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Definition of "Firearm"

Discussion in 'Legal' started by 52grain, Feb 4, 2011.

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  1. 52grain

    52grain Member

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    For ARs you have to have an FFL to sell lower, but as far as I can tell, pretty much anyone can assemble and sell uppers as long as they are not making or selling the lower assembly. Is this because the AR upper group by itself is not considered a firearm, but the lower receiver is considered the firearm for regulatory purposes?

    What does the ATF define as a "firearm?" Is it the receiver? Meaning that you can make and sell as many magazines, barrels, triggers, stocks, etc (including in the case of the AR, assembling upper groups) as you want without being a licensed manufacturer or dealer as long as you aren't manufacturing and selling receivers?
     
  2. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    Partially Correct.

    The part the ATF cares about is the receiver, the part with the serial number.

    Technically, if you only making them for private use, you could forge your own lower receivers as well.
    But thats for the 'smithing forum ;)

    And you dont have to have an FFL to sell the lower, they can be sold/bought/traded in private sales like any other firearm.
     
  3. 52grain

    52grain Member

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    Sorry should have been more specific, I meant for commercial purposes as businesses are more closely regulated.
     
  4. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    This is only partially correct. In some states, even private sales are required to go through an FFL.
     
  5. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000921----000-.html

     
  6. 52grain

    52grain Member

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    So basically the "frame or receiver" is the part containing the serial number (in the case of the AR the lower). If you making or selling the part with the serial number for business purposes, you need a license. You do not need license to make and sell other gun parts. Right?

    On a bolt gun, is the bolt considered a part of the receiver or is it separate?
     
  7. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Bolt is just "parts" usually.

    As for what piece is the "firearm" the ATF determines this at Tech Branch. Manufacturers normally submit a sample firearm to Tech Branch before going into production and ATF rules on whether it's OK to sell and what part is the "firearm".
     
  8. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    That is all correct. The bolt is just a part. If you have questions about a particular part you can look here:
    http://www.gunpartscorp.com/

    and see if the company requires that part to be sent to an FFL for transfer.

    Assembling complete firearms and reselling them as a business requires a manufacturer's FFL. For instance if you advertised complete AR uppers and people brought in their lowers and you assembled them onto your uppers as a business and returned a full rifle to them - that would require a manufacturers license.
     
  9. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    however, if you are building and selling uppers as a business, I'd say you could be on shaky ground.

    It's not a stretch to call that gunsmith, and the ATF requires gunsmiths to have an FFL.
     
  10. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    IMO,ATF has the same view of definitions as did Robert J.Pierce,an Army Corp of Engineers official when asked to define what a "wetland" was said "For regulatory purposes, a wetland is whatever we decide it is".
     
  11. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    I think it is a stretch. The ATF only regulates Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I can walk into a local gunshop, that holds an FFL, buy a complete AR-15 upper, and walk out with no 4473, no NICS check. I can mail order a complete AR-15 upper mail order from across the US and have it mailed to me directly at my house, with no signature even required for receipt. Does a manufacturer of holsters require an FFL? Or slings? Or bipods? Or scope mounts?

    That's because AR-15 uppers are not firearms! If there is no firearms license required, no 4473, no NICS check required to buy/sell/trade/make uppers. One would require a state business license, however.

    When I attach that upper to a lower, now I have taken a lower receiver, classified as an "other firearm" when transferred on a 4473 and have created either a handgun or a rifle from that "other firearm." Now, I am actually creating or modifying an actual firearm.... to do so as a course of business does require an FFL.
     
  12. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    and the ATF can be capricious when they feel like it.

    FFL's aren't particularly expensive. why risk it?
     
  13. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Why invite government regulation into something that isn't regulated? That would be like parents getting a daycare license to raise their own kids.
     
  14. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    It was not that long ago that some parents got into legal hot water because they were routinely looking after other folks' children in the neighborhood along with their own, while the other kids' parents were at work or whatever. They were charged with operating an unlicensed day care facility.

    Stupid, yes. But this is the end result of a litigation-heavy society.
     
  15. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    Does anyone know why the FAL upper is considered the firearm, but on an AR, it is the lower that is considered the firearm???
     
  16. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Because ATF said so. And no I'm not trying to be funny. Tech Branch decides which piece is the "firearm". I am sure there's a document somewhere that describes their process for making that decision but at the end of the day ATF gets to decide.
     
  17. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    Well that is what I figured, I just wondered if there was any logic to it.
     
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