Last week, deputies from the Alexander County North Carolina Sherrif’s Office recovered a modified weapon during the course of a search of a vehicle during a traffic stop. Jennifer Lee Haun, the driver, was soon arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance during a traffic stop as well as being in possession of a weapon of mass destruction.
North Carolina Woman Arrested with “Weapon of Mass Destruction” Concealed in Purse
The weapon of mass destruction was in fact a concealed sawed-off .410 break-action shotgun. From what I can tell, the shotgun looks to be a Rossi .410 break action that can still be found on the Palmetto State Armory website. If this is indeed the modified shotgun in question then that means that the shotgun would have had its barrel cut down from 28 inches to around 10 inches and had a pistol grip added – big modifications to be sure that definitely land the gun in NFA territory.
According to North Carolina law, any shotgun that has a barrel or barrels with a length of less than 18 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches is considered a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” along with other items like landmines, missiles, grenades, bombs or other incendiary devices with a propellant charge of more than four ounces.
I’m assuming that legally registered short-barreled shotguns (SBS) are exempt from this weapon of mass destruction law as that would completely prohibit most NFA items from existing within the state. However, it’s pretty clear that this woman did not alter the firearm with the proper paperwork nor was she in legal possession of the firearm according to the Hickory Daily Record.
What the Hickory Daily Record neglects to say is the specifics surrounding the exact charges. While it was illegal for Ms. Haun to possess the illegally modified short-barreled shotgun, it is not (according to my knowledge) illegal for a shotgun to be less than 18 inches provided it is registered as an SBS.
The Sherif Department’s Maj. Mark St. Clair said “If you don’t have any knowledge on guns, you shouldn’t change barrels and parts“. He further cautioned that anyone seeking to alter any sort of gun should take it to a professional gunsmith as well as someone who understands the law. Do you know of any other states with weird laws classifying illegally altered weapons as “weapons of mass destruction”? Let us know down in the comments.