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psssniper
10-23-2005, 3:52 PM
Are there any DOJ letters or other precedent that would allow an individual to permanently attach a magazine to an Ar style rifle thus negating the "detachable mag" part of the assault weapon equation? Looking at the FAB-10 I wondered why any other rifle with a non detachable wouldn't be legal also. Anyone?

C.G.
10-23-2005, 4:00 PM
Are there any DOJ letters or other precedent that would allow an individual to permanently attach a magazine to an Ar style rifle thus negating the "detachable mag" part of the assault weapon equation? Looking at the FAB-10 I wondered why any other rifle with a non detachable wouldn't be legal also. Anyone?

No, there aren't any; however, if by any small chance you find some I sure would like to see them. The reason Vulcan, FAB-10 and GB Sales can sell theirs is because they submitted samples for approval. Since they either had AW permits or were outside of PRK, they would not be prosecuted if they screwed up.

blacklisted
10-23-2005, 4:12 PM
I'm curious about the people who replace the ugly mag in their vulcan lowers. Assuming you do this out of state, shouldn't you send the lower to DoJ for testing?

bwiese
10-23-2005, 10:40 PM
Are there any DOJ letters or other precedent that would allow an individual to permanently attach a magazine to an AR style rifle thus negating the "detachable mag" part of the assault weapon equation? Looking at the FAB-10 I wondered why any other rifle with a non detachable wouldn't be legal also.

There's no such thing. Rifles such as FAB10s, GB Sales', and Vulcans all have receivers modified or redesigned sufficiently so that they are no longer considered ARs.

The Aug 2000 Kasler decision moved ARs, and AKs back into Roberti-Roos "series" assault weapons - meaning they are inherently AWs even if no evil features attached. The later Harrott decision required the mfgr/models to be publicized/listed by DOJ, but they seem to have about all AR mfgrs listed. Thus, AR-flavored rifles are different than, say, FAL-type rifles; FAL clones (but not true FN-FALs!) are Type III AWs and can be 'Californiaized' w/a fixed screwed-down mag catch + 10 round mag, since they are not banned by name and just are banned by combination of evil features.

Companies that make Cali-legal kinda-AR rifles or receivers have either a CA AW permit to do these conversions in state (since they can legally have banned evil guns as a starting point after the 12/31/00 AW cutoff date), or mfgr them out of state. And they do ask for DOJ approval before selling. The mods/design changes appear to require sufficient permanence and require enough time/more specialized tools to remove these features (blocked magwells, epoxied/pinned mags). A screwdriver-affixed mag catch is not an intrinsic enough part to an AR lower since it can be removed readily w/screwdriver to leave a bare (illegal) AR lower.


Bill Wiese
San Jose

bwiese
10-23-2005, 10:47 PM
I'm curious about the people who replace the ugly mag in their vulcan lowers. Assuming you do this out of state, shouldn't you send the lower to DoJ for testing?

In theory, yes.

But in this case I think no one cares. I think if you re-pinned the replacement mag and epoxied it back in, it's equivalent. Furthermore, no one really knows what fixed mags Vulcan used/uses in a production run. Given Vulcan's history (as Hesse, etc. beforehand) I'm sure there are daily production variations :)

If any questions arose over legality of Vulcan, it would be a simple go/no-go question - is the mag kinda-sorta permanently affixed (pinned/epoxied)? I think DOJ and local concerns would be for Vulcans being converted back to ARs.

Do note that a Vulcan lower without a magazine - that is, removed - may possibly have SOME uncertain level of protection from 2001 Harrott v Kings County ruling - which essentially stated that banned guns in a 'series' had to be specifically promulgated/listed - and that list is the DOJ's Roster of AR15 and AK Series Weapons. This Roster does NOT list the Vulcan, so there's a chance it could slide into a Type III AW and be permissable as a receiver if no evil features present. But this is very very uncertain and I am not sure if Harrott can be relied upon.


Bill Wiese
San Jose

artherd
10-24-2005, 9:16 AM
Summary; Bill is basically right, I will reinforce his suggestion that this is something to consider carefully, and that to send a sample into the DOJ for verification is the ONLY way to go.


The Aug 2000 Kasler decision moved ARs, and AKs back into Roberti-Roos "series" assault weapons - meaning they are inherently AWs even if no evil features attached. The later Harrott decision required the mfgr/models to be publicized/listed by DOJ, but they seem to have about all AR mfgrs listed.
Not even close, I'll refrain from posting a good list here, but from the top of my head I can name 5 'AR' lower-reciver makers of extremely high quality, some will even accept standard mil-spec AR/M-16 uppers and fire a cartridge.

A screwdriver-affixed mag catch is not an intrinsic enough part to an AR lower since it can be removed readily w/screwdriver to leave a bare (illegal) AR lower.
Bill, is this is this conjecture on your part, or do you have any declatory information?

Ravenslair
10-24-2005, 10:14 AM
Not even close, I'll refrain from posting a good list here, but from the top of my head I can name 5 'AR' lower-reciver makers of extremely high quality, some will even accept standard mil-spec AR/M-16 uppers and fire a cartridge.


Are you indicating there are true AR lowers that technically are legal to own in CA? If so, finding an FFL that would handle that transaction would be like winning the lottery.

bwiese
10-24-2005, 10:26 AM
I'll refrain from posting a good list here, but from the top of my head I can name 5 'AR' lower-reciver makers of extremely high quality, some will even accept standard mil-spec AR/M-16 uppers and fire a cartridge.

Hmmm, good to know. It's only relevant in that there may (or may not) be some Harrott v. Kings County protection on these as receivers only; however, as a practical matter these are useless without pistol grips, so you'd only end up exploring, at best, a "CaliFAL"-style situation which is operationally no different than a FAB10 since AR stripper-fed uppers aren't really feasible.


A screwdriver-affixed mag catch is not an intrinsic enough part to an AR lower since it can be removed readily w/screwdriver to leave a bare (illegal) AR lower.

Bill, is this is this conjecture on your part, or do you have any declatory information?

Art, this is reasonably thought-out conjecture. I don't think DOJ will give an answer on general "AR-ness" and will only case-by-case examine/approve (or disapprove) AR-related configurations - so we can only look at past history of "what works w/DOJ".

The key elements of "AR-ness" appear confined to the lower and relate to the acceptance of & operation with an AR-style upper, acceptance of a detachable AR magazine, and a pistol grip.

The internal operation of the lower's fire control parts is not, I don't think, an issue. However, it might help approval of a new AR design if the fire control system in lower were redesigned. Given the variety of actions w/AR uppers (regular AR gas impingment, piston-action uppers, blowback Colt, blowback Olympic Arms) the upper mode of operation isn't relevant, just fitment.

FAB10, Vulcan and GBSales' welded-up Bushies and Colts all attack the magwell portion which indicates DOJ believes this is key to "AR-ness". Because they exist for legal sale, they're substantively non-AR (and non-AW). The GB Sales' welded up lowers and FAB10 are functionally equivalent. Both only really take a grinding tool to remove and expose the opening, but this is substantially more difficult than the simple unscrewing a fixed mag catch (a la the CaliFALs), and which leaves a bare AR receiver.

The pinning/epoxying of the Vulcan mag appears to be an attempt to maintain the same "tools + time" approach.

BTW, it should be noted that while WE have divined here that a CaliFAL w/screw in mag catch affixing a 10rd mag is legal, DSArms (DSA) appears to weld the mag in. This is a well-run company cognizant of laws, hires attorneys, etc. and they probably have been in consultation w/Cal DOJ Firearms Div.

It is also conceivable that the folks approving the AR lowers do not know know about Harrott issues (left hand vs right hand problem!).

Really, this will never be resolved until someone takes one of these AR lowers you spoke of [that is, one not appearing on the DOJ' Roster of AR15 and AK Series Weapons (the kaslist.pdf file from DOJ website) - and adds a fixed mag catch and 10rd fixed mag, and then either submits it for DOJ approval - or somehow gets busted for illegal AW possesion when having this configuration and runs w/the case thru the courts without pleading out.

For clarity it would be best that this situation arise not from a CA Vulcan lower that had been pinned/welded but from one of the other nonlisted AR lower vendors you know of.

Only then will we be able to know if Harrott has teeth, and how it plays against Kasler.

The other substantial difficulty - which Ravenslair mentions above - is to even find an FFL even willing to handle a transaction like this, esp as there could be legal risk. The DOJ could hold a false position against Harrott and say "no" to the transfer and the FFL would back away - it's also his livelihood and business, after all. Getting a receiver any other way would be illegal except for those moving to CA from elsewhere, with AR type rifles that are not on the DOJ AR/AK Roster and that have modified them to be CA compliant. This would be a very small subset of people....


Bill Wiese
San Jose

artherd
10-24-2005, 12:32 PM
sorry, this double-posted

artherd
10-24-2005, 1:12 PM
Art, this is reasonably thought-out conjecture. I don't think DOJ will give an answer on general "AR-ness" and will only case-by-case examine/approve (or disapprove) AR-related configurations - so we can only look at past history of "what works w/DOJ".
This has been my expierence as well, I have not been able to get a ruleing, all we really have is some settled law in the form of Harrott which spells out the procedures for identifying.

The pinning/epoxying of the Vulcan mag appears to be an attempt to maintain the same "tools + time" approach.

It is also conceivable that the folks approving the AR lowers do not know know about Harrott issues (left hand vs right hand problem!). This is infact ENTIRELY possible, almost an endemic condition in the DOJ!


Taking a tangent here, the G&B Sales lowers are very interesting phenomena indeed. This is the very first time a weapon with a stamping "Bushmaster XM-15" has been legal for sale since it was banned by name. The implied precedent would indicate that not only does welding up a mag-well obliterate any possible "AR-ness", that furthur a similar level of modification may enable other namedweapons.

For instance, a welded FN-FAL which is a named weapon as well.

Or for instance, an Knights SR-25

bwiese
10-24-2005, 2:20 PM
Taking a tangent here, the G&B Sales lowers are very interesting phenomena indeed. This is the very first time a weapon with a stamping "Bushmaster XM-15" has been legal for sale since it was banned by name. The implied precedent would indicate that not only does welding up a mag-well obliterate any possible "AR-ness", that furthur a similar level of modification may enable other namedweapons.

For instance, a welded FN-FAL which is a named weapon as well.
Or for instance, an Knights SR-25

Well we're mixing things up here a bit.

A Bushie XM15 is not really banned by name in the same category as, say, an HK91 or other Roberti-Roos gun. In fact, it's a Type II weapon, while Roberti-Roos guns are Type I AWs. It was banned due to its AR-ness due to the Kasler decision - that is, by overall shape, functionality and "looks like a duck, talks like a duck" AR-ness at receiver level. Subsuquent Harrott decision just made the DOJ put the various AR/AK brands & models on the Roster of AR15/AK Series Weapons after the fact for supposed clarity.

I am not certain a welded-up true FN FAL or even a welded up true Colt AR15 would be legal in the same way as the welded up GB Sales Bushies or Colt Match Targets/Sporters are. I think a hunk of metal that is a firearm with any of the Robert-Roos brands/model#s emblazoned on them is banned no matter what. The welding/mods can remove a similar item out of the AR or AK "series" - as opposed to the mods not being able to change a banned named weapon.

Bill Wiese
San Jose

artherd
10-24-2005, 2:41 PM
Bill, you are usually spot on, that's why I take great pleasure in the rare event I belive you've made an error.

The Bushmaster XM-15 is on the (sneaky) 12276(e) list propogated after the Kasler decision.

See: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/regs/aw.htm
Note
Authority cited: Penal Code Section 12276.5, subdivision (h).
Reference: Penal Code Section 12276, subdivisions (a), (b), and (c).
§ 979.11. California Penal Code Section 12276(e) Assault Weapons List.

(a) Rifles

<snip>
Bushmaster XM15 (all)



The fragmenting of the AW list notwithstanding, it's a named lower.

The implications of this decision are very interesting indeed, are potentially far-reaching, and frankly astonish me.

Well we're mixing things up here a bit.
A Bushie XM15 is not really banned by name in the same category as, say, an HK91 or other Roberti-Roos gun. In fact, it's a Type II weapon, while Roberti-Roos guns are Type I AWs.
...
I think a hunk of metal that is a firearm with any of the Robert-Roos brands/model#s emblazoned on them is banned no matter what. The welding/mods can remove a similar item out of the AR or AK "series" - as opposed to the mods not being able to change a banned named weapon.

artherd
10-28-2005, 12:49 AM
Bump so bill can see. Eager to hear your thoughts on the erosion of the category 2 series?

bwiese
10-28-2005, 3:33 PM
(oops, just saw this thread - thanks for the ping)

Oops, whoa -

I missed that they added the Roster of AR15 and AK Series Weapons to ('kaslist.pdf' file at DOJ website) to the actual law. It's not showing up on the regular DOJ Dang. Wpns Control Laws 12xxx listings I usu refer to...

It'd be interesting to see if they allowed one of the original Roberti-Roos guns (say, a true as-marked Colt AR15 banned in 1989 and required to be reg'd by 12/31/1990) to be converted by GB Sales.

It may turn out that the naming becomes irrelevant because the DOJ is allowed to say that's 'no more a Brand X gun' since it's sufficiently and permanently modified from its original configuration and it's done either outside CA or by a vendor holding CA AW dealer permit.

Bill Wiese
San Jose

artherd
10-28-2005, 4:15 PM
Yeah, I can't figure out why CPC 12276 (e) isn't added to the master list (the file I usually reference is the entire 12000 CPC very large text file.) Those sneaky devils.

I belive these are refered to as "Category 2" AWs, ie the second named batch.

Hrm, Maybe the Harrott decision forced the DOJ to include these in CPC 12276(e)? (idle speculation)

It'd be interesting to see if they allowed one of the original Roberti-Roos guns (say, a true as-marked Colt AR15 banned in 1989 and required to be reg'd by 12/31/1990) to be converted by GB Sales.
That sure would be interesting.
It may turn out that the naming becomes irrelevant because the DOJ is allowed to say that's 'no more a Brand X gun' since it's sufficiently and permanently modified from its original configuration and it's done either outside CA or by a vendor holding CA AW dealer permit.

Yep, the ongoing question now is, what will constitute a signifigant enough modification to 'de-name' a named Category 1 or 2 AW. Seems pretty clear a welded mag-well does it. How about Vulcan style blind pin?