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19-year-old looking to own an AR-15 SBR?

Discussion in 'NFA Weapon Discussion' started by AKshooter150, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. AKshooter150

    AKshooter150 New Member

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    I live in a state that permits NFA-regulated firearms. I understand that, because I am under 21, it is unlawful to purchase an SBR through an FFL licensee, or basically a dealer. In order to purchase any firearm or firearm parts online, they almost always must go through a dealer.

    I understand that it is legal, however, to create and/or purchase an SBR from a non-FFL licensee. Basically, this means that I can create an SBR or purchase an SBR from an in-state resident.

    I do not know of anybody from whom I can purchase a complete SBR. This leads me to the creative option. If I can, I will purchase the parts through a dealer. So now to my question:

    Can I purchase a complete SBR upper receiver and complete lower receiver as two separate parts from a dealer? I have heard that the lower receiver must be registered as an SBR, but does that mean I can purchase this lower receiver and register it as an SBR from a dealer?

    If I can't do that and am forced to find & purchase a lower receiver from a non-FFL licensee in-state resident, and then submit an ATF form 1 without going through a dealer, can I still purchase an SBR upper receiver through a dealer since the upper receiver is not in-and-of itself an SBR registered component? This possession of the upper receiver would be void of constructive intent because I would purchase the upper only after I have purchased and SBR-approved a lower receiver.

    Very confusing, yes, but I am desperately looking for an answer! Thank you!
     
  2. telero

    telero Salem area, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You've pretty much got the gist of it.

    Online firearms sales must go through a dealer. Online parts are not required to go through a dealer, but various company policies may have age or dealer shipping restrictions - could be 18 or 21 depending on the company and components.

    You can buy a complete rifle or a complete upper (rifle length or pistol/SBR length) from a dealer at 19.
    You can't buy a stripped lower, complete lower, or SBR from a dealer at 19.

    You can buy a stripped or complete lower from a private party at 19.
    You can register a stripped/complete lower or complete rifle as an SBR at 19.
    You can purchase a registered SBR from a private part at 19. But you can't take possession until the transfer is approved.
    You could even buy a stripped or complete lower at 19 from a private party, but configure it for pistol use and add your pistol/SBR length upper before registering it as an SBR. Just don't actually make it an SBR. And make sure it was never built as a rifle. That means shoulder stock and rifle upper installed at the same time.

    You can't buy a complete rifle and have the SBR upper before the registration as an SBR is complete.

    Your best bet is to buy the stripped or complete lower from someone you know and trust (to make sure it has never been assembled as a rifle), or have someone get it for you as a legitimate gift. But don't have anyone perform a straw purchase for you. Then buy your SBR upper and build the firearm as a pistol. That means no shoulder stock, no vertical foregrip. Then submit your form 1 and once it comes back approved, install your shoulder stock.
     
    AS556 and IronMonster like this.
  3. AKshooter150

    AKshooter150 New Member

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    Very informative, thank you! That definitely cleared the last few points up. I've already located a few AR lowers from local private parties.

    One quick question though, coming from this line:

    "Your best bet is to buy the stripped or complete lower from someone you know and trust (to make sure it has never been assembled as a rifle)"

    I'm somewhat new to this so forgive my confusion, but why does it matter whether or not it has ever been assembled as a rifle? Does it have something to do with registration or are you referring purely towards the durability aspect?
     
  4. telero

    telero Salem area, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The only reason to make sure it wasn't a rifle first is so that you can build a pistol.

    Here's the reasoning: A handgun, a long gun, and a frame/receiver are all firearms, per federal definition. A receiver/frame is neither a handgun or long gun, but will take on the definition of whichever complete firearm it becomes first. The definition of a long gun (rifle or shotgun) includes some specific language that means you can't make them into a handgun later, they would become NFA items, such as an SBR. The definition of a handgun is slightly different, and if a frame/receiver is built into a handgun first, it can be modified into something else and then back to a handgun without being an NFA item.

    So, if you get a frame/receiver from a manufacturer (via a dealer, or as a gift from someone that got it from a dealer) you can be reasonably sure it was never a rifle, and it can be used to build a pistol. If you buy it from someone you don't know, you may not be 100% sure it wasn't a rifle that was taken apart, or that it hadn't been built into a rifle at some point in it's life without having been built as a pistol first. So really it's just covering yourself.

    Here is an ATF ruling you should read. It's based on a court case, which is referenced in the ruling.

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


    Also, the part you quoted from me could actually read: "Your best bet is to buy the stripped or complete lower from someone you know and trust (to make sure it has never been assembled as a rifle, without originally being built as a pistol)"
     
    iamme likes this.
  5. AKshooter150

    AKshooter150 New Member

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    But how could anybody besides the seller know what it was previously? Why would that affect me once I purchase it and, for instance, make it into a pistol even if it was once a rifle?
     
  6. KalamaMark

    KalamaMark Kalama Wa Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered the SB-15 stabilizing brace for a pistol build?

    That wrench makes a great hammer without a lot of hassle or paperwork.

     
  7. telero

    telero Salem area, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If the person bought it as a virgin receiver, there may not be a way to prove what it was or wasn't. The problem would be that it may be up to you to prove it wasn't (not how it's supposed to work, but you never know). Also, if the lower came from a manufacturer that sells rifle and receivers, if it had been originally built and sold as a rifle, but stripped down and you didn't know it, you still can't legally make it into a pistol.

    The only reason this really matters is if you do end up getting a stripped lower and want to build it as a pistol first. If you don't want to get the pistol/SBR upper prior to getting the approved form 1, then it doesn't matter what the receiver was.
     
  8. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    It really goes back to what box was checked when the lower was transferred for the very first time. When the ATF wants to trace a firearm they go to the manufacturer and see where the lower was sent (shop or wholesaler) and follows it until it was transferred to a non-FFL owner for the very first time. They go to that shop and pull the 4473, which will have one of three boxes checked: "Handgun", "Long Gun" or "Other Firearm". If it has "Handgun" checked you're good to go. If it has "Other" checked they'll probably go to that first owner to ask what type of gun it was first built as.
     
  9. telero

    telero Salem area, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    How the 4473 was filled out has no legal bearing on what the firearm is. How it was actually assembled as a complete firearm does. Here are some examples:

    1) An FFL receives a rifle from the factory and sells it to a person, marking it as a pistol on the 4473. That doesn't make it a pistol. A dealer incorrectly marking the 4473 is a problem for the dealer. And potentially for the buyer if they believe they can legally turn that rifle into a pistol.

    2) An FFL receives a pistol from the factory and sells it to a person, marking it as a rifle on the 4473. That doesn't mean the person who receives it can't make it in to a rifle, and then back into a pistol, since per ATF 2011-4, that is allowed. And if the dealer sold it to someone under 21, they could have a big problem.

    3) An FFL takes a stripped receiver in from an individual, then sells it to another customer. They would mark it as "other" on the 4473. The person that bought it second hand from the dealer may not know if it was ever built, and if it was, if it started as a rifle or pistol. For transfer purposes it's still a receiver, but legally it may be restricted as to what it can be.

    4) An FFL takes in a pistol from an individual, separates the upper and sells it. Then sells the receiver later. They still mark the 4473 as a receiver when they sell it. The person the buys it may be told it was received as a pistol, but they don't actually know if it came from a factory as a pistol, rifle, or receiver...and if it was a receiver, they don't know that it was legally built into a pistol before being built as a rifle (if it ever had been built as a rifle).

    A trace may not stop at the dealer, the ATF could actually check the A&D book of both the dealer and the manufacturer to verify that it left the manufacturer as something, and was received by the dealer the same way. They could actually check the manufacturing records to see what the particular firearm was designated as. If it doesn't match, that could be a problem. Not that a manufacturer "designating" a firearm as a particular type actually makes it that type of firearm either...it still needs to be actually assembled as a particular type of firearm to be that type of firearm. See further down for another example.

    There are a huge number of examples of how something may or may not have been configured, sold, resold, etc. The chances of you ever having to answer any question about it are very very very very small, but it's certainly not impossible that it could come up. Personally, I want to know the actual history of something I'm building, and if I don't, I'd build it in the least restrictive way.



    Here is an example that came up recently when talking about Kidd 10/22 receivers. As far as I know, no one has actually got a firm answer from Kidd, so everything I'm about to type below is conjecture:

    Someone supposedly asked Kidd about building a charger type pistol from a Kidd 10/22 receiver. Kidd said they designate everything as a rifle, so making it a pistol would NOT be OK. The problem is that no one knows if/how Kidd "designates" their receivers as rifles. Is it for tax purposes? Liability? Simplicity? Ignorance? Other?

    For example, when you manufacturer firearms there are various excise taxes. An incomplete firearm (a stripped receiver for example) has no manufacturing excise tax. A complete pistol is 10%, a complete rifle is 11%. An order containing a stripped receiver and the parts to finish it into a rifle is still taxed 11% as a kit.

    If it's for simplicity/tax purposes, calling everything a rifle, paying the 11% tax (even if not needed) and not keeping track of which serial numbers were sent out as receiver or complete rifles (or kits) would definitely be easier. Also as a manufacturer, paying too much tax when not required likely won't be a problem to the government, but not paying enough tax could cost you big time.

    On the Kidd website, even in the stripped receiver section, the disclaimer is that you "must be 18 to purchase this product." The problem is that since it is a receiver only, you actually have to be 21 to receive it from a dealer. This is what makes some people think it's an ignorance issue...if you were 18 and purchased the receiver, had it shipped to an FFL, then tried to pick it up, the FFL should not be able to release the receiver to you. If I were an 18 year old in that situation, I'd be upset.

    There is another possibility as well. It's possible that Kidd builds every receiver as a complete rifle for test fitting purposes. They may install a barrel and a shoulder stock, and even if they take it back down to a receiver, it was still originally built as a rifle, and cannot be a pistol.

    So, Kidd says even their stripped receivers are rifles. Even if they were never actually built as rifles and could legally be used to build a pistol, I wouldn't. The reason is that if the ATF were to come up with a reason to look into it and the manufacturer won't back you up that the receiver was just a receiver and never a rifle, you could be in for a bad time.
     
  10. SCARed

    SCARed Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Not sure that I buy all this receiver talk.
    I was at a very well known and popular gun shop in PDX that had several stripped receivers. As a WA resident, most they wouldn't sell to me, BUT there were a couple that were "on the books" as rifle receivers and was told they had to be sold and marked on the 4473 as a rifle. They came from the MFG registered as a rifle receiver.
     
  11. telero

    telero Salem area, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The dealer was incorrect. The configuration the firearm was in (frame/receiver) is how the 4473 needed to be marked. It also could not have been transferred to someone under 21 or across state lines. This information is on the 4473 itself and an open letter to FFLs:

    ATF Form 4473 - https://www.atf.gov/files/forms/download/atf-f-4473-1.pdf
    Page 5, section B. Question 18. Type of Firearms(s):
    "Check all boxes that apply. "Other" refers to frames, receivers, and other firearms that are not either handguns or long guns (rifles or shotguns), such as firearms having a pistol grip that expel a shotgun shell, or National Firearm Act (NFA) firearms.

    If a frame or receiver can only be made into a long gun (rifle or shotgun), it is still a frame or receiver but not a handgun or long gun. However, they are still "firearms" by definition and subject to the same GCA limitations as any other firearms. See Section 921(a)(3)(b). 18 U.S.C. Section 922(b)(1) makes it unlawful for a licensee to sell any firearm other than a shotgun or rifle to any person under the age of 21. Since a frame or receiver for a firearm, to include one that can only be made into a long gun, is a "firearm other than a shotgun or rifle," it cannot be transferred to anyone under the age of 21."


    ATF Open Letter to FFL - https://www.atf.gov/files/press/releases/2009/07/070709-openletter-ffl-gca.pdf

    This letter reiterates what it says on the 4473 in very specific terms and question. You should read the whole thing, but here are the relevent parts:
    "First, an FFL may not transfer a frame or receiver to anyone under 21 years of age.
    Second, an FFL may not transfer a frame or receiver to an unlicensed person from another state.

    Q&A
    2. May a licensed dealer lawfully transfer a frame or receiver that can only be used to assemble a rifle to an 18-year old?
    No. A frame or receiver is a type of firearm "other than a shotgun or rifle" and the transfer by the dealer to an individual under 21 years of age would be prohibited. A fram is not "designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder"; therfore, it is not a rifle or shotgun as defined under the GCA."



    In this case, the frame or receiver is only legally capable of becoming a rifle since it was originally factory built as a rifle (although it's mechanically capable of being either a pistol or rifle) . Because it's in receiver form rather than assembled rifle, the tighter restrictions that apply to handguns and other firearms still apply.
     
  12. misplacedtexan

    misplacedtexan Beaverton, OR Active Member

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  13. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    It pays when building AR's to have a pistol buffer tube and pistol upper on hand for the initial build. It's good to keep your options open ;)