ATF Answers Questions on 80 Percent Lower Receiver Blanks

80 Percent Lower Receivers AR15
80 Percent AR15 Lower Receivers

Washington, DC –-( 1. Is ATF aware of the receiver blanks, commonly referred to as 80 percent lower receivers?
ATF routinely collaborates with the firearms industry and law enforcement to monitor new technologies and current manufacturing trends that could potentially impact the safety of the public.

2. 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.

3. 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.

See comparison examples:

80 Percent Lower
80 percent Receiver Blanks Pic 1
80 Percent Receiver Blanks Pic 2
80 percent Receiver Blanks Pic 2
80 % Lower Receiver Blanks Pic 3
80 percent Receiver Blanks Pic 3

4. 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.”

5. 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).

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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).

9. 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).

10. What is the National Firearms Act (NFA)?
The NFA imposes a tax on the making, transfer or import of certain firearms recognized to present a greater risk to public safety. The law also requires the registration of all NFA firearms as defined in title 26 USC 5845(a):

(1) a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
(2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
(3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
(4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
(5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e);
(6) a machinegun;
(7) any silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code); and
(8) a destructive device.
(Under the NFA the term “firearm” does not include an antique firearm or any device (other than a machinegun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the [Attorney General] finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector’s item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.

11. 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.

12. Can anyone make firearms and sell them?
With certain exceptions, and subject to any state law that might apply, as long as an individual is not prohibited from possessing a firearm, he or she can make a firearm for personal use. If an individual wants to manufacture and sell firearms, he or she is required to obtain a license, and mark each firearm manufactured in accordance with 27 CFR 478.92. [18 U.S.C. 923(i), 26 U.S.C. 5822]

13. Who can obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL)?
ATF will approve a properly executed application if the applicant:

  • Submits fingerprint cards;
  • Submits a frontal view photograph;
  • Is 21 years of age or older;
  • Is not prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce;
  • Has not willfully violated the GCA or its regulations;
  • Has not willfully failed to disclose material information or willfully made false statements concerning material facts in connection with his application;
  • Has premises for conducting the business
  • The applicant certifies that:
    • the business to be conducted under the license is not prohibited by State or local law in the place where the licensed premises is located;
    • within 30 days after the application is approved the business will comply with the requirements of State and local law applicable to the conduct of the business;
    • the business will not be conducted under the license until the requirements of State and local law applicable to the business have been met;
    • the applicant has sent or delivered a form to the chief law enforcement officer where the premises is located notifying the officer that the applicant intends to apply for a license; and
    • secure gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold under the license to persons who are not licensees (“secure gun storage or safety device” is defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(34)).

[18 U.S.C. 923(d)(1), 27 CFR 478.47(b)]
Under federal law, an application shall be approved if an applicant for a federal firearms license or a manufacturing license meets all of the licensing requirements and criteria.

14. How does one apply for a Federal Firearms License?
Submit ATF Form 7 (5310.12), Application for License, with the appropriate fee in accordance with the instructions on the form to ATF.

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  • 120 thoughts on “ATF Answers Questions on 80 Percent Lower Receiver Blanks

      1. Youdumb. I did search the internet and it brought me here. Most of us aren’t lawyers and don’t have the desire to search through mountains of government mumbo-jumbo that is at times clear as mud. There are people that enjoy that kind of thing and I appreciate them translating it for me. In fact, there are people that have full time jobs to rewrite obscure mumbo-jumbo in layman’s terms. Youdumb

    1. “Federal law does not require a homemade gun to have an identifying marker (such as a serial number), as long as it remains in the possession of the original maker. However, if the gun is subsequently sold or otherwise transferred, it should be marked prior to its disposition. The ATF suggests that all homemade firearms be marked with a serial number as a safeguard in the event the firearm is lost or stolen, but requires it if the gun is otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.”

    2. I’m about to be in the process of building my own 80% Lower Glock 19. This is solely going to be used for home defense/self defense- never to be carried in public unless i’m at the range. If this is indeed used in an act of self defense in my home; what will happen? Could i be charged with possession of an unregistered firearm? Will they take my firearm? Some of those questions i have i think & worry about a lot. Let me know what you think, Thanks!!!

    3. I don’t know if this been asked yet or not. If it is illegal to alter a manufactured firearm to function as a full auto, yet you are able to make your own firearms for personal use, could you build a full auto since technically you are not modifying an existing firearm but actually manufacturing a completely new firearm?

      1. Fully auto magic are illegal unless you possess a special licence but i think there only allowed to use them at the range plus im sure you get excessive force for unloading on a intruder with a fully auto gun

      2. I believe that for the same reason the value of fully automatic arms continues to rise while availability declines (same statutes and agreements) is where you will find the laws pertaining to this issue. It was decided among international binding agreements (I don’t remember exactly but believe it was a United Nations resolution) that all participating parties would, from that point forward, no longer allow fully automatic arms to be produced for private use or sales and no more of said arms would be allowed to enter public markets. This Will eventually cause the extinction of the legally owned full auto in public domain.

