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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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  #1  
Old 08-10-2008, 10:51 PM
oaklander oaklander is offline
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Exclamation Newbies' Guide® For Making an AR/AK Pistol and Staying Legal + Reg Instructions

There is a lot of interest in AR and AK pistols. Contrary to what some might think, they can be legally acquired in California. You just need to jump through some serious hoops.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. YOU CAN ONLY GET LEGAL ADVICE FROM YOUR LAWYER, AND I AM NOT YOUR LAWYER
.

That being said, here is how to get an AR / AK pistol in California. . .

1) You must start from either a DEDICATED pistol receiver or an 80 percent receiver. Whatever you do, NEVER ever build a pistol from a rifle receiver.

2) You can get a 100 percent pistol receiver by PPTing it from a LEO or someone who got one from a LEO. You can't just order one from out of state (or in state), since bare pistol receivers don't meet California's "safe handgun" laws.

3) When you build the pistol, you must be aware of ATF "constructive possession" issues. For example, having a short AR barrel and a bunch of unbuilt AR rifle receivers laying around is not a good idea. The general rule is to NEVER have the components for making an SBR in your custody or control. Unless, of course, you have a tax stamp from the ATF that allows you to possess a SBR! Even then, it would only apply to that specific SBR. So see above.

4) With respect to AK pistols (I am not an expert on building AR pistols), you MUST use a pistol trunnion for the rear trunnion. Using a rifle trunnion opens you up to constructive possession of an SBR, even if you do not affix a rifle buttstock to the pistol. I guess you could somehow weld up a rifle trunnion to not accept a stock, but it's easier to just buy one.

5) When you BUILD the pistol, it must be built as a single shot pistol. This is how you avoid the unsafe handgun laws (they don't apply to single shot pistols over a certain size).

Quote:
12133. [. . .] (b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to a single-shot pistol with a barrel length of not less than six inches and that has an overall length of at least 10 1/2 inches when the handle, frame or receiver, and barrel are assembled.
6) There appears to be no law that forbids you from LATER converting the single shot pistol to fire more than one shot. But you might wish to document your original build so that you can prove that you built a single shot pistol.

7) AR and AK pistols MUST have a fixed magazine (such as a BB) and must hold no more than 10 rounds in the mag.

Quote:
12276.1. (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following: [. . .] (4) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following: (A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer. (B) A second handgrip. (C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel. (D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip. (5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
8) DO NOT affix a forward vertical grip to your AK or AR pistol unless you have an AOW stamp from the ATF.

////////////


WHAT FOLLOWS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. YOU CAN ONLY GET LEGAL ADVICE FROM YOUR LAWYER, AND I AM NOT YOUR LAWYER
.

Now, you have a pistol. What is the next step?

There is SOME thought that there might be certain advantages to "voluntarily" registering your pistol. I can't go in to the details just yet.

There are drawbacks as well. One drawback is that the DOJ might just decide to come knocking on your door. IF you want to "register" your pistol, here is how to do it. Please remember that I am NOT YOUR LAWYER, and I disclaim any liability if anything bad happens to you!!!

Note that registration does not mean that you can unfix the magazine. It just means that you are in the DOJ's computer system, and this MIGHT give you certain advantages dealing with LEOs.

That being said, go to http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/volreg.pdf and fill out the application online and print it. Here is how to fill it out:

Put "semi-auto" for the type of handgun. EDIT: I put "semi-auto" on mine, but Bill has suggested putting "single shot."

The "Make" can be anything you want, as I will explain later.

The "Model" can be anything you want (just don't duplicate a banned model). My AK pistol is a "Model K."

The caliber is 5.56 or 7.62 (or 5.45). Note that they are not asking for the cartridge size.

The "Origin" is U.S. or United States.

Where is says "Acquired From" put "other" then write in "Self Built."

The make, model and serial number should be stamped or etched on the receiver. The markings must be at least .005 deep to match federal requirements. I know there are some 07's and SOT's on the board, and they may suggest other things that you may put on the gun as well. What I'm talking about is the bare minimum to allow you to truthfully fill out the volreg form. I am not referring to what 07's must put on firearms (like location where made).

Once you have filled out the form and sent your $19 check to the DOJ, be prepared to wait about 3 months to hear from them. If you DON'T hear from them, call this person:

Shannon at 916-227-3680.

Be nice to her, as she is the person that actually enters YOUR data into their database.

She will probably want to know the "make" of your pistol and will tell you that "Joe Smith Armory" is not in their database. That is fine.

