Rifle/Pistol...requirements.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:52 PM   #1
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Default Rifle/Pistol...requirements.

not sure if this is the right place, but I assume someone will see it here and know the answer for me.

I've always been a bit fuzzy on the rules between a rifle and a pistol, meaning, in the eyes of the law, what's the difference, and what's legal?

for example, lets say you have an AR-15 platform. the lower is marked in a rifle caliber, ".223 / 5.56" an 18 year old can buy it because it's a rifle. but because it's a rifle, it cannot have a barrel shorter than 16" and the overall length has to be 26" correct?

now, I see 14" and shorter AR barrels, and I've heard about "Short Barreled Rifles" which are only available to LEO/Military -- if you get a class 3 stamp, I assume you can buy one as a civilian?

but, I've heard about pistol ARs Is it possible to get an AR lower recieiver that's a "pistol" in the eyes of the law, you have to be 21 to buy it, and then you can legally put a 14" barrel onto it?

As far as the law goes, what makes a "pistol" with a 6" barrel ok, but a "rifle" with a 10" barrel illegal? is it the caliber? does the federal law recognize certain calibers as being rifle only or pistol only? how does that work with say, a .22? or a 9mm carbine?

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Old 01-15-2013, 08:58 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure that a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches cannot have a stock attached to it. It is then sold as a handgun, and you must be 21 to buy it. Attach any type of stock to it and it becomes an SBR

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:16 PM   #3
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Elf is correct.

Minimum rifle barrel length is 16 inches

Pistols have no minimum barrel length but also can not have a but stock. Adding a stock to an AR PISTOL would create an illegal SBR.

Lower receivers are identified as pistol or rifle in the manufacturing process and should not be interchanged.

Similar rules apply to single shots like my Thompson Contender.

I could buy a 10" barrel and slap it on in a matter of minutes...I'd also be in felony possession of an illegal SBR...

I've wondered if I could do this AND replace the but stock with a pistol grip?

My LGS advised against it as the receiver was sold as a rifle. I see no markings to indicate such but I'd also be surprised if the manufactures records did not denote pistol or rifle as corrolated to my serial number...

...and I don't need a single shot pistol bad enough to find out.

Tack

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:36 PM   #4
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Cuda,

Tackleberry is correct.
Just reconfirming!

In order to be legal an AR-15 Rifle must have a 16" Barrel on it unless you have applied and recieved the Federal Tax Stamp to make the rifle an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) Once it is registered as a SBR for all purposes that receiver will always be an SBR from that point on.
If the person has a 14" Barrel and has a flash hider pined and brazed on the barrel making it a total of 16" it is classified as a 16" Barrel and needs no Federal Stamp.
For practical purposes if it is an AR-15 Pistol (Marked) it is always a Pistol and should not be swithced with other uppers or lowers. In addition as Tack mentioned you can not put a stock on the Pistol Receiver or put a Verticle Grip on it should it have a quadrail. Both are violations of Federal Law. 10 Years Federal Time Plus a major fine!
In most states a person must be 21 to purchase a pistol and 18 to buy a rifle.

03

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Old 01-15-2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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There IS one exception in the long barrel/ short barrel- after a court case, the BATFE has grudgingly made an exception of at least ONE model of the TC pistol/ carbine, that CAN have a buttstock and a 16" bbl, have the stock removed, replaced with a handgrip, shorter barrel, and later return to long barrel/ buttstock.

See page 2. Does NOT mean that you can put a buttstock on a T/C with a barrel under 16".

http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulings/rulings/atf-rulings/atf-ruling-2011-4.pdf

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Old 01-15-2013, 10:56 PM   #6
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Thanks. That clears up some of the confusion I had on barrel lengths, but what about overall lengths now?

can you have a 16" barrel on a rifle with a stock that fully collapses down so that the overall length is only say, 20? or do rifles have to be at least 26? overall? --in the eyes of the fed. IF the feds don't care about overall length, then does that become a state issue where states like Arizona do not care at all, and states like California want all kinds of stickers all over claiming death to lab rats from cancer and birth defects, and...

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:30 PM   #7
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Could someone clarify just a bit further. If I buy a stripped lower that has never been part of a build, can that be built as an AR pistol or does it need a special marking first?

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Old 01-24-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroxAZ View Post
Could someone clarify just a bit further. If I buy a stripped lower that has never been part of a build, can that be built as an AR pistol or does it need a special marking first?
Ive always understood that "pistol ARs" were identified as such by the serial number from the time they are stamped.

otherwise you could buy a stripped lower as an 18 year old, then build it into a pistol, when you can't buy a pistol till you're 21
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70cuda383 View Post
Thanks. That clears up some of the confusion I had on barrel lengths, but what about overall lengths now?

can you have a 16" barrel on a rifle with a stock that fully collapses down so that the overall length is only say, 20? or do rifles have to be at least 26? overall? --in the eyes of the fed. IF the feds don't care about overall length, then does that become a state issue where states like Arizona do not care at all, and states like California want all kinds of stickers all over claiming death to lab rats from cancer and birth defects, and...
If the overall length is under 26" and it has a shoulder stock it is an SBR and requires a tax stamp. It is possible a State has no law prohibiting a particular firearm , but Federal law is supreme. The State cannot legalize what the Feds declared illegal. You may not face charges in State court, but you would be subject to Federal law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroxAZ View Post
Could someone clarify just a bit further. If I buy a stripped lower that has never been part of a build, can that be built as an AR pistol or does it need a special marking first?
All gun makers are Federally licensed and as such must report manufacturing records to the Feds. They also pay Federal excise tax on firearms and pass the tax on to you the consumer as a part of the price. Every gun is "registered" with the Feds as a pistol, rifle shotgun or AOW (Any Other Weapon). The serial numbered receiver IS the firearm so, yes a stripped receiver that has never been assembled into a complete firearm is declared as a pistol or rifle at manufacture. So one must know the declaration of a stripped lower before assembling into a complete gun.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:58 PM   #10
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An 18 yr old cannot buy a stripped 100% receiver from a dealer. Fed law says he may buy a rifle or a shotgun. A stripped 100% receiver is not a rifle or shotgun- it is an "Other". To buy an "Other", you must be 21.

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Last edited by c3shooter; 01-24-2013 at 08:01 PM.
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