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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 07-30-2012, 2:38 PM
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Default convert semi-auto to full auto?

It is my belief that it is illegal to convert a semi-automatic rifle to a fully-automatic rifle in the US. In fact, I believe that it is illegal to even own the kits to perform the conversion.

But, I have this guy on another channel adamantly insisting that it is fully legal to do so (with a Class 3 license), and that "they sell full conversion kits [for] under $50."

I think he's basically on the web encouraging people to commit a crime, but I suppose it's possible there's something I don't know. Frankly, at this point I don't care if this guy, specifically, goes around committing federal felonies, but I'd just as soon not see him encouraging other people to do the same.

Anyway, am I right? I think the GCA's Hughes Amendment made this illegal, but maybe it's just a state-level thing.

Anyone have any cite's and references I can look at? My google fu is kind of letting me down here. I can find lots of references to the fact that this is illegal, but no actual pointers to the penal code.
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Old 07-30-2012, 2:46 PM
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Manufactures like Colt have the proper licenses to manufacture them, so it is not impossible. Dude buying $50 conversion kits likely doesn't have the proper paperwork. The conversion kit itself is the MG, so possessing it without all your I's dotted and T's crossed is both a federal and CA state felony.

Sorry I don't have the PC's for that memorized.
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Old 07-30-2012, 2:48 PM
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Not talking about an AR15, that's for sure.
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Old 07-30-2012, 2:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulgron View Post
It is my belief that it is illegal to convert a semi-automatic rifle to a fully-automatic rifle in the US. In fact, I believe that it is illegal to even own the kits to perform the conversion.

But, I have this guy on another channel adamantly insisting that it is fully legal to do so (with a Class 3 license), and that "they sell full conversion kits [for] under $50."

I think he's basically on the web encouraging people to commit a crime, but I suppose it's possible there's something I don't know. Frankly, at this point I don't care if this guy, specifically, goes around committing federal felonies, but I'd just as soon not see him encouraging other people to do the same.

Anyway, am I right? I think the GCA's Hughes Amendment made this illegal, but maybe it's just a state-level thing.

Anyone have any cite's and references I can look at? My google fu is kind of letting me down here. I can find lots of references to the fact that this is illegal, but no actual pointers to the penal code.
If you have the parts to complete a full auto conversion, the Feds will charge you. I have been told that they will assemble the parts into your weapon and if it fires, you'll get a warm welcome and a cavity search when you arrive at club fed...

Obviously it isn't quite that simple, but it surely isn't worth the risk...
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Old 07-30-2012, 2:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulgron View Post
It is my belief that it is illegal to convert a semi-automatic rifle to a fully-automatic rifle in the US. In fact, I believe that it is illegal to even own the kits to perform the conversion.

But, I have this guy on another channel adamantly insisting that it is fully legal to do so (with a Class 3 license), and that "they sell full conversion kits [for] under $50."

I think he's basically on the web encouraging people to commit a crime, but I suppose it's possible there's something I don't know. Frankly, at this point I don't care if this guy, specifically, goes around committing federal felonies, but I'd just as soon not see him encouraging other people to do the same.

Anyway, am I right? I think the GCA's Hughes Amendment made this illegal, but maybe it's just a state-level thing.

Anyone have any cite's and references I can look at? My google fu is kind of letting me down here. I can find lots of references to the fact that this is illegal, but no actual pointers to the penal code.
Having a Class 3 license to sell them would do nothing to allow the license holder to manufacture FA weapons. They would need somethng like 07-FFL manufacturers license and then submit the required paperwork to ATF upon creating the NFA regulated item.

Not sure on the legality for even an 07-FFL to convert an existing semi-auto to FA though.
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Old 07-30-2012, 2:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Untamed1972 View Post
Not sure on the legality for even an 07-FFL to convert an existing semi-auto to FA though.
I actually think this is legal, possibly so long as the firearm is old enough (pre-1986). However, my source of information on this is highly questionable so I'll just wait and see what people who are more familiar with federal law have to say about it.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:00 PM
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Constructive possession

12200. The term "machinegun" as used in this chapter means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can readily be restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. The term also includes any weapon deemed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as readily convertible to a machinegun under Chapter 53 (commencing with Section 5801) of Title 26 of the United States Code.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:00 PM
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Class #? FFL, SOT, paperwork I don't know anything about and 50 bucks worth of conversion parts can legally turn your gun into a demo FA gun.

ETA: In CA your odds are near nonexistent
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgron View Post
I actually think this is legal, possibly so long as the firearm is old enough (pre-1986). However, my source of information on this is highly questionable so I'll just wait and see what people who are more familiar with federal law have to say about it.
The main issue right now I would think is that once the new FA gun is created it could only be sold to limited sources...gov't/LE and maybe movies companies. So what really would be the point? Some old converted rifle is not something the gov't or LE is going to be interested in.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:07 PM
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Originally Posted by curtisfong View Post
Constructive possession

12200. The term "machinegun" as used in this chapter means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can readily be restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. The term also includes any weapon deemed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as readily convertible to a machinegun under Chapter 53 (commencing with Section 5801) of Title 26 of the United States Code.
Thanks. Link to this quote?
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Untamed1972 View Post
The main issue right now I would think is that once the new FA gun is created it could only be sold to limited sources...gov't/LE and maybe movies companies. So what really would be the point? Some old converted rifle is not something the gov't or LE is going to be interested in.
Conversion of a semi-auto Thomson to a full-auto at the request of a Sheriff's department is the one example I'm thinking of. It was an "on TeeVee" thing, though, so who knows if the situation was real or simply invented for ratings purposes.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:11 PM
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It is perfectly legal for a properly licensed individual or corporate entity (LLC, partnership, or a big corporation like Colt) to make machineguns. They need a manufacturing (07) FFL, and pay the SOT for "Title II" firearms, which includes machineguns, but also SBR/SBS, AOWs, and suppressors. Most of the time, this is shortened to 07/02 FFL. Once the title II firearm is made, the licensed person or firm submits what is known as a Form 2, notifying the ATF that they made a title II firearm. This puts it into the NFA registry.

So there is a legit market for conversion parts.

IIANAL, but I believe an unlicensed person may posses the parts if he/she does not posses the firearm that those parts are made for.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:18 PM
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Originally Posted by formerTexan View Post
It is perfectly legal for a properly licensed individual or corporate entity (LLC, partnership, or a big corporation like Colt) to make machineguns. They need a manufacturing (07) FFL, and pay the SOT for "Title II" firearms, which includes machineguns, but also SBR/SBS, AOWs, and suppressors. Most of the time, this is shortened to 07/02 FFL. Once the title II firearm is made, the licensed person or firm submits what is known as a Form 2, notifying the ATF that they made a title II firearm. This puts it into the NFA registry.

So there is a legit market for conversion parts.

IIANAL, but I believe an unlicensed person may posses the parts if he/she does not posses the firearm that those parts are made for.
And then they can sell and/or transfer those weapons to whom, exactly?

Military and police forces only, right? Okay, maybe Hollywood. But they aren't selling those to ordinary individuals even if those individuals are willing to pay the tax.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:19 PM
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bulgron:

Ugh sorry that is CA 12200, not fed

http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12200.php

Ignore.

Still looking for an NFA relevant reference for you.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:22 PM
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NFA equivalent is 26 U.S.C. sec. 5845(b):

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845

(b) Machinegun
The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Notice it is almost word for word identical to 12200

Also, like 12200, it isn't JUST constructive possession either; it could be simply the PART if it is "for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun"

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Old 07-30-2012, 3:31 PM
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You CAN legally put in the parts for conversion IF AND ONLY IF they were legally owned and in the registry prior to May 1986. Registered auto sears exist and they cost almost as much as the full gun itself because for legal purposes they are.
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Old 07-30-2012, 3:38 PM
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Well, all I know is that there's some gun owners on another channel who are convinced that I'm an idiot for telling them that they can't construct fully automatic firearms. I'm "arguing about things I don't know anything about" and "I should learn something about guns before I make these arguments." Also, if newly manufactured machine guns can't be sold into the civilian marketplace, how come "I can rent fully automatic machine guns at my gun club in Scottsdale."