What you should tell her is that you built the pistol from a kit, and that YOU are the "make." Then *very nicely* ask her to enter "Made in the USA" as the make. That is what they use when they don't have a make in their database. Shannon is not concerned about the fact that your pistol is single shot, that it has a mag-lock, or that it is based on the Stoner or Kalish design. She is not concerned about Calguns. So don't waste her time with that information. All she needs to do her job is the information that you provided on the form, and your respectful request to use "Made in the USA" as the make.

The main thing is to be nice to Shannon. She is a nice woman, so you should be nice to her. Talk ONLY to Shannon. Do not talk to anyone else.

Whatever you do, DO NOT talk to the following people:

Brent George
Dana McKinnon

Brent George is under the impression that an 80 percent receiver can never be bent into a pistol receiver. He gave me a line of crap about that until he realized that I was a lawyer. Then he clammed up, and refused to document his statements in an email. Here is his email:

Quote:
Mr. X,

This is in response to your recent correspondence to the Bureau of Firearms, regarding your "single-shot pistol that I built from an 80 percent receiver" (your words). You did not identify yourself as an attorney when asking the Bureau of Firearms for information. Unfortunately, all specific inquiries from attorneys must be submitted to the Department of Justice Public Inquiry Unit. You may contact the Public Inquiry Unit at (916) 324 - 5500 for further assistance. Bear in mind that the Bureau of Firearms cannot offer you legal advice, legal opinions, or legal interpretations.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Brent George
Staff Services Analyst
California Department of Justice
Bureau of Firearms
Training, Information, and Compliance Section

(916) 263 - 4868
Dana McKinnon is no better:

He tried to tell me that AK and AR pistols were illegal because they were "series" weapons. He got quiet after I cited Harrot to him.

Now I've basically given you guys some real inside information. Eventually the DOJ will see this post and try and shut down pistol registration for AK's and AR's. If they do that, they will get hit with another petition to the OAL, since any attempt to do that would be an underground regulation.

It's also possible that Shannon might get some instructions around these registrations. If you get ANY pushback from Shannon, please realize that it is not her. Please let me know, and I will take the appropriate action (such as calling her boss to find out what's up).

Although PERFECTLY LEGAL to the letter of the law, AK and AR pistols are a new thing. And it has not been determined how the DOJ will react when they find out that hundreds of California citizens are building them.

EDIT: please remember that this whole pistol registration tactic is in "beta" right now. I can't predict how the DOJ will react to getting a bunch of these. So this endeavor is most appropriate for those Calgunners who are not risk adverse, and/or have ready access to an attorney.

Last edited by oaklander; 08-25-2008 at 8:45 PM..
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2008, 10:56 PM
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I'm going to go public w/ a kickass way to permanently document your build as a single shot . . . in about a week maybe, stay tuned
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:50 PM
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Is it that new-fangled device known as a camera?



Quote:
Originally Posted by thedrickel View Post
I'm going to go public w/ a kickass way to permanently document your build as a single shot . . . in about a week maybe, stay tuned
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:17 AM
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You're making it too easy Oak!



If you want it, you should work for it!
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2008, 12:19 AM
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LOL! My singular purpose in life is to help spread the EBR disease!

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You're making it too easy Oak!



If you want it, you should work for it!
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
Is it that new-fangled device known as a camera?

Nope, much more tangible than images or video. Much better to CYA. You will probably want one yourself
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:24 AM
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Ah, I already know what it is. . .



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Originally Posted by thedrickel View Post
Nope, much more tangible than images or video. Much better to CYA. You will probably want one yourself
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Old 08-11-2008, 4:30 AM
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"You did not identify yourself as an attorney when asking the Bureau of Firearms for information. Unfortunately, all specific inquiries from attorneys must be submitted to the Department of Justice Public Inquiry Unit. You may contact the Public Inquiry Unit at (916) 324 - 5500 for further assistance. Bear in mind that the Bureau of Firearms cannot offer you legal advice, legal opinions, or legal interpretations."

So...this is the DOJ's policy. If you are not an attorney, they can spread FUD to the little people. I wonder if Jerry Brown is aware of these cowboys spreading lies?
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Old 08-11-2008, 8:03 AM
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LOL, yes right after that happened, I got to thinking "do I have to identify myself as an attorney every time I make a phone call to anyone?"

"I'd like to make dinner reservations, but you must know that I'm an attorney."




