. Rambo

    Rambo G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    FOIA would make that information available. How many $250 registration fees does the BATF collect for each of this type of firearm would translate in to how many are out there, dewat or otherwise.

  3. Kmcdowell

    Kmcdowell G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Omaha NE
    How many violent crimes are committed each year that involve a legitimate fully automatic firearm that is registered through the BATF. I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of Zero. I have never fired a machine gun or fully automatic weapon and probably won't. There are a handful of ranges/gun dealers who rent machine guns for use under very close supervision, but I don't have the desire to blow through $10.00 worth of ammo per second. I think the typical sportsman who owns an AR15 or AK47 own them to take careful aim and hit a target or they keep them around for unwelcome intruders or a SHTF situation.

    So my question is..... What difference does it make how many registered machine guns are in the United States and less importantly how many of them are legally in the hands of private citizens?
  4. They have NO idea, take my word as a mechanical engineer, any one with a schematic & a Dremel and a half a$$ed mechanical ability can turn a semi into a full auto !.............
  5. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I have had the good fortune to have been able to shoot a half dozen different fully auto firearms. It was great fun.
    Not practical for me, and far too expensive a game to justify. I have no desire to own one.
    A shooting buddy bought one right around when 9-11 happened, and the transfer took longer than normal.
    Just a few years ago, he sold that machinegun legally for over three times what he paid for it. He said he wished he'd bough ten of them, as they were a great investment.
  6. animalspooker

    animalspooker G&G Evangelist

    Agreed, I'm more of a......BANG.....that's one inch to the left and a half inch high....BANG.....that's a half inch high and dead on left to right. Not a BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG............that's left, high, high, high, high....
  7. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    I understand what your buddy means. Like you, full auto is too expensive a game for me to play, especially now that I'm officially retired. I've only wanted to own one, a specific model: an M1928A1 Thompson, the gun my father carried through most of his World War II service. I think you can see why. One of those kept Dad alive from North Africa to the Hurtgen Forest, when Heinie Krauter dropped a mortar shell into his foxhole and sent him back to the States with leg wounds it took four years to patch up to the point he could be discharged from the hospital and the Army.

    That's why I want to own one. It's also why I want to go to Las Vegas one day and visit The Gun Shop, which has one of them for use on their range.
    Dutch, swedesrus, jwrauch and 2 others like this.
  8. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The only fifty cal I ever shot was a bolt action. I can't even imagine a full auto one keeping on target unless it weighs like over fifty pounds and is mounted on something VERY sturdy. I saw a guy with a 30.06 full auto BAR once. He was shooting three round bursts and every single shot was higher than the first shot, and rising.
    minkowski1552 and PAPA G like this.
  9. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    Muzzle climb at work!
    PAPA G likes this.
  10. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    My absolute favorite full auto to shoot was the Steyr AUG bullpup. That gun is laser accurate, no muzzle jump, virtual "Swiss Watch" construction, though made in Austria. Superb weapon, and very pricey! It is surgically precise, easy to keep on target during full rock&roll.
    I've also shot the original Nam era M-16, AK47, Krinkov AK shorty, German WWII MP40, British STEN (gosh it was so crude!), MAC11 in 9mm (my buddy's gun).
    All were fun in their own way, and each unique.
    Almost got to shoot the Ma Duece once aboard ship, but the danged XO hogged it and shot up all the ammo. It was supposed to be "famfire" for us on the Security Force.
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  11. jwrauch

    jwrauch G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot (West Point , KY) is this weekend !!!
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  12. rando

    rando G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I see a guy come to the indoor range near me usually on Friday or Saturday night. He has what looks like an M2 carbine. He brings a full ammo can or two of loaded 30 carbine mags. Its a big distraction to the other people shooting their pistols one shot at a time for accuracy. Its too **** loud for indoor. It also has a metal folder stock. He and his younger son shoot it. Well they hit the target like once and then the energy raises the gun to where I see the bullets hit the ceiling. No way to hold it steady. Seems like a waste of ammo to me.
    jwrauch and PAPA G like this.
  13. DWFan

    DWFan Handgunner

    I presume that number would also include private contractors and security firms employed by the government.
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  14. Pronsias

    Pronsias G&G Evangelist

    As far as I can tell, about 0.025 murders per year. That's as many as 2 murders in the period 1934 - 2017. IIRC one of these was a cop who used his gun in a hit.

    Modding into FA is pretty difficult these days I think. It was easier when they were making open bolt designs like the early TEC 9. But that's not a legally owned FA then.
    PAPA G likes this.
  15. PAPA G

    PAPA G G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    If your going I am hoping that you have a dry weekend!!!!:);):cool::D
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  16. jwrauch

    jwrauch G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Probably going on Saturday !!
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  17. Rambo, to set the record straight there is a $200 tax stamp that the owner must purchase when the item is transferred, there are some items that are transferred on a $5 tax stamp as well. FOIA does not apply here as this is considered tax information, and is private information.
    blaster and jwrauch like this.
  18. draftingmonkey

    draftingmonkey G&G Evangelist

    I also wonder how many illegally imported automatic weapons there are here, brought in by the likes of the Russian mafia, asian gangs, other gangs such as the hells angels, etc.
    PAPA G and jwrauch like this.
  19. Gun Junkie

    Gun Junkie G&G Evangelist

    I'd say a whole lot less than if gun control laws are implemented.
  20. shop tom

    shop tom G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    My LGS now has his Class 3 license and will soon have full-giggle weapons for us mere mortals to experience.
    Dutch and Big Dog like this.