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kmm16
03-18-2006, 8:10 AM
I called DOJ to ask a question about serial numbers on homebuilt receivers, and they told me you need to contact your local law enforcement to have them validate your serial number. Has anyone dealt with this type of situation or are you allowed to just stamp your own on your receiver when you build? Thanks.

fun2none
03-18-2006, 9:53 AM
I called DOJ to ask a question about serial numbers on homebuilt receivers, and they told me you need to contact your local law enforcement to have them validate your serial number. Has anyone dealt with this type of situation or are you allowed to just stamp your own on your receiver when you build? Thanks.

The only reason to contact law enforcement about a serial number is for to verify the serial number is attached to firearm that was reported stolen or traced to a crime.

It would be a good idea to choose a unique number, like your CDL or telephone number is reverse order. Once your imprint it, the law says it can never be altered.

kmm16
03-18-2006, 10:33 AM
fun2none- Thanks for the reply. It sounded a little strange that we had to get local law enforcement approval for serial number imprints on home receivers. According to DOJ, once local law enforcement agrees that the serial number is ok, they contact DOJ to give approval. I don't know what this approval is for, but this is what I was told. Apparently this approval process take a long time. I don't know why DOJ mis-informs us.

bwiese
03-18-2006, 11:10 AM
Kmm16-

The DOJ advice about serial#s and local PDs is laughable. Law enforcement has no relationship to serial# issues other than checking them if something perceived as a possibly stolen gun comes their way. That DOJ verbal info is worth the paper it's written on and the desk clerk who told you of this must be smoking crack.

However - again! - please steer clear of homebuilt AR/AK receivers.

While there are DOJ letters that indicate a homebuilt "off-list" AR/AK receiver would be legal, those are not binding opinion letters.

There is, I feel, some chance that - if it ever entered court - one of the 58 DAs could somehow say that Harrott protections don't apply to homebuilt receivers as that is so impracticable that the decision couldn't cover those. The receiver could thus possibly fall back under Kasler, leaving you in a world of hurt. By contrast, despite the warnings from DOJ about regular off-list lowers, we have a very secure, clear, easy-to-read court decision protecting the legality of such items.

At this time there is no rational legal or financial reason to have a homebuilt receiver for AR/AK type guns.

EBWhite
03-18-2006, 12:55 PM
Lets say you build a 1919a4, are you required to put a serial number on it?

bwiese
03-18-2006, 2:14 PM
Lets say you build a 1919a4, are you required to put a serial number on it?

I think firearm, or what is considered a firearm frame for that type of firearm, should have some unique identifier. Probably best that you do not have two identical firearms/receivers with exact same markings just for safety's sake and clarity. Might make a traffic stop a bit easier.

California-Quigley
03-18-2006, 11:08 PM
i have a buddy that builds his own. for serial bumers he uses his driver's lic number and adds a dash. then a series number or letter....

but. I would stay away from it.... buy one. less hassle

artherd
03-18-2006, 11:42 PM
Lets say you build a 1919a4, are you required to put a serial number on it?
In CA, yes a serial number is required for any homebuilt firearm of any type. It is not 'optional'.

kmm16
03-19-2006, 9:59 AM
Guys- thanks for all the information.
1. It seems like a serial number is the correct thing to make sure all homebuilt firearms have.
2. It also seems that you don't have to check with law enforcement or DOJ on the number.

Builder
03-19-2006, 1:22 PM
However - again! - please steer clear of homebuilt AR/AK receivers.

While there are DOJ letters that indicate a homebuilt "off-list" AR/AK receiver would be legal, those are not binding opinion letters.

There is, I feel, some chance that - if it ever entered court - one of the 58 DAs could somehow say that Harrott protections don't apply to homebuilt receivers as that is so impracticable that the decision couldn't cover those. The receiver could thus possibly fall back under Kasler, leaving you in a world of hurt. By contrast, despite the warnings from DOJ about regular off-list lowers, we have a very secure, clear, easy-to-read court decision protecting the legality of such items.
Hi Bill,
With the full understanding that there is no current reason for a homebuilt AK/AR receiver, I've been meaning to ask you for some time what is it about Harrott and Kasler that make it is "impracticable" to do a homebuilt? If neither decision delt with homebuilt, what is it that allows for a carry over to homebuilt? Is there something about court decisions that implies the court's intent? Do they have to be specific or since they didn't address it, does it make for a new case? What is the legal reasoning that Harrott does not superceed Kasler? What triggers the fall back to Kasler? You know this stuff, so that' why I'm asking.
Thanks in advance,
Dave
PS What if there was an AK receiver with an AR FCG? ;-)

artherd
03-19-2006, 1:52 PM
Builder, you really need to read in full and understand the ENTIRE Harrott decision!

