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Melancholia

Legal Status of Non-NFA Firearm AR Build?

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So someone on the NJGuns subreddit posted a 27" OAL non-NFA AR platform firearm build they had just completed.

There has been a decent amount of discussion surrounding the legal status of "firearms" like the Shockwave/Tac-14/Black Aces Tactical DT in NJ within the past few months, so just wanted to know everyone's opinion on the matter since this is one of the first posts that I've come across where someone actually made the leap of building one. He carries around various ATF and NJSP letters validating the legality of the components in his build as CYA material, but as we know, it is still basically up to the discretion of a LEO.

Quote

ATF Letter on Stabilizing Braces and how they can be shouldered

This article about adding VFGs to AR pistols contains the ATF letter outlining how to construct a non-NFA firearm on pages 2-3 

This contains the NJSP letter to the FFLs detailing the legality of the 590 Shockwave and Tac 14. the relevant text is :

"Firearms with similar design and structure must fall within this definition of a firearm and must not have been manufactured as a 'shotgun' (NJSA 2C:39-1n) or meet the Federal requirement of 'any other weapon (AOW)' which measures less then 26 inches in overall length. The firearm must also comply with all BATF requirements."

Also the NJSP definition of "substatially identical" The relevant text:

The term "substantial" means pertaining to the substance, matter, material or essence of a thing. The term "identical" means exactly the same. Hence, a firearm is substantially identical to another only if it is identical in all material, essential respects. A firearm is not substantially identical to a listed assault firearm unless it is identical except for differences which do not alter the essential nature of the firearm.

We also have the States definitions of:

"Rifle" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger. "Sawed-off shotgun" means any shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length measured from the breach to the muzzle, or a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length measured from the breach to the muzzle, or any firearm made from a rifle or a shotgun, whether by alteration, or otherwise, if such firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches.

 

I don't think I would want to risk it with how iffy the laws are here, but it would be nifty having what is basically an NJ legal AR pistol with no restrictions on evil features, albeit it must abide by the 26" OAL minimum.

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15 minutes ago, Ray Ray said:

I am more worried about the OP having 3 posts and starting a thread begging for drama.

Put the tinfoil hat away... OP is asking for our opinion.

I too saw the post on /r/NJGuns.  I'm a bit intrigued... I recall seeing there be a "grey area" AR15 pistol type gun with a smoothbore barrel that apparently qualifies as well.  

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Smooth bore gets around NFA issue.  The Franklin Armory guns somehow exploits some loophole related to that.  However, I don't know how NJ would look at this, smooth bore aside, that it's a pistil, gonna guess it's over 50 oz and it has a handguard.  All of those are illegal in NJ.  If the smooth bore makes it so it isn't a pistol, not sure how it should be looked at.  If it's a destructive device it is illegal.  If it's just a firearm like the shockwave and tac14 then it may be legal.  I wouldn't want to be the one to test these limits in an unfriendly court.

 

Lastly, if it's classified as a pistol it best have been marked on the 4473 that way and if purchased in NJ better have a p2p.  I am no FFL but I am not sure many NJ FFLs would transfer the AR receiver as a pistol but I could be speaking out of turn.  

Lastly, smooth bores shoot like shit.  

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1 hour ago, fatty said:

why open that can of worms...?

Because NJ gun laws are stupid, counterproductive, make criminals out of regular people, demonize ergonomic features and are unconstitutional? At least that's what everyone here says.

Personally I would NOT want to be the guinea pig for this either. But if this guy has the stones to argue with cops and carry letters around, I say more power to him. We need individuals like him.

THIS is what activism looks like. Not sitting around waiting for imaginary lawsuits.

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1 hour ago, Ray Ray said:

I am more worried about the OP having 3 posts and starting a thread begging for drama.

It wasn't my intention to start any sort of drama, so if I did I apologize. I haven't been on the forums very long since I just recently became a gun owner a few months ago and I mostly lurk around for any updates on legislation. I was just curious what the general consensus was on "firearms" since you guys seem to be the most knowledgeable community on NJ firearm stuff (at least more so than Reddit). I suppose I should have stated in the original post that I'm not looking for a definitive answer or anything, just wanted to see everyone's thoughts.

While I want SBRs, suppressors, and CCW in Jersey as much as the next guy, projects like the one in the Reddit post are as close as I can get. I was actually really peeved actually that PA changed their reciprocity agreements since I got my NH non-res permit in the mail a week prior. :(

 

 

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If the frame was sold / transferred as a HG (w/ NJ HG permit) the build would be illegal in NJ

If the Frame was transferred as a long gun (w/ COE) it should have went as a frame only and up to the owner to build according to NJ laws. 

