I can tell you as one data point that I personally was arrested (meaning handcuffed, back of the car, arraigned, and thrown into jail where it took a week to make bail) in NJ for "manufacturing a firearm without a license" for assembling an AR-15 on a lower reciever that I purchased legally after ordering it thru a NJ FFL, and this was before the assault rifle ban, *28 years ago*. After a LONG battle costing MANY K's, the charges were disposed of and I was able to retrieve my gun collection from the NJSP, where they had been tossed into one big pile and left to rust.
The NJSP had seen the sale form come thru for a lower (they saw that it was marked "other" in the sale, which was correct.. an AR-15 lower is neither a pistol or rifle when sold), and then they obtained a search warrent, executed it, found the assembled rifle that was scrupulously legal in every regard, and arrested me for "Manufacturing".
In NJ operability is the defining legal term, they DO NOT CARE if the lower was sold under Federal Law as a firearm. Here's the Catch-22: It IS a Firearm in the eyes of the BATF when sold. It IS a Firearm in the eyes of the NJSP when it is sold. But it is ALSO subject to the idea of "Manufacturing a Firearm" when it becomes operable, and when you do that... you are a Manufacturer. Go figure that out.
Trust me here... this is no joke. If you want to discuss on the phone, PM me and we can chat.
DO NOT buy a lower and build a rifle there.
DO NOT build one from scratch (which you can legally do under Federal Law) there... you WILL be a felon as far as NJ is concerned.
DO NOT fool around with this stuff there. Trust old Willie on this.
Willie (safe in Wisconsin now).
Last edited by Willie Sutton; May 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM.