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Old May 1, 2012, 06:12 AM   #1
BoogieMan
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Manufacturing guns

At what point do you become a manufacturer?
I know that without any problem you can make parts like sights, hammers.
At some point you would need licensing in order to stamp a serial number and register.
Is it the lower or receiver, the barrel, the action? Or are they all considered parts until assembled? I would assume that anytime you need a NIC check to buy the part would be a pretty good indication. I ran into a friend who says he has the license required to manufacture and it has peeked my interest. Before I get involved with an attorney I would like to know what questions to start asking.
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Old May 1, 2012, 07:58 AM   #2
CowTowner
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This may assist you with an answer:
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/fire...echnology.html

Refer to the question:
Quote:
Q: Is it legal to assemble a firearm from commercially available parts kits that can be purchased via internet or shotgun news?
BATFE Frequently Asked Questions.
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Old May 1, 2012, 08:59 AM   #3
BoogieMan
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Thank you for the link. Federaly may be ok. I am going to have to get a little deeper into NJ laws.
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Old May 1, 2012, 09:08 AM   #4
Willie Sutton
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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.
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Old May 1, 2012, 09:39 AM   #5
BoogieMan
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Willie, thank you very much for that info. Definitely not something I want to go through. That sucks that you were put through that. But the operable thing does mean alot. I have no interest in making an operable gun. They are so cheap to buy built why bother IMHO. I am interested in machining parts to sell as parts. I just dont want to be in a predicament that I could be called a "arms manufacturer". I dont have the facilities to make barrels anyway. But there is a lot of room on lowers/frames, sights, grips etc.. As long as I can do so within the law. Just to make this clear- I have never manufactured any parts for firearms in whole or in part.
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Old May 1, 2012, 11:53 AM   #6
Willie Sutton
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Don't machine receivers and the BATF will leave you alone.

Don't make an operable "thing" out of an inoperable "thing" and the NJSP will leave you alone. Unless they are trying to pass another gun law and need statistics to back up their arguments. If that's the case if they cannot find a real criminal, they will invent one. You might be the one.


Willie

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Old May 1, 2012, 05:46 PM   #7
briandg
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here is my understanding. When you buy a firearm, the item that is numbered primarily is the firearm and all other pieces are parts. the single part of a firearm that holds trigger and firing pin usually is the gun. no other parts, unless subject to individual regulation by their nature, are regulated, if that makes sense.

In the case of the ar, iirc, the firearm is the upper receiver assembly, not the lower with trigger group and fire control.

I DON'T KNOW WHY.

This really isn't complicated. You should be able to buy a receiver and create a firearm from parts and that legally purchased receiver, because legally, the numbered receiver is already a firearm. You are adding unregulated parts to it.

Human nature being what it is, and law being what it is, whenever you do something that is on the dark side of completely innocent and legal, you are essentially kicking a dragon in the gonads, and you may wind up like willie, crucified, without having actually violated federal laws. You may not violate ANY laws, and you still may wind up being targeted.

Visit the atf. If you still have any doubts, maybe you should have a licensed gunsmith do some of the work, or get a permit yourself.

YOU DON'T WANT TO WIND UP FACING WILLIE'S PROBLEMS. IT COSTS A LOT, CAN COST YOU YOUR REPUTATION, AND MAY COST YOU YOUR FREEDOM. IF IT FEELS EVEN REMOTELY SPOOKY, DON'T DO IT!
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Old May 1, 2012, 05:51 PM   #8
briandg
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Quote:
if they cannot find a real criminal, they will invent one. You might be the one.
Not even remotely as stupid and paranoid as it may sound to some people.

Do not make a target out of yourself. If the mayor is trying to clean up prostitution, do not go to the tenderloin district dressed in a suit, driving a cadillac, and wave at the pretty ladies on the sidewalk, even if one of them is your cousin and you're just saying hello.

A doctoral level professor is a far better person to make an example of than an unemployed house painter, innocent or not.
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Old May 1, 2012, 05:53 PM   #9
Fishing_Cabin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg
In the case of the ar, iirc, the firearm is the upper receiver assembly, not the lower with trigger group and fire control.

I DON'T KNOW WHY.
You have that part wrong, no offense. On an AR-15 type firearm, the lower receiver is the serial numbered part.

Perhaps you have it confused with a FAL type rifle, in which the upper receiver is the serial numbered part.
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:22 AM   #10
Willie Sutton
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"This really isn't complicated. You should be able to buy a receiver and create a firearm from parts and that legally purchased receiver, because legally, the numbered receiver is already a firearm. You are adding unregulated parts to it."


You would think that to be true everywhere, using common sense and some knowlage of "The Law", the problem being that there are 52 sets of laws to deal with: Federal, 50 states, plus DC. Probably more if you want to deal with US Posessions as well.


Within the context of FEDERAL law it's true.

It is NOT TRUE according to the STATE law of New Jersey.

In NJ, you must buy the receiver as if it were a firearm, but then *as a second set of circumstances* if you then activate it to be operable you have "Manufactured" a firearm under NJ law. Do that without a NEW JERSEY license to manufacture (not a FEDERAL license, and one not available to individuals) and you are a felon.

Here's another NJ kicker as well: You need a Firearms ID card to buy a long gun in NJ. You need an additional pistol permit for EACH handgun you purchase in NJ. Since an AR-15 lower receiver *sold as an individual item* is neither a long gun or a handgun, and can be built into either, what permits are required to purchase one in NJ? Under Federal Law it's sold as an "Other" and you can build it up either way. Under NJ Law.... Hmmm...... OK, never mind about *getting it to begin with*, let's make it easy: In the end that if you build EITHER you are breaking another law regarding manufacture of a "Firearm", so why bother? Trust me here, I've already stood across from a Judge explaining myself in this regard. Thank goodness he was sympathetic. I found out later that he was a shooter, but.... <whew>.

