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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

my, how their tune changes

Better Half and I are still idly job-shopping, and we have generally been keeping our window-browsing to areas of the country that actually bother to respect our rights as human beings and American citizens, for reasons that should be obvious to the readers of this site. Anywise, one area we have been looking at is the "Research Triangle" over in North Carolina, being the space between/around Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. NC is not quite as awesome as TN, but one is constrained by where jobs are being offered.

I went through my now-somewhat-standard checklist for things to worry about when looking at other states, and ran into a slight hiccup when it came to items registered under the National Firearms Act and owned by trusts; specifically that the local Sheriff’s Department considered such items illegal under North Carolina General Statute, but they probably will not bother to actually prosecute someone because of this. Well that is comforting.

But then I read about Session Law 2011-268, House Bill 650, specifically Sections 8 and 9, and how it modifies NCGS 14-288.8 and 14-409, and I wondered if that was still their same tune.

So I shot this email off to the North Carolina Attorney General and a few of the Sheriff’s Departments around the Triangle area:

Sir or ma’am,

My name is [Linoge] and I may be moving to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina in the future. When I make that move, I would like to bring the [Linoge] NFA Trust with me, along with the one NFA-registered short-barrel shotgun that trust currently owns.

I have looked at HB650 from the 2011 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly and Chapter 14, Article 14-288.8(b); am I correct in concluding that NFA trusts are legal and acceptable under North Carolina state law?

Thank you for your time.

Today, I received the following response from the Wake County Sheriff’s Department (the only folks to respond thus far):

NCGS 14-288.8 (b)(5) allows for an exemption to persons who lawfully possess or own a short barrel shotgun or other weapon of mass death and destruction. So the question is, do you lawfully own or possess your weapon under federal law. ATF says yes. They consider trusts to be legal. Since it is a short barrel shotgun, ATF does not require you to have the sheriff sign off on the form they provide to you in order to transport the weapon. Sheriff Donnie Harrison; however, is requesting a copy of the ATF form from you at such time that you move to Wake County, North Carolina.

(Yes, North Carolina considers fully-automatic firearms, short-barrel rifles, short-barrel shotguns, and suppressors all "weapons of math death and destruction". The military (you know, folks who would know a WMD if they saw one) rather disagrees with them, and Lord knows killing anyone with a suppressor would be something of a non-trivial exercise, but politicians will be politicians.)

So those who enforce the law have finally caught on to the fact that the law has, indeed, changed, and thus altered their tune as well; I should give them credit for that, but I admit to being amused that the Sheriff "requests" what I can only assume to be the tax stamp the BATFE provided me once all of the paperwork was finalized. I recall forwarding a copy of the documentation to my local police department when I first applied for the tax stamp, but my understanding was that, since this was a trust, that was simply a courtesy of my part; doing it when I move from point A to point B, though? Why (aside from keeping the local PD happy)? Do the Chief Law Enforcement Officer tax stamps have to be re-signed when you move from state to state, or from jurisdiction to jurisdiction?

In any case, this is good news; Blue would be very sad if Vera could not come with us.

20 comments to my, how their tune changes

  • Eseell

    I like the RDU/RTP area. It’s beautiful and there are good jobs to be had there. But Arizona has better gun laws. You should move out west. ;)

  • Unfortunately, Arizona comes up somewhat short in centers for higher education, which is mostly where Better Half is looking for employment at the moment.

    Trust me, I am trying.

  • Vol

    It seems to me like you are under no obligation to provide them with any paperwork..and I wouldn’t unless I had to.

  • Eseell

    My alma mater is hiring. I have no idea what your spouse does, though.

  • While I’d love to have you move to the state, RTP is not North Carolina. Hasn’t been in many years. It is a large economic hub and jobs are still relatively plentiful, but you will find that Chapel Hill and Cary are unfriendly places to the likes of us. Raleigh is somewhat more friendly, while Durham…well, let’s just say I left Durham in 1990 with a will.

