Are there restrictions on who can purchase receiver blank?
The GCA does not impose restrictions on receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a “firearm.”
When does a receiver need to have markings and/or serial numbers?
Receivers that meet the definition of a “firearm” must have markings, including a serial number.
Are some items being marketed as non-firearm unfinished" or "80%" receivers actually considered firearms?
Yes, in some cases, items being marketed as unfinished or “80%” receivers do meet the definition of a “firearm” as defined in the GCA. Persons who are unsure about whether an item they are planning to buy or sell is considered a firearm under the GCA should contact ATF’s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD).
I live in California, are 80% completed here subject to the CA Assault Weapons Ban?
Completed 80% lowers are subject to all the same laws that apply to any normal firearm. If you live in CA, you need to be careful to follow the laws related to the assault weapons ban. In general, if you build AR-15 style rifle with a pistol grip, you will need a "bullet button". There are also "featureless" configurations that do not require a bullet button.
Can functioning firearms made from receiver blanks be traced?
ATF successfully traces crime guns to the first retail purchaser in most instances. ATF starts with the manufacturer and goes through the entire chain of distribution to find who first bought the firearm from a licensed dealer. Because receiver blanks do not have markings or serial numbers, when firearms made from such receiver blanks are found at a crime scene, it is usually not possible to trace the firearm or determine its history, which hinders crime gun investigations jeopardizing public safety.
Do I need an FFL to make a firearm?
As long as you can legally own the firearm in the state, county and city you reside in you are allowed to manufacture a firearm for your own personal use. No serial number is required however it is suggested to engrave a serial number, model and manufacturer on your receiver in case it is lost or stolen. All National Firearms Act (NFA) regulations apply to your firearm. You may create a short-barreled rifle out of your firearm via a BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosive) Form 1 after BATFE approval.
Do 80% lower receivers include instructions?
No, not always, but with a simple search on the internet there are various sites with instruction to complete your 80% lower receiver.
What can the 80% AR 15 lower receiver be used for?
It is a great starting point for many firearm calibers including, but are not limited to:
.223-5.56mm, 6.8 SPC, 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, 6.5 Grendel, .50 Beowulf, 9mm ,45 ACP
Have firearms made from unmarked receiver blanks been recovered after being used in a crime?
Yes, firearms that began as receiver blanks have been recovered after shooting incidents, from gang members and from prohibited people after they have been used to commit crimes.
What is ATF doing in regard to people making firearms?
There are no federal restrictions on an individual making a firearm for personal use, as long as it does not violate the GCA or National Firearms Act (NFA).
Are some items being marketed as non-firearm “unfinished” or “80%” receivers actually considered firearms?
Yes, in some cases, items being marketed as unfinished or “80%” receivers do meet the definition of a “firearm” as defined in the GCA. Persons who are unsure about whether an item they are planning to buy or sell is considered a firearm under the GCA should contact ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch (FTB).
Can an individual make large quantities of firearms and sell them?
If an individual is “engaged in the business” (defined below) as a manufacturer or seller of firearms then that person must obtain a federal firearms license. In addition, manufacturers have a variety of specific responsibilities under the Gun Control Act, such as including a serial number and other markings on all firearms.
Under 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(21)(A), the term “engaged in the business” means— as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms manufactured.
When does a receiver need to have markings and/or serial numbers?
Receivers that meet the definition of a “firearm” must have markings, including a serial number. See 27 CFR § 478.92 (Firearm manufacturers marking requirements).
What is an “80%” or “unfinished" receiver?
“80% receiver,” “80% finished,” “80% complete,” “unfinished receiver” are all terms referring to an item that some may believe has not yet reached a stage of manufacture that meets the definition of firearm frame or receiver found in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). These are not statutory terms or terms ATF employs or endorses.
Are “80%” or “unfinished” receivers illegal?
Receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a "firearm" are not subject to regulation under the GCA. The ATF has long held that items such as receiver blanks, "castings" or "machined bodies" in which the fire-control cavity area is completely solid and un-machined have not reached the "stage of manufacture" which would result in the classification of a firearm per the GCA.
Where do I find laws regarding the possession of firearms? (CA)
The laws governing control of deadly weapons, including firearms, are found in Part 6 of the Penal Code, beginning at section 16000. These laws define the various types of dangerous weapons as well as restrictions and crimes related to their manufacture, sale, possession, and transportation. Of particular note, the laws relating to firearms are found in Title 4 of Part 6, beginning at section 23500, and the applicable definitions and general rules are found in Title 1 of Part 6, beginning at section 16000. Laws that pertain to both firearms and other types of deadly weapons are found in Title 2 of Part 6, beginning at section 17500.
Who is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms? (Federal & CA)
Any person who has a conviction for any misdemeanor listed in Penal Code section 29805 or for any felony, or is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, or has been held involuntarily as a danger to self or others pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 8103 is prohibited from buying, owning, or possessing firearms or ammunition. There are also prohibitions based on mental conditions, domestic restraining/protective orders, conditions of probation, and specific offenses committed as a juvenile. A list of prohibited categories is available on the Bureau of Firearms website.
(Pen. Code, §§ 29800, 29805, 29815, 29820, 29825, 29855, 29860, 29900, 29905, 30305; Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 8100-8103; 18 U.S.C. § 922, subd. (g), 27 C.F.R. § 478.22.)