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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 03-27-2008, 5:13 PM
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Default Want an AR pistol with removable magazine - LEGALLY?

I was sitting at work today and a thought popped into my head. Instead of doing a what if, I am going to go through a quick scenario so we are all on the same page.

There is a man living in California. He is fictional. We will call him Calvin Gunner.

So Mr. Cal Gunner gets it into his head that he wants a nice, neat, exotic toy and goes out and uses one of the several legal methods to acquire a single shot AR pistol. The AR pistol is not legally questionable in its capacity or the method by which the magazine is attached. For the sake of keeping things sinple, it's a single shot bob-sled type magazine and uses a Prince50 or other similar locking device that can not facilitate rapid magazine 'repairs'.

He is happy and the world did not blow up.

Some unidsclosed amount of time later he decides he wants to put a forward pistol grip on the pistol. He applies to his local CLEO and is denied. He follows alternate routes and legally files an 01 application with the BATFE to manufacture an AOW. All paperwork is filled out properly and the application is mailed off.

Several weeks later he receivers a confirmed application from the BATFE along with hte voided tax stamp. He takes his AR reciever out and has it engraved with his name and location. He purchases a railed forend and a vertical grip. He installs both and is happy.

Now comes the tricky part. He removes the magazine lock, removes the magazine and slams a legally owned 30 rounder home...

Did he break the law? I say 'no'. Can anyone prove me wrong?

Before everyone jumps on my back, THINK about this for a second:

The firearm was is not a listed firearm under Robert-Rossi, nor is it a series weapon, so it's not an assault weapon by name or series. It was NEVER a rifle so 12276.1(a)(1)-(3) don't apply and the BATFE says it's no longer a handgun as defined by the National Firearms Act, and you have your approved application and voided tax stamp to prove it.

Assuming you registered the firearm with the BATFE under the NFA and all markings are made then it's legal on a federal level. The firearm is not prohibited in California as long as it follows federal law. It's not listed nor is it neither a rifle nor a handgun, which is why you had to register it as an Any Other Weapon, so California's assault weapon characteristics laws don't apply.

You print out a copy of California's penal code stating AOWs are legal as long as they are registered, you show them the BATFE approved application, and you should be good to go if anyone questions you.

So where is my logic wrong? The way I see it, add $200 and a couple extra weeks onto any "handgun assault weapon" and you can have your cake and eat it too.
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:19 PM
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Why are you so sure it can't be both an AOW for purposes of federal law and california law and also a "semiautomatic pistol" for purposes of the CA AW laws? Isn't the question can something be a "pistol" and an "AOW" at the same time.
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calguns2000 View Post
Why are you so sure it can't be both an AOW for purposes of federal law and california law and also a "semiautomatic pistol" for purposes of the CA AW laws?
Because once the forward pistol grip is placed on the handgun, it no longer fits the definition of a firearm that is a handgun. That's why it has to registered under the NFA. Once it requires two hands to fire, it's no longer a handgun.
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoWeird View Post
Because once the forward pistol grip is placed on the handgun, it no longer fits the definition of a firearm that is a handgun. That's why it has to registered under the NFA. Once it requires two hands to fire, it's no longer a handgun.
But the AW ban talks about "pistols" not handguns.
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:27 PM
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It still qualifies as a pistol under CA's definition of a pistol, though.

ETA:

Quote:
12001. (a) (1) As used in this title, the terms "pistol,"
"revolver," and "firearm capable of being concealed upon the person"
shall apply to and include any device designed to be used as a
weapon, from which is expelled a projectile by the force of any
explosion, or other form of combustion, and that has a barrel less
than 16 inches in length. These terms also include any device that
has a barrel 16 inches or more in length which is designed to be
interchanged with a barrel less than 16 inches in length.

(2) As used in this title, the term "handgun" means any "pistol,"
"revolver," or "firearm capable of being concealed upon the person."
(b) As used in this title, "firearm" means any device, designed to
be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a
projectile by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacode...000-12003.html

I think I'm gonna have fun with this.

If, in your scenario, Calvin were to build an AR from a receiver not used as a rifle, without a stock, and with an upper with a barrel measuring over 16", it could be argued that he would be using something that is neither rifle nor pistol. I'd be careful with the AR, though, looking at the last bit. The quick-swappable uppers might get you in Dutch. An AK would be safer.
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  #6  
Old 03-27-2008, 5:43 PM
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MSage & others are correct.

