Interesting data from NFA Owners' Association
The NFA Owners' Ass'n webpage has interesting data on BATFE NFA registration problems. Among the other interesting cases:
1. A case in which a widow wished to transfer her late husband's NFA firearm to a collector, BATFE ruled that it was unregistered and thus illegal, she came up with the registration papers, and the agency (at least for a time) refused to recognize them!
2. Use of the Busey videotape as Brady material to reverse a conviction under NFA (Brady material refers to the duty of the prosecution to disclose evidence that may suggest a defendant is innocent; you can't prosecute while hiding evidence suggesting innocence);
3. Another case, US v. LeaSure, where the judge dismissed a case, based on evidence that BATFE clerks may have thrown away the registration papers. More details here in an affidavit by attorney Jim Jeffries.
4. Several other cases in which a firearm was seized as unregistered, only to have the owner come up with the registration papers.
In short, some pretty impressive evidence that the NFA registration system is, as the Busey tape attests, in horrific shape. Not too surprising when you figure that it involves six or seven hundred thousand registrations, with subsequent transfers, has been around for 71 years, and for the first fifty or so years was purely a collection of paper and folders, no computerization.
The REAL problem is, tho, not bad entries but missing entries. If at any point in those 71 years a clerk forgot to file the papers, or (as the one case attests, threw them out), or an agent "checked out" a file and forgot to return it (and who knows how the files were being handled in 1934 or 1944), it can never be reconstructed. No amount of studying the original hardcopies can correct an error of this type.
Since search warrants are being issued based upon those files, and felony charges can be filed based on them, this may be one serious internal scandal brewing.