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View Full Version : FUD? Is building your own rifle illegal?


tacorican
02-12-2011, 7:55 PM
A shop in Campbell, CA told a friend of mine that it was illegal to assemble your own rifle / lower, etc unless you are a manufacturer and / or licensed dealer. My friend who was looking to purchase a lower was concerned about this information and changed his mind about buying one.
Hopefully I won't get flamed for asking this but I wanted to hear from you guys if this is true or just FUD because they want to sell what they have on the shelf.

Thanks in advance

BKinzey
02-12-2011, 7:57 PM
FUD

There are restrictions but generally you can build your own.

Added:
If the rifle will be in a legal configuration, it is completely legal to assemble it yourself.

jtmkinsd
02-12-2011, 8:00 PM
Pure and unadulterated FUD...superfreak FUD for that matter...ever hear of a "build party"? That's where a group of folks get together and...you guessed it...build their own rifles.

tacorican
02-12-2011, 8:08 PM
So there is nothing illegal about building a CA Compliant Off list lower with a Bullet button, correct? Uppers usually come fully assembled so I assume it is ok to slap that on an off list lower

BKinzey
02-12-2011, 8:11 PM
Correct.

If he want to buy each and every part individually or partially assembled, he can.

CSACANNONEER
02-12-2011, 8:14 PM
Snapping together an AR on a DROSed lower is a lot more mainsteam than manufacturing your own reciever without having to do any paperwork at all and not even neededing a serial number on it. Both are 100% legal.

bussda
02-12-2011, 8:35 PM
California has a zip (homemade) gun law on the books and it is illegal per statute. But, building a firearm to an existing commercial design is a grey area.

This was discussed much on Calguns a few years ago.

eta: I am speaking from a 80% unserialized frame (lower). Lowers or frames that are serialized, DROSed, and 4473'd are good to go.

JagerTroop
02-12-2011, 9:57 PM
California has a zip (homemade) gun law on the books and it is illegal per statute. But, building a firearm to an existing commercial design is a grey area.
This was discussed much on Calguns a few years ago.

eta: I am speaking from a 80% unserialized frame (lower). Lowers or frames that are serialized, DROSed, and 4473'd are good to go.

ATF says it's legal. California has no law against it. So, if by "grey area" you mean 100% legal, Yes, it's a grey area. :90:

Cokebottle
02-12-2011, 10:23 PM
So there is nothing illegal about building a CA Compliant Off list lower with a Bullet button, correct? Uppers usually come fully assembled so I assume it is ok to slap that on an off list lower
As long as it is for personal use, he can do anything he wants as long as he doesn't create an AW, SBR, SBS, Zip Gun, or some other prohibited type of gun.

It would be 100% legal for him to collect aluminum cans, melt them down, forge them into an AR lower pattern, machine that lower out to spec, and slap commercial or home-made parts onto it.

Cokebottle
02-12-2011, 10:26 PM
California has a zip (homemade) gun law on the books and it is illegal per statute. But, building a firearm to an existing commercial design is a grey area.
It's not even close to being a grey area.

Many 80% homebuilds are registered under the Vol-Reg procedure.


A "zip gun" would be if you took a piece of pipe with a .225 ID and rigged a mechanism to fire a .22lr through it.
"Zip gun" is taking something that was never intended to be a gun and making it into a gun.

Homebuilds based on 80% lowers are completely clear of that.

Cokebottle
02-12-2011, 10:28 PM
Yes, it's a grey area.
Maybe he's referring to his hands and workbench after working aluminum? :D

dfletcher
02-12-2011, 11:53 PM
A shop in Campbell, CA told a friend of mine that it was illegal to assemble your own rifle / lower, etc unless you are a manufacturer and / or licensed dealer. My friend who was looking to purchase a lower was concerned about this information and changed his mind about buying one.
Hopefully I won't get flamed for asking this but I wanted to hear from you guys if this is true or just FUD because they want to sell what they have on the shelf.

Thanks in advance

Did they venture a guess as to how DOJ plans on handling the 500,000 or so new "criminals" in CA? You should turn around and head back to Almaden Way ...... :)

Ford8N
02-13-2011, 4:28 AM
I get tired of constantly hearing of these anonymous shops giving bad advice.

PLEASE NAME THE SHOP!!!!!!

So the next person will avoid going there and posting here about the FUD they heard....

dwtt
02-13-2011, 4:33 AM
I get tired of constantly hearing of these anonymous shops giving bad advice.

PLEASE NAME THE SHOP!!!!!!

So the next person will avoid going there and posting here about the FUD they heard....

It's called Sportsmens Supply. They used to advertise in the San Jose Mercury News.
http://sportsmenssupply.com/

I went there once, and have never returned. It's a pathetic, cramped, and expensive store, but they're the only one in the area and they feel they are special because of this.

