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ATFs View of Building Your Own Gun

Discussion in 'Legal' started by TEX, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. TEX

    TEX Member

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    Hope this is is the right forum. It is supposedly legal for a person to build there own firearm for their own use if it is not to be sold, traded, etc. Like many things, what the laws says and the reality of it can be different.

    Anyone ever done this or know of anyone that has done this for real and know what the real world application and outcome are. I have seen firms that sell 80% finished frames, but I understand that some have gotten into trouble. If I have an idea for a new type or firearm or silencer can I build it without a license as long as I don't sell it - like a prototype. The law appears to say I can, but a call to the ATF will usually result in an answer of "No you can't"

    Please, no off color comments. I am seriuous and would appreciate serious answers.

    Thanks - TEX
     
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    If you don't know why a firearm is different from a silencer (or other NFA item) then you need to read the law some more.
     
  3. khadre

    khadre Member

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    +1 what JohnKSa said.

    The ruling that covers Building Title 1 firearms from 80% or less - is way different than the rulings that cover building your own silencer (which are under NFA regulation).

    If you are building your own title I firearms (usually your typical semi-auto or single shot action type), I would suggest to document your build and engrave or mark a serial # of your own to identify it as yours, just in case. I would also have a copy of the section of the ATF ruling on building your own title I - kept nearby with it.

    Just my own opinion of what I would do. Not everyone at the ATF are that knowledgeable about their own rulings.
     
  4. publius

    publius Member

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    Designing and building your own machine gun for personal use is definitely interstate commerce and is considered a nanny no no. See US v Stewart. The same would be true of any NFA item.
     
  5. Gerald in Ga

    Gerald in Ga Member

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    Howdy,
    Building title 1 firearms can be done without a FFL.
    Building NFA weapons can be done on a form 1 filed with the ATF if legal in that state.
    Form 1 NFA list:
    1. Machine guns will be denied.

    2. Shorth barreled shotguns
    Short barreled rifles
    Suppressors
    Any other weapon = Cane guns, pen guns,etc will be approved with proper form 1 filled out and filed with ATF.
    Person Filing the form1 must be able to pass all background checks.

    If any of this is wrong information or needs to be clarified, please feel free to do so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  6. dogmush

    dogmush Member

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    Wait up.

    You can make a Supressor? I've always wanted to try this, but not enough to go to jail. I have machine tools, and I think it would be really cool to try. I'd pay the $200 no problem. Does this kind of application useally go through?
     
  7. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    As stated, the National Firearms Act (NFA) devices need federal permission to be made.

    All other firearms can be made without federal permission if not for sale......however, your state laws may be more strict!


    THe stories about people selling 80% recievers getting in trouble, well there was usually more to the story than was told. I heard rumor about this one guy pushed the issue by "helping" with the last 20% finishing on his CNC machine and while probably technically legal, the ATF didn't like that and of course when the ATF comes-a-calling, lawyer fees can be real expensive, at the least.

    When looking at your state laws for the legality of building your own firearm, you have to look around for things like "zip guns" laws as well as the more obvious. SOme states get complicated, but others are not an issue.
    In my state of Maryland for instance, it is perfectly legal to make a pistol without permission that is not an NFA device or one of the banned, so called "assault pistols". Compare this to California and I think there is some sort of zip gun law for handguns there and they have some approved handgun list making it a bloody nightmare to wade through their laws to see if making one is legal.
    (Maryland has an approved handgun list too, but it does not apply to home made handguns or possession of handguns in general, it just applies to sales)
     
  8. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    From what I understand the biggest problem for getting approval to make one is you have to go through your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) to get approval and some of them don't approve it and send it on to the ATF. (we do not have this problem in my state of MD)

    Once it gets to the ATF and you are not prohibitted from owning a firearm, then they approve it.

    There is a way around the CLEO permission though, but you need to have a Trust or you need to be a corporation or something confusing to me. However if your state does not allow the silencers, then even that won't work.
     
  9. Gerald in Ga

    Gerald in Ga Member

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    Howdy,
    Making a revocable trust will bypass finger prints, photographs, and Chief law enforcement sign off. Having a corporation will do the same.

    THE form 1 has to be filed with the ATF and APPROVED and in YOUR POSSESSION BEFORE any construction can begin!!!!!!!!!

    APPROVED FORM must be in your possession before beginning construction. Just thought I'd mention that twice.
     
  10. dogmush

    dogmush Member

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    Huh. I'll have to check with my CLEO when I get home. I don't have a problem with fingerprints and such, it just seems like it would be a neat project to do. I just didn't think a Form 1 would cover any NFA items. Learn something new every day.
     
  11. waverace

    waverace Member

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    Be CAREFULL !!

    reading the ATF regs is next to impossible its so tied up in legalese .unless you have a letter of approval stating in PLAIN easy to understand English EXACTLY what you are planning to build and then you build ONLY what is stated EXACTLY to the letter , there will be no room for R&D (research and development) .Picking a fight with the ATF is not recommended if there is a technicality that they can hang on you , they will ! "sorry i didnt know" wont cut it with them , they are the Cerberus of the law enforcement world .

    BE WARNED !

    other than that if you can do it have fun !!:cool:
     
  12. Harold Mayo

    Harold Mayo Member

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    Remember that no one giving you advice on an internet forum will likewise provide money for bail or criminal defense or for your family while you are in prison. Questions and discussion are great and THR has some people with legitimate knowledge but, if you're going to actually go and DO any of these things rather than merely discuss them, I would recommend finding an ATF agent who actually KNOWS the relevant laws (this is not as easy as it sounds) as well as talking to someone who has actually done the work and researched it. Never hurts to have an attorney read up on it, either. In the end, I don't think that I'd do any work that might violate the law unless I had a letter in hand from the ATF stating that my understanding of the law is correct.
     
  13. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    The threshold question is: what do you want to make? A Title I or Title II item?
     
  14. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    One can double check what others have said with the ATF....like strating with their FAQ pages.

    Part of FAQ for NFA devices.
    http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#m16

    Non-NFA firearms:
    http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#a6
     
  15. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    Yes, you can build your own gun without any paperwork or permission from the .gov, except for machine guns, destructive devices and the like.

    It isn't true that you can never sell or trade it. You just can't build it with the intent to sell it. There's also no truth to the "you can only build one per year" myth. You don't have to pay any excise taxes to the government on it.

    ATF does not recognize the term "80%" receiver. In their mind it's either a receiver or it isn't. Hard to tell with them where the line falls. Ask ten agents and you'll get ten different answers.

    Yes, I am a home gunbuilder.
     
  16. waverace

    waverace Member

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    hey zoom6zoom coud you pleeeeese post some pics ?, i always like to see peoples handywork in this area , its something ive considered doing but i really dont have the skills needed
     
  17. PTK

    PTK Member

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  18. Diamondback6

    Diamondback6 Member

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    Check out the forums at HomeGunsmith.com if you're interested in joining us on the Dark Side... lol

    We've got a lot of answers about all this over there.
     
  19. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    For those of you who are interested in making your own silencer, then take a look at http://subguns.com for forms and advice, and http://www.silencertests.com for info and ideas on building. Silencers are legal for unlicensed civilians to own in AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MS, MT, NE, ND, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and WY. WA bans use even of registered silencers.

    You must submit the ATF form 1 along with the $200 tax for each silencer you plan to make and the form 1 must be returned to you approved before you start to build it. You do not need to submit plans. The form 1 does not allow you to replace damaged or worn out parts except for rubber wipes, so you need to make it right the first time. Repairs can be made as long as parts are not replaced. A licensed manufacturer is allowed to replace parts on your silencer.

    Ranb
     
  20. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    I registered at the HomeGunsmith.com, but either I am doing something wrong, or something really sucks. I can not search or post on any part of the forum.

    Ranb
     
  21. Gerald in Ga

    Gerald in Ga Member

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    Howdy,
    Go to silencertalk.com and check their site out.
     
  22. Diamondback6

    Diamondback6 Member

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    Ranb, have you received your activation email? I don't think they take freemail accounts anymore, either.
     
  23. SouthpawShootr

    SouthpawShootr Member

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    :what:Boy, that's no fun. You can have it, but you can't use it?

    Biggest problem around here is getting the CLEO to sign off on the tax stamp. They don't say no, they don't sign it either. IIRC, there is a way to get around this legally - something about owning it as an incorporated business.
     
  24. PTK

    PTK Member

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    All of my NFA items are registered to a trust that I am both trustee and grantor of.
     
  25. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    Diamondback6, I got the activation email right after registering. I still can not post or search the forum. I changed my yahoo email to a netzero email but this does not help either.

    Ranb
     
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