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Old June 15, 2012, 02:56 AM   #1
UnbearablePanda
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Regarding short barrels

In washington, I already know that short barreled rifles are illegal to use/ have on a gun. Can you own one legally without attaching it to the rifle? Just to have in a safe?
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Old June 15, 2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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Can you own a short barrel just to have it? Not attached to anything?

Until a barrel is attached to a rifle, it's just a piece of pipe. It might be a handgun barrel, it might be a shotgun barrel, it might be a rifle barrel, but until it's attached to the firearm, it's meaningless.

If I've read your question in the manner you intended, I don't think that any jurisdiction in the world limits the length of a piece of tubing, which is all a barrel is, until it's installed on the firearm.
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Old June 15, 2012, 06:48 AM   #3
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Not illegal, just requires a tax stamp and some paperwork, unless WA won't allow SBRs.

There's the concept of constructive possession.

The idea is that you can have a legal rifle and be OK. You can have a short rifle barrel and be OK (as long as you don't have a rifle to put it on). If you have the rifle and the short barrel, then you are in trouble because you could easily make a short-barreled rifle and therefore are in constructive possession of a non-existent short-barreled rifle.

If it's just a barrel for something like a bolt gun, you could argue that you don't have the tools to swap the barrel and hope for the best. If it's an AR upper that can be swapped without tools, then you're in trouble.

On the other hand, if you have a regular barrel AR, an AR pistol receiver, and a short AR upper, you can argue you actually have a rifle and a pistol, even though you could easily make an SBR, you have a legitimate reason to have the short upper.

It gets tricky when you get into this territory, so make sure you know the laws better than from internet advise or you can end up in jail.

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Last edited by JR_Roosa; June 15, 2012 at 06:54 AM.
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Old June 15, 2012, 06:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Until a barrel is attached to a rifle, it's just a piece of pipe.
Nope, it's a gun barrel, and as long as you have the parts and ability to make something illegal, they can argue that is the same as having the restricted item. If it were unchambered, or not threaded to fit in a receiver yet, then yeah, it's a tube. Once it's ready to be screwed on, you've crossed the Rubicon.

If you don't have anything to put it on, then you're fine and it may as well be a pipe.

-J.
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Old June 15, 2012, 07:38 AM   #5
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It gets tricky when you get into this territory, so make sure you know the laws better than from internet advise or you can end up in jail.
That is the key concept here. No legal system in the country will take "I didn't know it was illegal" as an acceptable excuse. It is the responsibility of each individual to know the laws and how they are applied and enforced.
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Old June 15, 2012, 08:07 AM   #6
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So playing devil's advocate does this mean that if I own a T/C registered as a pistol and another registered as a rifle that I would not be allowed to own another (3rd) barrel?

I've read the post from the BATF (a copy of their letter was in the post) on another forum that said until you attach the barrel to the weapon you have NOT crossed their lines. If I remember correctly it was on a T/C forum. With that information I would argue that there is a government agency that has done the interpretation of the the law. I am not sure how it would hold water so YMMV.

If this was not the case I think a lot of T/C owners would be in a lot of trouble.
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Old June 15, 2012, 08:33 AM   #7
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Well, if having a short piece of tubing in my shop (which might potentially, someday, become a shotgun barrel) is illegal, I'm going to need a stack of tax forms and a deep pocket-book. I've got lots of old tubing pieces out there that I've stubbed from longer pipes. There may even be a piece of old barrel in the scrap bin. None of them have chambers in them, but if I correctly recall my youthful indiscretions, I do believe that a 20 gauge shotgun shell will fit nicely into a piece of 3/4 galvanized water pipe. I"ve been known to use that for cheater pipe, so I've got potentially a half-dozen short barreled shotguns in my tool chest.

I guess that the question would fall on the definition of 'rifle barrel". When does a piece of cylindrical metal become a rifle barrel?
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Old June 15, 2012, 09:05 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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It becomes a rifle barrel when it's capable of being used on a rifle. Chambered/threaded whatever.

It's not the barrel that's the problem. You can have 1000, 8 inch barrels with no trouble. They're unregulated.

The problem is when you also have a receiver/frame that the barrel can be mounted on.

THAT is "constructive possession" of a controlled item.

It actually seems that the ATF is letting up on the really ridiculous interpretations, but if you've got a short barrel and no handgun for it to go on but you DO have a rifle it could go on, you'd be in serious trouble if ATF found out.
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Old June 15, 2012, 10:05 AM   #9
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Its been a long time since I have dealt with any T/C's. But the early models, the rifle barrel would not fit the pistol frame and the pistol barrel would not fit the rifle frame.
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Old June 15, 2012, 10:35 AM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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The modern frames and barrels are completely interchangeable. I don't know about the early guns but there is currently NO physical difference between handgun and rifle frames, they are one and the same. As far as I know, that's been the case for decades. There was a lawsuit between ATF and T/C regarding this in 1992, so it's been a LOOONG time.

ATF has, thankfully, backed off on their ridiculous opinions on this matter but not until last year.
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Old June 15, 2012, 12:38 PM   #11
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The laws in Washington for firearms are quite...... Lets say interesting, "One may possess a firearm suppressor, but you may not use it." X_X
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Old June 15, 2012, 01:09 PM   #12
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The T/C ruling was very narrowly written to specifically apply ONLY to frames that were designed to be interchangeable. It does not cover the constructive posession of a short rifle barrel in the same location as the receiver it could go on to make an SBR.
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Old June 15, 2012, 01:13 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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That's true and for a long time the ATF was very unreasonable about that issue.
Now, it seems, they have backed off and only consider "constructive possesion" if the restricted device is the only possible build.

http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulin...ing-2011-4.pdf
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Old June 15, 2012, 07:04 PM   #14
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Doyle,

Your comment about T/C is most likely true but here we have one form of government trying to impose its will on something regulated by another. And no matter how I look at this the T/C's would also be lumped into the same rulings.

sc928porsche,

I'm not sure how early you may be talking about but my T/C's are from the eighties and will accept long or short barrels.
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Old June 15, 2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger
That's true and for a long time the ATF was very unreasonable about that issue.
Now, it seems, they have backed off and only consider "constructive possesion" if the restricted device is the only possible build.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...OntPeQ&cad=rja
I've seen that link before!!
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Old June 15, 2012, 08:39 PM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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I gave you credit in the OP of a whole thread!
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Old June 16, 2012, 05:26 PM   #17
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Rtpzwms I agree with you that the rulings should be inclusive. I think the person that actually wrote it should be hung by his 'nads until he makes it clear enough that us average non-lawyer types can read it without wincing in agony.
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Old June 16, 2012, 11:29 PM   #18
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The laws in Washington for firearms are quite...... Lets say interesting, "One may possess a firearm suppressor, but you may not use it."
No longer true, the law changed last summer to allow use of suppressors in Washington.

Build a AR15 pistol and be done with it.
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