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View Full Version : How can an AR be banned by name, yet pinned versions are ok?


TonyNorCal
02-22-2005, 6:49 PM
Hi all,

How can an AR be banned by name, yet in the last week I've heard of two that seem to simply be AR receivers pinned or welded?

1. The Vulcan pinned.
2. The Colt welded, being done in SoCal and displayed at gunshows.

How are these legal as per the letter of the law?
It would seem if these are legal then any AR that's modified to prevent removal of the mag is legal. So one could drive to Nevada...buy an AR, make a quick mod, and it's legal in CA?

Just curious...legal eagles sound off.

TonyNorCal
02-22-2005, 6:49 PM
Hi all,

How can an AR be banned by name, yet in the last week I've heard of two that seem to simply be AR receivers pinned or welded?

1. The Vulcan pinned.
2. The Colt welded, being done in SoCal and displayed at gunshows.

How are these legal as per the letter of the law?
It would seem if these are legal then any AR that's modified to prevent removal of the mag is legal. So one could drive to Nevada...buy an AR, make a quick mod, and it's legal in CA?

Just curious...legal eagles sound off.

LongBch_SigP226
02-22-2005, 9:48 PM
I'm not a lawyer nor do I work for CA DOJ but my guess is that it loses assault weapon status once key feature (capacity to accept detachable magazine) is removed from the weapon. Probably that explains why FAB10 is allowed for sale in California even though it accepts AR15 trigger parts, upper receiver and stock. Again, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not here to give you legal advice. As for buying the AR15 in Nevada, where will you do the "Quick Mod"? You can't bring the AR15 back into California and then do the modification. Importing assault weapon is a felony, and that will put you in state prison for few years. If you do the mod in Nevada, you still have to go through FFL to bring the gun back into California. I don't think many FFLs will risk their business by importing AR15 (neutuered or not) into this state.
My recommendation is ask CA DOJ directly and ask the reply in writing. Because scary thing can happen, open the link below.

Robinson Armament M96 owners get raided by CA DOJ (http://www.crpa.org/pressrls020604.html)

Ted_Bell
02-23-2005, 8:24 AM
How can you even ask such a question? Don't try to make sense of the laws, just try to work around them. The multiple AW ban laws are ridiculous! How does it make sense to have some guns banned by name and anything else banned by features? It makes no sense. Why is an AR more evil than a mini-14? If there must be a law, at least make it unambiguous and fair to all. The doj seems to be able to make up rules as needed.

bwiese
02-23-2005, 10:16 AM
Hello Tony,

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Tony wrote:
How can an AR be banned by name, yet in the last week I've heard of two that seem to simply be AR receivers pinned or welded?
1. The Vulcan pinned.
2. The Colt welded, being done in SoCal and displayed at gunshows.
How are these legal as per the letter of the law?
...seem if these are legal then any AR that's modified to prevent removal of the mag is legal. So one could drive to Nevada...buy an AR, make a quick mod, and it's legal in CA? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Answering your last question first: you're a Calif. resident, so it's illegal for you (under both state & Fed law) to directly acquire any firearms in another state. You have someone send it to a California FFL. A Calif FFL will not accept an illegal receiver: it's illegal for him too if he doesn't have a CA Assault Weapons Dealer license (scarce as hen's teeth).

The original 1989 Roberti-Roos Assault Wpns Ctrl Act banned 50+ so called assault weapons by name including, "Colt AR-15 series" and "all AK series including, but not limited to, the models identified as follows..." The subsequent 1999 "SB23" assualt weapons ban further defined AWs in California by a collection of evil features regardless of name: when that became active, any gun with pistol grip, folding stock, etc. was banned and required registration to retain, regardless of model name or manufacturer.

Because of confusion as to series membership, AR and AK variants were legally sold in CA thru the 1990s, until the new SB23 "by features" assault weapon ban became active.

In August 2000, the Kasler decision was handed down: a lawsuit seeking to overturn the original Roberti-Roos law ended up, among other things, holding that AR "series" and AK "series" could be reasonably broadly interpreted - that is, AR and AK clones were lumped back into the original Roberti-Roos list and were not merely just banned by a collection "evil features" - pistol grip, folding stock, etc. Thus removing 'evil features' from any AR or AK receiver did _not_ remove the assault weapon status (unlike other 'by feature' AWs like clones of FAL).

So ARs and AKs are in a 'twilight zone': they're not really 'named' since there's a ton of names/manufacturers for all the variants, and they're not banned just by features either. Thus there are now 3 types of AWs in CA: <UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Type 1: original 50+ specifically named weapons

<LI>Type 2: essentially anything with an AR or AK receiver of any brand

<LI>Type 3: semiautos w/more than 1 evil feature (pistol grip, detachable hicap mag, folding stock, etc.
[/list]

Now, in 2002 there was also the Harrott v. Kings County decision which touches on Kasler. IIRC, it appears to require that AR and AK series members be promulgated and announced by DOJ in a list, and if new ones are found, 90 day (?) announcement/ comment period ensues before it's banned, etc. The DOJ list seems to have about every receiver in the markeplace except homegrown ones so no loopholes there. In theory it would allow homebrew AR lower rcvrs to be made and they would not be Type II AWs, but this is very unsettled, murky, untested law w/lower status than Kasler. (I wouldn't make any bets on Harrott and would behave as though it didn't exist.) Additionally, even if these homemade AR receivers avoided being classified as ARs, they're not much more useful than a FAB10 since assembling a 'normal' AR is still banned 'by feature'.

FAB10s, the new Vulcan, the modified Colts [I believe you mean modified Bushmasters - I heard ESGW is using Bushy lowers] and other such funky receivers are allowed to be sold because they have been examined by DOJ and were found to be 'far enough away' that they're not considered ARs - esp. as they are not readily modifiable without substantial work. (The mere acceptance of an AR upper is only one part of a lower receivers' "AR-ness" and is essentially irrelevant to its AW status.)

Now, EGSW (Evan's Gunsmithing) holds a California Assault Weapons permit. Thus, it appears they can apparently legally import regular AR receivers (Bushmaster), and have permission to weld them up (and somehow rebadge them). DOJ has determined that this work permanently loses the receiver's "AR-ness". A regular FFL or end-user can't do this since he can't legally get an AR receiver to do this work on - before the receiver is welded up it's illegal to possess. (And no one with an AR receiver legally registered as an AW before 1/1/2000 is gonna ruin a perfectly good AR lower!!!)

Vulcan appears to be a non-CA company. They have no legal issues with making regular AR lowers but certainly can't ship them into CA except to the few FFLs holding a CA AW permit. But Vulcan can weld/pin in a mag, and the DOJ sees that as a permanently affixed 10rd magazine, making it again lose its "AR-ness" and therefore eligible (after DOJ inspection) to be sold in CA.

As a further detail, I suspect DOJ is holding two different standards for affixed locap magazines in rifles that are almost AWs:
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI> Type III AWs, like FAL clones w/fixed mags, only need the mag to not be readily detachable/replaceable unless user takes down rifle and uses tools. Thus, this is why you see CA-legal FAL variants w/10rd mags affixed by a screw. (Full disassembly of rifle down to the receiver level does not result in an illegal receiver since these rifles are banned by combination of evil features.)

<LI> AR receivers must have the mag _really_ permanently affixed (pinned/welded, etc.) since any easy removal of this mag would result in a bare receiver, considered to be an AR, which is illegal due to Kasler.
[/list]



Bill Wiese
San Jose