Here's a link off my server: http://cdglobal.net/gun/harrott-kings-county-casupct.pdf

In summary however, the entire basis for Harrott was that commercial production of firearms is so easy to monitor and keep track of, that the DOJ must do so and update the CCR list for a weapon to be an assault weapon. The ease with which commercial firearms (think, 07FFLs, corporations, advertising, etc.) can be regulated is all that led to a decision to strictly construe "Series" assault weapons as those specifically listed by make/model.

Homebuilts cannot reasonably be construed to be regulated in any kind of similar way, the DOJ will have no reasonable notice or knowledge of a homebuilt, and furthur it is actually easier to build a homebuilt than it is to update a list.

Wheras it is harder to incorporate, lease space, get an 07FFL, local licences, tool up, cappitolize materials, machine product, invest in inventory, invest in distribution, invest in advertising, and finally sell your first gun.

Best!
Ben.

Hi Bill,
With the full understanding that there is no current reason for a homebuilt AK/AR receiver, I've been meaning to ask you for some time what is it about Harrott and Kasler that make it is "impracticable" to do a homebuilt? If neither decision delt with homebuilt, what is it that allows for a carry over to homebuilt? Is there something about court decisions that implies the court's intent? Do they have to be specific or since they didn't address it, does it make for a new case? What is the legal reasoning that Harrott does not superceed Kasler? What triggers the fall back to Kasler? You know this stuff, so that' why I'm asking.
Thanks in advance,
Dave
PS What if there was an AK receiver with an AR FCG? ;-)

Builder
03-19-2006, 2:22 PM
Hi Ben,
Thanks for the answers.
Thank you for getting all this started!! And to you too, Bill!
I did read all of Harrott (including the disenting opinion), but not all of Kasler, and still need to ask these questions because I don't have the foundational understanding of the details of how legal decisions come about.
If Harrott was about commercial receivers, where did Kasler land? It always seems to be about the details that those of us not in the legal field, just don't know about.
In your opinion, how much of a change would an AK/AR homebuilt make it not an AK or AR series under Kasler? AR barrel with custom upper and lower, with an AR FCG?
Thanks again for all your great efforts!
Builder

artherd
03-19-2006, 2:49 PM
Hi Builder, my appologies on directing you to re-read :)

Absent Harrott quite simply we fall back to the statute law, which Kasler basically just affirmed. That "minor differences such as caliber, manufactuar, etc." still make a series gun a series gun.



Hi Ben,
Thanks for the answers.
Thank you for getting all this started!! And to you too, Bill!
I did read all of Harrott (including the disenting opinion), but not all of Kasler, and still need to ask these questions because I don't have the foundational understanding of the details of how legal decisions come about.
If Harrott was about commercial receivers, where did Kasler land? It always seems to be about the details that those of us not in the legal field, just don't know about.
In your opinion, how much of a change would an AK/AR homebuilt make it not an AK or AR series under Kasler? AR barrel with custom upper and lower, with an AR FCG?
Thanks again for all your great efforts!
Builder

Builder
03-19-2006, 3:12 PM
Hi Ben,
Thanks, I'm beginning to get it. Couldn't do it without your help!
I appreciate the teacher telling me to reread it! I hear it as, Dig deeper.
In Kasler, was there any indication as to how much of a change to an AK or AR would not make it an AR/AK series?
What is the underlying reasoning that Harrott doesn't superceed or clarify Kasler? My meaning is that if Kasler came first stating that yes the AR/AK series was part of the law's intentions and that Harrott clarified what and how that Kasler (AR/AK series) list was to be applied?
It almost seems like the Harrott decision took Kasler and directed how it was to be applied. I'm sure I've got something wrong here and would appreciate clarification.
Thanks again,
Builder

bwiese
03-20-2006, 1:41 PM
In Kasler, was there any indication as to how much of a change to an AK or AR would not make it an AR/AK series?

No, why would there be? Kasler just ruled that (1) Roberti-Roos was constitutional and, as a side effect, the AG had power to determine what were members of the "series" weapons.

