DGinGA

Does FA fire give probable cause?

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I’ll soon be getting my first FA. Question: does the mere act of firing a FA give cops the right to demand proof tthat the gun is legal? Assume that I’m at a legal place to shoot, in a gun-friendly state. One could make the case that FA shooting is not per se illegal, so why should police be able to presume criminality? I don’t see myself debating this with a sherrif’s deputy in my field, but it raises other questions. Can the cop enter private property without a warrant because a machine gun is heard? What if they are clueless about NFA and want to go straight to arrest? My lawyer knows nothing about this. Any information, experiences, or suggestions as to resources will be appreciated.

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I have been approached several times by LE while shooting. Many years ago not many cops knew MGs were legal, but these days the cops pretty much know they can be legally possessed. When approached, I would always lay the guns down and step away from them and present the paperwork before being asked. Be cooperative avoid being defensive. I have never had a problem. Usually, the cops have been called by someone who heard automatic-fire.

A few times I was on private property the cops just waited until I left then confronted me. 

I was coming back from a shoot one night and was stopped in a State Police DUI checkpoint. It had rained that day and all my cases got wet, so I had the guns out piled on the back seat. As one cop checked my ID another one was shining a flashlight into my car. He asked, "are any of those machine guns?" I said they all are. He said "anything cool?" I replied that "they all were." They smiled and said, "drive carefully." Never asked to see any paperwork. 

My advice has always been; don't f**k with anyone who is a position to f**k you.

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I was shooting my suppressed .300 Whisper @ my gun club a few years back. The club was allowing the USCG reserves to use our range because their's had been destroyed in a hurricane. I noticed a couple of them standing together looking my way, then one walked do to where a couple of member were putting up a new roof. A few minutes later the member came down & confronted me about my suppressor. I thought it was might chicken shit they didn't have the balls to ask themselves! I also thought inviting them to use our range should have never happened.

It still pisses me off to this day that some fake ass Navy wannabe's assume they know NFA laws. I figure if it ever came to confiscation it be these retards.

 

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I had the cops called out on me once when I was shooting FA back in the day at a friends place.  I did just as Frank suggested, unloaded the gun, laid it down, stepped back and had a friendly conversation with the officer.  He was cool about it and didn't bother wanting to see the paperwork when I offered it to him.  Even offered to let him run a couple mags out of the gun for which he said he had to decline as he was on duty and the boss might frown if he ever found out.  Be nice to them and they will be nice to you. 

I had the conversation yesterday with a friend yesterday about his one neighbor always calling the cops on him when he shoots anything other than a 22 at his house.  He is allowed to shoot where he lives and has a good back stop built for said purpose.  Told him once something transfers I'll bring it up and with that and his Barrett M82 we will have some fun and then sit back and laugh when the Sheriff Department show up as we are both on first name basis with those that work the area where he lives.

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We generally invite the local and state police commanders when having an organized shoot. Last time we were invited to use the sheriffs range. Never had any issues when shooting at home.

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   We conduct our shoots on a large farm. The machinegun Fire can still be heard down in the town. Especially when the .50s are running... as a courtesy, prior to the shoots we call the local PD and let them know we will be having a machine gun shoot. They have always been appreciative of that and have never come out. I believe they like the fact that any calls they received about the FA fire from residents they already had an explanation to give them to set there mind at ease and let them know that Jimmy Jihad isnt in there back yard. 

Aaron- Mohnton, Pa 

   

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DG, from the tone of your post, methinks maybe you are already "locked and loaded" for a problem?   I believe you will find very little to complain about when interacting with Law enforcement and your "full auto fire" unless you come off with an attitude that gets it there. I don't care if your playing soccer, put a chip on your shoulder and SOMEONE will show you how easy it comes off.  I have been using these things since the early 60's and yes had a few unpleasant encounters but they all ended well and that's what counts. new officers often come from the city and have little experience with recreational shooters much less exotic military hardware. follow the advice from the previous posts and step away from the weapon, be courteous and present your paperwork and ID. an officer asking about full auto fire is confirming that the activity is lawful and not "presuming criminality".  as in all things ATTITUDE sets the pace. so relax and enjoy your purchase.  cheers mike todd

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I only accept postal money orders. contact me DIRECTLY before sending any funds                                           email  myoldiron@outlook.com        

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I got pulled over a few years ago in a rental car with a MAC-10/45 SMG and a Glock 21 .45 sitting on the passenger side seat nonchalantly covered by a range bag. Trooper walks up and asks “ what is that” pointing to the SMG to which I reply, that is a registered machine gun. Funny thing is he didn’t know what to say in response and I had to school him on the NFA which was sad as he was 2 months from retiring from duty and couldn’t believe he made it this far without any knowledge of the matter.The encounter was good, but as mentioned earlier don’t be a turd head. 

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A lot of good Law enforcement people do not know it is legal to own Class 3 Guns or Suppressors.

Is there a way the Class 3 community can solve this problem?

Would it even help?

 

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In Florida, machine guns are illegal until you show they are possessed in compliance with Federal law. Here they are investigating a crime until you prove otherwise. 

The one time a deputy approached us when we were shooting them on private property (we were with an off duty deputy from the same agency). He said he was responding to a neighbor's noise complaint. We told him we had written permission to be on the property and offered to show it and papers on the guns. He said that's okay and he went on down the road. 

