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Thread: Interesting letter to the ATF

  1. #1
    Gunco Regular tarawa's Avatar
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    Default Interesting letter to the ATF

    This letter clarifies a lot of questions...including selling a rifle built on a homemade receiver. I copied this from the "other" forum.

    "To whom it may concern:

    I am writing to request clarification regarding the ATF?s current legal stance regarding Hungarian AMD-63 and AMD-65 rifles. ?Parts kits? from these rifles have recently begun appearing in the marketplace in large numbers. I have two specific questions regarding these rifles, and two more general questions regarding the ?making? of firearms by a nonlicensee as mentioned in ?Questions and Answers? section (A7) of the Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (2000 edition). If any of these questions are inappropriate for your office, please simply refer me to the appropriate organization.

    1) With reference to the parts listed in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 478 (formerly Part 178), section 478.39(c): You will note that the AMD-63 and AMD-65 both have a forward pistol grip attached to the lower handguard. Is this forward grip counted as part of the handguard, as part of the ?pistol grip?, as an additional pistol grip, or is it uncounted?

    Note that my question is narrowly focused on correctly ?counting? this forward pistol grip.

    2) With reference to assembling a working semiautomatic rifle from AMD-63 or AMD-65 parts, which is compliant with Title 18 USC ? 922(r) and Title 18 USC ? 922(v): Would such a rifle be considered a ?machinegun? if the rifle were assembled using a commercially available semiautomatic trigger group as well as a receiver without mounting holes for an auto?sear?

    3) With reference to a nonlicensee who assembles an otherwise legal semiautomatic rifle for their own personal use (non-NFA, and compliant with Title 18 USC ? 922(r) and Title 18 USC ? 922(v)), but who fabricates their own receiver: Are there any additional restrictions or prohibitions against the eventual sale or transfer of such a rifle to family members, heirs, or third parties?

    Note: One of the many things I have been told is that a nonlicensee who fabricates a receiver may never transfer the resulting firearm, and that it must be destroyed in the event of the maker?s death. Thus, I am specifically interested in any record keeping, marking or labeling requirements, excise taxes, etc. necessary to have the ability to transfer or sell such a firearm.

    4) Is a licensed collector who is not a licensed manufacturer considered a ?nonlicensee? for the purposes of ?making? a firearm?

    While it is not my desire to cause your office any unnecessary workload, given the potentially serious consequences of even inadvertent violations of Federal Firearms law, I am left with little alternative. I have been unable to locate clear answers to these questions despite extensive research. And thus, I sincerely appreciate your efforts in responding to this letter.

    Sincerely,
    XXXXXXXXXX

    ATF Response

    Dear XXXXXXXXXX:

    This refers to your letter of July 27, 2004, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Firearms Technology Branch (FTB), in which you posed several questions. In general, you requested clarification regarding the classification of Hungarian AMD-63 and AMD-65 selective-fire rifle parts sets, as well as information regarding the manufacture of semiautomatic copies of these firearms.

    As you know, the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. ? 5845(b), defines the term ?machinegun? as follows:

    ?any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. This term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

    Further, with respect to your inquiry regarding the classification of the forward grip of the AMD-63 or AMD-65 based on 27 CFR ? 478.39 (formerly 178.39), you should be aware that this is an integral part of the forearm, and, consequently would serve as the ?forearm? as listed in 478.39(c)(1 7).

    Concerning the manufacture of a semiautomatic copy of the AMD-63 or AMD-65 selective-fire rifle, this is possible only if the receiver is redesigned and incapable of accommodating the original fire control components. Further, the firearm must be designed to operate from the closed-bolt position. The redesigned receiver may be manufactured from new material or from the remnants of properly destroyed receivers. Proper destruction entails the diagonal torch cutting of the receiver in three critical locations. Each cut must displace at least ? inch of material.

    We should add that prior to utilizing sections of a destroyed receiver, the features that make it capable of firing automatically?the machinegun sear pin hole and the slotted right receiver rail must be removed.

    Also, for your information, a nonlicensee may manufacture a semiautomatic rifle for his or her own personal use. As long as the firearm remains in the custody of the person who manufactured it, the firearm need not be marked with a serial number or name and location of the manufacturer. However, if the firearm is transferred to another party at some point in the future, the firearm must be marked in accordance with the provisions set forth in 27 CFR ? 478.92 (formerly 178.92).

    Finally, a licensed collector may acquire, hold, or dispose of firearms classified as ?curios or relics? as that term is defined in 27 CFR 478.11 (formerly 178.11). The collector?s license does not authorize the holder to manufacture a firearm for commercial resale.

    For further details on issues related to your inquiry, please refer to the enclosed ATF publication, Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide 2000 (ATF P 5300.4). The text of 27 CFR 478.41(d) (formerly 178.41) appears on page 53; that of 27 CFR 478.93 (formerly 178.93), on page 58.

