AR 100% Lower No Longer Need FFL

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Nemo, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

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    for commercial sale? Seems a case from a while back sure is pushing everything that way all at once here. Heads are exploding over the possibility of this.

    Nemo

    https://www.kxnet.com/news/national-news/design-of-ar-15-could-derail-charges-tied-to-popular-rifle/

     
  2. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    I'm NOT a fan of this. What happens if the ATF says, "Fine, whatever. A lower without an upper or an upper without a lower isn't a firearm. But we need SOMETHING to serialize and call a "firearm".
    Tell ya what, we're gonna take a page from Europe and require serial numbers on uppers, lowers, receivers, AND barrels."

    Now you can't purchase another barrel for your AR without it being a "firearm", is that really what we want?
     
    blind_shake likes this.

  3. mrhutch

    mrhutch Well-Known Member

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    There is no possible benefit to the gun community that will actually come from this.

    There should be, but it invites Congress to intervene and we stand to lose "ghost guns" or the ability to order complete uppers online without an FFL. If they serialize barrels, uppers, or BCGs instead the 80% and parts markets will collapse.
     
    blind_shake likes this.
  4. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    ATF cannot declare a barrel to be a firearm any more than it can declare a lower to be a firearm. What makes something a firearm is defined already, and an AR lower does not qualify. This is not new. Manufacturers have known it for years, and so has the ATF. They just didn't (and still don't) know what to do about it. The AR was invented before the requirement to put on serial numbers. And there is no part of the AR that, by itself, meets the definition of a firearm. We've been living in that world for over 50 years now, and the sky has not fallen.
     
  5. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    The Legislature, not the ATF, just needs to modify the existing Code to clarify firearms with split receivers can have the upper or lower section defined as the official firearm. They should follow current precedence in the case of existing rifles like the AR-15 (lower) and FAL (upper). I don't think it's any big deal other than the ATF playing loosey goosey with the definintion for decades and not being held accountable.
     
  6. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    I'm fairly sure they did declare a lower (or in some cases an upper *FAL*) to be 'the firearm', and aren't they the ones that make such definitions like they did for what's a pistol, long arm, or shotgun etc.?
    is there any part of a 1911 that by itself meets the definition of a firearm? Or a break open shotgun? [​IMG]
    Without the barrel/chamber that frame isn't going to do anything. It takes the complete assembly to fire a cartridge.

    Let us not forget that the ATF, the arbiter of firearms definitions, once defined a bit of string as a "machine gun", saying they couldn't define the chamber/barrel as what a firearm is would be underestimating their zeal.
     
  7. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    Speaking of defining things into and out of existence, I'll note that the ATF's definition of a "machine gun" is quite different that the Georgia Legislature's definition of what a machine gun is. For the curious, Georgia's definition is contained in OCGA 16-11-121
     
  8. mrhutch

    mrhutch Well-Known Member

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    The NFA defines a machine gun as anything that can be used to make a firearm fire more than one round per function of the trigger. The definitions are very broad and encompassing and the ATF has room to define what those parts could be.

    The definition of a firearm that requires a serial number, however, is specific. And a stripped lower does not fit in the specific definition. Congress would have to establish a new definition, and considering they already want to ban them and homemade guns we are setting ourselves up for a kick in the nuts if we insist legislation is used to "fix" the problem.
     
  9. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    Close, but not quite. The definition is: The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.
    (See https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845).
    This is why a part, intended to turn an airsoft Glock 17 full auto is contraband and a piece of string is no longer defined as a machine gun even though it caused a rifle to fire repeatedly with a single pull of the string (trigger).

    It's also why Gen1 and Gen2 trigger packs for the FN PS90 are still available instead of being declared machine guns (even though they allegedly require absolutely no parts to make a PS90 fire repeatedly with a single pull of the trigger).
     
  10. mrhutch

    mrhutch Well-Known Member

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    I was summarizing. I should have said "includes phrasing that defines a machine gun as".

    Either way, they covered all the bases with the definition of machinegun but fall short on what makes an AR receiver a firearm.
     
  11. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Federal statutes say the receiver of a firearm IS a "firearm." It doesn't say "only when you possess all the other parts needed to assemble the rest of the gun" into a functioning machine.

    See 18 US Code, section 921(a)(3).



    That would be ridiculous, absurd.
    Therefore a gun that has a two-part receiver whose components both serve the core functions of a firearm receiver, but are easily, quickly separated with few or no tools required, then maybe both halves of that receiver can be declared firearms. Treated as "one gun" only when sold together at the same time and delivered to the customer together. Otherwise treated like separate firearms, and subject to serial number requirements, FFL to ship interstate, Brady Instant background check to buy from a dealer, etc.

    But I agree ATF can't make the same type of ruling for gun barrels, or the cylinder of a revolver, or bolts.
    That would require amending the statutory law by Congress.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  12. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    Which statutory law describes exactly what a firearm is?
     
  13. mrhutch

    mrhutch Well-Known Member

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    Actually gunsmoker is correct, I was wrong.

    The problem isn't with definition of a firearm, it's with the definition of receiver. The law says a receiver houses the hammer, bolt, AND trigger/ firing mechanism. AR lowers do not house the bolt, and therefore do not meet the legal definition of a firearm receiver considered a firearm.

    Screenshot_20200121-070748_Chrome.jpg
     
  14. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    Exactly. Which is why the ATF cannot declare a standalone barrel to be a firearm. It does not fit the definition.
     
  15. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    Take a look at the Ruger MK I, MKII, MKIII and the MK IIII pistols. Much the same as the AR in the fact the receivers are easily separated with one holding the trigger and hammer (the lower) and the other holding the bolt and firing mechanism (the upper). Unlike the AR the upper receiver is the serialized part and the lower is not.
     
  16. moe mensale

    moe mensale Well-Known Member

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    What about the millions of ARs and FALs that are already in circulation? I don't want to see some "grandfather" definition clause. I'd like to see Congress do their job and correct the statutes.
     
  17. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    More,

    I don't understand your desire. Maybe it would help if you could point out what you believe needs till be changed by Congress. My perspective is that the statute is okay and the ATF has just been willfully misinterpreting it for years and it finally caught up with them.

    An ar lower is not a receiver and hence not a firearm. Why do we need to change that? In essence this is a lessening of regulation.
     
  18. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    The Feds have defined and re-defined what a machine gun is (bump stocks), what leads anyone to believe they cannot just as easily redefine what constitutes a firearm or receiver?

    They defined 12-gauge shotguns into being "Destructive Devices" based merely on them being heavier, wider, and holding more shells than "normal". Anyone remember that?
    One 12-guage shotgun is fine but another that fires the same shell but holds more shells is somehow more "destructive". It's as though then never heard that shotguns can be reloaded.
     
  19. rmodel65

    rmodel65 Yukon Cornelius

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    So is anyone shipping lowers with no ffl?
     
  20. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    Let me try it another way:

    There are laws passed by Congress that define certain things. ATF is charged under those laws with interpreting and enforcing those laws. They have rule-making authority under those laws.

    Federal regulation is a fairly complicated area of the law, and Congress intentionally leaves some really complicated things open-ended so the "experts" (in this case ATF) who supposedly know what they are talking about can way in with rules that makes sense. That said, ATF has to work within the confines of the statutes, and they rules have to at least make sense and not be inconsistent with the statutes.

    The statutory definition of a machine gun is very broad. I'm not defending what ATF did with bump stocks, but their action was at least debatable.

    A poster above expressed concern that ATF would define a barrel to be a receiver. That would be so far afield of the statute that it would not withstand scrutiny. The receiver is the part the barrel attaches to. The barrel itself is not the part the barrel attaches to. (The receiver has other characteristics that also would not be consistent with a barrel). It just is not reasonably possible for the ATF to define a barrel to be a receiver. It's not fairly debatable.

    In sum, the definition of a machine gun is broad and open. The definition of a receiver is narrow and specific. They are not good analogies with one another.

    As for what is a destructive device vis-a-vis shotguns, again, Congress explicitly said that anything with a bore greater than 1/2 inch in diameter is a destructive device except for shotguns that the Secretary (now the AG) finds to have a particular sporting purpose. So, the "default" condition is that all shotguns are destructive devices except those that the AG finds to have a sporting purpose. The number of rounds per se is not the test. But this also is not a good analogy to declaring a barrel to be a receiver. Congress said shotguns are destructive devices. It did not say barrels are receivers.