sbr question


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wc12364
January 9, 2012, 11:08 PM
i have a plr-16 pistol and would to register it as a sbr to ad a pistol grip ar stock..... do i need to fill out form-1 or form-4? im not manufacturing as the barrel is 9" so do i have to ingrave it ?

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GoingQuiet
January 9, 2012, 11:22 PM
Form 1, you are manufacturing. Yes, you have to ENGRAVE it.

Aaron Baker
January 10, 2012, 12:14 AM
As GoingQuiet said, you ARE "manufacturing." You may not see it that way if no machine work has to be done, but think about it this way: you're the manufacturer because you're the one creating the new short barreled rifle.

A Form 4 is for transferring a firearm that's already registered. So if I put a stock on a PLR16 and registered it, then sold it to you, you'd submit a Form 4.

A Form 1 is for creating a new National Firearms Act firearm (like a short barreled rifle). So if you're putting the stock on it yourself for the very first time, you're the manufacturer of that short-barreled rifle, and thus have to have your approved Form 1 in hand before you do it.

And yes, engraving is required on all short-barreled rifles. It doesn't have to be on the receiver--it can also go on the barrel, per the ATF. Since this is a polymer-framed gun, that might be the easier way to go for you.

Many folks recommend having the engraving done before you get your stamp back, because once you get the stamp back, you can't just give it to anyone to engrave--it has to be a Class 3 dealer. But before then, it's just a plain old firearm and can be engraved by any regular FFL holder.

Aaron

MasterSergeantA
January 10, 2012, 12:16 AM
As GQ said, you do have to have it engraved with your name, city and state. You can have the engraving done before the Form 1 is returned, but you cannot put the stock on it until you have the Form in hand.

GoingQuiet
January 10, 2012, 02:42 AM
Many folks recommend having the engraving done before you get your stamp back, because once you get the stamp back, you can't just give it to anyone to engrave--it has to be a Class 3 dealer. But before then, it's just a plain old firearm and can be engraved by any regular FFL holder.

Aaron

I suggest that you do NOT engrave before you get the stamp back in case the Form 1 is denied.

Also, you can give it to anyone to engrave. Your use of the term class 3 dealer is erroneous. Anyone can engrave the gun, whether it be dealer, manufacturer, unlicensed person with a machine shop, trophy shop, et al.

Hell, you could give it to your friend with a stamp kit and have him do it.

rjrivero
January 10, 2012, 09:46 AM
As GQ said, you do have to have it engraved with your name, city and state.

The engraving would have to reflect the name of the entity making the SBR. So if you're filling out the form 1 as an individual, it would be Your name, City, ST. If you are filling out the form 1 as a trust it would be Trust name, Trust, City, ST. If you're filling out the form 1 as a LLC it would be LLC Name, LLC City, ST.

The engraving MUST be 1/16" tall, .003 deep.

TexasRifleman
January 10, 2012, 10:42 AM
. Anyone can engrave the gun, whether it be dealer, manufacturer, unlicensed person with a machine shop, trophy shop, et al.

I've wondered about that. Is the receiver alone an SBR just because it has a tax stamp or is it only an SBR when it's assembled with a short upper?

If the receiver alone is the firearm, and it's an NFA firearm, wouldn't I have to have it engraved by an SOT?

I've always worked under the paranoia that it was an SBR the moment the tax stamp was issued but I've always wondered if that's correct.

I've read letters from ATF tech branch telling people they could take an AR receiver that has an SBR tax stamp attached across a state line without filing the forms as long as the short barrel wasn't attached.

That would make sense, since the legal definition of an SBR pretty much requires it to have a barrel on it, but it's ATF and they don't always (ever) make a lot of sense.

MasterSergeantA
January 10, 2012, 03:55 PM
The receiver alone is not the SBR. It is a SBR when a stock and a barrel with a length of less than 16" are assembled on the receiver. In the case of the PLR, you could remove the stock at a later date and it would revert to its original pistol configuration.

TexasRifleman
January 10, 2012, 05:04 PM
The receiver alone is not the SBR. It is a SBR when a stock and a barrel with a length of less than 16" are assembled on the receiver.

Yet the receiver's serial number is in the NFA database so there is an odd discrepancy there. If someone were to trace the serial number it would show that it was "registered" as an NFA firearm.

Sort of an odd situation potentially. If you SBR your AR15 on a Form 1 you can't just sell the receiver later as a regular Title 1 firearm, you have to have it removed from the NFA database first so there must be some odd limbo status in between. It's an NFA firearm with none of the features that make it an NFA firearm.

As usual, gun laws are dumb.

MasterSergeantA
January 10, 2012, 06:23 PM
If you SBR an AR you CAN later sell the receiver as a Title I firearm. The ATF would like you to let them know when that happens so they can (theoretically) remove the SBR from the registry, but it appears that all that is done is the record is updated to reflect the change in status.

