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View Full Version : I don't think the zip gun law is enforceable in CA.


CHS
12-21-2009, 7:26 AM
A lot of people tend to be scared of CA's zip-gun law being overly vague and believe that it prevents you from being a home gunsmith and inventing and building your own firearms. Many legal guys have always said to be safe just make sure you're copying an existing design... But what about coming up with your OWN design?

Well, I don't think the zip-gun law will apply or be enforceable in CA.

Look at some of my analysis here:
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=3526827&postcount=67

For the zip-gun law to be enforceable, a tax must be payable on whatever firearm you're building. I think the politicians actually knew exactly what they were doing in this case, and left the law wide-open for home-builders, even those who were coming up with their own designs.

MOST of your typical guns that you and I would define as a zip-gun would fall under the ATF's definition of an AOW, of which there is a $200 tax due to manufacture one, even for personal use. But AOW's fall under the guidelines of Title 2 firearms.

As a home-builder of a firearm, or an inventor of a new design, if you build from scratch a Title 1 firearm that's not a shotgun (more on that later) or fires fixed shotshell ammunition, the ATF has repeatedly stated that no tax is due. The zip-gun regulations state that it's only a zip gun if a tax is due and wasn't paid. If you're exempt from a tax, then it can't be a zip gun.

Since ANY title 2 firearm requires a tax, they would all be zip guns unless you went through the proper procedures like filing a Form 1 with the ATF (or is it Form 4? I can never remember).

Now, regarding shotguns, the ATF automatically deems all firearms capable of firing fixed shotshell ammunition as DD's if they have a bore greater than .50cal (and they're pretty much all greater than .50 besides .410/36ga). There is still a way around this though. Before you actually CONSTRUCT a shotgun in CA, submit the design to the ATF's tech branch requesting a letter ruling on whether or not your design would qualify as a DD or not. If you get an approval, then it's a Title 1 shotgun (or shotshell-firing Title 1 firearm) and you are exempt from paying tax.

cdtx2001
12-21-2009, 7:33 AM
Interesting argument and I see your point. Who's going to be the test case though?

CHS
12-21-2009, 7:38 AM
Interesting argument and I see your point. Who's going to be the test case though?

Probably AJAX22 :)

redneckshootist
12-21-2009, 8:27 AM
This is very interesting, Im currently exempt from this law being as I currently have an 07 ffl license and can manufacture firearms for sale. I think this law was intended to stop home builders from building any gun but because of the wording its almost like the high cap ban, pretty much un-enforcable.

CHS
12-21-2009, 8:31 AM
This is very interesting, Im currently exempt from this law being as I currently have an 07 ffl license and can manufacture firearms for sale. I think this law was intended to stop home builders from building any gun but because of the wording its almost like the high cap ban, pretty much un-enforcable.

I think it was explicitly designed to prevent home-builders from building TRUE zip guns which would be ATF classified as AOW's like pen guns, which funnily-enough are already illegal in CA. I guess this is just designed to get you on an additional manufacturing charge.

hoffmang
12-21-2009, 12:29 PM
I think it was explicitly designed to prevent home-builders from building TRUE zip guns which would be ATF classified as AOW's like pen guns, which funnily-enough are already illegal in CA. I guess this is just designed to get you on an additional manufacturing charge.

Getting to the bottom of this is going to make my brain hurt...

-Gene

bigcalidave
12-21-2009, 12:31 PM
Getting to the bottom of this is going to make my brain hurt...

-Gene

But that's why you get paid the big bucks Gene!

CHS
12-21-2009, 1:13 PM
Getting to the bottom of this is going to make my brain hurt...

-Gene

I'm going to count that one as a compliment :)

ke6guj
12-21-2009, 1:29 PM
I've brought this exact thought process a couple times in the past with Gene, once during Don Anderson's deal, which included zip gun charges.

It does seem to be unenforcable if the people who it would apply to are exempt from paying FET in the first place.