That being said, unless that is a smooth bore weapon, I don't think NJ will accept it as a "Firearm" unless there is previous review and acceptance by AG / NJSP (as in the Shockwave, TAC & Aces firearms).   JMO

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55 minutes ago, Melancholia said:

It wasn't my intention to start any sort of drama, so if I did I apologize. I haven't been on the forums very long since I just recently became a gun owner a few months ago and I mostly lurk around for any updates on legislation. I was just curious what the general consensus was on "firearms" since you guys seem to be the most knowledgeable community on NJ firearm stuff (at least more so than Reddit). I suppose I should have stated in the original post that I'm not looking for a definitive answer or anything, just wanted to see everyone's thoughts.

While I want SBRs, suppressors, and CCW in Jersey as much as the next guy, projects like the one in the Reddit post are as close as I can get. I was actually really peeved actually that PA changed their reciprocity agreements since I got my NH non-res permit in the mail a week prior. :(

 

 

Don't sweat it. No need to apologize.

Reddit hosts some special breed of stupid.

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43 minutes ago, mossburger said:

Just stating the for the record, the device in the original post is NOT smoothbore as per the Reddit thread. Not sure where anyone is getting the idea that it is smoothbore from.

My bad.   If it’s not a smoothbore then I don’t see how NJ Doesn’t classify it as either a pistol or a rifle.

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How was the receiver transfered?  I'm guessing without a buttstock it is a pistol build, if that's the case it's illegal in NJ.  I'm guessing it weighs more than 50 oz and the handguard (barrel shroud) is illegal on NJ pistol builds.  If it was transfered as a rifle receiver and the barrel is less than 16" than it is an SBR.  If that sig brace is telescoping and it's a rifle that would make it illegal as well as it would most likely be considered a buttstock.  

So not being smooth bore it is either a pistol or a rifle and not a firearm.  It wouldn't pass on either of the traditional designations.  That being said it looks pretty cool so I'll pay him 200 bucks for it and ship to FL.  :)

The builder citing ATF regs for certain items will not help him with a build.  A sig brace is fine unless you shoulder it then it would be a buttstock.  I am not sure if Sig braces are acceptable in NJ anyway.  I reviewed the reddit article I couldn't find mention of the barrel length.  

 

edit:

found in the reddit post that this is 10.5" upper so this cannot be a rifle or it would be an SBR and in NJ a pistol in this configuration is not legal.  

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1 hour ago, mossburger said:

Just stating the for the record, the device in the original post is NOT smoothbore as per the Reddit thread. Not sure where anyone is getting the idea that it is smoothbore from.

That was from me - I recall there being a "non-nfa, non-pistol" AR type gun with a smoothbore barrel...  I think that's the Franklin Armory Reformation.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/01/11/reformation-franklin-armory-hacks-nfa-no-sbr-11-5-ar/

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54 minutes ago, Krdshrk said:

That was from me - I recall there being a "non-nfa, non-pistol" AR type gun with a smoothbore barrel...  I think that's the Franklin Armory Reformation.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/01/11/reformation-franklin-armory-hacks-nfa-no-sbr-11-5-ar/

Gotcha. Looks like some IRL clickbait for SHOT show though. Most of the country is already "hacking" the NFA with the new "pistols" of everything from ARs and AKs to Scorpions and PTRs so why bother with the drawback of a smoothbore. But you already know that. We just miss out on all the fun in NJ.

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11 minutes ago, ChrisJM981 said:

I thought that opinion was overturned, reevaluated, or whatever the term is.

It was. 

 

Reading through the reddit thread again, they are relying on the franklin arsenal firearm for osme of their reasoning. That has a non-rifled barrel. IT isn't smooth bore, but the lands and grooves don't twist. I'm not liking their reasoning federally 100%, much less for NJ. 

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On 5/22/2018 at 3:56 PM, DirtyDigz said:

Hrmmm....

What if you had a smooth barrel...

And bullets with spiral grooves starting from the base that combustion gases could flow through to impart a spin...

Orrrrrr - a barrel with straight lands and corresponding spiral grooves on the bullet...

 

I have a SBR that I love... but I would not take it for one second if it required some weird one off "special" ammo to function.. 

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I feel like I'm seeing a lot of misinformation in this thread. As far as I'm aware it's very simple.

1. No stock, so it can't be a rifle.

2. Designed to be fired with two hands (VFG), so it can't be a pistol.

3. Longer than 26", so it can't be an AOW.

Federally I'm positive this is legit. The part that I'm concerned about is whether this is truly a loophole through the AWB. Reading through the AWB language, it seems to define "handgun" and "rifle" the same way as federal law, so I think it really is a loophole.