The only NFA thing that pulls a gun out of another category in relation to CA law is where 12020(b)(8) stops an NFA-reg'd AOW from being considered an SBS.
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Last edited by bwiese; 03-27-2008 at 6:17 PM.. Reason: edited for approp. PC section...
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:51 PM
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This scenario has been brought up a couple times in the SBS/SBR/AOW thread, and I don't see a way around the AW pistol rules via an AOW build due to 12001a like M.Sage mentioned.

But by all means, keep digging through the code and see what you can find. Who knows, the exemption may be hiding there somewhere and we haven't found it yet.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:10 PM
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I don't understand the fascination with single shot pistols. What is so appealing about them?
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
MSage & others are correct.

The only NFA thing that pulls a gun out of another category in relation to CA law is where 12280(b)(8) stops an NFA-reg'd AOW from being considered an SBS.
I can't find 12280(b)(8). I can only find 1-4 in (b)...

Did I miss something?
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Sage View Post
I can't find 12280(b)(8). I can only find 1-4 in (b)...

Did I miss something?
Sorry, typo - I meant 12020(b)(8). I corrected my post above.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scewper View Post
I don't understand the fascination with single shot pistols. What is so appealing about them?
its the novelty. the 2 foot fireball coming out of a 9 inch barrel ak pistol is a lot of fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u0lCT0K8i0

note the little flash of fire down near the bottom of the screen. the camera isnt fast enough to catch the fireball every shot so its missing alot and it never caught the blast in full bloom.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scewper View Post
I don't understand the fascination with single shot pistols. What is so appealing about them?
Who said anything about single-shot pistols. I can absolutely guarantee the pistol in this "example" is not single shot.

Single shot is solely the exemption used to allow the purchase of an AR or AK-style pistol without using the certified list. Once it's registered to you, all bets are off, except the "AW" and fed stuff mentioned here.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scewper View Post
I don't understand the fascination with single shot pistols. What is so appealing about them?
Many folks shoot single-shot rifle-caliber pistols like Thompson Contenders - very accurate, more oomph than pistol-caliber firearms.

Single-shot AR pistols are imported into CA that way because the single-shot exemption gets around all the Rostering issues. After such a pistol is legally in a person's possession, he can convert it to a fixed-mag semiauto, etc or into other legal non-AW status.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:35 PM
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Here is a thought, from;

12001. (a) (1) As used in this title, the terms "pistol,"
"revolver," and "firearm capable of being concealed upon the person"...

A single shot AR pistol based on my guess-a-mation is roughly a 22in X 10in box. How can something that large be considered "...capable of being concealed upon the person"? Think about it.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scewper View Post
I don't understand the fascination with single shot pistols. What is so appealing about them?
You've never fired a TC Contender/Encore or a XP100, have you? If your talking about AR/AK style single shot, it's a "just because you can" thing.
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Old 03-27-2008, 6:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunaria View Post
Here is a thought, from;

12001. (a) (1) As used in this title, the terms "pistol,"
"revolver," and "firearm capable of being concealed upon the person"...

A single shot AR pistol based on my guess-a-mation is roughly a 22in X 10in box. How can something that large be considered "...capable of being concealed upon the person"? Think about it.
Read my post, they go on to define "firearm capable of being concealed upon the person." It has the same definition as handgun.
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Old 03-27-2008, 8:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
After such a pistol is legally in a person's possession, he can convert it to a fixed-mag semiauto, etc or into other legal non-AW status.
So basically that's a way to have a <16" AR style weapon without a buttstock on, just the buffer tube sticking out? I am understanding correctly?

Hmm, what about attaching a U-15 to that? Technically it connects where a grip would go, but my best guess is it would be considered a stock...
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Old 03-27-2008, 8:47 PM
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It would be considered a stock and you'd be building what Federal law describes as a short-barreled rifle.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:48 PM
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Yea, a BATF pistol is not equal to a CA pistol. It is not entirely clear what is a pistol under CA law, i.e. is the only criterion the 16" or is it something more. Either way, I don't' think the Federal AOW is relevant to what is a CA Pistol, especially since at least one federal appellate court said that BATF's definition of a pistol (and thereby it's definition of a pistol with a forward grip as an AOW) was arbitrary and capricious. Of course the BATF doesn't care and just likes marching on with illegal laws.

