Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Mailbag Monday

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From Harold T: I have read that reproduction pre-1899 guns are considered “not guns”. Is this true? I had assumed that it was and therefore assumed that such guns were not restricted in any way.

Answer: Anything made pre-1899 is considered an antique and therefore not a regulated firearm. These are true “ghost guns” that the government will never know about. If you buy one of these guns, the person selling it can literally mail it to your house. No paperwork and no background checks needed.

From Russell R: I need quick access safe for a handgun. Any suggestions?

Answer: I would check out the GunVault GVB1000. This safe can be opened in as little as two seconds and has the capability for 12 million combinations, plus an override key. It can fit a full-size 1911 or even a Glock 17. Another company worth checking out is the Fort Knox pistol safes.

From Mike S: My wife is afraid that if someone were to actually break into our home during the night, that I would be so sound asleep I wouldn’t hear anything until it’s too late. Or, she’s afraid that if I did wake up, I’d be so groggy and out of it that grabbing my gun from a quick access safe would be dangerous for all of us — not just the perpetrators…

Answer: First, I always recommend having an alarm system including sensors on the doors, and windows, as well as motion sensors. Hopefully, an alarm system would alert you if someone was inside your home, so install one loud enough to wake you up.

Second, if someone is breaking into your home, you will snap out of that “groggy” factor almost immediately thanks to an adrenaline dump. Plus, you will have to think and take the time to enter the combo to open your safe, so I would not worry about being too groggy to handle a gun.

From Edward G: I am still unclear about whether or not I need a federal license for an AR pistol with no modifications.

Answer: The short answer is no. AR pistols are AR-15 rifle platforms that have a shorter barrel and a “pistol” buffer tube that does not allow for the attachment of traditional stock. Essentially, they’re a pistol built on an AR-15 receiver.

The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) defined any rifle with a shoulder stock and barrel less than 16 inches in length and 26 inches in overall length to be a “short barreled rifle” and required a citizen to fill out a Form 4 and pay a $200 NFA Tax Stamp.

However, an AR pistol allows the shooter to have the size, weight and maneuverability of a short barrel rifle but without the NFA regulations. Basically, an AR pistol can have a brace, but cannot have a regular stock. If it has a regular stock, it would be illegal based on how the ATF defines an AR pistol vs rifle.

From Matthew O: Does long term storage of full magazine weaken or damage the springs making it less effective?

Answer: There are a lot of opinions regarding this issue, but the fact is, when using quality magazines with quality ammunition, stored and maintained properly, you can leave them loaded for a long time.

Modern magazine springs are manufactured to maintain their function under stress. In other words, they’re meant to be fully compressed when the magazine is fully loaded. If you were to load a brand-new magazine to its capacity and let it sit in that condition for years, it would be fine. I know from experience.

When buying extra magazines for your gun, I always recommend buying them from the same manufacturer who produced your gun or buy them from top of the line companies such as Magpul.

From Andy D: I have a question about tear gas. The gas is illegal to use in warfare, but is legal for police to use on civilians for crowd control. I wanted know, is tear gas legal for civilians to use?

Answer: The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, signed by almost every country in the world, banned the use of tear gas in war, but allowed the practice for domestic law enforcement. With that being said, tear gas is not legal for civilians to use.

The thing is, tear gas and pepper spray are oftentimes confused with each other. However, tear gas is classified as a chemical weapon, where pepper spray is manufactured from man made ingredients, meaning it’s not made from chemicals and is legal for civilians to carry in most states.

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