I don't have the balls to try it but I'd really like to hear an informed legal opinion.

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On 5/22/2018 at 3:37 PM, raz-0 said:

It was. 

 

Reading through the reddit thread again, they are relying on the franklin arsenal firearm for osme of their reasoning. That has a non-rifled barrel. IT isn't smooth bore, but the lands and grooves don't twist. I'm not liking their reasoning federally 100%, much less for NJ. 

They aren't relying on the Franklin Armory 'Reformation' model (the smooth bore model). They are relying on the Franklin Armory XO-26 R2 model. This model is classified as a "firearm" because it is >26" and is designed to be fired with two hands due to the VFG, so it is not a pistol. If it was < 26" it would be an NFA item, an Any Other Weapon (AOW) specifically. The weapon meets the "firearm" criteria so long as the weapon never existed as a rifle. Hence, the Franklin Armory model is a great design because it is sold complete as a "firearm" out of the factory, so there is no chance of it being misclassified. 

 

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I'm not so sure of the exact logistics in regards to how to get the stripped receiver in possession without it ever being a pistol or a rifle. If I were to purchase the Franklin Armory Reformation model that RTSP sells, I am sure that the same process is used if I were to build a "firearm" myself from a stripped receiver.  I am not an FFL so I do not know the exact specifics. What I do know is that stripped receivers are checked off as "other." It is then up to the owner to complete the build lawfully. If someone could clarify on the process as an FFL, please do. 

I have to say that I definitely expected more support here. I know NJ law is murky as hell, so the concern many of you have is genuine. I plan on going to medical school somewhere I can enjoy my 2A rights freely. But in the meantime, I plan on building one and being as proactive as I can. There is no other way we can stand up to this crappy state if we all just freeze up and get scared when an opportunity arises. I think the entire community would be better off if we all stuck together on these issues. But we don't, because we're all scared. So instead those who take the risks are struck with the evil eye and told to "be careful." I'm sick of it. As the law currently stands, these builds fit perfectly into the loophole. They aren't defined as rifles, because they don't have stocks. They aren't defined as pistols, because it is intended to be fired with two hands. It isn't intended to be shouldered, but doing so wouldn't change the classification of the weapon even if one did so (ATF reversed that ruling). It therefore can not be subject to AWB because it is not a shotgun, pistol, or a rifle. 

I definitely will be consulting Evan Nappen shortly to get some advice on this. I'll keep you all posted if I get something significant. 

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13 hours ago, e92m3allday said:

I'm not so sure of the exact logistics in regards to how to get the stripped receiver in possession without it ever being a pistol or a rifle. What I do know is that stripped receivers are checked off as "other." It is then up to the owner to complete the build lawfully. If someone could clarify on the process as an FFL, please do. 

I have to say that I definitely expected more support here. I know NJ law is murky as hell, so the concern many of you have is genuine.

I definitely will be consulting Evan Nappen shortly to get some advice on this. I'll keep you all posted if I get something significant. 

I purchased a receiver from a FFL, but it was accompanied by a COE. Does that legally make it a rifle? I don't know if I can use that receiver. You can use one purchased on a pistol permit, but I haven't been able to find a FFL that will transfer one to me. 

It's not a lack of support. The problem is that in NJ there are many police that will arrest you and let the judge sort it out. Personally I don't have the financial resources to play that game. 

NJ doesn't play by the rules. You might be legally correct, but that doesn't mean you're not going to jail. 

Please let us know if you have any success with Evan Nappan. Most people don't even get a return phone call. 

 

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In NJ, you must use a P2P or COE to acquire a firearm, ie receiver. Doesn't the NJSP FIU wants you to use a P2P for Shockwaves? So I would think the same for receivers.

Sent from an undisclosed location via Tapatalk

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9 minutes ago, PK90 said:

In NJ, you must use a P2P or COE to acquire a firearm, ie receiver. Doesn't the NJSP FIU wants you to use a P2P for Shockwaves? So I would think the same for receivers.

Sent from an undisclosed location via Tapatalk
 

@sota Was a P2P required?

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2 hours ago, PK90 said:

In NJ, you must use a P2P or COE to acquire a firearm, ie receiver. Doesn't the NJSP FIU wants you to use a P2P for Shockwaves? So I would think the same for receivers.

Sent from an undisclosed location via Tapatalk
 

At one point NJSP wanted to put Shock waves & Tacs on a HG permit but that has been recinded.

Now they go out as a "Other / Firearm" on the 4473 & NJSP require a COE only.

Frames go through at "Other / Frame only" on the 4473 and a COE unless the buyer declares the frame as a pistol from the start (which in NJ is very rare considering the HG weight requirements) - then it goes on a HG permit

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