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Old March 24, 2013, 07:15 PM   #2
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 12,130
You can order a short-barreled upper. In and of itself, the upper is just an accessory. It becomes an NFA weapon when you attach it to a lower. At that point, you're manufacturing an NFA item, for which you need approval.

Basically, it comes down to this:
  1. Download and print out two copies of the ATF Form 1 [pdf]
  2. Download and print two copies of the Certificate of Compliance [pdf]
  3. Fill out the relevant parts
  4. Get two passport photos
  5. Take the paperwork and a $200 check to your local sheriff.
  6. Have them take fingerprints and send it all off.
  7. Wait. Then wait some more.

In the meantime, you'll need to get the lower receiver engraved with your name, city and state. Once the Form 1 comes back approved, you can assemble the rifle.

Now, there's some question as to whether it's wise to have the short-barreled upper before you get approval. If you're found to be in possession of it at the same time you have a lower, constructive possession could be implied, and that could lead to trouble.

As such, it's a good idea to get approval before buying the upper, or to store the upper in a different location than the lower.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
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