Fed secures vets' guns (courtesy  brooklynvisualheritage.org)

Students of gun control will know that the Sullivan Act was the beginning of the end for New Yorkers’ gun rights. “The Sullivan Act required licenses for New Yorkers to possess firearms small enough to be concealed,” wikipedia.org reveals. “Possession of such firearms without a license was a misdemeanor, and carrying them was a felony. Named for its primary legislative sponsor, state senator Timothy Sullivan, a notoriously corrupt Tammany Hall politician.” Who hated immigrants. Surprised? Anyway, that was 1911. By 1946 the city’s anti-gun stance was set in stone. According to brooklynvisualheritage.org, this is the original caption to the post-war picture above . . .

“Safe, sound trophies–Thomas J. Doyle, investigator in charge of Alcohol Tax Unit for Eastern District, looks over some erstwhile lethal weapons collected in unit’s current drive to render GI souvenir guns harmless.”

I wonder how they got ahold of those “souvenirs.” Probably the same way they still get ahold of “illegal” guns held by Americans exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms: threats, subterfuge and intimidation.  [h/t DD]

Recommended For You

43 Responses to Incendiary Image of the Day: ATF: Same As It Ever Was Edition

  1. My father came home from WWII to NYC with a small shirt pocket Beretta that he carried across Europe. He surrendered it to the NYC police after my mother nagged him about a gun in the house. I still have the police receipt and it makes me sick to my stomach to look at it.

    • My father told me, for a short while, he had an undersized Luger, nickle plated with mother of pearl grips. It was given to him by a surrendering German officer.

      But he never got it home. He was in the 106th ID and his whole division was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. He knew if he was caught with it by the Germans, he’d probably be shot with it. So, he tossed it. It’s probably still rusting away somewhere in Belgium.

    • It’s probably why most of those guns are there. Wives, mothers, sweethearts don’t like to be reminded that their loved one may well have killed someone else’s loved one to get that trophy.

      Guys that’re strong enough to stand up to a tiger tank will wilt in the glare of a mother or wife.

      • I’m not sure what the wives, mothers, and sweethearts were thinking when they turned anti-2nd-amendment on their men after the war, but they are certainly the demographic that puts people like the Pres and Feinstein in office: They are so proud of their rosy-cheeked boy when they wave him off to fight the evil oppressors. And when he comes home? “No guns for you!” My mother and aunts lived out that exact course, and still do. It makes fighting the enemy to defend the sweethearts, wives, and mothers…a common meme in Hollywood and US wartime propaganda…. a rather bitter thing to reflect upon. It doesn’t affect me, but I know it galled my father.

        • My grandmother was anti-gun after WWII. When my uncle joined the USMC in the 50’s, she just about lost her mind. My uncle grew up in a household with four sisters and a doting mother. He was hen-pecked silly from the time he was old enough to walk.

          So at 17, he joins the Corps… Grandmother (and two of his older sisters) have a conniption fit.

          My uncle positively loved being a Marine. And he was a big gun collector and shooter for the rest of his life. It really stuck in Grandmother’s craw that he loved being a Marine and loved shooting sports thereafter, but he just laughed it off. There was no way my uncle was going to hand in his guns, or see any guns from that side of the family ever get turned in while he was alive.

          I think more men need to put their foot down and put a stop to this irrational nonsense. I made it quite abundantly clear when I got married that I was a gun guy, and that was never, ever going to change. If she didn’t like it, well, then she needed to find someone else.

        • Dyspeptic is on guys. Allowing a woman to neuter you in the hope that you’ll get some is a weak self defeating plan. If she is menopausal (whatever age) nothing you say/do is going to change anything so just do the right thing and stand on your hind legs. “Thanks for sharing dear”.

    • Well, this was the ’40s, and record-keeping was perhaps a little more lax. Remember, guns didn’t even have to have serial numbers until 1968. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a few of those guns made it back into private hands, i.e., into the collections of police officers, on the way to the furnace. I like to think that corruption may have saved a few from being destroyed…

      • Well, let’s qualify that.

        American made guns that didn’t have serial numbers used to be mostly shotguns and .22’s. Centerfire rifles and handguns usually had serial #’s if they were made in the US.

        When someone brings me an older shotgun or .22 that has no serial #, I still have to enter it into my A/D book, but I have to enter “NSN” (no serial number). It really makes me wonder “What was the point of entering it at all?” but then again, the ATF regs don’t always make sense.

        • Can’t leave a blank space on a form where everything needs an entry … and it indicates you didn’t forget (or “forget”) to enter it. :-\

        • Probably for the same reason why I have to enter “NMN” (no middle name) in the corresponding box of 4473.

    • “It makes me sick that they ruined those fine firearms in the photo.”

      Factory new P-51s were available for $100 immediately after the end of the war.

      But true heartbreak was what they did to countless thousands of some of the most beautiful hand-built combat aircraft ever made.

      They just tore them apart, crushed and melted them.

      Oh, the obligatory guns – A lot of them had .50 BMGs on ’em.

      Defensive WWII guns – The bombers positivity _bristled_ with .50 cal machine guns on turrets.

      • When I was young, I met a WWII vet who was, IMO, brilliant.

        He bought P-51 for the nominal price. Emptied the gas tanks of the remaining fuel. “Right there, I made more money than I had in the planes, I could have walked away from the deal right there.”

        But no, he took to selling the Mustangs for a couple thou each – to other pilots from WWII and a couple of south American countries. Made out like a bandit, he said.

        Then he tried to do the same with the B-17’s and B-24’s, but the War Dep’t (quickly becoming the DOD) put the kibosh on that, but he was able to make a tidy bit of coin on emptying the gas tanks of a few Forts and Libs.

        He got misty-eyed when he described how many planes were crushed as a result of the requests of the companies that made them – starting with the Lockheed request for the destruction of all surplus P-38’s. That’s why there are so few P-38’s left flying, compared to how many Mustangs are out there…

  2. So much history destroyed. Most of those guns would be worth a fortune now if they were registered in the NFA back then. Those Gewher 43’s aren’t even fully automatic, I don’t understand why they were surrendered or confiscated. That’s NYC, I guess.

  3. 6th from the right an FG-42, now that’s a rare one. Want to say the two tallest are Gew43’s, reminiscent of Gew43K’s but longer. Anyone staking out estate sales of former BatfAgs?

  4. If you leave the comfort of the good ol USA to put on some combat boots and go fight the Nazis across soaking, muddy, freezing Europe, you deserve a goddamn FG42. That is the baddest firearm ever made, barely beating the Colt Monitor in coolness. And there it sits with some lifeless busybody who has no clue whats in front of him. I want to smack that guy.

      • I noticed that too. Obviously, this man suffered from projection. He didn’t practice proper trigger discipline. He wrongly assumed that no one else would either and decided to confiscate all their weapons, “to keep everyone safe”.

  5. I know my buddies found lots of cool guns during the invasion of Iraq. MP5s, various AKs and even a Garand. Of course due to laws and restrictions nothing could be brought back, not even the Garand. Sure, there is a process to bring things back but it would never get approved.

    • Why wouldn’t semi-auto-only weapons be approved?

      Could you destroy the receiver and bring back the rest of the parts? Just make a new receiver when you get home.

    • It took some special finagling for a Battalion Commander to bring a gold-plated AK-47 back to CA that was taken from one of Saddam’s palaces. Oh, and I believe that the Customs Yahoos required that it be de-mil’d. Once the guts were pulled (and possibly the bolt welded), it qualified as an “appropriate” war trophey. Of course, the rest of us had multiple shake-downs to ensure that we were complying with orders. One or two armorers were busted down for taking “an interest” in certain Kalashnikov parts. That was just in our battalion. Doubt they’re the only ones over the course of this past decade plus. Customs out here have some forms that you need to get signed for approval to bring any Enfields or other unique items back. More hassle than it’s probably worth given the Afghan propensity for selling fraudulent items.

  6. I saw a short on TCM about “ridding the streets” of deadly war trophies the other week. How underworld criminals were using stolen guns to wage war on the good folks of New York. Lots of evil propaganda. Very sad…

    • I saw a similar short on TCM but the subject matter was masturbation and instead of the underworld it was the commies. I think they made a series on women wearing pants.

  7. “erstwhile lethal weapons”
    By definition, a weapon is an object capable of death/serious injury. So lethal weapons makes no sense.

    With that said, remember the stories of schools banning water guns and the like because they are ‘weapons’? Still makes no sense.

  8. I still have the Sauer 38H my dad brought back from Germany.
    Too bad I didn’t have a clue what 2 Arisaka rifles complete with bayonet and cleaning rods were back in 1985.
    My dad sold them for $25 a piece at a garage sale.

