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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 07-15-2013, 8:29 PM
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Default legality of 80 % lower and lack of serial numbers

I put a post in centerfire rifles but maybe this is a better place. I searched and did not find anything. I had a run in with some sheriffs on BLM land and they said they were looking for shooters with AK's and AR rifles. I had both in a locked case in the truck, but told them about my Mosins and revolvers.

After the event, my shooting buddies became worried about me having a AR15 that I built from a 80% lower. They are concerned about a gun without serial numbers. A few days later they asked a couple of LEO and the LEO said they have an issue with a gun with no serial numbers.

I dont know what that means, but is there something I can print out to show that it is legal? I carry the Calguns flowchart to show why my feautureless AR has no bullet button.
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Old 07-15-2013, 8:46 PM
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Google it.
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/general.html
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 07-15-2013, 9:00 PM
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Although I believe you are not required to have a serial number for a legal firearm you have built for your own use with no intent for sale, the general consensus appears to be put a serial number on it anyways so you may avoid unnecessary problems. Your call.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:09 PM
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I did previously embrace the idea of not having to put serial numbers on homemade guns, but honestly, since it's going to possibly be an issue if an LEO encounter happens, and its a great way to track a weapon if it is stolen, I don't see the problem. It's a personal number, if nothing bad happens you are the only one who will ever see it, it's not tracked anywhere. So the benefits outweigh the negatives... Actually I can't really think of negatives.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Scott View Post
A few days later they asked a couple of LEO and the LEO said they have an issue with a gun with no serial numbers.

It's nice they have an issue with it, everyone can have an opinion in America, but they don't make the laws. You don't need to have a serial number on a gun you make if it's not sold. Could they potentially give you grief over it? Yes. And we see all the time on Youtube that police can give you grief for any random thing anyways (like using dogs for fake "alerts" to drugs when searching cars).
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:14 PM
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might as well just do it
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2013, 6:53 AM
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It is legal to own/possess a firearm that does not have a serial number.

You are also not required to register any firearms you build yourself for personal use.

However, if you are going to do it and/or if you sell it in the future, you will need to engrave the following info onto your home built firearm.

Required info:
Make (your name)
Location of where the firearm was made (city/state)
Model
Caliber
Serial Number

Engravings need to have a minimum depth of 0.003" and need to be no smaller than a print size of 1/16".

The engraved info will be needed for the Firearm Ownership Record, which you will need to complete and send to CA DOJ BOF along with the required fees, in order to register your home built firearm.
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Old 07-16-2013, 9:10 AM
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There is nothing that requires a personally manufactured weapon to be serialized unless you are selling it.

When a police officer runs into you, he likes to and wants to run a 12031 check to ensure the firearm isn't loaded.

In the process of doing so, California LE undoubtedly empowers themselves to run a check to see that the firearm isn't stolen. While in my opinion a violation of the 4th, the original probably cause that led to the inspection of 12031 is what enables them to do so (lame).

When they do NOT find a serial number, most ignorant law enforcement whose day job isn't to enforce or understand title 18 get uppity and stupid and start making up laws on their own, "presuming" the firearm is stolen.

The only criminal effect of a firearm built from an 80% stems from committing a crime with it, and it becomes a sentencing modifier in the event of a conviction. That is, if you use it to commit a crime and the crime is a misdemeanor / felony, you win the felony charge.
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Old 07-16-2013, 9:16 AM
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I'd agree with adding a personal serial number, there's no real downside.

My concern is why the heck were these deputies trolling around BLM land for people with "AK's and AR rifles"? There's still a LOT of FUD out there with regards to LEOs.
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Old 07-16-2013, 9:34 AM
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the big advantage, as i see it, by having a serial number engraved on a firearm of your manufacture would be it will not be recorded anywhere but ON that firearm...they can run the number alllll they wish and come up with zero (unless of course you have reported the firearm as being stolen and have given the authorities the serial number.)

put a serial number on it...(i'd make it personalized...like your drivers license #*, your favorite food, favorite beverage, favorite motorcycle, etc.)

*now that i think about it... a DL number might not be a good idea...what would LE think when they discover your firearms's serial number is the same as your DL?

and, i agree with the OP who says i'm more concerned about the trolling of public parks, etc for AR's and AK's...what gives with that? sounds more and more like "Big brother" emerging...
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:44 AM
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Put the serial # in the magwell, or under the grip or under the stock plate. Just make it less obvious IF you even plan to do it. This way, IF it is an issue, there is one and one you can use to identfy the weapon should it be stolen or confiscated and you can show it has one. No law says it has to be located at a certain location on the lower. So don't buy into the standard serail number placement front and center on the side.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the help. I now have a copy of a letter from the BATFE stating that it is legal to have a rifle with no serial number. I will put a copy in my gun case.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:22 AM
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1. Does the MAKER part really have to be your name?

2. Does the location have to ACTUALLY represent where the gun was made? Could you put "Tijuana, Mexico" for the location?