      3. From what I have gathered, it’s not even good to use reloaded ammo in a self defense situation. The anti-gun prosecutor could make it sound like you were using hopped up ammo and were just waiting to use it on someone. They use anything they can to put you in a bad light. I was a juror in a self-defense knife stabbing. I saw first hand how the prosecutor plays dirty. I think it is best in a self-defense situation to use a normal, tame looking gun with store-bought ammo.

      1. You can own all the uncompleted 80% lowers you want it is not a firearm
        And you can own all the complete 80% lowers you want so long as you can legally own a firearm

    4. “[without serial numbers] it is usually not possible to trace the firearm or determine its history, which hinders crime gun investigations jeopardizing public safety.”
      –That is a lie. Gun tracing does nothing inherent to promote public safety. Nor is gun tracing a helpful procedure in helping prevent crimes or solve crimes. Canadian law enforcement abandoned gun tracing and registration because they found it to be costly and pointless.

    5. I wanna know if I make a polymer80 compact pistol can I legally carry with a license? And if I were to ever have to use it would I be in trouble because it does not have a serial number?

      1. If it has proper forms and a serial number, you may carry in accordance with Federal, State and Local laws. No serial number means you go to jail, regardless whether you used it or not. Simply being in possession of a firearm without a serial number is a violation of law.

        1. Per federal law, an individual building a firearm for personal use is not required to mark it with a serial number.

          Some states may have more restrictive regulations. The following is for California residents ONLY: In July, 2016, California passed AB 857 which requires all completed firearms to have a serial number applied by Jan 1, 2019. An 80% lower is not a firearm, so a serial number would only be required once the 80% lower is completed. Unfinished 80% lower receivers do not need a serial number.

          If you engrave a serial number of your choosing into your completed 80% lower prior to Jul 1, 2018, you will not be affected by this law and you do not need to notify any government agency that you built a firearm. In other words, you can make up any serial number you want (as long as it meets ATF’s definition of a serial number), engrave it on your receiver, and this will satisfy California’s legal requirement. You do not need to apply to the state, or tell them what your serial number is. Your lower can still legally remain completely off the radar. The important thing is you MUST engrave your serial number before July 1, 2018 to take advantage of this benefit.

          After July, 2018, the law changes for the worse. If you build an 80% lower after July 1, 2018, you must FIRST apply to the California DOJ for a serial number, pay a fee, and they will then assign a serial number that you must apply to your firearm. In this case, you can’t choose your own serial number and your serial number will be in the state government’s data base. If you want to avoid falling under this law, make sure you engrave your own serial number to your completed 80% lowers before July 2018.

          If you build an 80% lower and use your own “unregistered” serial number after July 2018, it would be a misdemeanor, although the state would have the burden of trying to prove in court that you did in fact build the lower after the July 2018 cut off date.

          80% Arms offers an 80% lower receiver serialization service. We have an FFL license and can engrave a serial number on your completed 80% lower receiver that meets ATF requirements.

    6. Can I legally finish a 80 percent lower for someone on my CNC if they physically push the the green button themselves? Would that be considered them making it themselves? its a gray area??

      1. to my understanding, it is the same as manufacturing a suppressor…the owner must maintain possession at all times. He can stand next to you while you do the work. He cannot drop it off and come back later to pick it up. He must remain present and have the paperwork in his possession as well.

      2. I looked into this question that you presented. Some friends and me were interested in purchasing an 80% Jig together to share for completing 80%’s receivers as individuals. Each of us only wanted limited quantities. ……….

        I was informed that whoever purchases that Jig is the sole owner of that Jig and any receiver that Jig produces was made by that original purchaser, even if the original purchaser sends the complete Jig tool with a friend to do their own labor while using that same Jig. ……….

        Technically, your CNC machine is the same as a Jig. If you own that CNC Machine and allow that other person to step in your shop without you even being there, You built that 80% receiver for him. (It was your CNC Machine.) ……….

        I don’t agree with that determination, but as a result, it wasn’t feasible for us to mess with in the end.

        1. To all the gentlemen above, After having all that you wrote it is apparent to me that the BATFE and GCA have to go. All of this is contrary to the Second Amendment. Why are we following some bureaucrat made rule rather than the Constitution? Things could not be more dictatorial if the country was run by a motorcycle gang.