The reason that I didn't identify myself as an attorney was that I was calling for MYSELF. If this rule was true, and I doubt it is, then it means there's a whole class of people in California, who are forbid by policy, from talking with anyone at the DOJ (except to the PIU).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford8N View Post
"You did not identify yourself as an attorney when asking the Bureau of Firearms for information. Unfortunately, all specific inquiries from attorneys must be submitted to the Department of Justice Public Inquiry Unit. You may contact the Public Inquiry Unit at (916) 324 - 5500 for further assistance. Bear in mind that the Bureau of Firearms cannot offer you legal advice, legal opinions, or legal interpretations."

So...this is the DOJ's policy. If you are not an attorney, they can spread FUD to the little people. I wonder if Jerry Brown is aware of these cowboys spreading lies?
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Old 08-11-2008, 9:47 AM
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Well then if BoF cannot offer legal interpretation how in tarnation can they enforce such law? Geeez.
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Old 08-11-2008, 9:48 AM
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Big question, seeings how you mentioned 5.45 pistols:
I was under the impression (vaguely) that nobody makes (or at least doesn't advertise the fact that they have made) a 5.45 pistol due to the federal law issues regarding pistols and imported steel core ammo.
I do not believe that there is anything illegal about making a 5.45 pistol, but if a lot of people in Cali register 5.45 pistols, then are we risking the ATF then saying that its a pistol caliber and people can't import the surplus ammo anymore?
If I am wrong, school me.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptoguy2002 View Post
Big question, seeings how you mentioned 5.45 pistols: I was under the impression (vaguely) that nobody makes (or at least doesn't advertise the fact that they have made) a 5.45 pistol due to the federal law issues regarding pistols and imported steel core ammo. I do not believe that there is anything illegal about making a 5.45 pistol, but if a lot of people in Cali register 5.45 pistols, then are we risking the ATF then saying that its a pistol caliber and people can't import the surplus ammo anymore?
If I am wrong, school me.
You may very well have a valid point. Remember how Olympic Arms screwed the pooch for us with their OA9x pistol chambered in 7.62x39?

If however the 5.45 ammo were regarded as functionally/structurally equivalent to M855 5.56 ammo then things may be OK though.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:19 AM
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Can a pistol caliber be registered as "multi"?
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:26 AM
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This is going to get interesting.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptoguy2002 View Post
Can a pistol caliber be registered as "multi"?
In theory it should. If they won't, register it in its original/primary caliber.

The "multi"/"8888" caliber designator was for SB23 AW registrations in 2000.
(It was supplementary identifying info not required by law.)

There's no law banning changes of calibers - must be tons of 357/40 conversion out there, 10mm or 22LRs on 45ACPs, 9mm cylinders for 38/357 revolvers, etc.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:02 PM
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Or register it as a Caliber .215?
Same thing, less obvious?
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
In theory it should. If they won't, register it in its original/primary caliber.

The "multi"/"8888" caliber designator was for SB23 AW registrations in 2000.
(It was supplementary identifying info not required by law.)

There's no law banning changes of calibers - must be tons of 357/40 conversion out there, 10mm or 22LRs on 45ACPs, 9mm cylinders for 38/357 revolvers, etc.
Not to mention Thomson/Centers handguns.
Before "safety" laws when you COULD buy a bare receiver, what did they put for caliber then?
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Old 08-11-2008, 1:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpled View Post
Not to mention Thomson/Centers handguns.
Before "safety" laws when you COULD buy a bare receiver, what did they put for caliber then?
There was a box on the form to check that was "frame only" - but I don't remember which form it was. I'm sure someone else will be along soon with a better memory.

all the best,

Mike
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Old 08-11-2008, 3:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
5) When you BUILD the pistol, it must be built as a single shot pistol. This is how you avoid the unsafe handgun laws (they don't apply to single shot pistols over a certain size).

6) There appears to be no law that forbids you from LATER converting the single shot pistol to fire more than one shot. But you might wish to document your original build so that you can prove that you built a single shot pistol.

<SNIP>

Put "semi-auto" for the type of handgun.
Is the part in bold correct?
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Old 08-11-2008, 3:16 PM
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Oak, I'd register it as an SSP. Any semiauto conversion can come after reg submitted/received.
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Old 08-11-2008, 3:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
Oak, I'd register it as an SSP. Any semiauto conversion can come after reg submitted/received.
Bill, good point - I will edit.
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Old 08-11-2008, 5:53 PM
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What was the initial holdup with the registration? They cashed my check back in January or February, I haven't got anything back.
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Old 08-11-2008, 6:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandal View Post
What was the initial holdup with the registration? They cashed my check back in January or February, I haven't got anything back.
You need to do this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by oak
Once you have filled out the form and sent your $19 check to the DOJ, be prepared to wait about 3 months to hear from them. If you DON'T hear from them, call this person:

Shannon at 916-227-3680.