As I said before, the only possible loophole wrt AR and AK pistols (and possibly other pistols) would be a 16+" barrel on the pistol (with one grip and of course no stock). Under that configuration it's clearly still a BATF/Fed pistol, but possibly not a CA pistol, rifle, or any other CA gun other than a generic "firearm" under CA law (and thus immune from the CA AW laws which only apply to CA pistols, rifles, and shotguns).
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scewper View Post
So basically that's a way to have a <16" AR style weapon without a buttstock on, just the buffer tube sticking out? I am understanding correctly?

Hmm, what about attaching a U-15 to that? Technically it connects where a grip would go, but my best guess is it would be considered a stock...
The defining feature of a rifle is that it is designed to be fired from the shoulder (and isn't a shotgun). The U-15 is clearly designed to be fired from the shoulder.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymonkeyman View Post
As I said before, the only possible loophole wrt AR and AK pistols (and possibly other pistols) would be a 16+" barrel on the pistol (with one grip and of course no stock). Under that configuration it's clearly still a BATF/Fed pistol, but possibly not a CA pistol, rifle, or any other CA gun other than a generic "firearm" under CA law (and thus immune from the CA AW laws which only apply to CA pistols, rifles, and shotguns).
In general, yup.

I will note that 18" bbl'd Mossberg 500s or Rem 870s that emerged from factory with PG only and no buttstock attached or in package are not shotguns under GCA '68 (and thus since not exempt rifle or shotgun, can't be sold by FFL to those in 18 - 21 age bracket). I think perhaps a similar situation under Fed law for what you described may avoid Fed pistol definition - it appears it avoids CA pistol definition as well, which throws it outside control of generic AW stuff in 12276.1PC.
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Last edited by bwiese; 03-27-2008 at 10:55 PM..
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
In general, yup.

I will note that 18" bbl'd Mossberg 500s or Rem 870s that emerged from factory with PG only and no buttstock attached or in package are not shotguns under GCA '68 (and thus since not exempt rifle or shotgun, can't be sold by FFL to those in 18 - 21 age bracket). I think perhaps a similar situation under Fed law for what you described may avoid Fed pistol definition - it appears it avoids CA pistol definition as well, which throws it outside control of generic AW stuff in 12276.1PC.
I understand your logic and agree that the GCA definition of a shotgun requires that it be fired from the shoulder. However, if they aren't shotguns, how are they not Fed DD's, as all devices with bore of more than one-half inch in diameter which expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant are Fed DD's unless they are shotguns that "the Secretary finds [are] generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes")? Is this the same as shotguns with rifled bores, where essentially the BATF ignores the statute and makes it up as it goes along? At least rifled-bore shotguns are a cognizable exception under the DD language of "a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes," whereas pistol-grip only shotguns cannot be rifles (no rifled bores, not fired from shoulder). There doesn't seem to be any statutory basis by which pistol-grip shotguns aren't DD's, but since they are sold in stores I guess no one (i.e. BATF) cares.

I think the problem with them falling within a gap under CA law is that CA, in at least some sections, seems to define shotguns in terms of things that shoot shotgun shells, without language related to firing from the shoulder, (unlike the few CA definitions of rifle, which are entirely consistent with the Fed definition). E.g.
Quote:
(c) (1) As used in this section, a "short-barreled shotgun" means any of the following:
(A) A firearm which is designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell and having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length.
(B) A firearm which has an overall length of less than 26 inches and which is designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell.
(C) Any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length.
(D) Any device which may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell which, when so restored, is a device defined in subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive.
But see
Quote:
(21) As used in this section, a "shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger.
Which is the same as the federal definition.

Technically the first quote doesn't define shotgun but rather short-barreled shotgun, and the second quote only defines shotgun essentially for (C) in the first quote. Either may be referred to by a judge in determining the definition of a shotgun under other statutory sections lacking a specific definition of shotgun (e.g. the AW laws).

Following the first kind of definition of shotgun (things that shoot shotgun shells) won't prevent a PG-only Mossberg or Remington from being exempted from the AW laws applying to shotguns. Of course 870s and 590s are already exempt from CA shotgun AW laws as non-semiautomatic and without revolving cylinders, but was there an 1100/1187 or other semi-auto shotgun sold from factory in the US in a PG configuration (to make the discussion relevant)?
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Old 07-30-2008, 9:49 PM
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Okay so I just found this thread from the AOW/SBR/SBS thread.

