Hmmn, typo in the title.
As many of you are aware, Thompson Center sued ATF a while back because ATF said a kit that consisted of enough parts to build both a rifle and a pistol from one receiver was an SBR and had to be registered even if the kit was never assembled as an SBR. SCOTUS agreed with TC, and said that swapping back and forth was just fine, having rifle and pistol length bbls in the same place was OK, and that the only time an SBR was created was when one was actually assembled, or if the parts could only be assembled as an SBR and were in one place. IOW, don't store the shoulder stocked receiver with the pistol bbl in a case and leave the rifle bbl in the closet.
All was well and good in the world, and many creations such as the MechTech Carbine conversions for 1911s and Glocks and the Beretta Neos carbine/pistol kit were sold in full compliance of that decision.
A few years ago, however, ATF started saying the TC case didn't apply to these new creations, only the TC kit that was specifically ruled on. Furthermore, if one put their Glock frame in a Mech Tech upper, for example, if the owner then removed it and reassembled the frame with the original pistol parts, he had in fact created an illegal SBR! Then conflicting letters from ATF started to appear, some said if the "kit" was from the gun manufacturer and was bought as such (Neos), it was Kosher, but aftermarket stuff like the MechTech were different somehow and the SBR thing did apply.
Well, acting Director Kenneth Melson has issued a new ruling, essentially confirming that the SCOTUS case and findings apply equally to ALL firearms! We are now instructed to disregard all previous conflicting letters.
So as of now, if the receiver started out life as a handgun, converting to a legal length rifle and back to a handgun is perfectly legal, and no SBR is made unless you are dumb enough to put the short bbl on the stocked receiver. It's still illegal to make a handgun out of a receiver that started out as a rifle, that would still be an SBR. Also, make sure you keep any "grouping" of parts compliant by making sure there is a legal way of assembling them.
I'm amazed that a division of the US government would actually obey a ruling from the SCOTUS.!!!!
There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action. -- Bertrand Russell
"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." Robert J. Hanlon
As it relates to US builders.
The last paragraph addresses the "can I make a pistol out of" question.
"Assembly of Weapons from Parts Kits
The Thompson/Center Court viewed the parts within the conversion kit not only as a Contender pistol, but also as an unassembled “rifle” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(c). The inclusion of the rifle stock in the package brought the Contender pistol and carbine kit within the "intended to be fired from the shoulder" language in the definition of rifle at 26 U.S.C. 5845(c). Id. at 513 n.6. Thompson/Center did not address the subsequent assembly of the parts. United States v. Ardoin, 19 F.3d 177, 181 (5th Cir. 1994). Based on the definition of “firearm” in 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3), if parts are assembled into a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, a regulated short-barreled rifle has been made. See, e.g., United States v. Owens, 103 F.3d 953 (11th Cir. 1997); United States v. One (1) Colt Ar-15, 394 F. Supp. 2d 1064 (W.D.Tenn. 2004). Conversely, if the parts are assembled into a rifle having a barrel or barrels 16 inches in length or more, a rifle not subject to the NFA has been made.
Therefore, so long as a parts kit or collection of parts is not used to make a firearm regulated under the NFA (e.g., a short-barreled rifle or “any other weapon” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(e)), no NFA firearm is made when the same parts are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length). Merely assembling and disassembling such a rifle does not result in the making of a new weapon; rather, it is the same rifle in a knockdown condition (i.e., complete as to all component parts). Likewise, because it is the same weapon when reconfigured as a pistol, no “weapon made from a rifle” subject to the NFA has been made.
Nonetheless, if a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length is assembled or otherwise produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle, such a weapon is a “weapon made from a rifle” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4). Such a weapon would not be a “pistol” because the weapon was not originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile by one hand."
Wow! I think all of my receivers will start off as pistol receivers from now on.
so a tc pistol can be swapped from pistol to rifle configuration with no problem but a tc rifle converted to pistol configuration is an sbr?
Yep, no rifle can ever be turned into a handgun. The TC case established that handguns can be converted into rifles, and that the fact it started out as a handgun makes the rifle status only temporary, whereas a gun built originally as a rifle is always a rifle.
How does this work with a AR-15 lower bought as a 'rifle' on the form? (this was before they had a receiver section).
It was not a rifle or pistol at the time of purchase, just another bare lower.
If it was put on the paperwork as a rifle, it's a rifle.How does this work with a AR-15 lower bought as a 'rifle' on the form?
"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" Ronald Reagan
so if you buy a ''pistol'' ar lower you can swap configurations as long as you never have a stock and a short barrel on the same lower? just curious