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Posted: 7/29/2001 1:35:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/29/2001 1:33:32 PM EDT by Swatdog]
I'm a police officer in Texas and I want to build my own 14.5", sem-auto, collapsible stock, M4-style rifle, with the birdcage (or similar). (I don't care about having a bayonet lug) This rifle will not be for official department use except for training on my own time and possibly SWAT competiton. My dept's administration is very anti-gun and absolutely will not issue any letterheads to any officers for LE Only weapons. My question: Can I legally assemble such a rifle on my own postban lower? Thanks to all who can help. Doug
Link Posted: 7/29/2001 2:11:12 PM EDT
Can't do it. First problem is the barrel length. Unless its registered as a short barreled rifle, the barrel has to be 16" or there has to be something permanently attached to the end to bring it to a minimum of 16". That means you can have a 14.5" barrel, but you've got to have a [b]permanently attached[/b] brake or flash hider to bring the length to at least 16". Next problem is that you're dealing with a post-ban. Can't have a threaded barrel, a flash hider, or a telestock on a post ban. Under 18 USC 922(v) and 18 USC 921(a)(30) a semiauto rifle, assembled after 9-13-94, which accepts a detachable mag (like an AR15) can only have one 'assault feature' before it becomes an illegally configured assault rifle. On a standard AR15, that one feature is the pistol grip. Assuming you don't want to weld the mag in place in the mag well or make it a bolt action, you can have one feature - the pistol grip on a post ban. You can however, get a telescoping stock that is permanently fixed in the open position, and you can have a 14.5" barrel with a permanently attached muzzle brake IF the length from the bolt face (when closed) to the end of the barrel attachment is 16" or over. NO flash hider, no bayo lug, no threading on the barrel, no working (moving) telestock.
Link Posted: 7/29/2001 2:29:24 PM EDT
Thank you for the answer. This was my understanding of the law even for police officers. The problem with this area is that everyone, including individual ATF agents, have different understandings of what the law allows. Some people say that LEO's can legally build their own preban configuration rifles or place the collapsible stock on postban weapons. With regards to stocks: I just do not see the point of having a "pinned collapsible stock." There's a few real reasons to have a collapsible stock and looks isn't one of them. Thanks again. Doug
Link Posted: 7/29/2001 6:56:50 PM EDT
Shaggy of course covered the law well. I understand that the ATF's unofficial or you could say operational position is that they have little interest in law enforcement officers and their personal assault rifles. What they do care about is such things as barrel length and FA weapons. Here you would not be cut any slack. There was a case just last year I think it was were a California police officer did up a home made MG. He got in BIG trouble. Same thing with a short barrelled rifle.
Link Posted: 7/29/2001 6:58:31 PM EDT
I could dig a bit deeper if you want? But the barrel is a no no.
Link Posted: 7/29/2001 7:23:48 PM EDT
I'd be happy with a 16" barrel. I understand that ATF is probably not interested in LEO's and their rifles. Still, I want to be in compliance with the current law. I'm not in a position to throw caution to the wind and hope to go unnoticed with an illegal rifle. Knowing how my dept. is, it would come up somehow and they'd be the ones to start the big investigation and then turn it over to the Feds for prosecution. Thank you for your offer to dig some more. Any digging you have the time or inclination to do would be greatly appreciated. I think I'll do some more of my own as well. However, based on what I know right now, I'm still probably best off getting either an LE-only rifle from another LEO or finding a pre-ban lower to start with. Of course I could always try to get somebody at the ATF to give me something in writing.....yeah right.
Link Posted: 7/30/2001 4:58:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/30/2001 7:36:24 PM EDT
Swatdog Here is the scoop. As Shaggy pointed out 18 USC section 922(v) prohibits possession, transfer, and manufacture of semiauto assault rifles. Of course their are exceptions. The little ditty including an exemption for LEOs is for transfer and possession, not manufacture. So it would be illegal for a individual officer to manufacture one for himself. Sorry bout that. Oh yes, about wether or not the ATF would be interested in such a case. James Bardwell wrote on page 27 of SMALL ARMS REVIEW Vol 4 No 10 he states "On the other hand, one senior Assistant United States Attorney in charge of criminal prosecutions informally told me he would probably not prosecute a case against a police officer for making or possessing a post-ban semiautomatic assault weapon, were the ATF to bring it to him.....". Well, ah, that does not exactly give me the warm and fuzzies.
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