View Full Version : Need opinion on making a receiver in the school's welding shop

January 29, 2009, 05:03 PM
I've started working on an MP-5 build and I'm concerned about the legality of one of the steps, please let me know what you think. Here's my plan:

I've ordered one of those receiver stampings but not the rest of the parts yet, my Form 1 has also been sent in. I'll order the rest of the parts (especially the short barrel) after I get my form 1 back.

I'm taking a tig welding class at one of the local community colleges and they let us work on our own projects. So I'd like to complete the receiver welds in the schools shop so I can use the equipment there. My concern is that once I finish the last weld aren't I technically in possession of a firearm on a school premises. I won't have a complete weapon but the receiver is the part that is legally considered a "firearm" right?

I guess another way to look at is when does a flat legally become a firearm? I'm assuming the NFA side of it is ok until I am in possession of the short barrel but let me know if that's wrong.

Thanks for your feedback

January 29, 2009, 05:24 PM
Federal standards for "Firearm" are not always the same as the State standards. You could have a gun according to ATF, but not your state. For example, in MA a stripped AR lower is not considered a gun although ATF considers it one. You need to see what the State rules are to see if you would be legally in possession of a gun once that last weld is done. Safest thing would be to err on the side of caution and finish it at home if possible.

Presumably this will be semi-auto. Making a full-auto MP5 would not be legally possible. So if this is a semi-auto SBR, you are correct that you should not get the short barrel until the Form 1 is approved.

I guess another way to look at is when does a flat legally become a firearm? My understanding is that it becomes a firearm once it is pressed into shape and has holes drilled. I don't think it is a firearm if it is pressed but has no holes yet. If that is wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me shortly. ATF is, of course, historically capricious in interpreting its own rules. :barf:

January 29, 2009, 09:09 PM
If you want to err on the side of caution I would say when you are done welding it you will have a firearm so don't do it. Will anyone recognize it as a gun is a another question. If you act like it is no big deal then and not tell anyone what it is they probably won't care. I mean there is no barrel no stock no PG etc. to make it look obviously like a weapon so to the uninitiated it will just look like a random sheet metal part correct?

January 29, 2009, 09:15 PM
We put several AK's together using parts kits and homemade recievers in highschool shop class. But then again that's been awhile and our shop teacher was a "gun nut" like us. He spent half the class time casting is own bullets in the shop. :D Prolly wouldn't be able to get away with that now days though. :(

Don H
January 29, 2009, 11:39 PM
It is not necessarily illegal to possess a firearm on school property. See 18USC 922(q).

January 29, 2009, 11:52 PM
yea, an MP-5 stamping is weird enough looking probably nobody would have a clue. Then again, alot people take welding classes to learn how to do just what you're trying. I probably would do it.

James K
January 30, 2009, 02:12 PM
I do wish folks would quit assuming that Federal law is the be-all and end-all of legislation.

Federal law severely limits possession and use of a firearm in a school zone, but some state laws flatly prohibit possession in a designated school zone and in the school itself except for LEOs. In some schools even something like having a dummy gun in a school play has resulted in teachers being fired and prosecuted, and students being expelled and turned over to juvenile court. It may be insane and zero tolerance gone wild and you can rant all you want, but it can and does happen.

I would strongly advise students not to have a gun or gun parts in class or on school property. We don't need headlines like "Student caught making machinegun in school" or "Gun crazy student makes assault rifle in school; prosecutor asks for adult trial, maximum 20-year sentence."


January 30, 2009, 02:35 PM
Well actually this is a community college so it wouldn't be quite the same as a high school shop.

But you do make a good point about the possible PR affect, I've always viewed that as part of being a responsible gun owner.

Of course that leads me to the dilemma of how to get my hands on a tig welding machine.

Don H
January 30, 2009, 03:26 PM
some state laws flatly prohibit possession in a designated school zone and in the school itself except for LEOs.
And some states don't have that prohibition. The federal code I cited allows those exceptions if the state so chooses. Which is why I used the term "not necessarily illegal".

In my state of residence, it is perfectly legal for a Utah resident with a CFP to have firearms on public school property or in the schools themselves (this includes teachers and other school employees also). Some other states have similar laws in effect.

Ultimately, it is the duty of the person proposing to carry a firearm, or parts thereof, onto school property to ascertain that the laws in effect expressly allow him to do so.

James K
February 9, 2009, 09:55 PM
Sounds good, Don. But can you imagine a "gun in school" story that won't get blown way out of proportion. The guy would be lucky to get off with life in prison once MSNBC gets done with him.

Kjeil, I don't know where you live but the rental companies around here all have TIG welders, as does Home Depot rental. About $40 a day, but sometimes less if you provide (or pay for) the wire and gas.


February 10, 2009, 05:05 PM
Have you checked with the proper college authorities (class instructor, dean of students, etc.). Even if it is not technically illegal, it may be against school policy and could get you into trouble in that regard. If, on the other hand, the proper school officials give you the OK, I probably wouldn't worry too much about it.

February 10, 2009, 05:34 PM
that was a good idea about rental, it's only $35 a day here in Texas.

Of course I'm not sure how much better the headline would be "madman makes his own guns in his garage"

Maybe I can find a way to set it up and do it in MSNBC's parking lot or maybe one of their restrooms :)