          1. Or the wrong person ends up with it, which has had no background check, and could be a total nut job that commits another mass shooting. That us my only concern with allowing anyone that much firepower without knowing if they could pass the background check or if they have severe mental issues. That’s the only reason I understand why California is making changes, if you are allowed to legally own a gun this shouldn’t upset or irritate you at all. There has to be a starting point to keep guns out of dangerous people. We can use common sense and still protect the 2nd amendment. Like I said if you can legally own a gun it shouldn’t be a problem. I have great respect for the 2nd amendment but we need to adjust with the times, too many children dead from the wrong people owning the wrong guns. I am a legal owner and do not recall anyone trying to take them away from legal owners. I do kinda find if funny that the king or most right wing 2nd amendment people, Ronald Reagan, had outlawed automatic weapons and not 1 mass shooting occurred until they were made legal again. I’m not saying that is the answer but there are practical things that we can do to help limit the damage these sick people shouldn’t have…The 2nd amendment isn’t going anywhere. How many times have they attempted to remove it or take your LEGAL guns from you? People including children have a constitutional right to not be shot by someone too dangerous or mentally ill to own guns. I legally own guns and respect the 2nd amendment, but we also need to have laws and use common sense to try to limit all the mass shootings. I believe we can do both, we just have to value the right for life enough to accept that a smaller clip will make the shooter pause long enough for someone to stop them from killing as many people if they had 100 round clip, and a 10 day waiting period might just give that person enough time to calm down and save a life. I also believe that if the gun is legal there should be a serial number and there shouldn’t be a problem with it unless it’s not legal… Ronald Reagan, the king of the right wing which now belons to the nra, banned assault rifles without any national disasters and is still very much loved buy republicans even with doing this because there were no mass shootings until the nra became greedy and paid politicians to legalize them again. We need to take politics and greed out of this issue and value the right to life more. I know we can totally respect the 2nd amendment and find a way to limit all the mass shootings, we are Americans and there is no way we should allow the nra’s greed cause us to become so mad at and hate each other so much that the only change is more unnecessary death. There are ways to do both and we should be smart enough to see when a lobbyist has been playing both sides of the gun debate as fools….

            1. Research better and stop making false statements and I might listen. 1) clips are not used in guns. Clips feed magazines. 2) not all automatic weapons are banned. A citizen can still buy one. Please research the strict guideline for purchasing one. 3) Mass shootings occurred even after the banning of newer model automatic weapons. Your statement is false. 4) if you don’t belueve “they” are after our guns, you need to wake up. 5) Research the newly “allowed” California handgun list. It is one page long. Then look up the recent list of removed guns. It is 62 pages long. Wake up dude.
              Finally we have laws in place that would work, if they were only implemented, but most are not.

            2. Ragan didn’t outlaw automatic wepons. They were already illigal before he went into office and they still are.

            3. What does the NRA have to do with this? Your talking about people who are evil .I have the right to protect my family from this evil with the most and the best available because family,friends and myself is worth it. Wouldnt you?The laws are there already.What failed was enforcement of thses laws and the system that was aware of these evil people before they comitted this evil. Please do not make it a gun debate. Lets hold the people responsible and accountable for who and what failed.

            4. Anyone can obtain a firearm one way or another even if banned, the 2nd Amendment was to make sure you could protect your life from evil and Government if needed, they had bad people with weapons all through History that committed horrendous murders and crimes, and that is why we have the 2nd Amendment to guarantee our Life, Liberty, and pursuit of happiness (originally written as Property, changed later to pursuit of happiness) seems they wrote property because it belongs to you. there is no other side to a God Given Right.

            5. Guns have not changed. The means and rate in which they deliver bullets might have but guns have always been guns. What has changed in the last 50 years is boys can be girls, or boys can be lesbian girls(strait), or Q not really sure what that is. Gender identity disphoria and what have you. Your completely racist if you say something someone doesn’t like, everyone is hoarding all the money you could be making. Society has changed that what’s going on here folks. Yea were probably gonna have to make some crazy strict gun rules to abate some obvious issues but if we don’t treat the root of the problem it’s only gonna get worse. Take all the gun’s go ahead guaranteed your not going to fix the problem. Take cookies off the shelf at groceries and people will make cookies at home. Take guns away and someone’s gonna pick up a bag of AN or CAN I don’t care, but someone’s gonna build a bomb. You can create a dirty bomb out of americium found in smoke alarms. Folks if you think it’s the gun in the hand if the I’ll equupped poorly raised child your already lost and you obviously don’t agree with any of this and you are more than likely completely right in your own head. Kids are kids and they are gonna be crazy right…. can’t doing ANYTHING ABOUT THAT. So let’s take away guns, knives, fertilizers, castor beans, smoke detectors, draino, steel pipe, firework fuse, hexamine camping fire starters, bow and arrow, baseball bats…. that’s insane those are everyday things. Yea well guns aren’t as easy to get ALL THE TIME (of course there are instances where I’m sure it has been) but it is def 100x harder for a kid to get a gun than a 50 gal drum and a couple bags of fertilizer. Then watch a video on homemade tatp or hmtd. Just saying. If you don’t know what some of this stuff is your the idiot listening and believing blindly what the news and every other ignorant ass in the street is telling you about guns.

            6. Clip??? allowed to own a gun???? What part of shall not be infringed are you not getting??? Ca has done nothing but chip away at citizens gun rights from the beginning. It`s obvious you put too much faith in your govt and give your rights away freely. I bet you think Feinstein is a friend of gun owners also.

            7. Maby you should be the government seems you know everything! But still wrong on all your ‘points’ wish people would actually know what they are saying instead of spreading their version or how they think it should be to misinform.

            8. Unfortunatly i cannot own guns anylonger cause i made the mistake of putting a adjustable stock and flash supressor on my gun but i never got in trouble for the boxes and boxes of brand new magpull pmags they took also but i dont blame the company that sold the parts or mags i blame myself because i thought i was better than everyone and added the parts i did…. We need more responsable for actions laws stop blaming mental health and all that make the laws harder on what the person does not that persons state of whatever. Just my opinion tho..