The bottom line is that if you live in NJ, stay away from the popular hobby of building up a nice AR-15 from a lower. Start with a completed rifle, strip it, and rebuild it to suit yourself.

BTW... in NJ if you buy a stripped .45 Colt Frame and build up a custom pistol using it, you've done exactly the same thing: Go directly to jail. I almost ran afoul of that as well.. thank goodness the frame that I had literally bought at the same time (same visit to the same shop) as the AR lower had not yet had it's slide fitted. It was a VERY close thing and would have been a VERY bad deal for old Willie.


So glad to live elsewhere now...


Willie

.

Last edited by Willie Sutton; May 2, 2012 at 07:28 AM.
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Old May 2, 2012, 11:37 AM   #11
Fishing_Cabin
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BoogieMan,

While I know you mentioned "at what point do you become a manufacturer?" if you give as a little more of an idea of what you would like to do, perhaps some of us could point you in a better direction.

No disrespect to Willie either, but there have been several people build AR's and similar in NJ, and its rare that I have heard of a problem, unless the firearm has features that are prohibited.

Since you have your location listed as South Jersey, you may be able to get some information from some that have/are building a firearm now. www.NJgunforums.com seems to have several people building AR's and I noticed a thread in gunsmithing about a 1911 build too for personal use. They may be able to direct you to any legal issues that you may encounter. Just a thought.

As to you starting to set up a manufacturing I would contact the ATF personally, or through a lawyer, and discuss the issue with them, giving examples of what you want to do. You mentioned...
Quote:
I am interested in machining parts to sell as parts. I just dont want to be in a predicament that I could be called a "arms manufacturer". I dont have the facilities to make barrels anyway. But there is a lot of room on lowers/frames, sights, grips etc.. As long as I can do so within the law.
There is some level of disagreement between some folks, but if you do work on a lower or frame, I would strongly suggest getting an 07 FFL. Building or doing the final machine work, would put you in the area of needing an 07 FFL. Bringing a finished lower/frame in, and doing such things as adding checkering, or doing other similar work may place you in the same area, since what you are doing is adding value to a product.

In my past discussions with the ATF, if a dealer takes a firearm, and adds something as simple as a new stock or install a scope, to make the firearm sell better, this can be understood to be a "value added product" and depending on the inspectors view may require a 07 FFL. Installing a stock or scope on to a firearm for a customer after it is sold, does not fall in the same area, and is considered gunsmithing.

As far as other small parts, I would still ask that you speak with the ATF and a lawyer with a detailed idea of what you are planning on doing, and see what they have to say.

Enjoy your day!

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; May 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old May 2, 2012, 11:43 AM   #12
RedBowTies88
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Willie, very sorry to hear of your problems with the NJSP. They sure do charge first ask later.

BUT, things now may inb fact be different. Building a lower is a very common thing now. I've yet to do it myself but it is done very often without mishap.

You NJ guys like me should really check out this site NJgunforums.com Its the best reference for our insane laws that i've found so far.
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Old May 2, 2012, 03:05 PM   #13
Willie Sutton
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"No disrespect to Willie either, but there have been several people build AR's and similar in NJ, and its rare that I have heard of a problem, unless the firearm has features that are prohibited."


You haven't lived until you've spent a week in the lockup in Patterson.

Trust Old Willie on that. This incident occured long before the Federal AWB or even NJ's earlier AWB was placed into effect, so there were no prohibited features at play. And in the end, after $K$'s and many months were spent, all was well and I was let go with a warning (and a serious case of the ass for the legal system in general and the NJ Legal System in particular). That low opinion has been reinforced occasionally over the years, but those are other stories.

This incident took place, however, during the period when the NJ AWB was being debated in the statehouse (1980's), and I VERY strongly suspect that the NJSP and AG wanted to "manufacture some statistics" to back up their arguments. Things might be different now... but color me burned.

In any event, I would be VERY circumspect about "manufacturing" a firearm in NJ. No way, no how for Willie. Ya'll go ahead and let me know how it works out for you. I'd require a letter stating that it was OK from the state Attorney General before I even thought about it.


Willie

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Old May 2, 2012, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Sutton
This incident took place, however, during the period when the NJ AWB was being debated in the statehouse (1980's), and I VERY strongly suspect that the NJSP and AG wanted to "manufacture some statistics" to back up their arguments. Things might be different now... but color me burned.
What a scurrilous tactic! It's a good thing we can be sure our Federal government would never stoop to such ....... tactics .......

Never mind.
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Old May 8, 2012, 09:18 AM   #15
BoogieMan
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I was working with a licensed FFL that wanted to make AR lowers from billet 7075. I have the capability but after more inspection on my part I just cant see the market. He is telling me that he has market for pretty good volume, but I see lowers available all over for as low as $80. In that case its not worth my time. A lower is fairly complex to program and machine. My current customers (laboratory, food, water, etc...) will pay much more for far less difficult to machine parts.
I will however be offering some odds and ends in the near future. First product will be sights for the Neos. I may get into a better trigger for the Neos but I will be looking into FFL info first. I have a well established profitable business that I would never risk. I dont think there is any ill effects from making a sight, fire control such as a trigger assembly may be an issue. Not only legally but possibly with my insurance company. Insurance is very spooked over anything firearm related.
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