These guys are making these arguments under their real names on a social networking site. My guess is that they're begging to have ATF come knocking on their doors, just to see what they have in their closets.
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Old 07-30-2012, 4:34 PM
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Also, if newly manufactured machine guns can't be sold into the civilian marketplace, how come "I can rent fully automatic machine guns at my gun club in Scottsdale."
They just answered their own question. The club can rent post-1986 machine guns but cannot sell them. Pre-86 can be privately owned. With the proper license you can manufacture and possess post-1986 machine guns, this license is not for collecting it is for business.
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Old 07-30-2012, 4:54 PM
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They just answered their own question. The club can rent post-1986 machine guns but cannot sell them. Pre-86 can be privately owned. With the proper license you can manufacture and possess post-1986 machine guns, this license is not for collecting it is for business.
Interesting. I assumed the gun club just had pre-1986 firearms. I didn't know a business could own them.
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Old 07-30-2012, 5:09 PM
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Interesting. I assumed the gun club just had pre-1986 firearms. I didn't know a business could own them.
Someone has to make them and sell them to Law Enforcement, military, people in the gun business and PMCs. PMCs are another private business that can own machine guns. Shooting ranges and dealers who possess the permits and licenses can. Additionally film makers do sometimes get the permits to use real machine guns in their movies, usually modified to fire blanks or just "deactivated". Top Shot has had machine guns on their show as well. Museums have real guns as well.

Just keep in mind these permits and licenses aren't for fun and collecting, their are solely for business.
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Old 07-30-2012, 5:14 PM
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Just keep in mind these permits and licenses aren't for fun and collecting, their are solely for business.
And, someday, to fulfill my rights under the Second Amendment, right?

Well ... probably not in my lifetime.... Sadly. Just look how long it's taking to convince the courts that may-issue carry permits aren't constitutional. sigh
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Old 07-30-2012, 5:37 PM
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So just for curiosities sake (I KNOW IT'S ILLEGAL TO MANUFACTURE THE PARTS) , can someone get in trouble for having a CNC, the schematics to make all the parts necessary for converting an AR to full auto, and the metal blanks, but no actual parts???
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Old 07-30-2012, 6:36 PM
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So just for curiosities sake (I KNOW IT'S ILLEGAL TO MANUFACTURE THE PARTS) , can someone get in trouble for having a CNC, the schematics to make all the parts necessary for converting an AR to full auto, and the metal blanks, but no actual parts???
I want to know the answer to that question, too. I know a guy that bought a pile of assorted gun books at a yard sale. Buried in the stack was one titled, "How to make your (name of firearm) full auto." Would such a book be illegal?
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Old 07-30-2012, 6:36 PM
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maybe the guy is selling auto sear for $50?
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Old 07-30-2012, 7:04 PM
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I want to know the answer to that question, too. I know a guy that bought a pile of assorted gun books at a yard sale. Buried in the stack was one titled, "How to make your (name of firearm) full auto." Would such a book be illegal?
I'd be surprised if the book wasn't protected under the 1A.
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Old 07-30-2012, 7:06 PM
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I'm fairly certain you can own individual parts from FA firearms (many parts kits contain these), but you can't own all the parts necessary to assemble a FA firearm (constructive posession), nor can you own a "conversion kit" such as an auto sear which would transform a SA -> FA.

If you look at the typical process for converting a FA tube gun like a Suomi to SA, typically the tube is made smaller, so that any FA parts you may happen to have or acquire in the future would not fit the newly created receiver.
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Old 07-30-2012, 7:08 PM
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I'd be surprised if the book wasn't protected under the 1A.
Agreed...