            9. You’re very misinformed.

              There’s a Farmer and law abiding citizen, (NO CRIMINAL RECORD or Police Contacts) that legally acquired both AR-15s AND suppressors but Komiforniastan’s change in State Gun Laws( that ARE ILLEGAL AND PROHIBIT INTERSTATE COMMERCE) was jailed because of HIS ATTEMPT TO REGISTER HIS AR-15 and CALDOJ used this information to search, seize his guns and arrest him.

              Its Asinine that CALDOJ IGNORES all the Organized Crime and Drug Cartel Members to target this Farmer. This is what we call an ABUSE OF POLICE POWER.

              These firearms are Legal in NUMEROUS States

            10. Bro you obviously dont know what the hell your talking about, stay off this page and go do some more studying in our gun laws and stfu, idiot.

          2. Hey, be careful there. Most motorcycle gang members I know have infinitely more character and honor than the average stooge at the top of any federal agency. Never heard of the 50,000 bikers’ Freedom Rolls into DC and various state capitals?

            Semper Fi!
            COL JDM

        2. Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense. You buy a jig and that’s not a firearm. You complete your project and don’t need the jig anymore so you gift it or sell it to another person. What is illegal about that?

    7. All Gun Law Experts ATF is Above The Law what ever they make up is what it is all Fed Proscutors.Judges,System is in there pocket they win 98.7%!All 80% Buyers thats a RAID IN PROGRESS!Check ARES ARMOR all they wanted was his 80% sales records!THERE COMING be prepared any thing you cannot afford to loose you know what you should do i would say but do not want my 80 year old blind mother harmed or killed! My knowledge CLUB FED!LIVED IT!BEWARE THEY ARE COMING!FOR THE REAL STORY LOOK FOR THE BOOK “CANNIBAL OF THE ATF”Tells the real deal!Will be on the shelfs as soon as moms gone or guaranteed safe!!Oh Yea whats really going on to Legal Gun Owners would scare you to DEATH!!RE -SEARCH Before its to late thats all i can say!Thanks!

        1. Ha, ha, ha…I was thinking the same thing! I’m a teacher and as such will never forget the admonition once told me via a funny holiday caption, a feast on a table and an old lady with a surprised look on her face,: “Lets eat grandma” or “Let’s eat, Grandma!” Punctuation matters…

          1. E.H. Dixon – Also funny that you post about punctuation, but do not properly punctuate your statement. There should be a comma on either side of “as such” since there is technically a pause in speech at that point. Not usually a grammar nazi, but love it when grammar nazis are incorrect.

            1. You’re actually incorrect though, commas around “as such” are at best optional, if not wrong. Speech patterns can vary, so using “pause in speech” as your litmus is not always accurate. There are specific rules governing commas in written language, those are better guidelines.

    8. The requirement for serial number when completing an 80% assertion is actually false. The link takes you to the supposedly relevant ATF section, BUT……the section deals with IMPORTED firearms, not owner built domestically made firearms.

    9. I’ve been trying to find out something and I have yet to find an answer. I’m pretty sure that if you finish a 80% AR15 lower that you can not leave it to anyone, even a family member in case of your death. In other words, you finish it you’re married to it for ever. The question I have is what if both my wife and I build/finish off 80% lowers and one of us passed away, would I be able to keep the ones she made since we both used the same equipment to finish ours?

      1. Who is to say who built what.
        And if anyone has a lower with no SN on it, putting a name and SN on it as required will make it legal to hand down or sell.
        Who is to say if dad or his son, or daughter built it unless someone tells the ATF?
        Most “POLICE WORK” is just getting people to put a noose around their own necks with loose lips!

      2. You are making things WAAAY too complicated. The relevant word is “intent” … you cannot make them with the intent to pass them to another person. So don’t. Just don’t.

        Shut up about who made what between you and your wife … because that could (wildly theoretical at the moment) be used in court to establish intent. More than that, the firearms -don’t-exist- until discovered by law enforcement. If your wife were to pass away the day before the BATFE kicks down your door, you explain that you made all of them. Every stinking one. If you are the one in the box, she should say the same. Both of you should be prepared to demonstrate that you have the requisite skills if both of you are going to claim to be the maker of the firearms.

        If I make five and, as the years pass and my sense of priorities change, I could even sell them to strangers … having had no INTENT to do so originally. My sons could certainly receive them if my wife decided to dispose of them in that fashion. Remember that, at present, there is no registration for private transfers. You made them. You died. Your spouse passed them along to other (non-prohibited) persons. The can be no proof of intent on your part. There is no intent at all on her part if she was not the maker but merely the harmless transferee.

        Do us all a favor and don’t sell them to prohibited persons. But other than that, make them, use them, and, should the time ever come and you need to dispose of them to make the mortgage, sell them.