  9. The Sullivan Act has a strange effect; while NYC is as anti-gun as you can get, the rest of NY is a rural area, many counties of which issue carry permits without too much drama (though often with plenty of delay and expense). Thanks to the Sullivan Act, however, these state-issued permits aren’t worth the plastic used to laminate them if you cross into the five boroughs. Some folks confuse ‘administrative’ restrictions (hunting, target practice, etc) with this home rule provision and end up facing serious time.

    Bad enough we have different gun laws for every state but they can’t even keep things straight in one state as long as that state includes NYC.

  10. There is some serious German gun porn on that table. I’ve been lucky enough to fire some of those weapons. It makes me sad to think they were all destroyed.

  11. That looks like a table full of good times in the picture.

    Haha just read Petes comment above, too true. Jealous, Ive never got to fire anything of the WW2 German flavor other than a Luger when I was younger.

  12. My uncle told me that my grandpa had inherited from a comrade who had passed away from wounds shortly after returning from the Eastern Front somewhere a very battle-worn, mostly-complete what he was fairly sure was a ZG1229 Vampir which he and my uncle tried many years to find the proper parts to replace and restore it to no avail. It had a lot of intricate, high-tech (for the time) items missing, especially inside the optics of both the huge sight and the IR assembly and the satchel that held the huge batteries was a mess. Kind of off subject but I always think about how cool that would be to have as a display piece with mostly working systems. I haven’t heard of any other of those models surviving intact as rare as they were and especially how late they were deployed and their fragility. Also what a bitch it would have been to get back to the states.

  13. Dyspeptic – very well said. In my case It was guns and airplanes. If the girl disliked guns or thought “little airplanes” were no fun to ride in, I’d move on to the next. Of course, I didn’t figure this out until the second time around, but at least i figured it out.

    • We all make mistakes. BTDT, without getting hitched (whew!).

      The important thing is to learn to not repeat them.

  14. I that Old Fat Guy holding a Civil War LeMatt revolver in his pudgy paw? another historic relic doomed by Collectivist Dogma

    • I highly doubt it was due to “collectivism dogma”, but suspect it was due to the symbiotic relationship between the mob, the NYPD, and the politicians. The last thing they wanted was returning GIs who had the ability to defend themselves. Sure, in the name of public safety, but we all know that is a crock of shite. The NYPD was crooked, though it could be argued that they still are, well, at least inept, but not to the level it was prior to the 1980s. They were the mob’s enforcers.

  15. What’s the bipod mounted weapon in the center of the table? I’m thinking maybe a Nambu or a Czech LMG? As a useless piece of trivia, the German army used lots of Czech weapons from artillery and tanks to small arms. Much of the Czech stuff ended up in the hands of the Israelis after the war. Its a real tragedy to see MP-40s, Stug 44s and that beautiful FG42 on the scrap pile. You have to respect the ingenuity of American GI who found a way to get those things home. Like all “illegal” stuff, I’m sure that only a very small percentage of the duffle bag guns got turned in. Who knows what’s still out there? I went to school with a guy who’s dad came home from Korea with a Russian PPSH 41 smg. 7.62 X 25 ammo was hard to come by back in those days but we eventually found 50 rounds and went as far back into the woods as we could to try the gun out. Thirty seconds of shooting and about a month of worrying that somebody had heard us and we were going to jail for our living history lesson. I haven’t seen my friend since about 1970 but I’ll bet he’s still got that old burp gun.

    I think that the self righteous looking a$$hat in the picture is brandishing (isn’t that a crime?) a Montenegran Gasser revolver. They were very popular in the Balkans in the late 19th and early 20th century. I remember reading somewhere that male citizens of Montenegro were required by law to own one of those massive single action revolvers. If that pistol was a WW2 bring back, it probably came in via Italy.

    • Looks like a French LMG 24/29.

      The whole table gives me a fixed bayonet… StG 44, FG 42, MP40s, Gewehr 43s! Aaarghhh!

    • The fact that the French and Poles forced Czechs to surrender without fight (French through the Munich Agreement, Poles through active participation in threatening open warfare and invasion together with Germany and Hungary, which eventually happened in 1938) and then Germany routed them with army that was armed to teeth witch Czech guns should not be forgotten either (1/3 of tanks used by Germans against Poland and France were seized from Czechs, also in 1938 the small Czechoslovak army had way more machine guns than German, etc.).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *