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sb_pete
02-27-2009, 6:52 PM
Ok, so I searched and found my google fu lacking. I am sure this has been covered before so sorry in advance.

Basically I am wondering about the purchase of SBR uppers for AR's, but the question would apply to any other firearms where the upper is not a serialized part.

As far as I know, SBR uppers are unregulated and you are free to buy one. Is this correct. Putting one onto a non NFA reg'd SBR lower would be constructing a fed felony NFA violation, but you could purchase and possess the upper without any issues right?

The reason I ask, is because it came up in a conversation with an Army buddy of mine last week. We were talking about the civilian contractors you see with SBRs over where they are operating. We were wondering about the logistics of this. Obviously, when in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, you don't worry about NFA laws. But If you were going to go over to someplace like that and wanted to have an SBR, but didn't have time to get one setup here (NFA paperwork takes a few months as I understand it), or if you only wanted it for out of country use for that matter, would you have to buy one and have it direct shipped out there.

Could you buy a short barreled upper here and, as long as you never assembled an SBR stateside, remain legal?

Thanks guys,
-Pete

dustoff31
02-27-2009, 7:12 PM
You would probably be OK as long as you didnt have a lower that would fit it. Unlike CA, the feds do have constructive possession laws.

bwiese
02-27-2009, 7:14 PM
Uppers/barrels are not generally controlled on their own. (There are however ITAR/Stat Dept+ ATF export restrictions on bbls, etc. shipped outside US.)

But please do NOT acquire a shorty upper (i.e, with bbl under 16" and no perm attached extension bringing OAL bbl length to 16") if you already own an AR rifle or lower. I believe this should include not acquiring a shorty *barrel* as well (regardless of being assembled into an upper, given ARs are so easy to assemble).

'Constructive possession' applies to short-barrel rifles for both CA and Fed laws. This means you're regarded as having the 'evil item' (NFA SBR) even if you just have separated parts.

Some folks that have lowers and want a 'cool' 14.5" upper that will be extended to 16" by pinning/welding FH are making a mistake by ordering that shorty upper, without having it modified before taking possession of it.

Remember, it does NOT matter whether or not the shorty upper & lower are not assembled, or whether or not they're in the same location - or even whether one item - say, the upper - is at your vacation home and the other (say, the lower) is in your boat house and they're separated by thousands of miles. Bottom line is, they're both under your "possession and control" and thus you can be construed to possess an SBR even when these parts are not assembled.

In a similar vein, you should not possess a buttstock for a pistol, even if not attached to the pistol. (Let's say you *only* owned an AR pistol; you should not have an A2 stock+ receiver extension in your possession.)

[I am unclear if possession of a forward pistol grip for a pistol, separated from a pistol, results in 'constructive possession' of an NFA *AOW*. I would not risk it for now, and would assume constructive possession applies across the NFA domain.]

The exceptions would be if you indeed have "legitimate outcomes" ('lenity') for the part(s) in question. If you own a variety of legal firearms you can have spare parts for them, even if you could misassemble some of them into prohibited combinations. For example, if you owned a legal AR pistol or pistol lower in addition to (or in place of) an AR rifle/rifle receiver, that would be legitimate use/outcome for the shorty upper. Another example would be if you also had an AR rifle that could legitimately use that A2 buttstock even though it couldn't legally be applied to your AR pistol.

Bottom line is that you don't want a part where the only outcome it can have for you is an illegal parts combination.


You would probably be OK as long as you didnt have a lower that would fit it.
Unlike CA, the feds do have constructive possession laws.


Ooops, Wrong.

Many people conflate SBR/SBS laws with California's AW laws, the latter of which do NOT have constructive possession codified (nor inferrable). Remember that just because CA AW laws do not have constructive possession does not affect the existence of constructive possession for SBRs, SBSes, machineguns and DDs under both state and/or Federal laws. [CA gun laws for NFA-style firearms generally track Fed laws.]

dustoff31
02-27-2009, 7:22 PM
Ooops, Wrong.

Many people conflate SBR/SBS laws with California's AW laws, the latter of which do NOT have constructive possession codified (nor inferrable). Remember that just because CA AW laws do not have constructive possession does not affect the existence of constructive possession for SBRs, SBSes, machineguns and DDs under both state and/or Federal laws. [CA gun laws for NFA-style firearms generally track Fed laws.]

Thanks, I learned something new.

sb_pete
02-27-2009, 7:40 PM
Interesting. Thanks Bill.
Once again, let me reiterate: I have no intention of buying actually buying an SBR upper. This question came about as a result of a discussion about civilian contractors who use personal weapon SBRs overseas.

1. So as I understand it then, an SBR upper would not be a problem to own if you either: A) legally owned an reg'd SBR lower, or
B) legally owned an AR pistol.
Possessing an SBR upper, even if not assembled with a lower, could be construed as "constructive possession" (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/constructive+possession) of an SBR and thus would be a violation of Federal NFA laws. Is this correct?

2. Am I further correct in understanding that this constructive possession violation would not apply to the CA AW ban, but WOULD apply to CA laws on NFA items which mirror the fed laws? BTW, what are these CA NFA laws and where can you read them?

3. What about if one does not own or possess any AR lower? I can't imagine that really happening, but what if?

4. What about possession of a shorty AR upper that is not compatible with your AR lower? Say one that uses different sized pins or what ever?

5. What are the fed laws on AR pistols anyways? I know nothing about AR pistols. Are AR pistols NFA controlled items? Can people in free states purchase AR pistols like they could any other pistol or rifle?

Thanks again for the insight,
-Pete

slick_711
02-27-2009, 7:49 PM
We were talking about the civilian contractors you see with SBRs over where they are operating. We were wondering about the logistics of this. Obviously, when in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, you don't worry about NFA laws.

Not only SBR, but many of those rifles are select fire... they order them here on a company letterhead and with a lot of paperwork, and they are delivered to them in country (as in out of our country).

Having an SBR upper in your home is a bad idea, and will just tempt you into evils you would rather not daddle with. Besides, once you've shot one a bit you realize it's worthless. CQB is easily handled with 16" (14.5"+FH if you insist), and anything shorter is too much of a hit on velocity for longer distance engagements. Not worth the bother.

ke6guj
02-27-2009, 7:53 PM
Interesting. Thanks Bill.
Once again, let me reiterate: I have no intention of buying actually buying an SBR upper. This question came about as a result of a discussion about civilian contractors who use personal weapon SBRs overseas.

1. So as I understand it then, an SBR upper would not be a problem to own if you either: A) legally owned an reg'd SBR lower, or
B) legally owned an AR pistol.
Possessing an SBR upper, even if not assembled with a lower, could be construed as "constructive possession" (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/constructive+possession) of an SBR and thus would be a violation of Federal NFA laws. Is this correct? it would be correct if you had a <16" upper and an AR rifle lower, and no legal reason to possess it, such as the AR pistol, or SBR/MG lower.

2. Am I further correct in understanding that this constructive possession violation would not apply to the CA AW ban, but WOULD apply to CA laws on NFA items which mirror the fed laws? BTW, what are these CA NFA laws and where can you read them?Correct, no constructive possesion violation for CA AW regs. But would be a CA SBR constructive possession violation.

12020(c)(2) As used in this section, a "short-barreled rifle" means any of the following:
A) A rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.
(B) A rifle with an overall length of less than 26 inches.
(C) Any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.
(D) Any device which may be readily restored to fire a fixed cartridge which, when so restored, is a device defined in subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive.
(E) Any part, or combination of parts, designed and intended to convert a device into a device defined in subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive, or any combination of parts from which a device defined in subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive, may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person



3. What about if one does not own or possess any AR lower? I can't imagine that really happening, but what if?legal. no constructive possession if you can't make an SBR with what you have.

4. What about possession of a shorty AR upper that is not compatible with your AR lower? Say one that uses different sized pins or what ever?possibly legal, but too close to the edge for me.

5. What are the fed laws on AR pistols anyways? I know nothing about AR pistols. Are AR pistols NFA controlled items? Can people in free states purchase AR pistols like they could any other pistol or rifle?A true AR pistol is not an NFA item if it was made from a receiver that was never a rifle.

sb_pete
02-27-2009, 8:00 PM
Not only SBR, but many of those rifles are select fire... they order them here on a company letterhead and with a lot of paperwork, and they are delivered to them in country (as in out of our country).

Having an SBR upper in your home is a bad idea, and will just tempt you into evils you would rather not daddle with. Besides, once you've shot one a bit you realize it's worthless. CQB is easily handled with 16" (14.5"+FH if you insist), and anything shorter is too much of a hit on velocity for longer distance engagements. Not worth the bother.

Yeah, like I said, I have absolutely ZERO intention of inviting that kind of hassle as I definitely have no legal basis for owning such a gun.

That said, what you point out is kind of the point. I hear about alot of those guys using personal weapons. I was wondering if a contractor could just buy an SBR upper and then stick it on whatever FA lower he was given out there.

For that matter, I have heard of regular Army guys out there being dissatisfied with their M4 and throwing their own upper on it while deployed (yes I know that is against Army regs, but you still hear about it).

Sounds like the only way to do this would be if he/she already owned an AR pistol or a reg'd SBR lower (or did not possess an AR lower at all).

sb_pete
02-27-2009, 8:03 PM
Thanks Ke6guj!

A true AR pistol is not an NFA item if it was made from a receiver that was never a rifle.

Interesting. Is that just because it was DROSed as a Pistol, or are AR pistol lowers somehow different from regular lowers? Do AR pistol lowers have to actually say PISTOL on them or something like that?

Thanks again,
-Pete

ke6guj
02-27-2009, 8:27 PM
Interesting. Is that just because it was DROSed as a Pistol, or are AR pistol lowers somehow different from regular lowers? Do AR pistol lowers have to actually say PISTOL on them or something like that?
Its a pistol because it was assembled as a pistol and never had a shoulder stock attached, making it a rifle. Some manufacturers make PISTOL-marked lowers to help show that it was intended as a pistol. But many legal pistol are made federally with a standard lower that could be used as a rifle.

CA gets a little wierd in that we would need to DROS it as a long gun if it was not in a roster-exempt pistol configuration. For now, at least until the NeRF option plays out. But a long gun classification does not actually mean rifle, and it should be able to be built as a pistol. But, The Right People do no recommend that at this time. SO, whatever you do, it needs to be DROSed as a handgun of some sort.

sb_pete
02-27-2009, 8:29 PM
Interesting. OK. Thanks alot guys.
-Pete

BrianK_73
02-27-2009, 11:48 PM
Having an SBR upper in your home is a bad idea, and will just tempt you into evils you would rather not daddle with. Besides, once you've shot one a bit you realize it's worthless. CQB is easily handled with 16" (14.5"+FH if you insist), and anything shorter is too much of a hit on velocity for longer distance engagements. Not worth the bother.



Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

xLusi0n
02-28-2009, 1:29 AM
Most of the weapons you see civilians with in Iraq now are company or government owned anyway.

TZL
05-05-2009, 3:12 PM
what if you didn't own a complete short upper, but only a barrel <16", and complete ARs rifles?

yes technically you could shove that barrel into your AR rifle, creating an illegal SBR but not without a lot of wrenching

would that be constructive posession?

bwiese
05-05-2009, 4:14 PM
what if you didn't own a complete short upper, but only a barrel <16", and complete ARs rifles?

yes technically you could shove that barrel into your AR rifle, creating an illegal SBR but not without a lot of wrenching

would that be constructive posession?

We dunno.

So it's wise to stay away - for this I regard barrels and uppers as roughly equivalent, and an upper can be thrown together from barrel + receiver into operational status with very limited effort.

unusedusername
05-05-2009, 6:22 PM
Besides, once you've shot one a bit you realize it's worthless. CQB is easily handled with 16" (14.5"+FH if you insist), and anything shorter is too much of a hit on velocity for longer distance engagements. Not worth the bother.

What is the background for this statement? Have you personally or known someone who personally used a < 14.5" AR in combat type situations where the decrease in velocity was an issue?

I'm not trying to troll here, its an honest question from someone who has never owned nor shot a SBR.

My SHTF AR has a 16" bbl but I was thinking of switching it to a 14.5" one to save those 2 inches...

bwiese
05-05-2009, 6:29 PM
My SHTF AR has a 16" bbl but I was thinking of switching it to
a 14.5" one to save those 2 inches...

Why??.... and "You can't".

For a rifle, a 14.5" bbl has to be brought up to 16" with a muzzle device (FH, fake FH or brake etc.) to be min Fed + CA bbl length. (Plus you have to keep the overall length to 30" min in CA on semiauto centerfire rifles that are not reg'd AWs.)

Why throw away ~1.5" worth of muzzle velocity?

Since you have a 16" bbl already just remove the muzzle device (if any) and put a thread protector on (if threaded). You'll still be at same length.

gunrun45
05-05-2009, 6:33 PM
What is the background for this statement? Have you personally or known someone who personally used a < 14.5" AR in combat type situations where the decrease in velocity was an issue?

I'm not trying to troll here, its an honest question from someone who has never owned nor shot a SBR.

My SHTF AR has a 16" bbl but I was thinking of switching it to a 14.5" one to save those 2 inches...

I can tell you that I have carried 14.5in, 10in and 7.5 in rifle form as an LEO and LEO firearms instructor. This net velocity loss is well documented across the internet at various sources. The 7.5 was fun and entertaining, but not very effective and forget about your hearing all together. The decreased effectiveness is very noticeable in corelation with terminal effects when using standard military type FMJ ammo. SBR's are definately a close quarters tool that have limited expected range. I would NOT want to take a 150 to 200 yard shot with an SBR of any type. I prefer a 10in barrel in the SBR range as it provides a decent balance between size and effective close terminal balistics. Use of proper ammo is critical when using SBR's for defensive purposes due to velocity loss. TAP ammo is my personal favorite.

Manong0369
05-05-2009, 7:33 PM
What is the background for this statement? Have you personally or known someone who personally used a < 14.5" AR in combat type situations where the decrease in velocity was an issue?

I'm not trying to troll here, its an honest question from someone who has never owned nor shot a SBR.

My SHTF AR has a 16" bbl but I was thinking of switching it to a 14.5" one to save those 2 inches...

I have have personal experience from the Marine Corps of the difference of barrel lengths. The 14.5" barrel is an excellent weapon for CQB, but what happens when you have a target that is farther than 400 meters. As a Staff NCO in the Marine Corps, we started getting issued the M4 for the reason of personally protection. They were suppose to replace the M9 pistol for personal protection. Besides, the NCO, SNCO, and Officers will be busy directing their troops. There is a difference in the range capabilities of a short barrel compared to a standard 20" barrel.

yellowfin
05-05-2009, 8:04 PM
Is a short barrel by itself with no attached receiver also covered under constructive possession, or no?

slick_711
05-05-2009, 9:01 PM
What is the background for this statement? Have you personally or known someone who personally used a < 14.5" AR in combat type situations where the decrease in velocity was an issue?

I'm not trying to troll here, its an honest question from someone who has never owned nor shot a SBR.

My SHTF AR has a 16" bbl but I was thinking of switching it to a 14.5" one to save those 2 inches...

I have extensive trigger time on 10" / 11.5" barrels, and have spent hours talking to guys who have CQB experience kicking doors (both SWAT & MIL). I've done CQB (*in training situations*) with .mil 14.5"s and with my 16" with no trouble.

I didn't say the decrease in velocity would be an issue in CQB, I said it would be an issue at extended ranges and that the shorter barrel is only a minor improvement for CQB. I feel that the benefits do not outweigh the losses. They're fun as all get out to shoot, but as gunrun45 said they'll ruin your hearing that much faster, they're less accurate, lack effectiveness at extended ranges, and are illegal.

If you know you'll only EVER need your rifle for CQB that's one thing, but who can say that? And we can't have them anyway. Of course, I'm used to walking around my house with a long one. Maybe you're more comfortable going with what you know and using a shorty. ;)

ad6mj
05-05-2009, 9:19 PM
Ok, so I searched and found my google fu lacking. I am sure this has been covered before so sorry in advance.

Basically I am wondering about the purchase of SBR uppers for AR's, but the question would apply to any other firearms where the upper is not a serialized part.

As far as I know, SBR uppers are unregulated and you are free to buy one. Is this correct. Putting one onto a non NFA reg'd SBR lower would be constructing a fed felony NFA violation, but you could purchase and possess the upper without any issues right?

The reason I ask, is because it came up in a conversation with an Army buddy of mine last week. We were talking about the civilian contractors you see with SBRs over where they are operating. We were wondering about the logistics of this. Obviously, when in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, you don't worry about NFA laws. But If you were going to go over to someplace like that and wanted to have an SBR, but didn't have time to get one setup here (NFA paperwork takes a few months as I understand it), or if you only wanted it for out of country use for that matter, would you have to buy one and have it direct shipped out there.

Could you buy a short barreled upper here and, as long as you never assembled an SBR stateside, remain legal?

Thanks guys,
-Pete

I would imagine these "civilian" companies have the pull to cut through a lot of red tape and get paperwork expedited.