        This is not a license to open up a small factory in your basement (the presence of 1,000 identical firearms could be problematic), but it IS enough slack to make firearms for your own use and enjoyment. Got a couple kids? Make enough of a single model that you can hold family competitions at get-togethers if you want to. Make a .22 variant to teach your grandchildren with … one that goes back in YOUR closet at the end of the day. You can make these firearms for any legal purpose EXCEPT with the intent of selling them.

        I’m not a lawyer and you should not rely on the above in preference to the legal advice of competent legal counsel. The above is nothing more than my own understanding after having read the plain text of the regulations in this matter which are readily available from the BATFE.

      3. @Jack the deceased are the best people to blame things on. “Oh yeah, Uncle Bill gave me that before he died, Mr ATF Special Agent Man. He said I it was entirely ok. You should go talk to him about it!” The feds blame their errors on older, deader, higher up employees all the time. And then you shut up and stay shut up.

    10. I live in California, I milled out my 80% lower but I put it together as a featureless build no flash hider changed out my bird cage for a muzzle brake fixed A2 stock and no pistol grip used a monsterman style grip made out of kydex do I still have to register it. it is not considered a assault weapon under this configuration.

    11. I milled out my first every 80% lower – AR15 and have been enjoying it; but now, California will make it illegal unless I serialize it by next year.

      The lower I milled does have identifying marks – I used a laser to put the family last name and an insignia.

      Question: Can I give my milled 80% lower to my brother in Texas?

      1. did you read the laws? you technically can not pass on a finished 80% lower whether it be passing to a kid blah blah or selling privately and so on. but then again whats the saying ‘we’re free to do as we wish as long as we dont get caught’

        1. You most certainly can pass on a finished 80% lower to your kid. Because it’s technically a transfer, just make sure it’s engraved with a serial number if you want to be 100% legal.

      2. Can you give it to your brother in Texas–NO
        As for marking a lower or any weapon there are rules for that (marking) too. Must be engraved as a laser does not dig into the metal. You must go a minimum of .003 deep on the engraving (that is three thousandths) and put your name, address to include city and state and a serial number of some makeup on it. (helps law enforcement in the return to you if stolen or lost. (No markings and it cannot be returned if found or recovered)
        ATF has said you may not sell homemade weapons without first registering them on a Form 1 .This is on top of any state laws you might have to deal with on where you live or plan on selling / shipping the weapon.
        You make a weapon out of a 80% lower it is yours and only yours forever. If your finished owning it, you are by ATF rule required to destroy it, not sell it or give it away. Of course you could always leave it unmarked until your done with it and then engrave your brothers info onto it and then it would be hard to prove otherwise unless your brother would at some point open his chops and say out loud to someone you made it for him and that he has no idea on how it was done and or something to that effect. Then a snitch for the ATF passes that along and you get a knock on the door…………..knock knock.

        1. Why the hell does the ATF such authority over our liberties. This sucks and so does California. I don’t expect a response. i am just venting out loud. ha!

        2. Are you deliberately trolling, or just obtuse ? There is a company in Ontario, Ca doing laser ‘engraving’ @ .010 depth. An 80% lower can be completed, used, and subsequently sold, as long as the weapon was made for personal use originally. iirc, it must be marked per ATF guidelines before sale. ATF has no ‘destroy when you don’t want it anymore’ rule. Also, whether or not one could give to brother in Texas – as long as the weapon is not prohibited in Texas, guns can be gifted between siblings. There is no special rule for self made weapons, other than marking requirements. It is your property, the Fed can not require it’s destruction.

    12. Just focus on compliance with state laws. Federal law really don’t mean nothing to us down Texas way. We know the ATF is a criminal enterprise who sole purpose is to make life hell for lawabiding citizens. Just focus on state law.

      1. The ATF also states the following:

        Additionally, although markings are not required on firearms manufactured for personal use
        (excluding NFA firearms), owners are recommended to conspicuously place or engrave a serial number and/ or other marks of identification to aid in investigation or recovery by State or local
        law enforcement officials in the event of a theft or loss of the privately owned firearm.

        This is why I didn’t go this route.

        I don’t like ATF gray areas.

      2. If you are a manufacturer, yes, they have to be marked, but one you intend to keep, no numbers needed (except when you live in a screwed up state and have a state requirement to register all semiauto rifles with detachable magazines).

      1. Unless you live in a free state. Some of us don’t have to beg permission and pay a poll tax to exercise our civil rights. We feel sorry for those stuck in Repressive utopias but there is little we can do, it’s too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the …….

        1. @ ExNuke, An NFA tax on silencers and fully automatic weapons is also an unconstitutional infringement on our Civil Rights. It will only be too late to work within the system if Trump loses. In the in-between time is the time to gather food for a year per person, ammunition for a year per weapon, gather meds, make personal connections, develop secure comms, and plan.

    13. If you make an AR-15 and you build lower yourself you may keep it without a serial number.
      However, if you intend to sell it or give it away to anyone, you need to mark it appropriately with your name, city, state, and a serial number.
      There are some communities that have local restrictions on magazine sizes and some require items like the bullet buttons in California, so there are a few local restrictions that need to be followed.
      If you build your own gun and you retain possession of it you’re not federally required to serialize it.

