Considering Buying an NFA (class 3) Device From Out-Of-State or Over the Internet?
There are many types of scams out there involving NFA (class 3) firearms.
The most important thing is to ONLY deal with a reputable, properly licensed dealer.
For example, consider this which was recently posted on an NFA Firearms Discussion Board
This is an actual posting from a reputable NFA dealer whose customer got
caught up in a scam and lost a ton of money just because he was trying to
cut his own deal to save some money.
“This has been ongoing for a while so I haven’t said anything but there finally seems to be a resolution.
I have a client, he buys all kinds of things, as with all the other transfers I’ve done for him this gun came from out of state, a Colt M16A1, Model 614.
Dealer did the Form 3 to me, got it in under a month, then did the form 4 for my client.
Understand that my client bought the gun directly, made his own arrangements, etc. We had nothing to do with the sale and were only acting as the transfer dealer in our state..
As an aside, when the gun came in I did the inspection and logged it and made the following notes:
Colt Logo very sharp, upper and lower do not match in color, serial number looks crooked, color doesn’t seem to be Colt blue (might have been refinished).
I do a pretty hard inspection on guns that I do transfers for, and keep notes in a ring binder not my bound book. I also take pictures and have learned to do this after a “NIB” transfer that I did about 12 years ago that was anything but NIB.
So I do the form 4, the client comes over looks at the gun, we talk about it, he seems to agree it that it looks like it is a refinish job, but he paid just over $11,000 for it (a really good price) so it’s not that big of a deal to him.
He sends in the form 4 and after the usual long wait it gets kicked back to me, with the form listing why.
It basically said the gun had been transferred to someone else.
I’ve seen this happen before and thought ohhh someone made a typo or didn’t save the transfer or there was a data problem but there must be a reason so I call up the ATF NFA branch and leave a message.
Well after trying a couple of times I finally talk to the ATF NFA examiner and he assures me there is no typo, because after approval of the transfer to me the transfer was voided after the fact and the gun was then transferred to someone else. I informed the examiner that I physically had the (apparently illegal) machine gun in my possession on a form 3.
Long and short of it, I call my lawyer, I call my client, I explain what is going on, my client is pissed and tries to call the seller, the phone is disconnected or isn’t taking calls anymore or something.
Client calls me back, my lawyer calls me back after making contact with my local ATF office (which is in another state because of where I am) and they want to have a conference call with me and my lawyer and want to talk with the client.
A couple months go by, my client calls me and tells me he has been talking with the ATF and that they would be coming out to confiscate the gun, gave me the name of the agent he talked to etc. My lawyer called the agent, he said he would be out in the near future which ended up being over a month and happened on a day I was, of course, out of town. Employee at the shop told me two agents came in, identified themselves, asked for the gun, had a seizure warrant for said gun, gave him a copy of the warrent and a receipt for the gun as they confiscated it.
In talking with my client it seems that the guy that sold him the gun had sold the same gun to a bunch of different people, and in fact there are multiple receivers out there with the same serial numbers all with approved transfer papers that had been voided after the fact on the ATF’s records.
The seller would evidently make “new” Colt M16A1’s request transfer approvals and ship them out along with the approved transfer papers from the ATF. When the gun and papers got to the dealer, he would wait a week or two then call the ATF and void the transfer so he could file a new transfer request and ship another gun under the same serial number to another unsuspecting buyer.
It’s just crazy what this idiot has done! It seems that the ATF via my lawyer has no problem with me or my client and are very aware that this dealer is the problem. Unfortunately since there is a criminal investigation and pending civil action against him, I can’t name names but be warned if you don’t personally know the seller, be cautious and check the references of the seller.
I’m not even sure this guy is doing this anymore but I know the ATF has at least one of his “new” transferables in their possession and my client is out his money.”
Lesson to be learned: Deal only with a reputable dealer you know and trust.
Beware of trying to deal direct! It’s not worth the risk.