SO, basically, a person could acquire a non rifle OLL, put a >16" upper on it, a forward pistol grip, and reg it with the BATF as an AOW and have no AW limitations?


Okay so I saw the interchangeability part in 12001. You could simply weld the the front pivot pin on the left side so the upper could not be removed from the lower. Still able to pivot of course.


Anyone see any issues here?

Recipe:
1) Non rifle OLL with no buttstock (80%, single shot, PPT from LEO) - not a rifle
2) Apply and receive AOW permit from BAFT $5 tax stamp - front grip coolness (optional)
3) >16" barreled upper - not a pistol
4) Permanently alter front pivot pin so upper can not be removed from lower - 12001 satisfied or at least safe
5) Not a rifle nor pistol therefore AW laws don't apply
6) Dropping 30 round mags all day with evil **** galore, PRICELESS


Actually the AOW thing is totally optional, but it's makes the rifle less fugly, and easier to handle.

Also, 12001 says designed to. I mean all barrels can be changed out, so it must mean the manufactureres intent, like the T/C Contender. Might be able to get away with not altering the front pivot pin.
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Old 07-31-2008, 10:48 AM
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Read Post #5 for your answer.
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:30 AM
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This section concerns me:

Quote:
(f) Nothing shall prevent a device defined as a "handgun,"
"pistol," "revolver," or "firearm capable of being concealed upon the
person" from also being found to be a short-barreled shotgun or a
short-barreled rifle, as defined in Section 12020.
See: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12000.php
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
4) Permanently alter front pivot pin so upper can not be removed from lower - 12001 satisfied or at least safe
Actually 12001 (f), posted below, kinda saves you from the law and makes #4 not necessary. As any rifle could be construed to be a pistol as you could change the barrel to less than 16". Now it would be considered a pistol and a short barrel rifle. The part where is says "designed to be interchanged" prevents all rifles from being declared pistols. Like I said before. It is manufacturer intent like the T/C Contenders.

Quote:
(f) Nothing shall prevent a device defined as a "handgun,"
"pistol," "revolver," or "firearm capable of being concealed upon the
person" from also being found to be a short-barreled shotgun or a
short-barreled rifle, as defined in Section 12020.

Last edited by jmlivingston; 07-31-2008 at 4:57 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
This section concerns me:

Quote:
(f) Nothing shall prevent a device defined as a "handgun,"
"pistol," "revolver," or "firearm capable of being concealed upon the
person" from also being found to be a short-barreled shotgun or a
short-barreled rifle, as defined in Section 12020.
See: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12000.php

That is only an issue if you attach a buttstock or make the weapon designed to fire from the shoulder.


Quote:
(20) As used in this section, a "rifle" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.
(21) As used in this section, a "shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger.
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  #28  
Old 07-31-2008, 1:10 PM
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Originally Posted by XDshooter View Post
That is only an issue if you attach a buttstock or make the weapon designed to fire from the shoulder.
They actually define specifically what an "SBR" is - which makes things more fuzzy instead of less fuzzy. . .

Quote:
(2) As used in this section, a "short-barreled rifle" means any of the following: (A) A rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.(B) A rifle with an overall length of less than 26 inches. (C) Any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.
Under "C" in the above definition, anything, regardless of whether it was intended to be fired from the shoulder, could be an SBR.

The question becomes what does "made from a rifle" mean??? I assert that it refers only to things that are made from RIFLE receivers - but I am not certain the DOJ interprets it that way. . .
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  #29  
Old 07-31-2008, 4:57 PM
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Originally Posted by XDshooter View Post
Apparently you are mentally challenged.
And apparently you do not understand the rule against rude or insulting comments.

Do not post in this manner again.
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Old 07-31-2008, 6:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
This section concerns me:



See: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12000.php
It concerns me as well. The reverse also concerns me. I may be missing something, but I have not seen anything that would exempt an AOW shotgun or even a SBS without a stock (or maybe even with a stock) from being considered a smooth-bore handgun. This in addition to $$ is one of the reasons why I have not jumped on the whole SBS/AOW train.
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Old 07-31-2008, 7:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
They actually define specifically what an "SBR" is - which makes things more fuzzy instead of less fuzzy. . .

