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I found a wondrous place!

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by JellyJar, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. JellyJar

    JellyJar Well-Known Member

    To make a long story short I needed to drift the rear sight on my EMP 40 to get it to hit to point of aim. For some reason Springfield makes it very hard to drift their rear sights. After buying a sight pusher that didn't work and bending a brass punch trying to get the sight to move I looked up gunsmiths on Yellowpages.com for my area. Doing so I found the number of a gunsmith in a little town south of where I live. His place is about a half mile east of the railroad tracks on county road 20 east of the little Alabama town of Spruce Pine.

    The owner, Fred, and a friend were there and he was able to get my rear sight to move. He showed me the sight pusher he used and it was massive. After getting my sight to move I gave him ten dollars in gratitude.

    I don't know his complete story but I did find this out. He is retired and no longer has an FFL so he does not sell firearms any more. However, he does still do a small amount of gunsmithing but only as a hobby. Apparently he does not need or perhaps even want any more money but he was kind enough to help me out.

    It was a wondrous place for a firearms buff like me! I was struck by the amount of old stock he still had in his place. I saw dozens of rifle stocks, forearms and butstocks all over the place as well as numerous rifle and shotgun barrels. I did see a few rifles and shotguns but apparently they were guns he was working on for his friends. There was a pegboard display that still had all sorts of little parts in little plastic bags hanging from hooks on it. I saw bags if various sorts and lots of boxes with who knows what inside. There is no telling what all he has in the back where I could not see!

    It occurred to me that if someone on this board needed a new wood rifle stock or other small part or accessory that this might be a good place to check out for hard to find old stuff. To that end here is his address and telephone number:

    Fred's Gun Repair
    Country Road 20 E St Country Road, Spruce Pine, Al, 35585

    Should you decide to contact him please remember that he is retired and may not be there at all times. He has no regular business hours anymore. He probably does not want to work too hard anymore either.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  2. writerinmo

    writerinmo Well-Known Member

    I was under the impression that even to just work on firearms you needed to keep a current FFL01... correct me if I am wrong please?
  3. Mac's Precision

    Mac's Precision Well-Known Member

    You are correct. FFL required to do gunsmithing for profit. Further it is required if you are taking in firearms to be held in your custody over night.

  4. Coolbreeze8804

    Coolbreeze8804 Well-Known Member

    Hey Mac. I am NOT questioning the veracity of your knowledge, I am simply hoping you are wrong, or that there are helpful details. I have a buddy... We know of the prohibition against gunsmithing for profit, and he doesn't charge, (ever), but what are the specifics about working on stuff for free, but they stay overnight...
  5. JellyJar

    JellyJar Well-Known Member

    For the record the part he worked on was the slide which does not have the serial number and he did it as I waited. Therefor he does not need a license for that.

    CYANIDEGENOCIDE Well-Known Member

    You paid, it's for profit, hence the need for FFL. I am not sure of the technicalities of slide versus serial numbered receiver but the question one would need to ask is how much do you trust the ATF
  7. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    You should either move this or make a summary thread over in the "rate retail and private transactions" section.

    Sounds like you went to a hobbyist who was helpful, let's not get hung up on the licensing requirements for working on privately-owned gadgetry ... it implies that such worthless laws and agencies might be legitimate.
  8. Mac's Precision

    Mac's Precision Well-Known Member

    In reality the ATF does regulate based on if you are acting as a "business". If you are compensated for your work, in any way you are a business. IF you are serving "customers" at your "shop" on a regular basis and keeping others firearms on site you could be defined as a gunsmith. Should the volumes of other people's guns be large enough it would become questionable if the volume of your work could be anything other than a business.

    IF you are doing work for others in exchange for compensation that is by definition "gunsmithing business" you are by definition a "gunsmith" and would have to be licensed as such.

    YOU may work on YOUR guns all you like as long as you assume responsibility for any dangerous incident they may cause . You may work on your buddies guns all you want for FREE as long as you understand you may be held liable if there is an injury stemming from your work. A word of warning though, YOU may find yourself without home owner's insurance and in violation of county zoning ordnances if they catch you operating a "high volume hobby" that resembles a business.