The Anarchist Cookbook was protected by the 1st Amendment...
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Old 07-30-2012, 7:11 PM
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Constructive possession is a mofo; it is broad and not very definitive. Literature is covered under the 1st Amendment. That being said, I felt a little strange just looking at one of those "Convert your (insert gun) into a machine gun" books with the ATF table literally right next to it at a Tucson Gun Show. As a general rule, stay away from auto FCG parts. Possession of a single part isn't illegal. Many hammers on the market are actually auto hammers with the spurs ground off (Spikes for example). Auto bolt groups are good to go, that has been talked to death. Most lowers on the market lack the happy hole and the low shelf to accomadate the auto parts anyways.
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Old 07-30-2012, 8:27 PM
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do not buy an auto seer if you own an AR unless it's a registered auto seer w/ NFA stamps... can't do it in CA either way.

constructive possession will get you.

low-shelf lower, full-auto bcg and a auto see I believe are all you need. 3rd pin maybe?
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Old 07-30-2012, 8:33 PM
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Over on m4carbine.net there is a member who is a sot FFL I believe and he made a Scar 17 full auto kit. So certain people with the right permits it is legal. I believe this was gonna be a demo gun or a sample for a police department.

ETA: its a Scar 16 http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread....R 16 auto sear

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Old 07-30-2012, 8:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Kokopelli View Post
I want to know the answer to that question, too. I know a guy that bought a pile of assorted gun books at a yard sale. Buried in the stack was one titled, "How to make your (name of firearm) full auto." Would such a book be illegal?
its legal it was sold by paladin press
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Old 07-30-2012, 8:56 PM
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go to U-tube and watch FPS russia he is always shooting fully auto weapons. so he should have a collectors lic?
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Old 07-30-2012, 9:14 PM
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My understanding of it is that even if you have the proper manufacturing licenses, the ATF will not approve the mfg of a fully automatic firearm unless you are building for a specific purpose (LEO/Military) and have documentation that they are requesting it.

The Form 1 has to be submitted before building the firearm and once approved, the building can commence.

As for others saying it is perfectly legal, there are those that choose not to pay income tax as it is unconstitutional. Many people believe certain things are legal and they might be; but that doesn't stop the government from successful prosecuting them.

Someday I hope to get a transferable full auto. Probably will be a MAC 10 or 11.
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Old 07-30-2012, 9:20 PM
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maybe the guy is selling auto sear for $50?
probably a lightning link, the free states version of the slide-fire stock
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:01 PM
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FWIW I've noticed the police always seem to frequently mention arresting a guy with 'plans to convert guns to full auto' as if reading material is dangerous.

I wouldn't go near anything having to do with full auto parts. A guy I worked with did 2 years in club fed for unregistered FA in California. They took every gun in his collection and hundreds of thousands in lawyers and fines.

Even a wealthy guy couldn't beat the time.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Intimid8tor View Post
My understanding of it is that even if you have the proper manufacturing licenses, the ATF will not approve the mfg of a fully automatic firearm unless you are building for a specific purpose (LEO/Military) and have documentation that they are requesting it.

The Form 1 has to be submitted before building the firearm and once approved, the building can commence.

As for others saying it is perfectly legal, there are those that choose not to pay income tax as it is unconstitutional. Many people believe certain things are legal and they might be; but that doesn't stop the government from successful prosecuting them.

Someday I hope to get a transferable full auto. Probably will be a MAC 10 or 11.
This is incorrect. An entity properly licensed as a 07/02 can make any Title II firearm, in addition to Title I firearms. A good example is the KRISS sub-machinegun. A very post-86 MG. Its inventor did not have any contracts to fill, but could still make it full-auto because they've paid the taxes to be a Title II manufacturer. They make one (or a hundred) and file the Form 2 with the ATF. If a dealer has a qualified customer (ex: a police department), then the dealer gets a letter from the PD and submits with it a Form 3 (tax free transfer between qualified entities) to the ATF. When the ATF approves it, KRISS can then send one or two to the dealer, after the dealer pays for these "post-86 dealer samples". The dealer is free to hang on to the post samples for future sales demos, or sell them to another dealer with a demo letter. The only time post-86 MGs can be transferred between dealers without a demo letter is if the seller is giving up/not paying their SOT for the following year. They can sell their MGs to any other Title II dealer or manufacturer without demo letters.