What becomes the typical goobermint lunacy about this is that, if the new owner wishes to Form 1 the receiver to "make" a SBR, their information will also have to be engraved on the receiver once the Form 1 is approved. Dang thing will look like hell if that process happens enough.

I won't argue the point about the gun laws. %-)

TexasRifleman
January 10, 2012, 06:47 PM
If you SBR an AR you CAN later sell the receiver as a Title I firearm.

Hmm. I swear I've seen a letter from Tech Branch saying otherwise, though ATF lives to contradict itself.

Oh well.

MasterSergeantA
January 10, 2012, 07:27 PM
Per the BATFE: There is no single component of a NFA-regulated firearm that is per se "registered" as an NFA firearm. It is the entire firearm, with certain specific characteristics determined by the type of firearm it is, that make the whole firearm subject to the requirements of the NFA and therefore mandate 'registration' (e.g, an assembly that meets the formal definition of a firearm, that then meets the formal definition of a 'rifle', with a barrel less than 16" or an overall length of less than 26" = NFA firearm, period). Individual components and/or sub-assemblies (e.g., AR 'lowers') aren't NFA 'registered'...only whole firearms are.

The 'registration' part can be confusing, too. When an NFA regulated firearm is 'registered', the serial number of the whole firearm, as applied by the manufacturer, is recorded for registration purposes. Since 'registering' just an AR-lower doesn't mystically create an NFA-regulated firearm...only the assembly ('manufacture' in NFA terminology) of a functional firearm with NFA-defined characteristics does that...there is no "once a SBR, always a SBR" rule. (This is another hold-over belief from the 'regular' firearms world of 'orginally a handgun. always a handgun'/'originally a rifle, always a rifle' rules. This was also changed in 2011.)

NFA 'registration' of a SBR/SBS is best viewed as permission to 'manufacture' a complete NFA-regulated firearm that must be satisfactorily marked with the serial number that was recorded for registration purposes.

Once you have 'permission', you have a NFA-regulated firearm in your possession ONLY when you have actual or constructive possession of ALL of the parts necessary to 'manufacture' a specific NFA-defined firearm-type with very specific NFA-defined characteristics.

Remove the components that give the firearm those specific NFA-defined characteristics from your actual or constructive possession and you no longer have an NFA-regulated firearm.

No NFA-regulated firearm in your possession means no 'registration' required...even if you coincidentally use the part that is marked with the serial number that was recorded for 'registration' purposes.

BATFE has repeatedly stated in the form of regulatory letters and in their NFA handbook, that removal of all NFA-defining characteristics from a NFA-regulated firearm (and relieving yourself of actual or constructive possession of the parts that give the firearm those characteristics) removes that firearm from the purview of the NFA. Also, there is no responsibility to notify BATFE of the voluntary removal of a NFA-regulated firearm from the purview of the NFA (although they will tell you right quick that they'd like a courtesy notification just for the record book if the change to a unregulated configuration is intended to be 'permanent').

So, removal of a 'SBR upper' from an AR and physically separating the upper and lower receivers so as to avoid actual or constructive possession of both by one person literally removes the NFA-regulated/registered firearm from existence. Once that ambiguous point is reached, the 'converted'/'registered' lower is no longer covered by the NFA. In that case, the OEM serial-numbered receiver reverts back to the status it had at the first transfer from a FFL-holder to the first owner with no more, or less, federal restrictions on possession or transport. The fact that the lower is marked with a serial number that is 'registered', or adding a non-SBR upper...or no upper at all...makes no difference in the reversion back to it's original transfer status.

Aaron Baker
January 10, 2012, 09:39 PM
I suggest that you do NOT engrave before you get the stamp back in case the Form 1 is denied.

Why? How many people actually get denied on a Form 1 if they are legally able to purchase firearms? And even if you get denied and never reapply, does it matter if you engraved your firearm?

Also, you can give it to anyone to engrave. Your use of the term class 3 dealer is erroneous. Anyone can engrave the gun, whether it be dealer, manufacturer, unlicensed person with a machine shop, trophy shop, et al.

Hell, you could give it to your friend with a stamp kit and have him do it.

Really?

First of all, try not to be too pedantic about the "Class 3" thing. I didn't call them "Class 3" firearms, because that's clearly erroneous, but someone who is a dealer must also have a Class 3 (or 2) SOT in order to deal in NFA firearms. How does that not make them a "Class 3" dealer? Would you really rather I said "Type 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11 FFL with a Class 3 SOT"?

Also, I will admit that I hadn't thought of it in the fairly compelling terms that the other posters discussed the matter. But I suppose I agree that an SBR is not an SBR when the stock isn't attached or the upper isn't on it, etc.

However, doesn't the ATF have fairly strict rules about what they consider "gunsmithing"? You may be right that you can give a stock-less PLR16 to your buddy to engrave, since he isn't in the business of engraving, but I think the ATF would take the position that if you give your firearm to a business to engrave, that they are now gunsmithing and must be an FFL.

According to Orion Arms, which does a lot of engraving, you don't need to ship through an FFL because engraving is considered a "repair," but doesn't that beg the question that if someone is "repairing" your firearm for payment, don't they need an FFL?

I apologize if I gave the original poster bad information based on things I had read before--I certainly want to give people good information.

Aaron

rjrivero
January 10, 2012, 09:44 PM
Here's another fun ditty for you. I have an AR in SBR configuration. It's registered and is wears a 10" upper here in Ohio. However, when I go to Michigan to shoot with my brother and father, and father-in-law, I slap on a 16" upper. I then leave the short barrel in my safe when I head north. Even though the lower is engraved and registered, I treat it like a Title 1 firearm when traveling. That is, I'm not required to file a 5320.20 for it or anything. It's an interesting quirk of the NFA system, but it holds true.

GoingQuiet
January 11, 2012, 12:58 AM
Hmm. I swear I've seen a letter from Tech Branch saying otherwise, though ATF lives to contradict itself.

Oh well.
To do so you would notify NFA branch and strike it from the registry.

At that point it would be a Title 1 gun.

TexasRifleman
January 12, 2012, 11:40 AM
To do so you would notify NFA branch and strike it from the registry.

At that point it would be a Title 1 gun.

Yeah I get that part but the NFA Handbook DOES seem to indicate that for things like SBR's that if you just remove and get rid of the short barrel it defaults back on it's own, like MasterSergeantA describes above.

Seems contradictory that I could sell a lower that has a tax stamp attached to it to my buddy who would then carry on with it like a normal Title 1 firearm, even though it's in the NFA database.

But, that does appear to be what NFA handbook says in Section 2.5

Firearms, except machineguns and silencers, that are subject to the NFA fall within the various
definitions due to specific features. If the particular feature that causes a firearm to be regulated by the
NFA is eliminated or modified, the resulting weapon is no longer an NFA weapon.
For example, a shotgun with a barrel length of 15 inches is an NFA weapon. If the 15- inch barrel is
removed and disposed of, the remaining firearm is not subject to the NFA because it has no barrel.
Likewise, if the 15 inch barrel is modified by permanently attaching an extension such that the barrel
length is at least 18 inches and the overall length of the weapon is at least 26 inches, the modified
firearm is not subject to the NFA.

So, I guess removing it from the registry is nothing more than a courtesy at that point.

MasterSergeantA
January 12, 2012, 11:51 AM
Unless the receiver has a short barreled upper actually attached to it...or ANY upper for that matter, NFA does not consider it a "firearm". So you can carry it around with no barrel and it isn't under the purview of NFA.

For purposes of the GCA, the receiver is controlled on a 4473 just like any other "firearm". But GCA and NFA are not always in agreement.

As TR noted, "Seems contradictory that I could sell a lower that has a tax stamp attached to it to my buddy who would then carry on with it like a normal Title 1 firearm, even though it's in the NFA database.

But, that does appear to be what NFA handbook says in Section 2.5."

Yup. No one ever got bored trying to figure out the gun laws. Frustrated perhaps, but bored, never.

TexasRifleman
January 12, 2012, 12:02 PM
Yeah I'd never really given much thought about it til you pointed it out. Thanks.

"All gun laws are dumb". I think that might be my new sig line.

LiquidTension
January 13, 2012, 05:13 PM
Here's a slightly different question. I've already got a registered lower on a Spike's receiver. If I wanted to do another on a PSA receiver, would I have to engrave my location on it since both myself and PSA are located in the same city and it would already be on the receiver once? It's a purely academic question as I don't have any immediate plans for another SBR.

MasterSergeantA
January 13, 2012, 07:02 PM
It would seem logical that you could make a case to engrave only your name since "your" location is already on it. A definitive answer would best come from Tech Branch, but since the requirement is to have your name (as 'maker') and city/state on it, I would say your should be covered...especially if your name is engraved in the same general location as the original city/state. The PSA markings are presumed to be correctly done...height and depth...and the regulation does not specifically state that you CAN'T add just your name.

LiquidTension
January 14, 2012, 01:32 AM
That's what I had reasoned out, but "ATF" and "reason" have rarely been used in the same sentence.

MasterSergeantA
January 14, 2012, 02:40 PM
That's what I had reasoned out, but "ATF" and "reason" have rarely been used in the same sentence.
Oh, you will get absolutely NO argument out of me on that. And don't forget that most ATF field agents have little or no experience with the NFA rules. And we have seen changing 'opinions' from tech branch over the years. That is why I normally suggest that folks write their own letter, spelling out their question, and keep multiple copies of the reply to cover their furry butts. Then, even if the 'opinion' changes or, (gasp) becomes an actual LAW...passed by the people we elect to watch out for us...you are not automatically an instant felon. Might even get time to bring the offending article into compliance.

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