    Is your buddy going to get busted for having 3 or 4 old rifles on hand to fix?..no...probably not. Is he going to get in trouble having 30 guns on site leaning against every corner of his shop...with 3-4 people coming and going every other day...getting scopes installed..triggers adjusted? Probably. If his "customers" pay him with a 12 pack of beer ...or a carton of smokes or cash "under the table"...it is only a matter of time before the ATF, county zoning enforcement and the department of revenue will be annoyed with his "not for profit hobby". IF he has business cards stuck to cork boards at the ranges and the local mom and pop store trying to get work. He has an issue.

    If it is genuinely a low key hobby, with no aspects that resemble a business he is probably okay. If it doesn't alter volumes of traffic in the neighbor hood with customers or UPS shipments he is probably okay. If it is just a couple guns here and there...fine.

    Should the "hobby" progress to having a significant number of other folks guns on site..then get licensed. Get insured, and zoned. One doesn't need to get his hand spanked for a "hobby" that LOOKS like a business. Free lance gunsmithing CAN get you in a heap of trouble should something go wrong. Even if the job was not PAID for...and someone gets injured or there is property damage that can be a result of your work... You will lose everything you have. IF you could be named as the "Gunsmith" that worked on my rifle...and now my brother is dead because it went off..you can be sued if not charged with reckless endangerment should there be proof that you made the gun unsafe. Keep in mind that ignorance is no defense. You can't say...I didn't know it would do that.....

    If you are going to be actively working in an industry that is regulated on the business level....you had best be careful. Not having the blessing of the City, State, and Feds as well as proper insurance is risking a lot.

    Below are the regs from the ATF.

    (I1) Is a license needed to engage
    in the business of engraving, customizing,
    refinishing or repairing

    Yes. A person conducting such activities
    as a business is considered to
    be a gunsmith within the definition of
    a dealer. See Item 16, “Federal Excise
    Tax” in the General Information
    section of this publication.
    [27 CFR 478.11]

    (I2) Does a gunsmith need to enter
    in a permanent "bound book" record
    every firearm received for
    adjustment or repair?

    If a firearm is brought in for repairs
    and the owner waits while it is being
    repaired or if the gunsmith is able to
    return the firearm to the owner during
    the same business day, it is not necessary
    to list the firearm in the “bound
    book” as an "acquisition." If the gunsmith
    has possession of the firearm
    from one business day to another or
    longer, the firearm must be recorded
    as an “acquisition” and a “disposition”
    in the permanent "bound book" record.
  9. yeti

    yeti Well-Known Member

    Odds are 'Fred' still has his license but upon his retirement it conveniently 'is expired,' or not, depending on how interested he his about any given project.

    If he was in business long enough to retire and keep a well stocked shop he probably has a good grasp of the legal requirements. Saying he no longer had his FFL lets him be very choosy and only work as much as he wants.
  10. WC145

    WC145 Well-Known Member

    Good effort JellyJar but it looks like an "edit" is in order. An admirable effort, but Fred may be better served to be left off the radar.
    Nice work whistle blowers.:fire:
  11. Coolbreeze8804

    Coolbreeze8804 Well-Known Member

    Looks like Bob is in good shape though, he only fixes our guns, (small shooting group of four), so I think it would be a Loooooong stretch to say he's in business. I think I actually have more of his guns at my house than he does of mine at his place...
  12. danprkr

    danprkr Well-Known Member

    Well said!
  13. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    To everyone who is WRONGLY saying this guy needs an FFL to do what he is doing, I would point you to 18 USC 921 (a)(21) posted below. An FFL is required for those persons "engaged in the business of" manufacturing, dealing, etc. Look at every definition of the categories of "engaged in the business of" below in the Federal statute. What is common to them all? "with the principal objective of livelihood and profit".

