Friday, December 3, 2021

CA Residents: Read This Before You Complete a Build with an 80% Lower Receiver

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For shooters interested in building a firearm without the hassle of managing the paperwork and fees associated with an FFL, it may be possible to build a firearm from an 80% lower receiver, parts or build kits, a receiver jig, a drill press, and a few other tools.

However, gun laws are not consistent across the country, and despite the federal regulation regarding 80% lower receivers, laws vary from state to state. For example, states such as California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York host additional laws regarding the construction of what they call “ghost guns.” A few states, such as New Jersey, ban the ownership of 80 lowers altogether.

California, however, allows the completion of certain firearms from 80 percent lower receivers – with a strong caveat.

What the ATF Says
According to the ATF, 80% lower receivers, also known as receiver blanks, cannot be used in their unaltered state to complete a functional firearm. Therefore they are not considered firearms, not serialized, and not regulated.

The ATF also states that non-prohibited individuals are not required to secure a license before completing an 80% lower and assembling a finishing firearm, provided the firearm is intended for personal use. There are a few other stipulations – check the above link for the literal copy of the ATF’s code.

This means that, at least at the federal level, you can create a functional firearm from an 80% lower, which does not then need to be serialized or registered.

However, California is host to a series of additional penal codes that circumscribe these federal allowances.

What California Says (from CA Penal Code 29180)
Of California’s numerous gun laws, CA Penal Code 29180 is of great importance to state residents who wish to create their own firearms from 80% lower receivers. The code states that, prior to manufacturing any firearm, a person will “Apply to the Department of Justice for a unique serial number or other mark of identification pursuant to Section 29182,” and that the same individual will engrave or “permanently affix” that serial number to the receiver of the firearm.

The serialization must be engraved at least .00003” into the lower receiver and consist of text not smaller than 1/16th” in height. The serialization must also disclose the firearm model, caliber, the city and state of manufacture as well as the manufacturer’s first and last name.

California also imposes strict penalties on individuals that possess, transfer, import, or lend unserialized firearms. According to CA Penal Code 30600 and 30605, it is a criminal offense to possess, transfer, import, lend or transport unserialized firearms. The weapons themselves are subject to confiscation and destruction, and the individuals in question are subject to criminal prosecution.

Nonetheless, it is not categorically prohibited to complete a firearm in California using an 80% lower receiver. It is, however, advisable to seek your own legal counsel in order to ensure that you are fully compliant with all local regulations before proceeding with a project.

The serialization must be engraved at least .00003” into the lower receiver and consist of text not smaller than 1/16th” in height. The serialization must also disclose the firearm model, caliber, the city and state of manufacture as well as the manufacturer’s first and last name.

California also imposes strict penalties on individuals that possess, transfer, import, or lend unserialized firearms. According to CA Penal Code 30600 and 30605, it is a criminal offense to possess, transfer, import, lend or transport unserialized firearms. The weapons themselves are subject to confiscation and destruction, and the individuals in question are subject to criminal prosecution.

Nonetheless, it is not categorically prohibited to complete a firearm in California using an 80% lower receiver. It is, however, advisable to seek your own legal counsel in order to ensure that you are fully compliant with all local regulations before proceeding with a project.

Seek Your Own Legal Counsel
Nothing contained within this posting can be construed as legal counsel. Only a lawyer can furnish you with binding legal advice. Laws are being written all the time and legal precedents are established on an ongoing basis. If you are going to pursue a project involving the manufacture of a firearm in California, check your local and state laws and seek legal counsel beforehand.

Contact 5D Tactical
If you determine that you would like to purchase an 80% lower and proceed with a project, visit 5D Tactical at 5DTactical.com. Located in California, they may be able to help you navigate the process and can furnish you with 80% lowers, 80 lower jigs, upper receiver parts and kits, and most importantly, the expertise you’ll need to successfully complete your project.

Visit their website today and contact their customer service team at 508-834-4223 or at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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