12voltguy
02-13-2011, 6:32 AM
It's called Sportsmens Supply. They used to advertise in the San Jose Mercury News.
http://sportsmenssupply.com/

I went there once, and have never returned. It's a pathetic, cramped, and expensive store, but they're the only one in the area and they feel they are special because of this.

Well with the internet the are no longer the only place to buy guns or gun parts.
you will have to drive to another FFL for transfers on guns that need DROSed
but other then that you can buy gun parts & ammo online sent to your house.
you can buy all the 80% stuff & jigs you want shipped right to your door
& all you need is a drill press, some bits & a mill bit.
good idea to get some ar tools, action block, mag bloch wrenches for AR, some punches, brass & or plastic hammers
youtube videos on building ar's are out there.
I currently have 4 80& ar lowers to build
ge the ones at TM, $80 or with jig $195
Avoid the ones on gun broker that look the same, I bought one before I found TM
same thing but he ups price to $120....I found TM before my GB one arived, yup same thing, he buys them & resells, nothing wrong with that, my bad for not searching google better before I bought,lol
these are more machined then some other 80%ers I have, they simply sent a sample to atf & got aproved
the others I have did not do as much so not only did they cost way more $$ they also have more work for me to do...
link
http://www.tacticalmachining.com/store/display-products.php?cid=49

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 6:59 AM
California has a zip (homemade) gun law on the books and it is illegal per statute. But, building a firearm to an existing commercial design is a grey area.

This was discussed much on Calguns a few years ago.

eta: I am speaking from a 80% unserialized frame (lower). Lowers or frames that are serialized, DROSed, and 4473'd are good to go.

There's no such thing as a "gray area" in the law. It is either legal or illegal. As far as I can tell (after reading a lot of ATF letters and speaking with ATF agents personally) it's 100% legal to build a firearm from an 80% receiver or a 0% receiver. I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't legal, on both a state and federal level, I would have had an official visit or two after the 8 or so build parties that I've publicly advertised. Instead, I've had countless LEOs (from local, state and federal agencies), who have done their own independent research, come to my parties to manufacture their own firearms. They would not have all come to the same conclusion and risked their careers if it wasn't 100% legal. So, please stop giving legal advise on subject that you don't know scat about!:p

jonyg
02-13-2011, 7:43 AM
pure unadulterated fud. A lot of shops don't know the latest laws or heard about gun-grabber's goal laws and thought they were real ones.

bussda
02-13-2011, 9:03 AM
Please note that a home made firearm (like an 80% build) is defined differently in California (see current PC12020(c)(10)) versus federal.

And just because you can do something does not mean it is legal.

markw
02-13-2011, 10:24 AM
Yup, looks like 12020(c)(10)(B) covers 80% lowers since they were originally designed to be firearms.

dreamerof1
02-13-2011, 10:34 AM
Please note that a home made firearm (like an 80% build) is defined differently in California (see current PC12020(c)(10)) versus federal.

And just because you can do something does not mean it is legal.

(10) As used in this section, a "zip gun" means any weapon or device which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It was not imported as a firearm by an importer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.

(B) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by a manufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.

(C) No tax was paid on the weapon or device nor was an exemption from paying tax on that weapon or device granted under Section 4181 and Subchapters F (commencing with Section 4216) and G (commencing with Section 4221) of Chapter 32 of Title 26 of the United States Code, as amended, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.

(D) It is made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.

(c) Small manufacturers, etc.
(1) In general
The tax imposed by section 4181 shall not apply to any pistol, revolver, or firearm described in such section if manufactured, produced, or imported by a person who manufactures, produces, and imports less than an aggregate of 50 of such articles during the calendar year.
(2) Controlled groups
All persons treated as a single employer for purposes of subsection (a) or (b) of section 52 shall be treated as one person for purposes of paragraph (1).

Hmm

Cokebottle
02-13-2011, 10:37 AM
Please note that a home made firearm (like an 80% build) is defined differently in California (see current PC12020(c)(10)) versus federal.

And just because you can do something does not mean it is legal.
So which specific section are you referring to?
(10) As used in this section, a "zip gun" means any weapon or device which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It was not imported as a firearm by an importer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(B) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by a manufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(C) No tax was paid on the weapon or device nor was an exemption from paying tax on that weapon or device granted under Section 4181 and Subchapters F (commencing with Section 4216) and G (commencing with Section 4221) of Chapter 32 of Title 26 of the United States Code, as amended, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(D) It is made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.
(A) is borderline applicable, since importation is not an issue, but no, it was not imported by a licensed importer.
(B) does not apply, since homebuilds follow the design of firearms which were designed to be a firearm by a manufacturer properly licensed
(C) does not apply to firearms built/modified for personal use.
(D) applies, as it does with all firearms...

however....

