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can you buy a SBR upper for a ar without an class 3?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by futureranger, Feb 5, 2010.

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  1. futureranger

    futureranger Member

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    title sums it up, but can one buy a sub 16" barrel without a class 3? i know there are pistol ar's but what about just an upper. am asking cause my friend told me about an article in the paper about a guy who "legally" had a sbr and it only became "illegal" when he put the upper and lower together.
    -Pat
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You can buy an upper without holding a FFL and being a Special Occupational Tax Class 3 dealer. Only a DEALER in National Firearms Act, Title II regulated firearms needs to become Class 3 licensed.

    There is no license to OWN Title II - regulated firearms like machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, AOWs, suppressors, or destructive devices.

    I think the question you're really trying to ask is, can a person own a SBR upper without registering the weapon it goes on with the BATFE as Title II regulated?

    The answer is, "probably." If you own an AR-15, and also buy a sbr upper, you don't have to register it unless you are going to install that upper on the gun. (You must have your tax stamp in hand, approved, before you assemble the two.)

    Now, if you own an SBR upper, and a lower with no top, that makse some folks very nervous. There's a concept called "Constructive Intent" that is said to apply. The idea being, if you have all the parts and it just happens to be in disassembled condition, it's still an unregistered SBR.

    This is not cut and dried. There don't seem to be many (any?) cases of folks being nailed for this with ARs. (There ARE cases of this happening where folks had all the parts for a full-auto M-16 conversion and a receiver modified to hold them, and got busted for possession of an unregistered machine gun.)

    The majority of wisdom from folks who have done this is that you can buy the upper ahead of time and just store it away while you wait for your stamp. Just don't assemble it until you have your approval in hand.

    -Sam
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  3. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Just the upper? You can have it shipped to your house or you can walk in and out of the store without filling out the 4473, because it is not a "gun".
     
  4. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    You can buy the upper, yes, but if you are not buying it to put on a pistol or SBR registered lower, there is no good reason to have it.

    If you have the short upper, a non-registerd rifle lower, and no pistol or registered lower, you can potentially get into hot water.

    The safe play is to not buy it without owning a lower on which a legal installation could be done.
     
  5. Arkady

    Arkady Member

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    A short barreled upper is perfectly legal to purchase, but possessing one without having either a SBR-registered or AR pistol lower could fall under the ATF's 'constructive intent' umbrella.

    There is no "Class 3" license to purchase one, you would instead need to file a Form 1 (Application to Manufacture) for a short barreled rifle, and pay a (one time) $200 tax.

    Personally, my dealer is holding on to my 11.5 upper until the Form 1 comes back from ATF.
     
  6. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Pay attention to this. "constructive possession" is one of ATF's unscrupulous and oft used prosecution tactics.
     
  7. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    As has been said, you can buy a sub-16" barreled upper without having to do anything special.

    Now, owning a sub-16" upper WITHOUT also owning the means to assemble it to a pistol or registered SBR lower receiver shows (what the ATF calls) "constructive intent", even if it is not installed on a rifle lower receiver. Do some research on AR pistols, SBRs, and "constructive intent" and its consquences. Let your conscience (and the law) be your guide.
     
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The last SBR I did I assembled as a pistol until I received my approved form 1 back then just swapped the tube for a stock.
     
  9. Holling

    Holling Member

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    I know guys that have bought the upper and had it shipped to their non AR owning parents and/or friends house till they got their form 1 back. FWIW I just wait till I have the form 1 before I order the short barrel. I like going slow on these projects. Snap purchases usually cost more than well thought out ones.
     
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The common misunderstanding about having to have a "class 3" license needs to be addressed.

    To own common NFA items you don't have to be a "dealer" or have a "class 3 license".

    You pay for your item, fill out the forms, write your check for the $200 (or $5) tax and mail the forms and check in to ATF. You wait. The ATF does their checks and eventually approves you. You get your tax stamp in. You pay your FFL for helping out. You get your suppressor, SBR, transferrable machine gun, SBSG, AOW, whatever and you go have fun.
     
  11. RippinSVT

    RippinSVT Member

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    Like stated, you can just order a 14.5 or 11.5 inch upper and ship it to yourself. I know people that have them, but they have had to permanently fix a flash suppressor or other attachment to the barrel to make it 16" and not be an SBR. In fact, a friend is coming over right now so I can pin/weld a brake on his 14.5" upper.
     
  12. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    This tells me that what you're probably asking is whether or not there is some kind of end run or trick to avert the normal law and legally possess an SBR without the application process and tax stamp.

    The answer is: No, there is not any end runs or exception.

    So, the hearsay that you heard was incorrectly reported to you.....

    So no, that makes no sense. He did not "HAVE" an SBR without putting the upper and lower together, because an 'SBR' without a fire control group and lower receiver is NOT an SBR - it's not a gun at all. He didn't HAVE any kind of assembled/finished weapon of any kind, because he never put them together. Unless he did, in which he did have an (apparently illegal unregistered) SBR, but then the remaining portion would make no sense: "when[/B] he put the upper and lower together." Which means this mystery dude did NOT ever put them together; hence he never had an SBR, legal or not, and hence the hearsay was wrong.

    In any event, there is no end run. Send in the paperwork, wait a long time, and pay the gov't their $200, or do it at your peril. If you are a bigger fan of free meals & housing, and free time, than you are of freedom, then slap 'em together and show all your friends! :p

    If you have a criminal record beyond traffic tickets, then it ain't gonna happen, would be my guess (the SBR stamp approval). Anyone know about this? Is there a higher threshhold (of a clean past) for NFA items than for standard 4473, or is it the same? I have no criminal record, but what about a pothead (nonviolent) conviction? Is it conceivable that someone could be approved for ordinary 4473, but refused on NFA items, for lower level criminal charges/convictions?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
  13. CleverNickname

    CleverNickname Member

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    The standard for possessing a title II firearm is exactly the same as for a title I firearm.
     
  14. Vitesse304

    Vitesse304 Member

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    so what is the process?

    I want to get an SBR upper. I have a lower I want to put it on. I want to buy the upper and send in my paperwork for a SBR. After I get the paperwork in, and everything comes back clean, I can now assemble my SBR. What else do I need to do after I attach the upper to the lower?

    also, I'm seeing in the paperwork that I need the serial number of the lower to complete the SBR, what if I want to continue to use that lower with my current AR set up and purchase a new lower for the SBR upper?
     
  15. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    Once you get a lower SBR'ed, you're pretty much married to it. Do some work on the front end to make sure you have a long and prosperous life together.

    1. Measure the trigger group pin holes and takedown/pivot pin holes to ensure they are in spec.
    2. Assemble your lower to a non-NFA upper.
    3. Shoot the crap out of it. At least 1000 rounds. Use as many different magazines as you can.
    4. When you are absolutely satisfied there are no problems with your lower, send it to a firearms engraver with a good reputation for the required engraving.
    5. Examine the engraving to ensure it meets your quality standards.
    6. Go through the paperwork/application process.
    7. Wait, wait, wait.
    8. Get the approved stamp in your grubby little hands.
    9. THEN, and ONLY THEN, order your NFA upper receiver.

    You don't want to get a stamp for a lower, then find out that the mag well is too tight, or that your engraver has botched the job. You'll have this thing for life. There's no harm in waiting to do things in a sequence that covers your butt.
     
  16. rfurtkamp

    rfurtkamp Member

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    No idea on your specifics. I have a misdemeanor, non-domestic battery conviction from when I was 18. Zero issue with NFA stuff. If you're GTG on a 4473, you're GTG on NFA.
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    What is that?
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    The ATF says:

    The rest of the story:

    Whew...

    I LOVE how they will allow you to bypass stamping or engraving your serial number into certain destructive devices. Somehow I get this hilarious mental picture of "the new guy" at the factory being handed a hammer and punch set and being told to go put serial numbers on that day's batch of anti-personnel mines! :D :eek:

    -Sam
     
  19. sfc_mark

    sfc_mark Member

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    OK, maybe I'm missing something. I've heard (though I've never seen a cite from an authoritative source) that a SBR must receive additional marking. Reading the material from ATFE thoughtfully provided by SAM1911 in post #18 above, I see nothing to support that.

    When I fill out my Form 1, can I not simply provide the serial number assigned by the manufacturer of my lower receiver without having to deface it by adding additional markings?

    BTW, I really like MrCleanOK's recommendations. It would stink to find that you paid a non-refundable $200 tax to legally SBR a lemon receiver.
     
  20. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Really? Does that mean we're all criminals if we own a hacksaw and a shotgun?

    Really? So if I don't own any AR stuff, I can't buy a 11.5" upper to use as a paperweight? Am I REALLLY gonna get in trouble?

    I suspect that some of us wear our tin foil too tightly wrapped.

    The way the law is written, the manufacturer's markings must be on the SBR. A form 1 is a "request to manufacture" an SBR. You can still use the factory serial, but your name/info must be on the receiver, as well.
     
  21. sfc_mark

    sfc_mark Member

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    Well, I just looked at the instructions on the ATF Form 1. It states:

    Serial Numbers and other Markings. If an existing firearm is being modified into an NFA firearm, enter the existing serial number of that firearm into item 4g and the name and address of the original manufacturer into item 4a. Do not Alter or Modify the Existing Serial Number. If the NFA firearm is being made from parts, your name and address are to be entered into 4a and a serial number you create is to be entered into item 4g.

    (Odd capitalization and emphasis in original.)

    Since the unassembled lower receiver is, in fact, an existing firearm according to the law, it would seem that no additional markings are necessary. Anyone with actual working knowledge know different (with relevant cites to authoritative source)?

    (I am on a quest for knowledge that I intend to use, not trying to be obstinate or argumentative)
     
  22. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    You can keep the serial number from the original mfg since it is already on there. Since you are the manufacturer of the SBR, you or the name of the mfg entity as appropriate must be engraved as well.

    Form 1 Process:

    1) You buy a rifle lower. It is a regular rifle; not an SBR. You can not legally put on a short upper.
    2) You fill out the Form 1, request to manufacture an SBR. You are manufacturing an SBR from parts that include the original rifle lower. You get the stamp back, and sometime in there you engrave your mfg information (Your name, or corporate/llc/trust name and location as applicable)
    3) Drop on your upper. Done.

    Sample Form 1 engraving:

    [​IMG]

    Alternately you can buy a completed SBR from a different manufacturer on a Form 4, and you would not need to do engraving since you are not the manufacturer.
     
  23. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If you don’t own any AR stuff you would have no receiver to register. You have to have the serial number on the application. It is for this reason I put the thing together as a pistol, as above, make sure everything works as you want it, have it engraved and once you’re happy send off your F1. Once it comes back you just swap the tube for the stock of your choice, you never have to bite a fingernail wondering if something is going to be wrong that way.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Oh, and I'm pretty sure you are not going to get away with "multi" anymore.
     
  25. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Please include all associated text when you quote me.

    The response you quoted from me was intended to illustrate that simply owning an 11.5" upper and no other AR parts was not illegal, clearing up what MrCleanOK seemed to be saying.
     
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