From what I've read, most entertainment industry firearm houses are also licensed as 07/02s, simply because it is more cost effective to build up a MG than find a transferable one. Unlike PDs and the military, these firms do not have any exemption to acquire post-86 MGs, although talk of laws giving them that exemption comes up often.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:31 PM
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Agreed...

The Anarchist Cookbook was protected by the 1st Amendment...
Even if it wasn't protected, the stuff is all over the internet and no government in the world can get that genie back in the bottle. All it takes is a google image search for "lightning link", a sawblade and a hacksaw and if "Red Dawn" ever arrives chances are obtaining a full auto AR this way for literally a few dollars is a matter of days at most. Completely hypothetically speaking of course. Not encouraging this, just trying to make a point. It's just not possible to outlaw knowledge.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:02 PM
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probably a lightning link, the free states version of the slide-fire stock
Thanks man didnt know about lightning link... bring on the apocalypse lol
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  #39  
Old 07-31-2012, 7:19 AM
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Originally Posted by formerTexan View Post
This is incorrect. An entity properly licensed as a 07/02 can make any Title II firearm, in addition to Title I firearms. A good example is the KRISS sub-machinegun. A very post-86 MG. Its inventor did not have any contracts to fill, but could still make it full-auto because they've paid the taxes to be a Title II manufacturer. They make one (or a hundred) and file the Form 2 with the ATF. If a dealer has a qualified customer (ex: a police department), then the dealer gets a letter from the PD and submits with it a Form 3 (tax free transfer between qualified entities) to the ATF. When the ATF approves it, KRISS can then send one or two to the dealer, after the dealer pays for these "post-86 dealer samples". The dealer is free to hang on to the post samples for future sales demos, or sell them to another dealer with a demo letter. The only time post-86 MGs can be transferred between dealers without a demo letter is if the seller is giving up/not paying their SOT for the following year. They can sell their MGs to any other Title II dealer or manufacturer without demo letters.

From what I've read, most entertainment industry firearm houses are also licensed as 07/02s, simply because it is more cost effective to build up a MG than find a transferable one. Unlike PDs and the military, these firms do not have any exemption to acquire post-86 MGs, although talk of laws giving them that exemption comes up often.

Thank you for clarifying. I got confused after reading this a while ago.

Quote:
Q: Does the GCA prohibit anyone from making a handgun, shotgun or rifle?

With certain exceptions a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or non-sporting shotgun from imported parts. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and approval by ATF. An application to make a machine gun will not be approved unless documentation is submitted showing that the firearm is being made for a Federal or State agency.

[18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105]
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Old 07-31-2012, 8:43 AM
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Originally Posted by formerTexan View Post
This is incorrect. An entity properly licensed as a 07/02 can make any Title II firearm, in addition to Title I firearms. A good example is the KRISS sub-machinegun. A very post-86 MG. Its inventor did not have any contracts to fill, but could still make it full-auto because they've paid the taxes to be a Title II manufacturer. They make one (or a hundred) and file the Form 2 with the ATF. If a dealer has a qualified customer (ex: a police department), then the dealer gets a letter from the PD and submits with it a Form 3 (tax free transfer between qualified entities) to the ATF. When the ATF approves it, KRISS can then send one or two to the dealer, after the dealer pays for these "post-86 dealer samples". The dealer is free to hang on to the post samples for future sales demos, or sell them to another dealer with a demo letter. The only time post-86 MGs can be transferred between dealers without a demo letter is if the seller is giving up/not paying their SOT for the following year. They can sell their MGs to any other Title II dealer or manufacturer without demo letters.

From what I've read, most entertainment industry firearm houses are also licensed as 07/02s, simply because it is more cost effective to build up a MG than find a transferable one. Unlike PDs and the military, these firms do not have any exemption to acquire post-86 MGs, although talk of laws giving them that exemption comes up often.
Of course, when I think about what the 2A was meant to be, and how we as individuals were supposed to be at least as well armed as our government forces, I have to shake my head when I read passages like the above. We went so very far wrong, once upon a time. And it all goes back to prohibition too.

Sad, really.
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