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By Henry Bowman

A couple months back, I crossed state lines to purchase two beautiful relics of war. Well, they weren’t actually beautiful. They’d been abused, mistreated, left out in the elements, and were generally neglected. Strictly speaking, they weren’t relics either. I mean, they’re old and from a bygone era, but they’re definitely “modern.” I’d spotted them in a classified ad, called up the guy, negotiated a price and set up a meet. As a tinkering hobbyist, I receive great joy from restoring such equipment to its former glory. I paid in cash, took no bill-of-sale, and loaded them up. No paperwork, no ID, no background check. Just cash and carry, so to speak . . .

When I got home, I immediately set to work. First, I had to completely strip them down. With all the parts laid out in my shop, the tedious job of rust removal began. I salvaged what I could, bought or built replacement parts for the pieces too far gone. Swapped out a few bolts, pins, brackets, etc. until they were functional again. Then, I began to work on aesthetics. Try to imagine, the high-gloss polished wood, gleaming steel, crisp and clean lines.  Over the next month, it all came together, producing two completely restored, fully functional war machines.

With my labor of love complete, I posted them for sale via various internet classified sites. I eventually got a bite from a collector up north. He sent payment and I arranged for delivery. They shipped out last week, directly to his door. No licensing, no transfer fees, no registration, no taxes, and no forms; just good old unfettered free trade.

Right now, you might be wondering why someone would openly admit to egregious violations of numerous federal regulations, but I assure you, everything I did was completely legal.  My efforts were focused on the restoration of a 1943 Wileys Jeep and a Harley Davidson WLC of the same year.

“Hey, these entries are supposed to be about guns!

Well, that’s just the point, isn’t it?  If I’d done any of what I just described with firearms, I would have committed probably half a dozen felonies and, if caught, face many years in Federal “PMITA” prison. Why, when in reality there is no difference between military surplus vehicles and military surplus weapons (or any weapon for that matter… or any vehicle)!? They’re both fun, beautiful, functional, useful in combat, and potentially dangerous.  They require training in proper use and care in operation.  They’re tools!  Inanimate objects with no inherent moral capacity.  The same argument is true of chainsaws, baseball bats, swimming pools, and rope.

Every liberty-loving gun owner knows this. The point has been made often enough and most recognize the truly bad intentions behind the laws. We can all see that the irrationality, inconsistency, hypocrisy, arbitrariness, and downright meddlesomeness of existing firearms regulation (and, dare I say, all federal regulations) is a clear demonstration of the burdensome yoke we wear in this “Land of the Free.”  The question is “What do we do about it?”

My answer: Become an Unlicensed Dealer*.


* This work of fiction/opinion is written to demonstrate the absurdity of all firearms-related laws and regulations. I am NOT actually an unlicensed dealer. NSA, please don’t send ATF goons to raid my home.


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    • Pistols are specifically not covered by the GCA. Also, f*** the fed trying to control interstate commerce. Or education. Or healthcare. But, yup, the sooner people recognize that centralized control leads to fail the better off our country will be. If an individual state wants to tax itself into oblivion thats fine, but the buck stops when the feds want to tax everyone into some kind of equally squalid economic equilibrium.

  1. We’ll be by next Tuesday, how’s 5:30am for you? Don’t answer, we don’t care if it inconveniences you.

  2. What you are complaining about is simply “common sense” gun laws. My problem is that if they are so “common sense”, after several decades we should be able to point at what our “common sense” has achieved, and I see nothing. Nothing except continuous calls for MORE “common sense” gun laws, with no explanation of what they might accomplish. If we manage to get our “expanded” background checks and the registration they bring with them (that’s only common sense!), will the guns no longer be able to kill the children?

    • we need gun insurance. gun bans create underground economy jobs, and that is never a good thing. we need gun insurance like on cars so everybody can just be happy. if it covered the cost of people getting shot it would be all nice and friendly for everybody getting shot and they could quit trying to ban guns.

      • “Gun insurance” is another way to create a registry. Mine will continue to be undocumented… if I had any.

      • I would also like to get an arson insurance policy for some property, but I’m told that only “accidental fires” can be insured against, and that those policies specifically exclude arson. How else is someone supposed to recover their investment in upside-down real estate deals?

  3. I love this guy. A lotta crap that doesn’t matter a hill of beans. I live in Illinois a mile from Indiana( God’s country).
    Some people trade guns legally. And some don’t. Across state lines.

  4. Nice article Mr. Bowman! You had me going right up to the “reveal” Your point is well taken and absolutely true.
    It got me thinking about how much it angers me that in order to own firearms I have to obey Laws that I regard as un-Constitutional and illegal. I’m not being self-centered, we ALL have to obey these illegal, un-Constitutional Laws in order to engage in the Sports and pastimes we hold so dear and to provide for the protection of ourselves and loved ones because Governments cannot protect us and really do not give a damn if we get killed or maimed by some scumbag looking for drug money.

    Of course, there’s the alternative to be a renegade and ignore these Laws, but, then, the same Government that doesn’t care if you get killed or maimed will gladly put you in prison and deprive you of your “freedom”, other rights, family and livelihood. Sometimes trying to keep myself convinced I am a “Free Man” is so aggravating and painful. In a sense I feel like I am “living a lie” that I have told myself.

  5. Well hell in my life time I’ve owned over 30 firearms. Of course in my case it’s not a matter of me buying and selling to make a profit. It’s a matter of buying guns, getting all financially screwed up, and having to sell them to pay bills. Hell there’s only one gun I ever had that I actually made money on. This old beat to hell Colt 1911 I picked up out of a pawn shop that turns out to be a vintage WW2 gun. Actually ended up selling that one to a licensed dealer than handed a lot of vintage hardware.

  6. I sometimes think of myself and others my age like the fireman in Fahrenheit 451. It is my duty to pass on to the youngin’s the essential oral history of a world not that long ago. All this FFL crap, regulation and limitation should NOT be thought of as chiseled in stone, brought down from mountain. When I was a kid, none of this existed. You walked into Sears Roebuck and plunked down ya money for a Glenfield lever gun and ammo. It was right next to the fishing gear. There were quite a number of ex-vets from the Big War that had opened gunshops. Army Navy stores were everwhere. They had tons of surplus war material. All this started to disappear when JFK was shot. Hearings by the scumbag Conn. Senator Dodd where he berated Guns & Ammo editor Tom Siatos in public are burned into my memory.

    All this changed in my lifetime. It is the young generations duty to reclaim sanity in theirs.

    • it sounds like you grew up in a time with a vastly different population density? travel and communication restrictions we wouldn’t even dream of today as well.

  7. In some states you could sell up to ten cars per year before being considered a dealer!! cars are after all also protected in our basic property rights. the basic registration, insurance and licensing / testing process provides a sense of legitimacy for such ‘important’ property to be sold under.

  8. I understand what you were going for, but using automobiles isn’t a great example. Want to use those vehicles on the road? You’re going to need a driver’s license, bill of sale or a title, and you’re going to have to pay sales tax and register the vehicle. Of course you don’t need to do any of these things just to posses them, however.

  9. My first deer rifle was a Marlin 336C .30-30. I purchased it via private sale for all of $160. That was back in the day when Marlins were fine firearms. I got a nice 8-point buck that season in 1992. Like an idiot, I sold that gun. Despite being purchased without a background check, I never murdered anyone with that gun. Despite never murdering anyone, or ever being arrested, my .338 Lapua through an FFL got delayed. My record consists of two speeding tickets.

    Anyone with perfect faith in the background check system is not familiar with reality. Further, background checks are based upon a guilty until proven innocent mentality. Computer system down? No gun for you. Glitch in the system? Either no gun or a lengthy wait. I’ve been there. Some laws help us and some don’t.

  10. Actually if you look up the statistics you will find that mitorcycle & jeep are much mord deadly. Minus suicides… Cars aremuch more deadly (AND maim about 20x as many folks as gun).

    Gun Accident&Homicide v.MV Accident&Homicide
    Alaska 17 84
    Arizona 228 807
    Colorado 108 557
    Indiana 267 714
    Michigan 507 962
    Nevada 97 254
    Oregon 55 391
    Utah 30 256
    Virginia 285 826
    Washington 118 574

  11. Just wondering what if you got this gun from a person that stole It. Let’s see now you decide you like one of them and do a carry, you get pulled over and show a ccw, the cop looks at it and runs a s/n and finds out that it is stolen. Cop arrests you for a stolen gun, they check you place out and find out you have five more stolen guns, hell he just busted a gun thief, hmmmm. I think I would want a bill of sale for all of mine, especially if I purchased them from a guy with a hoody.

  12. Outstanding! I also agree with the conclusion. I do the very least in regards to all of the selling mumbo-jumbo. If law does not require me to do it then I don’t. AFAIK, last time I sold a firearm Ohio required no check for private transfer. As long as there was no reason for me to suspect that they were a prohibited person (including from out of state) then I could legally transfer. I don’t recall ever asking for any identification from a private buyer. Basically, we agreed on price and they didn’t say anything that would cause me to reasonably conclude that the firearm couldn’t be transferred to them. End of story. 🙂 That was a good while back so things might have changed.

  13. What is the difference between an old surplus military vehicle, and an old surplus military firearm?

    One has the ability to deliver massive, high-velocity crushing kinetic energy on target, and the other is a gun.

  14. Been nice “knowing ya” Henry….because while you may not actually have done anything wrong
    this posting of yours is more than adequate evidence that you are a “domestic terrorist” and a
    threat to the regime. Say hi to everyone else when you get to the gulag….tell em the rest of us
    will be along shortly.

  15. My vote for P320 award status remains with Bud’s article about his High Power. It should be elevated to a category all on its own. It’s almost not fair to anyone else’s effort.

  16. When it comes to engaging in “commerce” across state lines, consider the Left’s position when it touches their pet issue:

    The ACLU strongly urges you to oppose the Teen Endangerment Act (S. 403), called the “Child Custody Protection Act” by its sponsors, when it is considered on the Senate floor tomorrow. The Teen Endangerment Act would make it a federal crime for a person, other than a parent — including a grandmother, aunt, sibling, or clergy member — to help a teen cross state lines for an abortion unless the teen had already fulfilled the requirements of her home state’s law restricting teens’ abortions. It would deny teenagers facing unintended pregnancies the assistance of trusted adults, endanger their health, and violate their constitutional rights.

    So according to liberals, adult males should be allowed to take minor girls across state lines to get an abortion with notifying the girl’s parents.

    Yet gun ownership should be treated as a deviant activity — to be engaged in, if at all, at the actor’s peril — instead of as a right explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.

    If abortion were as regulated as gun ownership, liberals would be rioting in the streets.

    Look at the conniption they had last year when Texas required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other health clinics. From the Democrats’ reaction — “assault on women’s rights” — you would have thought that Sharia Law had been imposed. Except that Sharia Law would have provoked less of a reaction, because that would have been racist.

    Yet now false-feminist Wendy Davis is the darling of the Hollwyood Left. The same Wendy Davis who insulted a man in a wheelchair.

    Wendy Davis is under fire following a Dallas Morning News report that found a number of factual discrepancies in the personal narrative she has made a centerpiece of her long-shot campaign for Texas governor…

    Davis said that for Abbott, who has been a paraplegic for nearly three decades, to question her story proves that he “hasn’t walked a day in my shoes.”

    The reaction on the Left has been to question whether Abbot has been faking his injury for the past 30 years. Seriously!

    And for the orchestrated nationwide effort to attack our rights, consider that this —

    Altogether, over 300 anti-choice bills have been introduced this year. Many of them passing easily. This is not a coincidence….

    Connect the dots! A highly coordinated attack on women’s reproductive freedom is underway, and they’ve made a lot of regress.

    How is this happening?

    Anti-choice groups have been very active, writing model legislation and teaming up with extremist politicians who pass clone bills. They are literally writing the law.

    is the anti-gun strategy (e.g., Bloomberg). But these same people insult our intelligence by expecting us to believe that they don’t want to make gun ownership illegal. How stupid do they think we are? For believing what they themselves believe!

    According to the ACLU —

    During the 2011 legislative sessions, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it or forego the right to vote entirely.

    Three additional states passed laws to require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, though as many as 7 percent of American citizens do not have such proof.

    Yet not a peep out of the ACLU when Democrats pass laws requring a photo ID, government persmission, and fees to exercise your Second Amendment rights. Oh, and both the buyer and seller are required to meet at a federally licensed gun dealer — 70% of whom were intentionally regulated out of business during the Clinton administration — during their business hours. As Rachel Maddow observed

    “Why bother making it illegal if you can just make it impossible to get?”

  17. I had an idiot and his wife, who holds an FFL at her pawn shop, tell me they are reporting me to the ATF because I sold a handgun to her husband, on Gunbroker and since I was not a FFL holder myself I broke the law by shipping it to her in Virginia.

    Of course, they still accepted the handgun.

    Idiot FFL holders, a bad combination.

    • I sold a handgun to her husband, on Gunbroker and since I was not a FFL holder myself I broke the law by shipping it to her in Virginia.

      I had a similar thing happen to me a few months ago, except that it was for a gun I sold on Armslist to some woman in another state. The dealer didn’t threaten to report me, but did send me scathing e-mail about how what I did — ship a gun to an FFL dealer — was illegal. It was truly bizarre.


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