The question becomes what does "made from a rifle" mean??? I assert that it refers only to things that are made from RIFLE receivers - but I am not certain the DOJ interprets it that way. . .
A rifle is defined in the law, therefore a firearm that has a bone fide pistol lower can never meet this definition, unless you attack a buttstock, then it becomes a rifle.

Pretty clear cut.
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Old 07-31-2008, 7:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kestryll View Post
And apparently you do not understand the rule against rude or insulting comments.

Do not post in this manner again.

Insulting? Hardly. This person did not even take the time to read and comprehend what I posted.

That is extremely insulting. Even more so that others overlook this fact.
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Old 07-31-2008, 8:36 PM
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Originally Posted by XDshooter View Post
Insulting? Hardly. This person did not even take the time to read and comprehend what I posted.

That is extremely insulting. Even more so that others overlook this fact.
Don't try to play clever little games, you know damn well it was an insult.
The ludicrous claim that by not understanding your post was an insult is both arrogant and self serving BS.

Regardless of what you may think no one here is simple enough to buy that line of hogwash.

It appears you are guilty of the same 'crime' you accuse others of, failing to read or comprehend what I wrote.
I don't see it as an insult at all, but neither do I say 'Knock it off' in jest. Nor do I warn a third time.
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Old 08-01-2008, 8:17 AM
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I think we've all been overthinking this one.

1) An AW can only be a pistol, shotgun, or rifle.
2) 12001 could be problematic.

So, just simply taking the buttstock off your OLL rifle that already has a barrel over 16" would make it a non rifle/pistol/shotgun.

The AW laws wouldn't apply then.


Just make sure it is over 26" in length.
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Old 08-01-2008, 8:20 AM
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I agree that it's clear cut - but as you know - nothing is clear with the DOJ.



Quote:
Originally Posted by XDshooter View Post
A rifle is defined in the law, therefore a firearm that has a bone fide pistol lower can never meet this definition, unless you attack a buttstock, then it becomes a rifle.

Pretty clear cut.
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Old 08-01-2008, 8:31 AM
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No - don't do this!

Quote:
12276.1. (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following:

(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
If what you say is true - then anyone who wants a detachable magazine could just saw the buttstock off their rifle and start using detachable magazines. I don't think that sawing the buttstock off a rifle makes it a non rifle, even if the OAL is more than 30 inches.

Earlier you made the argument that whether something is a rifle or pistol depends on the receiver. Now you are making the argument that a rifle can be rendered a non-rifle by sawing the buttstock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XDshooter View Post
I think we've all been overthinking this one.

1) An AW can only be a pistol, shotgun, or rifle.
2) 12001 could be problematic.

So, just simply taking the buttstock off your OLL rifle that already has a barrel over 16" would make it a non rifle/pistol/shotgun.

The AW laws wouldn't apply then.


Just make sure it is over 26" in length.
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Old 08-01-2008, 8:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
I agree that it's clear cut - but as you know - nothing is clear with the DOJ.


Since when did we care about th eopinion of the DOJ?

That's the basis for this website. Clarification of the law. The DOJ won't do ethically, so we must do it ourselves. I think calguns should be appointed the new DOJ BOF.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:54 AM
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  #39  
Old 08-01-2008, 4:05 PM
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I'm trying to think ahead about what the DOJ may say to the DA who is prosecuting your case.

When you look at legal issues like this, you need to look at the "other side" too and try and imagine what argument they might come up with. This is true even if you disagree with them or think they are stupid.

If you cut the butt stock off a rifle, it's still a rifle. And if it's less than 30 inches long, it's an AW, and if it's less than 26 inches long, it's also a SBR.

It's possible that a pistol could be outfitted with a > 16 inch barrel and maybe not be considered a pistol any more. I will defer to others who have done more research on this topic.

I'll take some of that popcorn!

Quote:
Originally Posted by XDshooter View Post
Since when did we care about th eopinion of the DOJ?

That's the basis for this website. Clarification of the law. The DOJ won't do ethically, so we must do it ourselves. I think calguns should be appointed the new DOJ BOF.
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Old 08-01-2008, 6:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklander View Post
If you cut the butt stock off a rifle, it's still a rifle.
The law states pretty clearly that a rifle is one designed to be fired from the shoulder. If I build this firearm up without a buttstock, then it was not designed to be fired from the shoulder.


Also, if they did rule that it would still be a rifle, then all those unregistered "crew-served" M2 50BMG owners would become felons.
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