I had just picked up my M60 receiver, which was sitting on the front seat next to me when I got pulled over by FHP (for barely passing him in his marked unit...I wasn't going fast). I apologized and said I was just so excited from picking up my new baby. He laughed and sent me on my way. 

Best story ever was when me and two other police buddies went to Knob Creek a month after September 11. We drove onto Fort Knox to go to the Patton Museum. We didn't want to leave our MG (and the two MKII grenades) in our hotel room, so they were in the van with us. Uniformed guards had military officers in uniform pulled aside while their  vehicles were being tossed and undercarriage inspection mirrors were being used. 

My buddies were sweating us having M9's stuck in our ears. I told them to flash their ID's and tell them what we had and why.  The gate guard asked to look in the back of the van. He said to keep them in the cases and don't take them out of the van. Have a nice visit. 

It's been my experience, it's all in your attitude. Cops like friendly and cooperative people. 

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I believe the OP asked what the legality was, not how one should behave. I think we all agree we should behave. But if push came to shove what does your 4th Amendment right allow you to do and not to do?

Here is my two cents. I'm not an attorney so don't construe this as legal advice. 

I am located in Texas. If LE came to my "property" (I don't have property to shoot on, but for the sake of the scenario let's say I do) in response to full auto fire, are you allowed to:

1. Remain silent? Yes. Say nothing and just let them speak. Then if you are asked to identify yourself you can ask if you are being detained. If you're being detained then yes you have to identify yourself. Otherwise you're free to go and break contact. Of course don't think they won't stop you once you leave.

2. Lie to them? No. Don't lie to LE. There is no reason to lie to them anyway, you've done nothing wrong.

3. Consent to search or consent to allow them to enter your property? Yes. You can allow consent, but you don't have to either. If you don't feel like it then just politely say no. If they still come on to the property just make sure it is documented they did. Anything they find after an illegal search will be thrown out of court anyway. But that decision will be played out in court, not here.

4. Refuse a search? Yes. See above. However if they say they're coming onto the property, let them. Don't put up physical resistance.

Be polite. If you think the contact is going to go sideways turn on your camera phone and put it in your shirt pocket with the lens sticking out. Don't physically resist and be reasonable. 

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In my state ,

The old state regulations for machine guns , if your were holding  the weapon , it was probable cause...

shootin implied  holding 

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On 1/18/2018 at 7:06 PM, DGinGA said:

I’ll soon be getting my first FA. Question: does the mere act of firing a FA give cops the right to demand proof tthat the gun is legal? Assume that I’m at a legal place to shoot, in a gun-friendly state. One could make the case that FA shooting is not per se illegal, so why should police be able to presume criminality? I don’t see myself debating this with a sherrif’s deputy in my field, but it raises other questions. Can the cop enter private property without a warrant because a machine gun is heard? What if they are clueless about NFA and want to go straight to arrest? My lawyer knows nothing about this. Any information, experiences, or suggestions as to resources will be appreciated.

I have been shooting  MGs for years at different locations and from time to time the law has come by to see whats up, I have on many occasions offered my paper work, Most if not all don't know a form 3/4 from a car title. Just be cool and you get to go home alive.

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All good advice here re being courteous and respectful with LEO’s.  As a retired LEO and now a FFL/SOT, I can say that here in IL, probably 80-90% of urban/suburban police know very little about NFA laws, if anything.  NFA firearms are just not common here, and the IL laws are complicated.  (For instance, SBRs are legal for nonlicensees, but you either have to be a documented military reenactor or you have to have a 03 C&R FFL.  But the SBR doesn’t have to be a C&R.  Makes total sense, right???).

The one caution that I would add is that if you’re shooting a MG, or any gun for that matter, and you’re approached by police:  Put the gun down immediately, keep your hands in plain view, and don’t have anything else in your hands that could be mistaken for a weapon.  You don’t know why the police were called, or what they were told.  They might be amped up, so don’t give them any reason to shoot you!  Again - have empty hands in plain view when they approach you.

Just my 2 cents.

Ben

Benjamin Specialties LLC 07/02

 

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Not sure where you are shooting (going back to the original poster from here in GA) but machine gun shooting has never resulted in any L.E. response for me.

Where I live we have fences and posted signs. Most uniformed officers are not going to rip their uniforms on barbed wire just to satisfy a nosy neighbors complaint, especially when it involves trespassing, and not knowing where the bullets are flying if they don't know my "set up", they usually stay in the car.

Also since my family has lived here in the same location in the county for several generations, and we have all been into recreational shooting for years. The calls usually go 10-22 once they identify the location.

Another good idea is to let the Sheriff know in advance of shooting the big guns.

I think timing of your shoot and the duration of the shoot can go a long way towards keeping peace with the neighbors. I try to shoot on weekdays when most people are at work, kids are at school, etc. Also my shoots are usually to demo a few guns for a potential buyer, for fun, or to function check a build. Not sure why anyone would want to burn thousands of rounds over many hours. Maybe I'm getting old and just don't get the same thrill out of it that I use to! Its sort of like the guy on the Harley with straight pipes that runs up and down the road continuously versus the guy just passing through.

Good advice on Not being confrontational or taunting others to "knock the chip off your shoulder". Only bad things will come your way if you become a continual nuisance.

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