3. Does caliber have to be real? You cant dictate the caliber of a lower without the barrel.... So could I put "Caliber Unknown"
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Scott View Post
Thanks for the help. I now have a copy of a letter from the BATFE stating that it is legal to have a rifle with no serial number. I will put a copy in my gun case.
How did you get this letter? Is there any way that you could share it with us?
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:20 PM
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+1 on the copy of the letter. Need to put one in my case also. Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onlyincali View Post
1. Does the MAKER part really have to be your name?

2. Does the location have to ACTUALLY represent where the gun was made? Could you put "Tijuana, Mexico" for the location?

3. Does caliber have to be real? You cant dictate the caliber of a lower without the barrel.... So could I put "Caliber Unknown"
1. Yes, unless you have are licensed manufacturer and/or have a marking variance

2. Again, see marking variance. Even that may not apply though.

One and Two are the legal requirements per ATF guidelines. But as you're not legally required to put anything on your home-built firearm, I dont' see any reason why you couldn't put whatever you wanted on there and claim it as decorative engraving. I've got a Full-Auto marking near my selector switch even though the lower is semi-auto.

3. No. I've seen plenty of AR lowers (commercially manufactured and home-built) marked with "Multi" to indicate that they can be paired with upper receivers of different caliber. As far as I know, the caliber marking doesn't really mean anything. You could mark a home-built lower as 2.23 and then attach a 300 blackout upper or .410 shotgun without any legal issues.

Overall, you're not legally required to serialize a home-built firearm, but there's really no reason to not do so other than the nominal expense.
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Old 07-16-2013, 1:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Scott View Post
Thanks for the help. I now have a copy of a letter from the BATFE stating that it is legal to have a rifle with no serial number. I will put a copy in my gun case.
Did you write to the BATFE requesting the letter, or did you download it online? I would like a copy too, just in case.

Thanks
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Old 07-16-2013, 1:32 PM
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page 2

http://www.hoffmang.com/firearms/BAT...2004-11-09.pdf
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Old 07-16-2013, 3:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glock_this View Post
Put the serial # in the magwell, or under the grip or under the stock plate. Just make it less obvious IF you even plan to do it. This way, IF it is an issue, there is one and one you can use to identfy the weapon should it be stolen or confiscated and you can show it has one. No law says it has to be located at a certain location on the lower. So don't buy into the standard serail number placement front and center on the side.
See, I took the opposite approach. The serial # isn't going to be in their database anyway, so you might as well make the gun look as much like a regular AR lower as possible. There's no reason for them to even realize it's a 80% lower and start freaking out. So there's a picture where the logo goes and under that there's some text including a serial #.

Putting a serial # someplace weird is just going to annoy the LEO and there's just no percentage in it. Let them find the serial#! It doesn't mean anything and it'll make them happy. Mission accomplished.
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Old 07-16-2013, 6:02 PM
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Thanks, that goes in the safe and the case!
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Old 07-16-2013, 6:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Scott View Post
I put a post in centerfire rifles but maybe this is a better place. I searched and did not find anything. I had a run in with some sheriffs on BLM land and they said they were looking for shooters with AK's and AR rifles. I had both in a locked case in the truck, but told them about my Mosins and revolvers.

After the event, my shooting buddies became worried about me having a AR15 that I built from a 80% lower. They are concerned about a gun without serial numbers. A few days later they asked a couple of LEO and the LEO said they have an issue with a gun with no serial numbers.

I dont know what that means, but is there something I can print out to show that it is legal? I carry the Calguns flowchart to show why my feautureless AR has no bullet button.
Wow; I have an issue with leos making up laws.... the laws actually on the books are bad enough.

Whats in the Cal Penal Code is; "Licensed Manufactures" need to use serial numbers. PC 29010 goes over that and who needs to be a Licensed Manufacturer; and the rules as written hand that off to the Feds (still in PC29010). They talk about the US Code (re: Federal rules) and ATF deciding who needs to be licensed.

The Feds, in turn, say home builders who are not going to sell them do not need to be a Licensed Manufacturer to make their own gun (and that they may do so / make them).
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Old 07-16-2013, 6:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwatchdog View Post
It's nice they have an issue with it, everyone can have an opinion in America, but they don't make the laws. You don't need to have a serial number on a gun you make if it's not sold. Could they potentially give you grief over it? Yes. And we see all the time on Youtube that police can give you grief for any random thing anyways (like using dogs for fake "alerts" to drugs when searching cars).
yeah; where they walk the dog on the car to scratch the paint... Yep...
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Old 07-16-2013, 7:32 PM
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if the terrorists in sacramento have their way this year with sb47 or sb374, this issue will be moot by next year....
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Old 07-16-2013, 9:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Scott View Post
I put a post in centerfire rifles but maybe this is a better place. I searched and did not find anything. I had a run in with some sheriffs on BLM land and they said they were looking for shooters with AK's and AR rifles. I had both in a locked case in the truck, but told them about my Mosins and revolvers.

Please tell us the details. Did you record this encounter? Like has been suggested to every shooter on CalGuns......
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