    Take a look at Charlotte. Still a big metro area, still a lot of folks who look down on freedom-loving folk, but a bit better I think. Just live about an hour out and commute in. Several universities to choose from. Jobs may not be a plentiful at RTP. Also not North Carolina any more, but less objectionably so, at least to me.

  • I might have to get that suppressor for my Blackout after all…

  • John

    It is a courtesy to infor local PD/SO about NFA items. Approved Form 1 and 4′s are tax documents. You dont have to show last years 1040 to the Sheriff do you? Personally, I would have asked the question annonymously and not told them anything. They can’t get curious about what you have if they dont know. OPSEC and all…..

  • RTP is a fine area. Apex is probably better than Cary, though. Holly Springs is pretty nice. I drove today from UNC-Chapel hill to my friend’s house in Apex and it took 35 minutes, so that’s pretty easy. NC State is even closer.

    As for Sheriff Harrison, he might want a copy of your paperwork, but he can’t demand a copy. I would tell him as politely as possible to fold his request until it was all sharp corners and shove it as far up his backside as he can push it.

    Rather that mess about with the Sheriff, check out the gun friendly lawyers section on Grass Roots North Carolina’s web page. Also look up the NC NFA Defense Association. God knows why they have an “angelfire” web page, but they are not the bunch of clowns that you’d normally see on angelfire. They might be willing to trade some legal help for some web assistance.

  • Singing Detective

    While I lived in the Charlotte, NC Metro for 4 years from 04-08. I actually resided just across the border in SC. There is development in surburban Pineville, NC (Home of Para USA no less). The university (UNC-Charlotte) etc is on the northside of town and commuting is a bit of a bear as the town and the interstate ring (485) isn’t big enough for it’s britches quite yet. Nearby Rock Hill, SC has a small university (Winthrop)… Then you go about an hour SW and you can get to Bob Jones etc down in Greenville, SC.

  • P. Allen

    Just fill out a form 5320.20 and send it to the ATF. Once it is approved you are good to go. You are not required to give the local sheriff a damn thing.

  • Is PA on your list of possible locations? Lots of higher ed here and very gun friendly – some of the best OC/CC rules around (and by that I mean almost no restrictions and the permit is cheap and easy to get)

  • Word of warning: Don’t trust any response you get from the Sheriff’s departments. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that a) any reassurance you get from them is not a valid defense in court, and holds little to no weight even in support of any defense, if they later decide to bring criminal charges, and b) they are allowed to lie to you, and if they decide they want to get a nice NFA bust on their books, they will.

    The attorney general’s reply (if he does) may hold some weight in court, but (IIRC) they generally don’t provide legal opinions to non-government entities.

    Your best bet is to find a good NFA lawyer in whatever state you’re looking to move to. You may have to pay for a consultation before making the final decision to move, but if they give you the thumbs up you can then retain them pretty easily for whatever needs to be done to move the trust.

    By the way, I hear Virginia is a pretty nice place to live! :)

  • @ Jake:

    I second this one. I did get an opinion from the NC Attorney General’s Office about saps. They were careful not to write anything down that I could use later. I thought that the personal phone call was nice, but it has the effect of not leaving a paper trail.

  • @ Vol: So far as my reading of NC state law has gone, you are absolutely correct. Something tells me I will mean to send him the paperwork, and somehow forget. Not sure how…

    @ Eseell: Graph theory, combinatorics, supercomputing, and other esoteric mathematics. I could probably get a job at E-R, but I think it is a bit too technical in the wrong fields for her, unfortunately.

    @ The Freeholder: I have always heard North Carolina referred to as the “California of the East”; I can only imagine that has to do with the big cities, since they typically are the driving forces of states. It is not my first choice, but you take what you can get, especially these days…

    @ Bob Owens: Cannot see a whole lot stopping you at the moment, aside from the artificially inflated prices and tax stamp, of course ;).

    @ John: Meh. People tend to behave better when there is a name attached to the conversation. Unless the Sheriff pays daily attention to tax records, they are likely to never know we are there :).

    @ Sean D Sorrentino: It would seem as though the new state law – thanks to those Angelfire refugees ;) – is pretty clear on the topic, and the Sheriff did a fairly decent job putting it into plain language. If the Feds have no problem with it, NC has no problem with it.

    But, yeah, they could use with a serious facelift.

    @ Singing Detective: I think UNC-Charlotte has some of the stuff Better Half works on, but it is a generally smaller branch of its larger brother, and thus inherently less prestigious. Size matters, apparently ;).

    @ P. Allen: Yeah, that paperwork I would need to do.

    @ cybrus: Currently looking at NC, GA, TX, WA, OH, AZ, UT, VA, NH, and even here in TN. There was something wierd about Penn State, but I cannot remember what it is at the moment.

    @ Jake: TN’s Attorney General has a set number of opinions he gives to public questions on a yearly basis – not sure what determines that number, but it is from one of those questions that we have his (non-legally-binding) opinion that open carry is legal.

    That said, while the law does seem to be quite straightforward, checking with a lawyer seems like an outstanding idea. Frustrating that all this nonsense is necessary for a less-accurate, less-powerful firearm :P.

  • Heh – as a Penn State grad, I can understand that. But, even leaving them off the possible employer list, there are still several great universities. Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, University of Pittsburgh. I bet Philly has a few as well, but then you’d be near Philly so that may be a wash.

    As far as gun rights go, Once you get your carry permit (one of the easier and cheaper ones to get though, obviously, AZ has us beat on that one piece), PA is better than most (maybe all?) of the states you list.

    Regardless of your decision, I wish you and Better Half the best of luck!

  • Yeah, we need to do a bit more looking up there, but Better Half has more applications already than she knows what to do with :). Will keep you all appraised, no worries.

  • AntiCitizenOne

    It astounds me to hear of these bullshit “notify-the-authorities-before-you-transport-your-toys” requirements of the NFA. One would think that if you were cleared by an astronomically slow (not sure about the thoroughness of it all either) background check that they would trust you not to traffic your NFA item to someone else without seeking written permission.

    Not to mention the inherent unconstitutionality of the NFA itself.

    The stupidity of antigunners never ceases to amaze me.

  • @ AntiCitizenOne: It only looks stupid until you realize that the NFA and all its attendant bits and pieces had nothing to do with trafficing or crime control. Its real purpose was – and still is – to discourage ownership by making it as inconvenient as possible. By that measure, it’s extremely effective.

    The $200 “tax” was meant to be another major obstacle, too, since at the time that amount was prohibitively expensive for all but the very well off ($200 in 1934 is equal to about $3,400 today), but inflation has (mostly) knocked the teeth out of that part (though the Hughes Amendment has pretty much compensated for that).

    We’re just damned lucky that pistols and revolvers were taken off the NFA list before it got passed. Could you imagine paying a $3,400 tax to buy a $400 pistol? There would be almost no gun culture left by now, and we’d probably be in the same shape as formerly-great Britain.

  • @ AntiCitizenOne: I confess to not really understanding why I have to notify the BATFE before I take my NFA-registered item out-of-state or move. If the background check came back clean when I was at one address, why would it not come back clean at another address? In theory, the “between state” check would be for them to ensure the NFA-registered item is legal in the state you are going to, but something tells me to doubt that they even bother to check, and to not believe them if they tell me it is ok.

    @ Jake: In short, the NFA as a whole needs to go away, along with that thrice-damned Hughes Amendment. Unfortunately, I do not see that happening in the near future, if at all, so for the time being, we have to play the stupid games and win the stupid prizes. “Please, mother, may I move to this other state?” Wankers.

  • Jon

    Depends on what type of employment she is looking for. I have a number of friends working in some field or other of research at ASU and my wife is a higher-up administrator, so if there were any information you needed I could probably help. U of A also has a fairly robust research community and I have contacts down there as well.