Be nice to her, as she is the person that actually enters YOUR data into their database.

She will probably want to know the "make" of your pistol and will tell you that "Joe Smith Armory" is not in their database. That is fine.

What you should tell her is that you built the pistol from a kit, and that YOU are the "make." Then *very nicely* ask her to enter "Made in the USA" as the make. That is what they use when they don't have a make in their database. Shannon is not concerned about the fact that your pistol is single shot, that it has a mag-lock, or that it is based on the Stoner or Kalish design. She is not concerned about Calguns. So don't waste her time with that information. All she needs to do her job is the information that you provided on the form, and your respectful request to use "Made in the USA" as the make.

The main thing is to be nice to Shannon. She is a nice woman, so you should be nice to her. Talk ONLY to Shannon. Do not talk to anyone else.

Whatever you do, DO NOT talk to the following people:

Brent George
Dana McKinnon
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Old 08-11-2008, 7:48 PM
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Right, I'm just trying to understand where the problem is with home-builts in the DOJ registration process that can be fixed with a phone call. Is it a "Just don't register it until he complains" passive-aggressive thing?

I have done voluntary regs on normal pistols in the past and it is straightforward.
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Old 08-11-2008, 9:01 PM
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DOJ doesn't appear to have the ability to add new manufacturers to their registration database.

-Gene
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Old 08-12-2008, 2:13 AM
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Gene is correct. There's a "fall back" called "made in the USA" but they won't tell you about it unless you ask.
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Old 08-12-2008, 2:41 AM
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This is just for homebuilds right?

I was under the impression that when I bought all of my dedicated AR single shots that they were registered.
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Old 08-12-2008, 3:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkSkunk View Post
This is just for homebuilds right?

I was under the impression that when I bought all of my dedicated AR single shots that they were registered.
Yes, if you got them via a FFL then this does not apply.
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Old 08-12-2008, 6:19 AM
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Is it even worth having it registered under the "wrong" manufacturer? If somebody ran the numbers would they say "Nope, not registered" since the manufacturer is not what is on the gun?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
Gene is correct. There's a "fall back" called "made in the USA" but they won't tell you about it unless you ask.
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Old 08-12-2008, 6:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
7) AR and AK pistols MUST have a fixed magazine (such as a BB) and must hold no more than 10 rounds in the mag.

I just wanted to add that the above only applies to pistols that are configured as semi automatic.

there is no magazine detachment/capacity restrictions on pump action pistols, straight pull bolt action pistols or other manually operated types.

If you can figrue out how to run a lever action ar15, then you can do it with detachable mags.

Thanks for getting this out in the open oaklander. you're a credit to the community.
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  #31  
Old 08-12-2008, 7:08 AM
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Add something concerning threaded barrels/flash hiders/other attachments - Legal with fixed mag? Permanent attachment? ect.
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Old 08-12-2008, 5:00 PM
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Thanks AJAX!

Good points, and yes - I do really enjoy sharing information like this!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by AJAX22 View Post
I just wanted to add that the above only applies to pistols that are configured as semi automatic.

there is no magazine detachment/capacity restrictions on pump action pistols, straight pull bolt action pistols or other manually operated types.

If you can figrue out how to run a lever action ar15, then you can do it with detachable mags.

Thanks for getting this out in the open oaklander. you're a credit to the community.
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Old 08-12-2008, 5:05 PM
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Here's the code. Just don't install a forward grip - that violates Federal law unless you have a tax stamp.

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12276.1. (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following: [. . .] (4) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following: (A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer. (B) A second handgrip. (C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel. (D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip. (5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
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Add something concerning threaded barrels/flash hiders/other attachments - Legal with fixed mag? Permanent attachment? ect.
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  #34  
Old 08-12-2008, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Wiggawam View Post
Yes, if you got them via a FFL then this does not apply.
So, if I purchased this yugo m82, have it's gas piston removed out of state, then shipped into the state as a single shot, same thing? DROS takes care of the registration?
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  #35  
Old 08-13-2008, 10:46 AM
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So, if I purchased this yugo m82, have it's gas piston removed out of state, then shipped into the state as a single shot, same thing? DROS takes care of the registration?
Remove the piston and Mag-Lock or BB it and get LEO can PPT it to you, but since it's a pistol it has to be on the "Safe-Approved" gun roster for California, so that's the only way to do it.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torsf


So, if I purchased this yugo m82, have it's gas piston removed out of state, then shipped into the state as a single shot, same thing? DROS takes care of the registration?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordoe
Remove the piston and Mag-Lock or BB it and get LEO can PPT it to you, but since it's a pistol it has to be on the "Safe-Approved" gun roster for California, so that's the only way to do it.
Incorrect. due to partial info. While an LEO PPT sale is allowable, a functional single shot is indeed exempt from Rostering - if done properly. In fact, most off-list AR pistols imported into CA are being imported as 12133PC Roster-exempt single-shot pistols.

