I need proof that it's legal


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flightsimmer
January 16, 2009, 03:04 PM
Hi Guy's and Girl's;

A discussion has come up (again) about the legality of a certain kind of firearm and I am searching for proof.

I have tried the manufacturer and they said they would send me proof (to share with all of you) but I have to give them time to send it.

I have tried the BATFE web site (I don't think it will do any good to talk to them) but no luck there.

I have tried the NRA web site but I still haven't heard back from them yet.

I have read the Class lll regs and it sounds like it is illegal but the manufacturer claims their product is exempt and has the BATFE's blessing.

The manufacturer claims sales of over 20,000 units so a lot of people could be at risk here.

The weapon is a carbine conversion unit (not an M-1 Carbine), one piece with a 16-1/2" barrel and an attached (welded on) stock with an overall length of 33", well in excess of the required 26" AOL. It was manufactured with the intent to attach it too a 1911 or a Glock frame and then when desired, re-install the 1911 or Glock slide assembly. But if you read the BATFE rules it appears to be illegal but many say it is legal. I think we need proof in writing one way or the other. Anybody know where we can find the truth for sure?

As Mulder of the X-Files said "The truth is out there". Help me find it, please.

Have a great week everybody, Brrrrrr it's cold out.

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deadin
January 16, 2009, 04:36 PM
But if you read the BATFE rules it appears to be illegal

Just where in the BATFE rules do you think this is illegal?
The frame is the firearm and there is nothing that says you can't convert a pistol to a rifle as long as all of the various length requirements are met.
From what you described, it sounds like these requirements are being met.
What you can't do is take the buttstock portion of a rifle conversion and attach it before removing the pistol barrel. You also can't convert a rifle receiver into a pistol with out special paperwork.

Ridgerunner665
January 16, 2009, 04:40 PM
I'm no lawyer...but it sounds legal to me.

That may vary from state to state though.

cuervo
January 16, 2009, 04:41 PM
You're talking about something like this:
http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/images/mechtech.gif

By itself, this is not even a firearm, so BATFE doesn't care about it and it is not illegal on a Federal level. Chances are no states have it banned either.

Attaching the frame of your 1911 to it makes a rifle, which is legal, too. Removing your frame does not change the fact that the barreled stock is now just a part again, just like an AR15 upper. [edit: based on letter below: but the pistol frame may now be considered a rifle and can only be used as such if there were ever any proof that you had attached said pistol frame to said device in the first place. Or, in other words, when it comes to BATFE rulings, "proof that it's legal" is a moving target that goes only as far as they want it to until they decide to issue a new ruling.]

Jim K
January 16, 2009, 04:48 PM
That is the same idea as the old Astra carbine where a .22 pistol with the barrel removed was placed into a stock which had the longer barrel and stock attached.

Without the pistol the thing was a nothing, legally. The pistol was just a pistol. You couldn't attach the pistol to the stock without also attaching the long barrel.

Like the one pictured, it was more a novelty than a practical item, but sort of fun. And it was unquestionably legal.

Jim

Zoogster
January 16, 2009, 04:50 PM
This argument's logic is likely in response to a very confusing ATF statement.

The SCOTUS ruling in the Thompson case clearly states it is legal.
They were dicussing a conversion kit to do exactly that in that case. The kit allowed someone to freely switch back and forth between rifle and pistol (with a firearm originaly sold as a pistol.)
The court addresses the "utility" of having such a handy adaptable firearm that can go from pistol to rifle and back, fully understanding the implications of thier ruling.


One ATF statement sounded as if it could be in complete denial. Interpreted as potentialy meaning adding a stock and a long barrel is manufacture of a legal rifle. Removing them is then manufacture of a pistol from a rifle, an illegal act under the NFA.

If that is the case then the ATF is absolutely wrong under the Thompson ruling, and in direct opposition to the Supreme Court of the United States, whos rulings exceed thier authority.
Yet they are the men with guns and SWAT teams at thier disposal, tasked with enforcing the law, issuing FFLs, and filing criminal charges. They are the men who have "expert witnesses" the court will use.


So it is a confusing issue. It is legal, but then the agency tasked with enforcement may have said that it is not.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
January 16, 2009, 05:02 PM
When in doubt, don't do it.

Be on the safe side.:p

Zoogster
January 16, 2009, 05:11 PM
When in doubt, don't do it.
Of course if everyone does that for enough years then it practicly becomes defacto law, and people simply lose those rights and freedoms by not excercising them.
Then rather than being a common legal thing many people do it becomes something the rare individual is punished for because since nobody has done it for so long it is believed to be illegal.

You see that with open carry in some places where it is perfectly legal. Since nobody has done it for so long people think it is illegal, including a number of police officers.
Then they are so used to the way things have been for so long they often try to apply other statutes to enforce thier defacto sense of "normal". Laws against brandishing or inciting a panic, or going about armed to the distress of the sheeple, etc are attempted to be applied.
While if people had just carried on a regular basis from the start what was and is legal would still be seen as normal and legal without the confusion.


Most of your current gun rights were and are in fact decided by people doing things the higher courts then rule on. They would have never ruled on them if someone didn't inccorectly declare thier actions illegal.
The very case the OP's question is handled by is such an example. The Thompson case. It was expensive, Thompson had to fight to achieve success. They did achieve success, handgun of great "utility" that can be used as either a handgun or rifle with the help of a kit to fit numerous circumstances is perfectly legal.
Allowing that ruling to be trashed so that someone then has to repeat the hard work all over would be foolish. It went all the way to the SCOTUS, which few gun cases do. There is no question it is legal under the wording of the court.

Smithiac
January 16, 2009, 05:12 PM
Carbine conversions are legal. All you are doing is turning you pistol into a carbine, and both pistols and carbines are legal. nothing wrong with it.

barnetmill
January 16, 2009, 05:21 PM
I would not worry too much if it it is true that there are 20,000+ units and they are openly advertised and sold via internet order.

The question appear to be the assembly of rifle to pistol and then back to pistol. The thompson case if I remember correctly was based on that it was possible to assemble the pistol barrel with a rifle stock attached ending up with an illegal shoulder arm of less than 26 inches. If you look at this conversion you can see that the shoulder stock is attached to the rifle barrel. You cannot assemble one without the other so the assembly of an illegal short barreled rifle is not possible.

I have seen in past years .22 semiauto rifle/pistol setups in catalogs that could be either pistol or rifle and it appears that it was legal.

Here is the case; I am not sure how to go about pulling it up.

United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Co., 504 U.S. 505, 112 S.Ct. 2102, 119 L.Ed.2d 308 (1992), aff'g. 924 F.2d 1041 (Fed. Cir. 1991), rev'g 19 Cl.Ct. 725 (1990). Earlier proceeding, Thompson/Center Arms Co. v. Baker, 686 F.Supp. 38 (D.N.H. 1988).

shotgunjoel
January 16, 2009, 05:34 PM
I recently asked a similar question but the item in my thread was basically just a buttstock without the longer barrel. Here' that thread, I don't think it directly applies to this case because of the barrel part on your item. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=417893

Zoogster
January 16, 2009, 05:54 PM
Well according to the wrong (the Thompson case was clear, and since when do such precedents apply only to a specific brand) ATF opinion conversion to rifle is perfectly fine.
It is converting your pistol back into a pistol that requires NFA paperwork.

A letter posted here on the same topic:

http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk219/WhisperFan/Convert1.jpg
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk219/WhisperFan/Convert2.jpg

Your Glock or 1911 pistol would legaly be no different than the legal semi auto Uzi pistol the letter refers to. They are both simply semi-auto pistols. In the last paragraph of the second page you see they say they would need NFA paperwork to remove the barrel and stock from the UZI pistol as it had become a rifle by attaching them, and since creating a handgun from a rifle is illegal under the NFA you can not remove what you just attached without breaking the law.


They claim that the Thompson ruling only applies to the Thompson kit exclusively, and that the same exact type of kit or parts for other guns is not covered.
Clearly that is extremely wishful thinking as the Supreme Court has never operated that way before.
Imagine many other decisions interpreted that way and it would be interesting. I guess Brown vs Board of Education only applied to the city of Topeka, Kansas, only to that specific school, and that racial segregation is still legal in schools everywhere else.
The ATF is clearly wrong.

The ATF fought hard against Thompson. Thompson prevailed, showing it was legal to sell a kit to convert a pistol to a rifle, and the court recognizing the great UTILITY of a gun that could be BOTH a pistol and a rifle in legal configurations, and that it is outside the scope of the NFA.
The ATF then decides to declare that Thompson prevailed only in the way the ATF says and that it has no effect on what they already declared for anyone else.

Essentialy the ATF lost, but then declare they won anyways by redefining what the court had already defined.
Anyone notice a conflict of interest there? A lack of checks and balances? Or just a rogue agency that declares what is and is not at will and chooses to ignore the checks and balances that already exist?


I recently asked a similar question but the item in my thread was basically just a buttstock without the longer barrel. Totaly different, that is clearly an NFA item without question. It is the very definition of a Short Barreled Rifle and does not apply whatsoever to the op's question. To be legaly non NFA it has to be both 26" or longer AND have a barrel over 16", and in your situation was not.
There is no federal limit on how long (or short) a barrel on a pistol can be. So someone can first install a barrel over 16" (just a pistol with a 16 inch barrel) and then attach a buttstock and if the end result is over 26" it is a legal firearm that fires from the shoulder (rifle).
By never attaching a barrel over 16" (and likely being under 26" total as well) it was always illegal, unlike the OP's conversion.

natman
January 16, 2009, 08:49 PM
This letter is inconsistent with ATF's definition of a pistol. For example, identical 10/22 receivers can be used in a rifle 10/22 or a 10/22 Charger pistol. The difference is that the Charger receiver was registered as a pistol when it was made.

What is illegal under NFA is making a pistol from a rifle that wasn't originally a pistol. In this case the receiver was a pistol to begin with and temporarily putting a stock and 16" barrel on it just makes it a pistol with a stock and a long barrel. It does not make the receiver a rifle legally, despite ATF's opinion to the contrary.

What a mess.

akodo
January 16, 2009, 09:32 PM
it depends on where the serial number is.

At the 2009 SHOT show there is such a device for a ruger 22LR pistol.

the deal is the 'conversion unit' is the receiver, is serial numbered, and must be bought from a FFL.

The grip, trigger, and magazine of the ruger handgun is just 'parts'

This means you have 2 'guns' but only 1 gun can function.


This is different from what Cuervo posted. IN that case, the 1911 frame is the 'receive' and has the serial number. The barrel is just 'parts'. However, once you convert the gun from pistol to rifle, then the 1911 frame is a 'rifle' forever more...and it would be illegal to put a standard 1911 slide back on it.

TAB
January 16, 2009, 09:36 PM
By itself, this is not even a firearm, so BATFE doesn't care about it and it is not illegal on a Federal level. Chances are no states have it banned either

try again... while not illegal to own in CA, it is to instal it.

akodo
January 16, 2009, 09:36 PM
This letter is inconsistent with ATF's definition of a pistol. For example, identical 10/22 receivers can be used in a rifle 10/22 or a 10/22 Charger pistol. The difference is that the Charger receiver was registered as a pistol when it was made.

What is illegal under NFA is making a pistol from a rifle that wasn't originally a pistol. In this case the receiver was a pistol to begin with and temporarily putting a stock and 16" barrel on it just makes it a pistol with a stock and a long barrel. It does not make the receiver a rifle legally, despite ATF's opinion to the contrary.

Logically I agree with you

Based on the Thompson decison, SCOTUS also agrees with you.

However, the BATF put it's blinders on and ONLY thinks that way regarding the Thompson because it is forced to.

For everything else BATF is being ignorant and illogical. However, BATF would go after you if they knew you took your receiver from your challenger pistol, put it in a fullstock 10/22 and then put it back in the challenger pistol

cuervo
January 16, 2009, 11:15 PM
try again... while not illegal to own in CA, it is to instal it.

Figures

gunlocators1
January 16, 2009, 11:40 PM
MecTech has sold tons of their conversion units I personally were one of thier largest dealers in the US until they were paid for a several units and miraculaously was sold out after return from shot show and had me wait 3 weeks to deliver the goods. When you say you have something in stock and are thier largest dealer from what they always told me, then you should make darn sure you have qnty on hand or disclose your out. Anyway thats another issue entirely. Anyway they use to send a letter that stated it was OK by the ATF to convert back and forth however I have no idea if they still have that letter. It use to come with the units.

BHP FAN
January 16, 2009, 11:53 PM
Tab,I've seen guys at the range with the Mectec here in California,I think you may be mistaken...

TAB
January 17, 2009, 02:12 AM
Well it depends on rather or not you meet what a "AW" is under CA law, if you change a few things, then yes it would be legal. as it comes from the factory= felony.


strait from thier website

Legal Alert: This product is for sale to California residents under limited conditions only. Although the product of itself is legal, the resulting combination with a pistol frame becomes illegal under California law. Please contact Mech-Tech for details relative to sales in CA. At this time we know of no other states where the combination is not legal but we caution everyone to become aware of relative state and local laws.
http://www.mechtechsys.com

209
January 17, 2009, 02:27 AM
You're talking about something like this:

http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/images/mechtech.gif

By itself, this is not even a firearm, so BATFE doesn't care about it and it is not illegal on a Federal level. Chances are no states have it banned either.

Attaching the frame of your 1911 to it makes a rifle, which is legal, too. Removing your frame does not change the fact that the barreled stock is now just a part again, just like an AR15 upper. [edit: based on letter below: but the pistol frame may now be considered a rifle and can only be used as such if there were ever any proof that you had attached said pistol frame to said device in the first place. Or, in other words, when it comes to BATFE rulings, "proof that it's legal" is a moving target that goes only as far as they want it to until they decide to issue a new ruling.]



Just might illegal be in CT.

It'd probably be construed to be an assault weapon since the "new rifle" would be a:

A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following:

(i) A folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

(iii) A bayonet mount;

(iv) A flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and

(v) A grenade launcher.

If that is a flash suppressor and/or the barrel is threaded, it'd make three bad evil things according to CT.

BHP FAN
January 17, 2009, 02:30 AM
Wow,thanks.They did not used to have that on the websight,and I WAS considering getting either one of those,or,one of the ''board'' stocks and 16'' barrel kits from Sportsman's guide.Good thing we had this little talk.

Zoogster
January 17, 2009, 04:55 AM
Wow,thanks.They did not used to have that on the websight,and I WAS considering getting either one of those,or,one of the ''board'' stocks and 16'' barrel kits from Sportsman's guide.Good thing we had this little talk.
Many websites do not tell you what your state laws are and how to follow them, they cover themselves legaly. It is up to you to know the law.
Under CA law it is legal to have the upper by itself since it is not even a firearm. However creating such a firearm would be creation of an assault weapon and felony possession.

It has both a pistol grip and the ability to accept a detachable magazine, so as soon as it becomes a "rifle" (under state law) it becomes an assault weapon.
It could be possible to create a severely nuetered gun like people do with offlist ARs, but since the pistol grip is essentialy the handgun frame that is a feature you are stuck with. As a result you can only remain legal by both having a non threaded muzzle, or the attachment permanently attached in some way so there is no threaded barrel, and primarily no "detachable magazine" as defined by law.
You cannot have a detachable magazine since it has the evil feature of a pistol grip unless it is permanently attached.
Meaning you would need a way that complies with a "permanent" as legaly defined, like a button that requires a tool to release the magazine.

So you would really have to screw over your 1911 to even attempt to legaly use one of those.

Tab,I've seen guys at the range with the Mectec here in California,I think you may be mistaken...
Probably all commiting felonies, perhaps without even knowing as the object itself is perfectly legal to buy, just a felony to assemble and use in the normal fashion.

BHP FAN
January 17, 2009, 05:46 AM
Not worth trashing my RIA G.I...again,thanks guys,for the heads up.I'm guessing they'd have to make a bolt action or pump variant for it to be legal here.

holdencmc
January 17, 2009, 07:38 PM
you can convert a pistol reciever to a carbine but it must have at least 16" barrell and some form of stock, Folding or telescopic stock allowed, if you put a stock on a pistol with a barrell lemght of less than 16" it must be registered with BATF as a short barreled rifle, that cost $200, it is the same ;ega; requirements for possesing a silencer, and you must have that form on you at all time you are transporting or using that weapon, you must store that form with the weapon you may not loan that weapon to anyone for use unless you are directly supervising it. Alot of Crap if you ask me. I have several Carbine conversions for my 1911's including a mech tech I have a couple of the Para blocks so I can use my P14's with 20 round clips and I have several 16" 1911 barrel's and buttstocks grafted onto the mainspring housing cover. the mech tech conversion takes less than 2 minutes on a slow day and withe the collapsible wire stock you have a 23 1/2 " length (collapsed) unit that is a great shoulder rig and I have a Bushmaster Carbon 15 Pistol in Nato 5.56 that I also an M4 stock and a 4 rail upper for with a 20 "match grade barrel.

I have a freind that manufactures shortbarrel M16's with silencers that look like a match grade unit when the silencer is attached it is the the same diameter and has a flash supressor on the silencer that actually makes it look like match gradebarrel witha floating guard.

7.62X25mm
January 17, 2009, 08:15 PM
Legal advice is worth what you pay for it.

I'd be particularly skeptical about "legal advice" with mis-spellings and faulty grammatical construction.

chris in va
January 18, 2009, 04:32 AM
Wish they made one for my Sig 220.

Doesn't matter anyway, I'm broke.:rolleyes:

ryanl
January 18, 2009, 04:51 AM
Interesting. If this is the case, then why is it a felony to swap an AR15 receiver back and forth between pistol and rifle configuration without a tax stamp? Anyone?

expvideo
January 18, 2009, 05:20 AM
These are legal and always have been. They've been on the market for over a decade with no problems.

As long there is a 16"+ barrel, you can put a stock on a pistol. That is just the way that it is. Show me a law that says otherwise. You can't, because that law doesn't exist.

It is legal to convert a pistol to a rifle.

ryanl
January 18, 2009, 10:40 AM
In the ATF's opinion which has been verified in several letters from them. It is legal to convert a pistol to a rifle,What is illegal is to convert a rifle back into a pistol. without first getting a tax stamp. Otherwise you would be in possesion of an unregistered SBR. I dont know the specifics of this Mec TEC conversion you speak of, but I know what applies to AR receivers and I dont see much of a difference. A receiver is after all, a receiver. I have seen several written letters from the Chief of the Firearms Technology branch of the ATF verifying this. Does Mec Tec advise you to switch back and forth between rifle and pistol configuration. Perhaps you should contact the people who enforce the law and actually ask their opinion. After all thats the one that matters, right?

ryanl
January 18, 2009, 02:35 PM
Readers Digest Version

Pistol to rifle= Legal
Rifle back to pistol= Felony

Any questions?

mbt2001
January 18, 2009, 02:42 PM
You used to need proof that it was ILLEGAL or it was legal...

ryanl
January 18, 2009, 04:07 PM
Umm, the ATF stated so in the letter. They are the ones that govern NFA items, and the ones who decide if you would be charged or not. The Thompson case is only applicable to Thompson.

"whenever a 16-inch barrel and shoulder stock are attached to your pistol, it then becomes a rifle. In the absence of the appropriate authorization, returning it to the pistol configuration would constitute manufacturing a weapon made from a rifle and would be a violation of Federal Firarms Law"


Are you saying that unless the ATF catches you doing it, its not illegal? Kind of like murder is legal as long as no one has proof you did it? I hope I am misunderstanding you.

7.62X25mm
January 18, 2009, 04:20 PM
Ask an FFL. I asked about handguns with detached shoulder stocks, sold as handguns. These were popular in the 19th century, the "Buntline" being one of the models.

They're unlawful.

An FFL can fill you in.

expvideo
January 19, 2009, 04:53 AM
The receiver is either a rifle receiver or a pistol receiver. A pistol receiver can be converted to a rifle and back as much as you want. A rifle receiver can not.

homebase.ning.com
January 19, 2009, 05:33 AM
Have you checked your local library?

ravonaf
January 19, 2009, 02:30 PM
The receiver is either a rifle receiver or a pistol receiver. A pistol receiver can be converted to a rifle and back as much as you want. A rifle receiver can not.

Exactly as I see it. No matter how many times you convert a pistol back and forth it will ALWAYS have a serial number from the manufacturer that says it's a pistol.

natman
January 20, 2009, 12:21 PM
Not only is this letter inconsistent with ATFs definition of a pistol, but it also goes against ATFs long standing policy that once a receiver is classified as a certain type of weapon, it remains that type of weapon, even if it has been permanently modified. "Once a machine gun, always a machine gun".

The "logic" here is like saying that if a man puts on a dress he's a woman, and taking it off is a sex change operation.

I am also curious as to how the SCOTUS ruling can apply only to the Thompson Contender, but not anything else. Does each individual model of pistol have to be blessed by SCOTUS?

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