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View Full Version : Cali laws on short barrel uppers?


Stunnason
04-02-2010, 3:28 PM
I dont know if this the correct forum..please move it if not.

I would like to know if theres a law in California that forbids a vendor from selling/shipping an upper that is shorter than 16"?.

I am trying to order a few uppers in 7.5" for my pistol lower, and have been informed by the vendor that California has a law/reqs. that dose not allow them to sale or ship any uppers shorter than 16".

I am aware of all NFA rules pertaining to Short barrel uppers. I had thought that uppers are not considered "firearms" by the ATF and therefore can be sold/ shipped anywhere in the US.

This vendor has informed me that "pistols uppers" can only be shipped as "complete pistols" according to cali laws/reqs..

I know that "Pistol lowers only" can not be sold/shiped here by an FFL unless pistol is completed with a mag lock/bb and converted to single shot.

Did something change? Am I missing something here?

Josh3239
04-02-2010, 3:29 PM
No the vendor is a moron. Tell us who it is.

Stunnason
04-02-2010, 3:53 PM
Dont want to bust them out or anything yet as I believe they are just missed informed and this thread may cause them to reconsider and actually take my money that I'm waiting to spend.

Flopper
04-02-2010, 4:17 PM
Yep, completely wrong.

The same caveats apply as with every other state with regard to NFA constructive possession, but other than that, these are legal.

bwiese
04-02-2010, 4:25 PM
1.) People that have legit pistols or pistol lowers can legally acquire/possess matching shorty uppers.

2.) People that have no lowers or rifles can also legally acquire/possess shorty uppers - but they should
not then acquire a matching rifle or rifle lower, unless & until they first acquire a legit pistol or pistol lower.

3.) "Constructive possession" applies to SBRs in CA (and perhaps Federally) so even separated parts can
lead to SBR charges - even if the upper is in your vacation home in San Diego and the lower is in your home
in Sacramento.

4.) Your vendor is wrong. You should readily be able to find another.

Stunnason
04-02-2010, 5:13 PM
Thank you Bwiese.

Does anyone have any vendor suggestion in the case that this vendor will not reconsider?

stan
04-02-2010, 6:10 PM
3.) "Constructive possession" applies to SBRs in CA (and perhaps Federally) so even separated parts can
lead to SBR charges - even if the upper is in your vacation home in San Diego and the lower is in your home
in Sacramento.


what's always confused me is that constructive possession doesn't seem to apply if you own both an AR pistol and AR rifle, despite the exact same potential to create an SBR if you only owned a pistol upper and rifle lower.

how does that work?

and if you have a pistol upper, a pistol lower, a rifle upper, and a rifle lower, all sitting in one box, is that sketchy?

wildhawker
04-02-2010, 6:30 PM
what's always confused me is that constructive possession doesn't seem to apply if you own both an AR pistol and AR rifle, despite the exact same potential to create an SBR if you only owned a pistol upper and rifle lower.

how does that work?

and if you have a pistol upper, a pistol lower, a rifle upper, and a rifle lower, all sitting in one box, is that sketchy?

Federal constructive possession of SBR may not have much/any teeth post-U.S. v. T/C Arms Co. (http://www.stephenhalbrook.com/tc.html) (opinion here (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0164.ZC.html)).

That's not to say it can't be prosecuted.

bwiese
04-02-2010, 6:48 PM
Federal constructive possession of SBR may not have much/any teeth post-U.S. v. T/C Arms Co. (http://www.stephenhalbrook.com/tc.html) (opinion here (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0164.ZC.html)).

That's not to say it can't be prosecuted.

Yes - and BATF seems to take the position that it ONLY applies to T/C and is not general.

I'd bet for other guns/configurations they might try it. And they can bend the ear of a Asst US Attorney.

Given CA law already clearly creates C.P. for such a situation, one has to worry about that regardless of Fed interpretation.



what's always confused me is that constructive possession doesn't seem to apply if you
own both an AR pistol and AR rifle, despite the exact same potential to create an SBR if
you only owned a pistol upper and rifle lower. how does that work?

Because you then have a 'lenity' issue and a legit prospective outcome for those parts. Each one of those objects (with both pistol and rifle lowers) all have legitimate possible configurations: a legal pistol and a legal rifle.

When possessing only a shorty upper in combination with a rifle lower, there is ONLY an illegal outcome (SBR) possible.



and if you have a pistol upper, a pistol lower, a rifle upper, and a rifle lower, all sitting in one box, is that sketchy?It's 'baiting', esp in a traffic stop. I'd keep 'em properly assembled.

Stunnason
04-02-2010, 7:11 PM
what's always confused me is that constructive possession doesn't seem to apply if you own both an AR pistol and AR rifle, despite the exact same potential to create an SBR if you only owned a pistol upper and rifle lower.

how does that work?

and if you have a pistol upper, a pistol lower, a rifle upper, and a rifle lower, all sitting in one box, is that sketchy?

I think by having a "pistol" defined by ATF and a "rifle" defined by ATF, that it would be hard to prosecute you under the law of constructive possession for the fact that you have two complete guns. Having parts laying around to construct an SBR regardless of intention is easy to convict.

Also...having to buy a complete pistol setup just to construct an SBR is like paying a 200 tax stamp( same idea in the eyes of the ATF), IMO.
The point is to deter criminals by making them spend more, but we all know how criminals are so afraid of tax stamps and spending their hard earned money:rolleyes:.

bwiese
04-02-2010, 7:37 PM
I think by having a "pistol" defined by ATF and a "rifle" defined by ATF, that it would be hard to prosecute you under the law of constructive possession for the fact that you have two complete guns. Having parts laying around to construct an SBR regardless of intention is easy to convict.

Also...having to buy a complete pistol setup just to construct an SBR is like paying a 200 tax stamp( same idea in the eyes of the ATF), IMO.
The point is to deter criminals by making them spend more, but we all know how criminals are so afraid of tax stamps and spending their hard earned money:rolleyes:.

Fairly irrelevant. Please read my posts above. Also, this is not just ATF/Fed stuff - this is CALIFORNIA too.

Seesm
04-02-2010, 10:07 PM
Bill thanks for the info so far... So what about having 1 pistol lower and 2 pistol uppers, and then a rifle upper and lower.
Basically a spare or hope to build another pistol when you get a lower at some point?

Would there be "constructive possession" with that #2 pistol upper? Or a spare barrel or two?

I do not yet have my FFL but do have a pistol lower and I am wanting to order some 7.5 inch barrels to sell and do not want to break any laws...

stan
04-02-2010, 10:34 PM
Yes - and BATF seems to take the position that it ONLY applies to T/C and is not general.

I'd bet for other guns/configurations they might try it. And they can bend the ear of a Asst US Attorney.

Given CA law already clearly creates C.P. for such a situation, one has to worry about that regardless of Fed interpretation.




Because you then have a 'lenity' issue and a legit prospective outcome for those parts. Each one of those objects (with both pistol and rifle lowers) all have legitimate possible configurations: a legal pistol and a legal rifle.

When possessing only a shorty upper in combination with a rifle lower, there is ONLY an illegal outcome (SBR) possible.


It's 'baiting', esp in a traffic stop. I'd keep 'em properly assembled.


thank you for the comprehensive response bill :)

i agree that it is baiting, i was just curious if there was an answer on that. SBR if the wrong pieces touch? :p