    14. If you build one and it is not forbiden (like a plain old AR-15 in CA) you do not need to serealize it unless you transfer it (aka sell, or give to a family member).
      If you make them to sell, they need the SN, your name, city & state engraved on it, and once you reach a specified number built, (not a lot) you need an FFL to be legal.

    15. If i complete a 80% and make it into a functional firearm would i be able to use it for when i work im a security guard and im armed but want to build a 80%er and would like to know if i can use it outside of home at work

    16. This article states that it is illegal to make a unmarked AR and sell it without a license and Serial number but it doesn’t mention if it’s legal or illegal to give a AR you built to a sibling or friend as a gift without making a profit off of it. Anyone able to shed light?

      1. Giving an unmarked AR that you made to a sibling or friend as a gift would be a transfer. Therefore, a serial number is required. The ONLY time they’re not required is for YOUR PERSONAL USE.

        “Additionally, although markings are not required on firearms manufactured for personal use
        (excluding NFA firearms), owners are recommended to conspicuously place or engrave a serial
        number and/ or other marks of identification to aid in investigation or recovery by State or local
        law enforcement officials in the event of a theft or loss of the privately owned firearm. ”

        As you can see, serial numbers are not a requirement, only a recommendation. They are required ONLY when selling or transferring.

        1. You can make as many as you want for personal use. You can give them to your children as gifts, you can leave them to a friend in your will. You can NOT build them with the INTENTION of selling them.
          I do not believe that they are even required if you did sell one that you grew tired of.

          1. We are talking about serial numbers. Yes, you can give weapons to others. BUT,

            Additional Identifying Marks

            “Federal law does not require a homemade gun to have an identifying marker (such as a serial number), as long as it remains in the possession of the original maker. However, if the gun is subsequently sold or otherwise transferred, it should be marked prior to its disposition. The ATF suggests that all homemade firearms be marked with a serial number as a safeguard in the event the firearm is lost or stolen, but requires it if the gun is otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.”


            Note where it says serial numbers are required if transferred or sold. You may wish to ignore the law if you want.

    17. To all you guys and Gauls out there that want to get a 80% lower and make your own AR
      It is legal to do so but it must have a serial number and be registered per ready act 1968
      Hince to all you people the way to reguister it is thru ATF Form 1 call make and reguister a firearm

      It is against federal and state laws to own any firearm made after 1968 law passed which states all firearms must be serial numbered and registered and it has to be registered with the federal gov that’s why the have such a form #1 called make and register a firearm

      Have fun but do it legal and register it
      Dave A

      1. Dave: You missed the important part of the regulation concerning the sale or transfer of a an 80% lower. That is the only case where a serial number would be required for someone who privately manufactured an 80% lower

        “Additionally, although markings are not required on firearms manufactured for personal use
        (excluding NFA firearms), owners are recommended to conspicuously place or engrave a serial
        number and/ or other marks of identification to aid in investigation or recovery by State or local
        law enforcement officials in the event of a theft or loss of the privately owned firearm. ”

        As you can see, serial numbers are not a requirement, only a recommendation. They are required ONLY when selling or transferring.

    18. In reading the comments I was surprised to see so many free citizens afraid of your GOD given rights. Wondering if you really know what your rights are or not. Waiting for some higher being (ATF) to look down on you in kindness and give you wisdom in your ignorance. Dave you have all kind of reasons not to try this or that or not be on this side or the other and you are right you will never have to take a stand or do what’s going to put you in a hard spot. Judging by your own words. Does it just not matter to you? Don’t most all of you remember a time in this GREAT UNITED STATES, that most every person instead or ringing their hands, knew the great rights we in this Country had been given not by man or government, state or federal but by our GOD and CREATOR and His servants our forefathers. Such as THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!! It does not say guns, knives, swords it says arms. Anyone for an F-16? How about an Abrams tank, Bradly fighting vehicle? Those are ARMS. You get my point. Who is the created (government) to tell the Creator (People) what they should or should not have. And by the way the created (government) have been doing just a dandy job now haven’t they? I am thankful to live in my fathers and mothers land and my blood lines are as mixed up as everyone else. But if we are going to make it we have to be strong as a people. The government is to protect us not to harass us. How about if someone commits a crime serves their sentence and commits no other crimes, after a period of time say twenty years, we cut them some slack, no they are treated like filth they can’t get a job to make an honest living, we won’t rent them a decent room or apartment. Things are made as unnecessarily hard as possible but it was them that messed up. And if they pay the price. I am surprised that what few people who are mostly young offenders, make it through without getting in more trouble . We need to pull some back and help them find a different way with a clean start at some point. If that means with hunting and having a gun to be able to protect their family then yes they have that right no mater who says other wise. And if not, when did we give up?

      1. you are completely right, the biggest problems is the tyrant at the door with bigger guns and popular (ignorant) opinion, educating the people of our true rights as humans and government overreach are needed. only then will people stand up and demand freedom.

      2. Jack Norton says:
        February 2, 2016 at 11:59 PM

        In reading the comments I was surprised to see so many free citizens afraid of your GOD given rights.

        Well, a god given right does not help when they put you in jail for 10 to 15 years.

    19. I live in CT and am interested in making an AR out of an 80% lower. CT has passed some crazy gun laws and I just want to find out if there are any restrictions on making and or owning a home made firearm out of an 80% lower. I understand that the ATF says that it is legal but I want to know if the state of CT has restricted this. I can not find out any information.

      1. You have to comply with BOTH state and federal law — you don’t get to choose one. And it doesn’t matter if you built it yourself, or if you had it built (all or partially) by someone else.

      2. Your best bet is to call the Special Firearms Licensing Unit and they should be able to answer your questions. I’m considering the same idea but with an AK-74, especially since most European AK manufacturers don’t stamp the lower and put the serial number on the barrel trunnion. I too want to be able to do this legally but this is all gray area because the new laws don’t expressly allow or forbid it.

      3. I contacted the special licensing unit ad it turns out it is illegal to make an AR in this fashion, because it is “manufactured” after the ban date.

        1. Question I have: how does one prove date of manufacture? Let’s say I machined one 10 years ago, what’s to prevent the law from insuring I built it last year? Likewise, if one was manufactured today, how could it be proven that I didn’t make it 10 years ago?

    20. How many “home built” AR-15 rifles made by me personally using an 80% lower can I personally own (with no intent to sell or distribute)? I don’t see number anywhere on the ATF, BATFE sites.

    21. About state laws taking precedent over Federal Law, I beg to differ on this point. Montana tried to enact a law that a resident could build and use a gun as long as it did not cross state to state. Other wise leave Montana. I have not looked lately but It has been in the courts for years. ATF told the state of Montana citizens to “Just Try It”. We are still trying to over rule ATF. I did not see anything about ATF requiring a serial number. They are just waiting to arrest some on who has constructed a gun with a lower not purchased by a person with an FFL license. Google it and read.

      1. Here in Alaska they pass the same type laws, saying that you can make anything, including silencers and full auto, legal by simply engraving “Made in Alaska” on it. A man in Fairbanks was smart enough to test those laws, and needless to say it did not end well for him. The feds simply ignored his take on things and went about their business.

        1. The difference is that if Alaska passed such a law it is contrary to the National Firearms Act of 1934 which regulates machine guns. Completing an 80% receiver violates no federal laws, but may violate state laws. The People’s Republic of Kalifornia just passed a law stating that by a certain date all completed 80% receivers must be engraved and registered.

    22. The definition of dealer includes a statement that someone intends to make a living or profit off of selling. Now that we know that making large amounts of money from dead babies isn’t profit, does that logic work for charging “acquisition fees” for weapons without dealer license as well?

    23. What are the laws concerning trade or sale of an 80% lower that has been finished. I built a 80% lower .308. And I’m bored with it and want to trade it off or sell it to fund a new build. I’m in florida.

      1. Brian,

        To be safe, I would remove the upper, strip the lower, and sell everything but the receiver. You won’t be out much by keeping the receiver, wouldn’t be breaking any laws, and if you got the itch for another rifle somewhere down the road you would already have a receiver to build on.

      2. You can sell any gun you make as long as you’re not engaged in it as a business. No need to strip parts. It will need to be serialized before the sale though.

        1. I’d love to see a source on that. The only reference I’ve ever seen regarding a requirement to serialize is if you’re a mfg (FFL06) or an importer. fabricating a firearm for personal use, from an “80% lower” constitutes neither.

    24. What about states that “require” a person who makes their own firearm under the GCA to serialized it and register it?
      Does the “Federal” GCA take precedent over that states Laws requiring the previously mentioned?

      1. State laws take precedent over federal laws in every matter. Typically there are no state laws that are more lax than federal laws. If there isn’t a specific state law, federal law is the unwritten state law. More than you asked for but good information to have anytime you run into conflicting laws.

        1. Respectfully, Jay, you are mistaken here. State laws do not “take precedence over federal laws in every matter.” In most cases, they operate side-by-side, and the more restrictive law becomes the standard that you must observe to stay out of trouble. There are areas of federal preemption, in which cases federal law completely defines the law. So, for example, if a state law said that it is OK for you to have a fully-automatic AR, in violation of the NFA, the Feds would still stick it to you.

        2. Federal Law trumps state law every time. Its been that way since the beginning of the country. Just because your state won’t prosecute you for something, doesn’t mean the feds won’t Just look at drug laws. States can legalize drugs all they want, but that won’t stop the feds from kicking your door in and raiding you. Don’t give advice if you don’t know what in the hell you’re talking about!

          1. Sorry but it has not been that way since the ‘beginning of the country’ .. Our country began as sovereign states and federal regulation was illegal. Abraham Lincoln fought the south over that very issue, as he wanted to place tariffs (taxes) on southern states, which was illegal without their own sovereign consent. Thus began the civil war, which contrary to indoctrinated belief, was not about slavery.