Look again at paragraph 10
(10) As used in this section, a "zip gun" means any weapon or device which meets all of the following criteria:
So even if there is no tax exemption for home building for personal use, (B) still does not apply since we are following the designs of established firearms.

bussda
02-13-2011, 10:40 AM
Subparagraph (B) applies if made by a licensed manufacturer.

bwiese
02-13-2011, 11:02 AM
Ignore bussda.

Note the word 'all' in the prefatory wording of the zip gun statute - in particular, legit homebrew guns are exempt from tax. Also, building a gun based on a common recognized design pattern, form factor, style and internal operational design avoids the 2nd item on the list.

It is entirely legal to build your own gun in CA, with a few caveats.

It is also legal to build your own handgun in CA providing it transitions thru a Roster-exempt status (12133PC-exempt dimensionally compliant single-shot pistol or dimensionally compliant single-action revolver) before you make it

The only concern is that the gun, during assembly, does not transition thru any illegal status (unsafe handgun, AW, unconventional pistol, etc.)

If this were not the case, we'd all be in jail now.

Numerous folks have voluntarily registered their homebuilt pistols with DOJ, and have communicated w/DOJ BoF on this subject - including Oaklander, a lawyer - after which the DOJ ran away.

Building your gun from a purchased receiver thru an FFL is even cleaner.
If that DROSed/4473 receiver is not a zip gun, then the resultant gun sure as hell ain't either!


Oh - Sportsmen's Supply in Campbell is the FUD distributor of the century. They're FINALLY selling S&W M&P15 OLL rifles w/BBs because S&W is shipping them from the factory that way as a cataloged item. I'll bet you there will be some more FUD coming from them soon that only the S&W OLLs are legal and the others aren't.

dreamerof1
02-13-2011, 11:14 AM
Subparagraph (B) applies if made by a licensed manufacturer.

(B) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by a manufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.

An 80% lower (let's assume ar pattern) would be considered an article sold for further manufacture. When an individual finishes it to function according to the AR pattern, it becomes a firearm DESIGNED by Armalite (A licensed manufacturer), manufactured by the individual.

dreamerof1
02-13-2011, 11:24 AM
And slightly more on topic, when I must shop at SS, I typically hold my nose and do my best not to engage the locals beyond pointing to what I want and handing over my cash.

cmichini
02-13-2011, 11:33 AM
A shop in Campbell, CA told a friend of mine that it was illegal to assemble your own rifle / lower, etc unless you are a manufacturer and / or licensed dealer. My friend who was looking to purchase a lower was concerned about this information and changed his mind about buying one.
Hopefully I won't get flamed for asking this but I wanted to hear from you guys if this is true or just FUD because they want to sell what they have on the shelf.

Thanks in advance

I don't think anyone's going to flame you because it's perfectly reasonable to follow up on such ludicrous statements that you hear from people you 'hope' have more knowledge than yourself.

However, you do have to take the bull dookey, steaming FUD that you usually get from gunshops and apply a little critical thinking to it.

Illegal to assemble your own rifle?

To apply thinking:
That means if you want to totally clean a gun you bought used (and was cruddy) you'd can disassemble it, clean it and then have to take it to an FFL to re-assemble?

I mean, just on the face of that, I think I'd be walking out of that shop laughing so hard I'd be at risk of peeing my pants. Of course that would be while I suggest they they file for tax credits for employing the mentally challenged.

MasterYong
02-13-2011, 6:31 PM
Maybe your buddy indicated he was going to have a friend help him? IANAL, but I was under the impression that it WAS illegal to build a rifle for a friend (for example, your buddy buys all the parts and you put it together for him because he's never done it) unless you had a manufacturing license/ffl/whatever.

I could be mistaken. I've always built my own so I never checked for sure.

Cokebottle
02-13-2011, 7:24 PM
Maybe your buddy indicated he was going to have a friend help him? IANAL, but I was under the impression that it WAS illegal to build a rifle for a friend (for example, your buddy buys all the parts and you put it together for him because he's never done it) unless you had a manufacturing license/ffl/whatever.

I could be mistaken. I've always built my own so I never checked for sure.
You are 99% correct.

You can have help. That's what build parties are all about, but you have to be the one that does the actual work of manufacturing the firearm.
Someone else can set up the tooling, or program the CNC, but you have to be the one to put the flat into the jig and operate the press, or push the "start" button on the CNC.

stillnotbob
02-13-2011, 8:03 PM
A shop in Campbell, CA told a friend of mine that it was illegal to assemble your own rifle / lower, etc unless you are a manufacturer and / or licensed dealer. My friend who was looking to purchase a lower was concerned about this information and changed his mind about buying one.
Hopefully I won't get flamed for asking this but I wanted to hear from you guys if this is true or just FUD because they want to sell what they have on the shelf.

Thanks in advance

It is only illegal if you are building them with intent to sell them. You would then be manufacturing without a license.

Building them for personal use if okay as long as you do not create a firearm in a configuration that is illegal in your area.