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Posted: 5/5/2001 6:33:16 AM EDT
Recently my step father died. He lived in New York State, my mother and I live in Virginia. Part of his estate (estate is a funny word; it seems to imply being rich!) included: 1) Rem 870 2) Ruger 22LR Target Pistol 3) FN49 30-06 Sniper Rifle 4) Greasegun 5) Colt AR-15 SP1 6) Valmet M60 Semi Auto 7) SKS Also included were many magazines for the guns that needed them. He owned all these guns for a very long time (since the early 80's at least). I personally learned to shoot with the AR. My stepfather was found dead in his house of natural causes by one of his friends. The friend called 911. Of course, along with paramedics, the police showed up. The police found the greasegun sitting there next to the couch where he laid. Upon further examination into another room, they found the rest of the guns. Unfortunately, they also found weed (for medicinal purposes I'm sure :-) ). They took all the guns back to the station and filed them as 'evidence'. When my mother (who was seperated from, but not divorced from my step father) went to pick them up, the police only gave her the 870, the FN, and the SKS. They refused to let her have the others because 'they were considered assault weapons'. We didn't get the pistol because they said that NYS requires a pistol permit. We also didn't get any of the magazines. My mother has handed this situation to me, since I will be the heir of these guns. Through the internet and hundreds of law books, I copied and printed out all the federal and NYS laws concerning the ownership of pre-ban assault weapons and mailed them all to the investigator in charge up in NY. I was unable to find a readily available copy of the ATF bluebook, but I plan on running up to DC shortly and grap a copy. Now the investigator has turned it over to the head sheriff up there because they got the ATF involved. The head sheriff is supposed to be sending me a letter in a couple weeks. I have no idea what it's about. 1) We have no records of the purchase date of any of these guns, only personal testimonies from family and friends. I called a couple gunshops where he picked up the guns. They said they don't have records dating back that far. How is this gonna mess me up? What can I do? 2) What do you think that letter's all about? Why won't he just call me? I felt my butthole twinge when I heard he was sending a letter... 3) I guess these are NFA weapons? What's involved in registering them to me? I get them sent directly to me tax-free with no FFL involvement, since I am the heir - I read that on the net. 4) Was this seizure legal? There was no crime commited, there was no search warrant. What is my recourse? 5) I think I can line up a local sheriff friend of mine to accept the greasegun. I won't own it or posses it, but at least I can shoot it sometimes. Will that work? 6) How is the possession of that weed gonna affect this situation? There was a lot of it. I'm sure I'm forgetting a thousand more questions, but these will do for now. When responding, I'm sure there will be people tempted to start an ATF and police-bashing session. Let's try not to go there. I have no time or patience left for that crapola. I just want some answers and suggestions. I could really use some advice from some police, FFL holders, lawyers, people who've gone through this situation, or whoever. Please help.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 7:04:47 AM EDT
Is your mother the executor of the state? She needs to discuss this with her attorney if that's the case. What county did he reside in. The AR-15 is just a rifle and is not any different then the shotgun under NYS law. It wasn't converted to full auto was it? Was the pistol registered? There are provisions under NYS law to transfer firearms to lawful heirs. They will hold it for safe keeping until you provide the necessary info for legal transfer. I don't think the grass should have any bearing on the estate. You really need to consult an attorney. Make sure you use a local attorney who is familiar with NYS probate law and the LE parties he will be dealing with.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 7:24:56 AM EDT
Yes, she is the executor. The AR was not converted. The pistol was registered and he had a permit. She had an attorney that handled the estate that was going to handle the guns for us, but the estate alone ran us 5 grand. That, with a cheap funeral, ended up running 10 grand. We're about spent. I'm talking to bank to see if I can pull a personal note to retain the lawyer back, but the bank is giving me the run around. I'm not going to give up though. I'm hoping that I can successfully provide all the information they need without a lawyer, for now (a fool that represents himself in court has a fool for a client....). If it comes down to court or if it looks like the guns are going to be destroyed, I get that lawyer back. Crossing my fingers.... Thanks for the bit of info, you really made me feel a little better about this.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 9:51:51 AM EDT
Unless it was properly registered with the feds, you aren't going to get the M3 greasegun, ever. What it will cost you to get the rest of the weapons will be more than they are worth. You could end up spending $10,000 to get back $3,000 worth of guns. The ATF is likely involved over the M3 which is probably not registered. The sheriff is probably going to tell you that you can't have the other guns back because they were illegal for one reason or another in New York. The search was probably legal, at least as far as the M3 in plain sight is concerned. Any recourse would of necessity, involve an attorney that you would have to pay for.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 10:18:59 AM EDT
Yankee - You're probably going to have to hire the lawyer, but I may be able to help. Drop me an email & I'll give you a phone number where I can be reached. There's a lot of issues here and I don't feel like writing a 15 page explanation today.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 10:50:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/5/2001 10:50:36 AM EDT by rkbar15]
From the NYSP FAQ: [url]www.troopers.state.ny.us/Firearms/Firearmsindex.html[/url] Q - What happens to lawfully possessed firearms belonging to a licensee who has died? The person designated as the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate may lawfully possess the firearms in question for a period of up to 15 days for the sole purpose of lawfully disposing of the firearms. If this cannot be accomplished within the 15-day time frame, the weapons must be surrendered to a law enforcement agency who would then hold the weapons for safe keeping for a period not to exceed 2 years during which time the weapons may still be disposed of. If the weapons are not disposed of within that time period, they will be classified as nuisance properties and destroyed. Q - May firearms dealers purchase handguns from individuals who possess them unlawfully, such as war souvenirs, heirlooms, etc.? Yes, provided that certain steps are taken. Penal Law section 265.20 provides for the surrender of unlawfully possessed firearms, without fear of prosecution, under certain circumstances. If an individual innocently finds him or herself in possession of a handgun, this law provides amnesty from prosecution if the weapons are voluntarily surrendered to a law enforcement agency. Once the handgun has been surrendered, the receiving agency must investigate whether the weapon is a nuisance property and must be destroyed. If this is not the case, then the weapon may either be possessed by the person who surrendered it (if properly licensed) or he/she may arrange for the sale of the weapon to a licensed firearms dealer.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 12:11:15 PM EDT
Shaggy - I'm not sure that the message went through. My email server is actin up. My email is yankytrash@bolt.com
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 5:02:25 PM EDT
Sorry for your loss [:(] Hey I'm born and raised in NY - Pretty much Sucks now a days [>;)] Word to the wise - give your stuff to friends and family before you Kick.
Link Posted: 5/5/2001 7:30:07 PM EDT
If the M3 is an NFA weapon, you need to find that tax stamp pronto!
Link Posted: 5/6/2001 5:59:13 AM EDT
finding the grease gun and drugs in plain view and confiscating it was legal, this also gave probable cause to search for other "possible" illegal weapons and drugs --MAYBE you could contact a museum to take possesion of the grease gun, or have it transfered to a class 3 guy, cuz your not gonna get it back. even getting it transfered to anyone else but the cops is slim to none, but it will probably end up in ATF warehouse --getting the ruger pistol out of police hands and into yours/moms might not even be worth the time and money, the gun is worth $200 --the valmet and AR would be worth the hassle, maybe the cops could send it to an FFL in your state for legal transfer
Link Posted: 5/7/2001 7:34:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/7/2001 7:33:37 AM EDT by FatMan]
Let this be a warning to anyone who owns guns. Get your paper straight or get it out of the state! --FatMan Cochrane
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