    We thank you for your inquiry and trust that the foregoing has been responsive.

    Sincerely yours,
    ATF XXXXXXXXXX
    gtbehary........ ak builder, hack machinist, nuclear worker and violin huckster!

  2. #2
    BANNED Co7t's Avatar
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    Any chances of getting a scanned copy of this letter?

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    Gunco Regular tarawa's Avatar
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    I requested a scan from the person that wrote the letter to the ATF.
    gtbehary........ ak builder, hack machinist, nuclear worker and violin huckster!

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Here you go - I PM'ed him and received a response that "yes" I can post the pics on my site here:

    http://pookieweb.dyndns.org:61129/AK...lingbuilds.htm

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    Gunco Member Big Daddy's Avatar
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    (Further, with respect to your inquiry regarding the classification of the forward grip of the AMD-63 or AMD-65 based on 27 CFR ? 478.39 (formerly 178.39), you should be aware that this is an integral part of the forearm, and, consequently would serve as the ?forearm? as listed in 478.39(c)(1 7).)
    I interperate this to mean that a U.S. made front pistol grip on a AMD-63, AMD-65 would count as a US compiant part. Is this correct?
    BD

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    Chief Administrator 7.62x39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Daddy
    (Further, with respect to your inquiry regarding the classification of the forward grip of the AMD-63 or AMD-65 based on 27 CFR ? 478.39 (formerly 178.39), you should be aware that this is an integral part of the forearm, and, consequently would serve as the ?forearm? as listed in 478.39(c)(1 7).)
    I interperate this to mean that a U.S. made front pistol grip on a AMD-63, AMD-65 would count as a US compiant part. Is this correct?
    BD
    I don't think so, it states.

    "you should be aware that this is an integral part of the forearm"

    Just as you must change both pieces (the upper and lower) on a regular forearm in order for it to count, you would have to change all 3 pieces of a AMD forearm to count it.

    I don't believe that changing only part of it would count.

    As usual, when dealing with firearm laws, it's as clear as mud.
    .

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    Gunco Member Big Daddy's Avatar
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    7.62x39
    Hate to be bull headed but it also says qoute (and, consequently would serve as the ?forearm? as listed in 478.39(c)(1 7).) I take this as a yes. And on an AMD, I see only the metal lower (heat shield) and the pistol grip. Where is the third part?
    Big Daddy

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    BANNED mbadboyz's Avatar
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    Maybe we should send them a built weapon for them to examine!

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Not to hijack the thread further, but the clarification as I read it is to specify that the 2nd pistol grip falls under the classification of the forearm to distinguish it from the main pistol grip. In other words, one could read this to say that, since the 2nd pistol grip is part of the forearm, then one would need only to purchase ONE pistol grip for US compliance - the main pistol grip.

    Ergo, if you replace the forearm as 7.62x39 said,

    "...Just as you must change both pieces (the upper and lower) on a regular forearm in order for it to count, you would have to change all 3 pieces of a AMD forearm to count...."

    Let's suppose you were to, for example, choose to replace the original with a US forearm for parts quota, and chose to use a wood forearm such as an Ironwood design (upper and lower). Were to you then put the original 2nd pistol grip onto it, you just "negated" the forearm's US parts count status because for the law, all 3 parts count as one.

    Hope that makes sense...

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    Gunco Member justashooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtbehary
    This letter clarifies a lot of questions...including selling a rifle built on a homemade receiver. I copied this from the "other" forum.

    Also, for your information, a nonlicensee may manufacture a semiautomatic rifle for his or her own personal use. As long as the firearm remains in the custody of the person who manufactured it, the firearm need not be marked with a serial number or name and location of the manufacturer. However, if the firearm is transferred to another party at some point in the future, the firearm must be marked in accordance with the provisions set forth in 27 CFR ? 478.92 (formerly 178.92).

    Sincerely yours,
    ATF XXXXXXXXXX

    no statutory basis for this. in many states a face to face of an unmarked gun is within state statute, and nothing in federal code prohibits it. read the law, and know the law. it is public record. opinion letters are sometimes written by people who don't know or care for the law.

    not saying i want to be a test case, but that judges are bound to rule of law, not opinion letter. some people who write letters don't like the result, so they write letters. they can make your life hell, and bankrupt you, so being right does not pay, but it's still being right.

    the fed statute on marking receivers is specifically limited to "manufacturers who engage in the business". it is a matter of tax revenue. read the law.

    please post the agent's name and contact info, and i will cite the law to him and ask why his letter is not in accordance with it. if he can cite some code that applies, i will retract this statement. administrative law is a valid concept, but this clearly exceeds the intent of the statute by applying revenue based law on a non-revenue producing activity.

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