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How to deal with deactivated WWII firearms

Discussion in 'GATE NFA/Class III' started by ChiefWPD, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. ChiefWPD


    Dec 25, 2004
    Guess I'll be the first. :wavey:

    I'm trying to assist a town resident. He has come upon a woman who’s husband was a WWII vet. According to her, he brought back from his service some dewatt (correct term?) German military firearms, that were legally deactivated by welding. Also, according to her, he had the proper permits for such souvenirs.

    The three devices in question are (please understand that I haven’t seen them) a MG-44 (the first assault rifle), and from what I was told two MP-40s (Erma Werk??)?

    Again, these are “non-weapons” in the state of MA as if they are as described they are permanently inoperable. I called the Boston ATF and the agent there was helpful. The agent explained that although the three items were not operable, they might well be under the legal controls of the NFA laws. He explained that if he was sent the three “firearms” serial numbers he’d try and track down whether they were permitted or not.

    So, I asked the town citizen to get me that information so that I might pass it on to the ATF agent. I’ve been waiting on a response from the citizen, who tells me he is waiting on the woman who has these devices in her possession. She and her son are “looking” for the paperwork.

    I suspect that she will have a heck of a time finding documents to these three guns that came into the family seventy years ago. And I am suspect of the completeness of the records in regard these historically significant items.

    I understand one can petition the ATF for some sort of a waiver from the registration requirements for such items. Is this correct and, if so, how would one go about doing that?

  2. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith 3Gunner Millennium Member

    Aug 25, 1999
    Fort Collins, CO, USA

    Here is an ATF guide that includes DEWAT information

    If it was registered under the NFA as a DEWAT, it should be in the registry and they should be able to locate the records based on the serial numbers and descriptions of the items.

    In cases where old WWII era trophies or DEWATs are found and nobody knows what to do, it seems common that they can either donate them to a museum or properly demil them (thus no longer required to me in registry anyway).

    It seems fairly unlikely they would allow a new NFA item to be registered if it was considered a machinegun at all. It is not clear from the documents if a DEWAT is solely that, or if they are closed to new registrations like MGs are since '86.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010