Damn, I'm seeing misconceptions about single-shot status. A piston-removed gun is not a friggin' single shot, dammit! Getting a pistol out of AW status is not the same as making it an exempt single-shot pistol. YOU HAVE TO DO BOTH, otherwise you're just choosing the way you wanna get screwed.

To be clearly 12133PC "Roster-exempt" via single-shot pistol status:
  • be dimensionally compliant (6" min bbl length/10.5" min overall length);
  • remove gas piston/close gas port (the latter is also for safety);
  • install single-shot 'sled' (on ARs these exist for 80gr VLD loads that don't feed in magazines) device;
  • lock down sled device with some kinda lock just to be on safe side;
  • if importing gun/receiver, have these changes done OUTSIDE CA before crossing into state to avoid issues w/unclear 12125PC importation language: DON'T have your FFL import the pistol into CA (as a non-AW) then render single-shot status in his shop.
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  #37  
Old 08-13-2008, 6:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
Incorrect. due to partial info. While an LEO PPT sale is allowable, a functional single shot is indeed exempt from Rostering - if done properly. In fact, most off-list AR pistols imported into CA are being imported as 12133PC Roster-exempt single-shot pistols.

Damn, I'm seeing misconceptions about single-shot status. A piston-removed gun is not a friggin' single shot, dammit! Getting a pistol out of AW status is not the same as making it an exempt single-shot pistol. YOU HAVE TO DO BOTH, otherwise you're just choosing the way you wanna get screwed.

To be clearly 12133PC "Roster-exempt" via single-shot pistol status:
  • be dimensionally compliant (6" min bbl length/10.5" min overall length);
  • remove gas piston/close gas port (the latter is also for safety);
  • install single-shot 'sled' (on ARs these exist for 80gr VLD loads that don't feed in magazines) device;
  • lock down sled device with some kinda lock just to be on safe side;
  • if importing gun/receiver, have these changes done OUTSIDE CA before crossing into state to avoid issues w/unclear 12125PC importation language: DON'T have your FFL import the pistol into CA (as a non-AW) then render single-shot status in his shop.
Thanks for clearing that up.
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  #38  
Old 08-13-2008, 6:40 PM
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How do you deal with this:

(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip

I mean all of these are outside of the pistol grip?
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  #39  
Old 08-13-2008, 6:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMONEY View Post
How do you deal with this:

(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip

I mean all of these are outside of the pistol grip?

A fixed magazine firearm with fixed mag in place and/or BB installed does not have capacity to accept a detachable magazine - remember, 'detachable magazine' is defined in 11 CCR 5469(a).
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  #40  
Old 08-13-2008, 6:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford8N View Post
"You did not identify yourself as an attorney when asking the Bureau of Firearms for information. Unfortunately, all specific inquiries from attorneys must be submitted to the Department of Justice Public Inquiry Unit. You may contact the Public Inquiry Unit at (916) 324 - 5500 for further assistance. Bear in mind that the Bureau of Firearms cannot offer you legal advice, legal opinions, or legal interpretations."

So...this is the DOJ's policy. If you are not an attorney, they can spread FUD to the little people. I wonder if Jerry Brown is aware of these cowboys spreading lies?
I'd be MORE upset that the fact remains, that attorney or not, you are still a citizen and for all realistic interpretations, a "Customer" of the Bureau of Firearms. If I was a lawyer, I'd take this BS all the way up. Your legal profession does not give the government a right to treat you differently and relieve them of their duties providing the proper services that their agency is paid for by the tax payers to perform, including, assisting you as a citizen to comply with the law. If their role is to uphold the law, seems only logical to me, that their agency would desire to help you perform the task you wish if it is legal... well.. legally! That's their whole mission to the taxpayers who desire to keep within the law voluntarily, even if it means dealing with their sorry excuse for professionalism and relevant knowledge in the area for which they are responsible to serve the public good.

But hey, I'm from Kansas.. we look at things a little differently.
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Last edited by TheDM; 08-13-2008 at 6:57 PM..
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