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Posted: 11/27/2001 2:27:26 PM EDT
individual police officer. I'm trying to clarify whether or not I, as an individual police officer, can legally purchase a LE Only AR15. It would be for my personal possession and use, and not for duty use. We do not use rifles in our dept. at this time. My FFL doesn't have a problem doing the transfer, but I don't want to get him into any trouble, or myself for that matter, as he is relying on my info. Thanks!
Link Posted: 11/27/2001 3:03:55 PM EDT
You can purchase an Law Enforcement Only AR for on-duty use, on a department letterhead indicating the rifle is for on-duty use.
Link Posted: 11/27/2001 3:12:14 PM EDT
Dave_G, I understand that's the normal way to do things, but like I said, I have an FFL who will do the transfer with just my dept. ID - meaning NO letterhead required. Is THAT scenario a problem? Could it have repercussions on either of us?
Link Posted: 11/27/2001 3:31:43 PM EDT
Yes it'll cause problems - ATF wants that letter in your dealer's file to show proper and legal transfer of the LEO-only firearm. See below (from the ATF FAQ):
(O11) What documentation must a manufacturer, importer, or dealer obtain from law enforcement officers who purchase semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices for official use? Licensees may transfer semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices to law enforcement officers with the following documentation: (1) a written statement from the purchasing officer, under penalty of perjury, stating that the weapon or device is being purchased for use in performing official duties and that the weapon or device is not being acquired for personal use or for purposes of transfer or resale; and (2) a written statement from a supervisor of the purchasing officer, under penalty of perjury, stating that the purchasing officer is acquiring the weapon or feeding device for use in official duties, that the weapon or device is suitable for use in performing official duties, and that the weapon or device is not being acquired for personal use or for purposes of transfer or resale. In the case of a transfer of a semiautomatic assault weapon, the supervisor’s written statement must also state that a records check reveals that the purchasing officer has no convictions for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. In the case of semiautomatic assault weapons, licensees are required to retain the above statements in their permanent records for a period of 5 years. [27 C.F.R. 178.129, 178.132, 178.134]
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Also of interest:
(O9) May law enforcement officers keep their semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices when they retire or leave their employment with a law enforcement agency? No. They may not lawfully keep semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices that they purchased or acquired as their own property. However, the law provides an exception for items that belong to a law enforcement agency and are transferred by the agency to an officer upon the officer’s retirement from, or termination of his or her employment with, the agency. Neither this exception nor the exception for official use permits officers to retain their own weapons or feeding devices after retiring or leaving the agency or to acquire additional items. Officers who retire or leave their employment with a law enforcement agency should transfer assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices that are their own property to a Federal firearms licensee or another qualified officer. [18 U.S.C. 922(v)(4), (w)(3)]
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Link Posted: 11/27/2001 4:34:10 PM EDT
Thanks CIRCUITS. I guess it's a NO-GO!
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 10:07:19 AM EDT
There is no Federal law, regulation, or ruling I am aware of the says that you as a LEO can not own a post-ban semiautomatic assault rifle. The paperwork do dad posted above is for the dealer, no the LEO. So sure the dealer could get in trouble if he did it wrong, but the buyer? The only requirement I can think of is that the rifle be marked as being restricted if manufactured after June or 95 and it was "manufactured" by someone authorized to do so. LEO are not authorized to make their own. As you have surmised though, best bet is to avoid the transaction, just because you know the dealer is not doing the transaction correctly.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 10:34:51 AM EDT
Yes, Ekie - nowhere above did I say it would be illegal for a LEO to own a post-ban semi-auto assault weapon. As a class, law enforcement officers are specifically exempted from the prohibitions. PPD asked about it getting his FFL into trouble, though - and it would cause all sorts of problems for the FFL to transfer him that weapon without proper documentation, which was the point of my answer. Once a properly marked LEO only gun was in PPD's possession, he'd have no problems until he tried to sell or transfer it, or left the force - provided he didn't run afoul of any rules at his individual department.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 2:36:06 PM EDT
This is interesting... So, as a police officer, I CAN LEGALLY POSSESS THE WEAPON, even though it's not for duty use? AND, if my FFL has documentation on-file proving I am who I say I am, which he knows, is that sufficient to transfer the weapon, or does the paperwork HAVE TO BE ON DEPT. LETTERHEAD STATING I AM "AUTHORIZED" TO PURCHASE IT? These are the glitches I'm trying to clarify.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 2:43:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 4:10:03 PM EDT
Just because you're LE on the job, you're *more or less* a civilian off the job... my guess is that then most rules and laws apply to you when you're not doing your job. Therefore, you'd have to follow the same laws the reset of us do, including the prohibition from possessing a post-ban AR configured as a semi-automatic assault weapon. The lawful transfer of a LEO rifle must be done via dept. approval, with the letterhead certifying your professional use. It's not a free post-ban SAW card, IIRC. Just because some FFL is willing to do the transfer doesn't mean it'd be legal. BTW, the FFL who transfers the rifle to you would be the equivalent of the seller, since he'd be the last legal owner on the books before it came to you. So my considered opinion is, "no" you aren't exempt from the law just because when you go to work every day you put on a badge. But of course, I'm no lawyer, don't really know squat anyway, YMMV, etc., etc., etc. Have fun! (Oh, and none of those LE-only post-ban high cap mags for personal use, either! [:)] )
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 4:17:47 PM EDT
Let's take a look at the actual law for this discussion:
§ 922(v)(1) It shall be unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon. ..... (4) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to - (A) the manufacture for, transfer to, or possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States or a State or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State, [red]or a transfer to or possession by a law enforcement officer employed by such an entity for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off duty)[/red];
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So, you can possess it as long as it for [b]purposes of law enforcement[/b]. This would mean your department must not forbid you from using the weapon in your official capacity. Any other use related to your employment as a law enforcement officer should be legal - including frequent target practice during your off hours to maintain proficiency, unless those off-duty uses are prohibited by departmental regulation or the orders of your superiors.
Originally posted by PPD: So, as a police officer, I CAN LEGALLY POSSESS THE WEAPON, even though it's not for duty use?
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Not quite - it must be approved for official use, but your use of it is not then restricted by law to just official use.
Originally posted by PPD: AND, if my FFL has documentation on-file proving I am who I say I am, which he knows, is that sufficient to transfer the weapon, or does the paperwork HAVE TO BE ON DEPT. LETTERHEAD STATING I AM "AUTHORIZED" TO PURCHASE IT?
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In order to transfer the weapon to you, your dealer must follow the rules I posted earlier - to wit, you need authorization on letterhead, and a signed, sworn statement from you. If he doesn't have that documentation, he risks prosecution, although you would not actually be violating the law yourself to receive it. The fact that he knows you're a LEO does not give him permission to bypass the documentation requirements and transfer it to you on just your badge or department ID.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 5:24:09 PM EDT
I guess my best option is to pass. My dept. DOES NOT issue, use, or authorize for use, any type of rifles at this time. As for as "on-duty use" is concerned, police officers are considered on-duty 24/7, regardless of their activity status. In other words, as a sworn police officer, you can intervene in any jursdictional matter, on any day, at any time, and envoke your police powers. They don't ONLY apply when you have the uniform on. I guess, from what I am reading, the better part of valor is to be happy with what I have until my dept. says otherwise. Thanks for the replies!
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 6:46:30 PM EDT
I understand, and respect the job you do. As you've realized, there are few loopholes to the laws and regulations concerning SAWs. It does seem a shame to have to pay pre-ban prices for a rifle that's almost identical in function to post-ban models. [:(]
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