Right after Kasler, we had "if it looks/works like an AR, it is an AR". Harrott just said that to be considered a member of the AR series, it first had to be declared/listed as such, that a trial court could not determine series membership, and that the AG/DOJ had the power to add series members without any external consultation. Harrott did add that if the DOJ strayed too far off the reservation and declared something a series member that was not, that could be challenged in court.

That has not come up in court yet - how much AR-ness does an AR have.

Some gun lawyers insist that a bare AR lower is not a member of the AR15 series, regardless of name, since to be a series member it has to have all the functionality of the exemplar of the series - which a bare lower of course does not. This is the kinda thing that gets hung up in court for years. (Remember, orig Harrott decision was in 96? and didn't get out of the Supremes until 2001!

What is the underlying reasoning that Harrott doesn't superceed or clarify Kasler?

It certainly did, as stated above. The 'series' issue was a very small part of Kasler. And Harrott just focused on the listing/promulgation aspects.

My meaning is that if Kasler came first stating that yes the AR/AK series was part of the law's intentions and that Harrott clarified what and how that Kasler (AR/AK series) list was to be applied?

It almost seems like the Harrott decision took Kasler and directed how it was to be applied. I'm sure I've got something wrong here and would appreciate clarification.

Yes, that's roughly it:
- part of Kasler said that AG can determine series membership. There was no clarity as to who else could do that - trial courts?
- Harrott said (1) trial courts cannot determine series membership and (2) it ain't a series member until officially and clearly listed in Calif Code of Regulations.

For your purposes, just don't build an AR/AK receiver, go buy one in standard commerce.

bwiese
03-20-2006, 1:45 PM
homebuilt ARs the Alison letter that was posted a while back gave the DOJ stance, Illegal.

There are conflicting letters on this. If you go to Calgunlaws, you will see another letter that says this is legal (I think Rieger? signed this, can't remember).

Regardless of this letter - which has no legal weight - you are truly exposing yourself to the 58 DAs here.

Unlike purchase of off-list lowers which are clearly protected by Harrott decision procedural matters by a well-written Supreme Court decision, a DA might be able to argue that there's no practical way homebuilt lowers could ever be banned by specific make/model, and thus Harrott would not apply. Thus there's a chance they could fall back under Kasler, which basically means "an AR is an AR is an AR...." and does not restrict series membership definition.

I do not know if this is a substantial risk or minor risk but it is a risk not worth taking when there are off-list lowers available for $175. For the life of me I cannot understand why someone wants to take a risk at this after they've been warned.

The person at DOJ who wrote the letter didn't perhaps think of this, but then he or she is not serving your jail time.

bwiese
03-20-2006, 2:01 PM
Just saw this...

With the full understanding that there is no current reason for a homebuilt AK/AR receiver, I've been meaning to ask you for some time what is it about Harrott and Kasler that make it is "impracticable" to do a homebuilt?

It's not that it's impracticable to build up an 80% lower, it's that it's logically and administratively impossible to ban, by make and model, every homebuilt receiver. The risk is that if it can't be listed it might not be subject to Harrott protections.

If neither decision delt with homebuilt, what is it that allows for a carry over to homebuilt? Is there something about court decisions that implies the court's intent?

The court's Harrott decision dealt with commercially made rifles identifiable by make & model. The risk is that it might not apply to homebuilts since there's a near infinite number of possibilities for make & model ("Billy Bob's AR #1", for example).

Do they have to be specific or since they didn't address it, does it make for a new case?

It really is somewhat unaddressed by Harrott.


What is the legal reasoning that Harrott does not superceed Kasler? What triggers the fall back to Kasler? You know this stuff, so that' why I'm asking.

I don't know this stuff. I just know where there is some risk - small, significant I dunno. Maybe it does or doesn't fall back to Kasler.

I just believe that the protection offered by Harrott is not absolute, this is an 'open area', and so you should stick with receivers in commercial circulation. This is why I wrote this in my FAQ. I like to take the clean solution when the alternate one is confusing and possibly legally 'dirty'.

Only a court case will tell. Got $45,000 to go thru an appeal up to the CA Supreme Ct?


PS What if there was an AK receiver with an AR FCG? ;-)

Probably not terribly relevant.

No one knows how much of a minor change or how many changes are required to move a gun out of a "series". The Sig 551 shares, for example, many elements of an AK action but is not an AK.