    This is a retired guy doing a little side work out of his garage. It is even allowed for him to make profit from his side work. It is even allowed for C&R license holders to make profit due to their buying and selling from their collections. The key words are LIVELIHOOD AND. Both livelihood AND profit are required to be considered "engaged in the business of". If this guy quit working on guns tomorrow would he be able to pay his bills? YES. Is livelihood his principal objective in working on guns? NO.

    Take off your tin foil hats and give the guy all the business you can and pay him what he willing to accept.

    And keeping guns overnight has nothing to do with it either.


    (a) As used in this chapter—
    (21) The term “engaged in the business” means—

    (A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms manufactured;

    (B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;

    (C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921 (a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;

    (D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921 (a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;

    (E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported; and

    (F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.
  14. writerinmo

    writerinmo Well-Known Member

    If he presents himself as a business, which by the posting of his address containing the words "gun repair" then he indeed is bound by applicable laws. Whether he makes a profit or it's his only source of income has diddly to do with it... businesses end up in the red every year but they are still bound by whatever regulations cover their industry.

    Bottom line is, if you charge anybody anything for doing it, whether it be cash or goods, then you are "in business".
  15. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    OK, let's pretend I agree.

    So what? Why should it matter?
  16. chuckles

    chuckles Well-Known Member

    There you have it Jellyjar. Welcome to America, where no good deed goes unpunished or untaxed.:(
  17. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    The ATF disagrees with you:

    Page 165:
    Notice, the above opinion, directly from the ATF, says that a reloader can be paid for their LABOR as well as materials and NOT be engaged in a business that requires taxes to be paid, and, therefore, does NOT require a license to engage in. Granted, the above specifically applies to reloading, but it would apply exactly the same to hobbyist gunsmiths.

    I have shown you statutes and ATF opinions to back up my position. I would challenge you to produce anything from a regulatory agency or statute to back up yours.

    You are correct. Why? Because of the statutory definition of "engaged in business" which I have already posted:

    "with the principal objective of livelihood and profit"

    The statute does not state that a business has to succeed in their principal objective. Fred's principal objective is NOT livelihood and profit. His principal objective is to do something that he enjoys doing and is good at - otherwise known as a HOBBY! If he makes money from his hobby, that is perfectly acceptable and legal, WITHOUT a license!

    If this whole business of advertising makes a business were true, than all the garage sales and people selling on ebay would require a business license.

    My FFL charges me a six pack of beer for a transfer - gee, I hope I am not distributing alcohol with a license!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  18. writerinmo

    writerinmo Well-Known Member

    Reloading has no correlation with gunsmithing any more than selling a scope has to do with reloading. Since the ATF has obviously felt fit to have separate sections dealing with both of them, I tend to agree with them. The section on reloading doesn't address gunsmithing, and vice versa. Would you research divorce laws before going to trial for DUI? I hope not, but feel free to go on ahead. Plus your statement ONLY applies if the reloader is reloading a customer's own shells, if he buys from another source to load and resell he is required to have a license from the ATF

    And if you are using alcohol as a form of payment, then yep... you guessed it...

    Just keep on telling yourself that if he is making money at it then it's not a business, especially if he has his shingle out... maybe after a time you'll convince yourself that you're right. If it's a hobby, then he won't have a sign out, or be listed in any sort of BUSINESS advertising... as the OP said, he FOUND HIM ON YELLOWPAGES.COM... guess what is listed on those pages... BUSINESSES!

    And LT, you can NOT be engaged in business with a C&R either... maybe you need to spend a bit more time reading those regs in depth and maybe have a talk or two with a rep... while you can sell (and obviously buy) qualified firearms using your C&R, it is NOT a business license to do so. But then, if you don't understand what makes a business a business, I wouldn't expect one to understand that either.
  19. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Like I said, writerinmo, you have yet to post a statute or ATF opinion to back your claims.
  20. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    writerinmo is there an actual ethical basis to your argument, or are you just concerned with the silliness from the ATF?

    Because I'm not seeing a moral or ethical issue here, and the ATF's regs are obviously in a grey area ... so who cares? Let them make rational and constitutional laws and then you might get more interest.

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