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Old February 24, 2006, 07:52 AM   #1
Chris Phelps
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Building a full-auto AR ...?

This is a legality question...

I was thinking about buying an M4 kit, then seeking ATF approval to convert it to full auto. After thinking about it off an on for a while yesterday, I thought I remembered seeing something either here or on AR15.com that stated it was illegal to build a full auto, and you have to buy one that came from the factory as full auto. However, a quick search here and on AR15 turned up absolutly nothing. So the question, in its most simple form: Pending approval from ATF (and paying the tax), is building a full auto AR legal?
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Old February 24, 2006, 08:07 AM   #2
WillBrayjr
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You can't from all new parts. Maybe you could by atleast using a pre-86 lower and trigger group that's considered "the firearm"
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Old February 24, 2006, 08:42 AM   #3
fal308
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It's illegal to make a new full auto in the USA for civilian use period. Only FAs built before the 1986 FOPA can be legally bought and sold by qualified individuals or corporations in the USA.
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Old February 24, 2006, 09:11 AM   #4
Chris Phelps
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OK, thanks!
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Old February 24, 2006, 09:27 AM   #5
Johnny Guest
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Chris Phelps - -
I will refer you to the excellent reply member shaggy wrote up and posted on 17 FEB 2006. It may be read at
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...88#post1876788

Actually, we - - shaggy as an interested and well informed member, I as Full Auto Forum staffer, and some administrative folk - - are working on polishing the above information, to be floated at the top of this forum.

WillBrayjr -- your reply above is okay, as far as it goes. It should be mentnioned, though, that building the AR by "using a pre-86 lower and trigger group" would be legal ONLY if it was previously registered. This is the factor that makes M16s and practically ANY machine gun so expensive.

Everyone - - no matter how many times this question, or some variation of it, is asked on TFL or some other board, the answer remains pretty much the same. Now, I hope no one happens to say, "Oh, yeah, go ahead and do it. It's legal." Not only does WISHING not make it so, but some anonymous writer on the Internet SAYING it doesn't make it true. I really don't personally like the way the Full Auto laws are today, but they ARE the law, and TFL policy is that we, as a group, do not countenance people planning to violate the law on TFL forums. For a policy statement, please see the float posted at http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147681

For straight-from-the-source information, you can always phone or write your nearest office of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives.

Best regards
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Old February 24, 2006, 09:36 AM   #6
WillBrayjr
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Johnny, I'm still learning about the "laws" of full-auto firearms. I wasn't fully awake on my first post, I meant to put the bit in about the parts being registered.
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Old February 24, 2006, 01:17 PM   #7
Chris Phelps
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Why do I suddenly get the feeling, from the response of the moderator, that I asked a question that was borderline TOS violation? Or was that just a preventative-type post?
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Old February 24, 2006, 01:27 PM   #8
Handy
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The mods like to post, too, Chris.


The thing is, you could have done what you said without any forum input and you would have been fine. You would have written your permission letter, and been denied. They would have told you that you could do it with a pre-registered sear, or you could get a license to become a Class III manufacturer, and built and owned machineguns until your license expired, which is when you'd have to destroy all of them.


The laws tried to stop all the angles and loopholes, and did so pretty effectively. The loop hole the laws created was the auto sear=machinegun thing, but now those bits of metal are worth as much as entire guns.
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Old February 24, 2006, 01:34 PM   #9
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I think it's just a preventive type post. Alot of people don't know alot laws about items that are under the NFA. I keep up on gun laws as a "trump card" but not so much on NFA laws.
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Old February 24, 2006, 01:55 PM   #10
shaggy
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Chris, I don't think it was anything personal and I don't think anyone questioned your motives. There's a lot of questionable posts here that ask questions like 'how do I convert my AR" or "how can I make my AR full-auto", but unlike a lot of other posts, you've been around here a while and you even state you'd be seeking BATFE approval indicating you're interested in doing it legally. Its when a newbie with two posts asks that sort of question that the alarms really start going off. Even though we don't like the laws, the law is fairly clear and TFL's policy is clear too, so we try and abide by the laws and the rules of the house. It is largely for those questionable kind of posts that I wrote that summary at the link Johnny Guest provided; to help those that are truely interested in the NFA process and how to go about getting a full auto legally. Its still a work in progress and hasn't been posted as a sticky, but its designed to explain some basics to the NFA newbie and cut down on some of the more questionable posts. I'm sure it won't stop those who are looking for instructions on how to do an illegal conversion, but it should give a good background of the legal way to do it for those who are so inclined. I'm sure you're part of the latter group, so give it a read-over, see if it helps, and then if you still have questions we don't have to start from square one.
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Old February 24, 2006, 02:49 PM   #11
Chris Phelps
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I know it's not personal... Mods do their job for a reason, and the mods here are probably some of the best I have seen on any of the forums I frequent. The way it was worded gave me the impression that my question might have come a bit close to breaking TOS, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing that before asking any more questions.
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Old February 24, 2006, 07:34 PM   #12
smince
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Chris, your question gets asked about every two days, and the mods and shaggy have to rewrite their answers every two days(or so it seems). That's what Johnny was referring to in his post. They are working on a "sticky" for people to refer to so they do not have to rewrite the answer over an over. Just "refer to the sticky" or some such.

Not that it will stop those who are seriously challenged....
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