            1. EXACTLY !! That’s why the South called it “The War of Northern Aggression”. It could also have been called the war of FEDERAL aggression – into states [sovereign rights]. The southern states and their agricultural ‘exports’ – made up most of the taxable economy – which funded 90% of the federal government. When the states declined to continue to pay these federal taxes (essentially taxation without representation), and after the federal government made other laws illegally restricting the state’s sovereignty, war resulted.
              Of course, there were false flags (which are always required to drag the population into the horrors of war). Though there is no shooting [yet] here in 2016, that war continues by the federal government overreach and in the courts today.

        3. @Jay, That is the worst pronouncement about law that I have ever read or even heard. Where did you get that “State laws take precedence over federal laws in every matter.” stuff?

      2. Just had 4 day meeting with ATF and per 1968 gun control act and thing classified as a firearm must be serialized
        This includes 80% lowers made into a firearm and this also includes 80% with drill dimples etc is classified as fire arms must be registered and serialized per 1968 gun control act
        There is no way to avoid it no matter what company’s tell you
        Any police, sheriff, trooper, fish and game, that catches anybody with a unregistered, unserialized weapon of any type manufactured after 1968 is most likely going to jail you and prosecute you. If not count a.. A lucky bast…


        1. Wrong.

          Direct quote from the ATF site:

          “Additionally, although markings are not required on firearms manufactured for personal use
          (excluding NFA firearms), owners are recommended to conspicuously place or engrave a serial
          number and/ or other marks of identification to aid in investigation or recovery by State or local
          law enforcement officials in the event of a theft or loss of the privately owned firearm. ”

          Serial numbers are recommended, not required, and that is clearly stated in the ATF, Q&A document.

          The part that you missed during your 4 day meeting is an important part. Anything classified as a firearm that is being sold or transferred must be serialized. You are spreading misinformation by your lack of understanding of the law.

        2. Most states do not have gun registration and nor does the Federal (except NFA tax stamps). Its easier to list the short list of states that do than those that don’t.

    25. Why would a prohibited possessor WANT anything related to the things that will help put him in jail? Even if it’s legal, and his right, it would be just dumb and a waste of money?

    26. @ Paul
      Contrary to what the “know-it-all” Jon wrote, it is not a stupid question.

      There are many reasons why I believe owning an 80% receiver by a person prohibited from possessing firearms is a

      bad idea.

      First, state and local laws are often different regarding firearms. Example, federal laws don’t regulate antique

      firearms. Most state laws do. So even if federal law might not consider it a crime for a prohibited possessor to

      own an 80% receiver, state and local laws might.

      Second, there is constructive possession. Even though constructive possession generally applies to class III

      firearms, it might be used against a prohibited possessor that owned an 80% receiver, especially if all the other

      parts of the firearm and the tools needed to construct the firearm were also owned. I wouldn’t want to be the

      “test case” on that prosecution.

      Third, is malicious prosecution. There are plenty of anti-gun, over zealous, ignorant, prosecutors out there. I

      don’t doubt for a second that they would attempt to malicously prosecute a prohibited possessor that owned an 80%

      receiver. There is a saying that applies here “you might beat the rap, but you wont beat the ride”. This type of

      prosecution can ruin a person. Finances and debt, reputation, your employment can all be negatively impacted.

      My advice, don’t own any part of a fiream if you are a prohibited possessor.

      1. Well, “what you believe” and what is fact based on the ATF regulations are two different things. Just for the record …. but ya, 80% is a chunk of metal and nothing more. If law enforcement tries to slap you with some legaleez on it … chances are you were doing something else stupid, that gave them traction to bust your punk butt. Also, not only the AR platform has billets. Keep in mind DO NOT go at the 1911 billets which are the common other builds people do, unless you have a pistol permit in your town/state. Just having those causes all kind of grief. AR billets .. not so much. 1911 … ya, that’s another level of wtf you’d get from 5.0.

        1. Most states don’t require pistol permits to own a pistol and such things are actually illegal by statute in some states such as Florida. The only exception in The South is NC.

      1. Paul, the 80% lower, uncut, is NOT a firearm, it is just a piece of metal (or poly). If you are a “prohibited person”, you can still purchase and own one. DO NOT cut that sucker a bit or you risk the slammer.

      Please note that this is a link to the ATF website for the full Q&A, as well as the original photographs provided by the ATF (not Ammoland). The reason I post this comment is that having the ATF document in tact with the proper cite could assist its admissibility in the event that a defendant or defense counsel wanted to state a reliance upon a government publication. (In particular, the photographs might not otherwise be admissible, as altered by Ammoland.)

    28. Cheaper right now to purchase stripped aluminum receiver already completed, unless you really want one with no markings just to piss off your local police or game warden when he says you removed the serial number. You answer No I manufactured it in accordance with ATF regulations with no markings.

        1. If the for control cavity is machined including just dimples for the rider pins then it is a firearm even though it is not ready to be built with out further machine work. Take a good look at the three pictures.

        2. If you keep the weapon for personal use… numbers needed. If you wish to sell the weapon….numbers, roll mark, and a license to “engage in the business of……

          That said, I build ARs regularly. I mark them for my own inventory, out of sight , under the pistol grip.

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