Question about AR lowers

Discussion in 'NFA/Class 3 & FFL Discussion' started by Olympus, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    As a dealer, I've been selling stripped lowers. On the 4473 form for type of firearm, I list them as "receiver". I also list them as "receiver" in my A&D book. When calling NICS, I say sale of other. I assume I'm doing this correctly?

    I had a guy ask if these lowers were "registered". I assumed he meant if he had to complete a 4473, but he was meaning if he had to use the lowers for only a rifle build or if he could use them for a pistol. I told him he could build either, but that I had read that a rifle build would always have to stay a rifle, it couldn't be changed back to a pistol.

    Then I got to thinking, why though? Say a guy builds a rifle and decides he wants a pistol instead. Why can't the guy disassemble the gun, sell the stock and buffer tube and put a pistol tube on and rebarrel the upper? As long as there is no stock present in the home, there's no way to show intent for an SBR, right? And since the lower was bought stripped and sold as a receiver, there's no record that it was neither a rifle nor a pistol, right?
     
  2. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    makes sense to me. but im just a fly on the wall. i know nothing.
     

  3. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    my question:

    if your in the business of buying selling firearms and firearms parts, why do you not have access to an attourney??

    anyway, you need to call the atf ffl hotline and ask the exact wording that goes in the box for a reciever.

    from what i understand "other" goes in the box, but im not the batfe agent that will be serving your fines or arrest warrant for getting it wrong...

    forums are not the place to get help with legal issues. just my opinion
     
  4. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    I'm asking how other dealers are doing this. The 4473 form and my AD book has a parentheses that gives examples of what to put for type of type of firearm and both show "receiver" as an acceptable type.

    I was mainly wondering about why the common advise given is that rifles can only ever be rifles and cannot be made into pistols.
     
  5. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    Recycling a virgin lower is legal in itself. It may be a hassle to prove the "original" virginity if need be. The rules are obscure and subject to change. Many builders feel that testing the system is not worth the effort.
     
  6. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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    I know Im not answering your question but I look at it like this . With as cheap as lowers are and LPKs . A person could have $125-$150 in a complete pistol lower with pistol buffer tube . Why even take the chance and the time swapping that crap back and forth, just build another and be worry free, not to mention you have another complete gun
     
  7. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    Well I gave the guy the safe advice, but after he left I got to thinking about the why of it.
     
  8. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    I agree. Law is open for various interpretations so I'd rather not convert a rifle or pistol the other way.

    All my stripped lowers have been classified as "other" on the 4473.
     
  9. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

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    Although the laws are stupid, they are usually clear and have precedent to follow.
    A receiver built as a rifle is a rifle receiver and will always be a rifle receiver until the BATF blesses/declares/redefines the rifle receiver as something else.

    Even if 'no-one' knows, the event took place and it a rifle receiver. Sad but true.

    I photograph the pistol build with the serial number showing and the paperwork visible for any new build. One pistol build is currently configured as a rifle 16"bbl with Tapco 6pos stock.
    I am confident that I have done the best I can to avoid problems. Even if no-one knows, there might be a 'dna' type tool in the future and they will come back and prosticutify you.
     
  10. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    The stripped lowers I sell are not declared rifle receivers or pistol receivers. They are what people refer to as "virgin" lowers.
     
  11. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Disclaimer - None of the following is intended to be a replacement for legal advice from an attorney or the BATFE.

    Ok, first of all I'm not an attorney and would strongly suggest contacting BATFE for clarification, if required. In fact, before filling out 4473's, if there were any questions regarding how the form should have been completed they should have been addressed by BATFE prior to completion.

    Now, regarding the question about a receiver and whether or not it constitutes a pistol or rifle receiver or "other" (never before assembled into a pistol or rifle).

    A pistol receiver has been registered by the manufacturer as a pistol receiver and it would have to be assembled into a completed pistol.

    A rifle receiver has been registered by the manufacturer as a rifle receiver and it would have to be assembled into a completed rifle.

    A "firearm" or "other" receiver has never been assembled into a firearm and thus cannot be classified as a pistol or rifle receiver. Depending on how the receiver has been assembled, it can be classified as a pistol or rifle receiver.

    Once a rifle receiver firearm has been assembled, it cannot legally be assembled into a pistol receiver firearm without registration as a Title II firearm (short barreled rifle or machine gun). The barrel length of a machine gun receiver does not matter, as BATFE considers it a machine gun, versus a pistol or rifle.

    Once a pistol receiver has been assembled, it can legally be converted from a pistol to a rifle, but you cannot possess a pistol receiver and a rifle receiver without an appropriate barrel-length (16 inches is the legal minimum for a rifle) matching upper receiver. In other words, BATFE considers having "spare" or "extra" upper receivers with barrel lengths of less than 16 inches to be constructive possession of an unregistered short barreled rifle, which is a violation of associated NFA laws/regulations.

    In simple terms, if you have a pistol upper it needs to be mated to a pistol lower. It is not illegal to possess an AR pistol and AR rifle at the same time, but you must have the upper receivers mated to appropriate lower receivers. If you have "spare" upper receivers, then any rifle lower receivers that the upper receivers could be mated to must be registered as short barreled rifles or BATFE considers this constructive possession of an unregistered short barreled rifle. BATFE also considers leaving the rifle and pistol upper/lower receivers in an unmated state, in a gun safe for example, to be constructive possession of an unregistered short barreled rifle.

    Basically, if you are in possession of an AR pistol and rifle, ensure that your pistol upper receiver stays attached to your pistol lower receiver and your rifle upper receiver stays attached to your rifle lower receiver and that you are not in possession of any upper receiver with a barrel length of less than 16 inches that does not have a matching pistol lower receiver.
     
  12. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Addendum:

    Just because you see a stripped receiver on GunBroker or GunsAmerica does not mean you can assemble the receiver into an AR pistol.

    If the AR receiver in question was ever assembled or registered as a rifle, then BATFE will consider this constructive possession of an unregistered short barreled rifle if you assemble it with an upper receiver with a barrel length of less than 16 inches.

    For example, no Colt AR lower receivers can be legally assembled into AR pistols without registration of the lower receiver as a Title II firearm, a short barreled rifle or machine gun.

    Regarding assembly of machine guns, the NFA Registry for machine gun receivers was closed in May of 1986 and, barring re-opening of the registry or a BATFE sponsored amnesty period, any assembly of a machine gun receiver without the requisite Special Occupational Tax would be considered possession of an unregistered machine gun, a violation of the NFA laws/regulations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  13. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    ok, i misunderstood.

    dont take advice on filling out the official forms from other dealers. as a non-dealer i have run across many dealers that did not know how to properly fill out one of those forms for a normal rifle purchase. get your info on that ONLY from the batfe.

    and again this is a non-lawyer non-batfe employee telling you that a rifle may never be turned into a pistol. a pistol however may be converted into a rifle so long as the barrel is 16"+ and converted back at will. this applies to any pistol not just ar15.

    since ar15 lowers are typically not marked "pistol" or "rifle" you tread a very grey area when you tun it into a rifle and have a shorty upper or barrel laying around without a matching pistol or sbr lower... paddling in the grey area is how you end up spending a couple hundred thousand on court fees fines and jail time.

    its a LOT cheaper that if you have a pistol ar15 leave the freeking lower on it and buy a dedicated rifle lower.

    my free advice if your going to buy a ar15 pistol leave it as a pistol and just buy a second lower to make a rifle.

    other thing that can be done is buy a lower that is intended to be a pistol and marked as such.
     
  14. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    spot on 6 thumbs up said much better than i was hammering at
     
  15. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    The lowers I sell are not registered as specifically for rifle or pistol.
     
  16. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    And you know this because you have notarized correspondence from the receiver manufacturer indicating that the lower receivers you sell were never assembled as pistols or rifles, right?
     
  17. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Can someone purchase a receiver out of state with the intention of creating a pistol?



    No offense and none taken
     
  18. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    It's not notarized, but yes I've checked with the manufacturer. They are virgin lowers. They were never assembled as anything.


    Sent from my iPad using Firearms Talk
     
  19. bradam

    bradam Member

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    Perhaps an 80% lower, a jig and a bit of shop time is in order.:cool:
     
  20. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Ok, that's better than assumption. A notarized copy is what you really need, but at least you have documentation from the manufacturer indicating that the receivers were not assembled.

    So, based on what you've stated so far you have "firearm" receivers, which are neither "pistol" or "rifle" receivers. You haven't sold any "firearm" receivers to anyone who wasn't at least 21 years of age at the time of purchase, have you?