I came across this article the other day that combined Florida and federal firearms laws, and it brought to mind all the people who ask me some version of, “If I convert my semi-automatic AR-15 into a fully-automatic machine gun, how’s the ATF ever going to know?”
Well, that’s the nature of breaking the law, isn’t it? “If I kill this person/rob this bank/lie on this federal form, how will anyone ever know?” Each person does a cost-benefit analysis every day when it comes to breaking the law – do the rewards outweigh the potential risks to me? You may decide that speeding is worth the potential ticket risk, but you may draw the line at stealing an Xbox.
This kid, who lived in a dorm on a college campus, said he “didn’t like laws” so he decided not to follow them. He used a drop-in auto sear (DIAS) to turn his AR-15 into an unregistered machine gun (yes, federal law requires that certain so-called “dangerous” firearms be registered with the ATF). He also had 2 other DIAS’s in his possession when he was caught. Federal law says that if you have a DIAS in your possession and you also have a gun that can accept that DIAS, and you didn’t follow the law about registering that gun with the ATF, you have illegal constructive possession of a NFA firearm.
The person who wrote the article is obviously clueless about gun laws (or is just a bad writer), because a casual reader would think this kid is going to prison for having a gun on a college campus. A scary machine gun, no less! Nope. The prohibition about guns on a college campuses is just a state law (second degree misdemeanor, $500 fine, 60 days in jail, no loss of gun rights) but, if you read the article carefully, you’ll see he was arrested by the feds. Violating the National Firearms Act is a federal felony, punishable by 10 years in prison, very large fines, and complete loss of gun rights.
So, how did they find out? Someone tipped off the campus police. Someone will ALWAYS turn you over to the authorities if they know you’re breaking the law and they can use this ammo against you for their convenience or benefit. Was it a jilted girlfriend? A friend who didn’t share his views about guns or the law? Who knows. I’m not defending this guy breaking the law – I’m merely pointing out that when you do choose to break the law, someone will find out at some point.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
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