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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/26/2002 1:02:13 PM EST
Maybe someone here can shed some light on this question... I have a Group Industries registered lower and a couple of uppers, 10.5" 223 and 22LR and a 20" HB upper. I also have an old AR15 SP1 I bought new in 1979. It is in unaltered condition. Do I have a problem owning both?
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 1:09:12 PM EST
I don't think you have a problem so long as the 10.5" upper is never mounted on the SP1 and so long as you continue to own the registered M16.
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 3:40:33 PM EST
You do have a problem. Possession of an SP1 and more than one short upper for your M16 is possessing a short barrelled rifle. Go look at Bardwell's titleii.com site, there is an atf letter on this exact topic.
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 3:46:48 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 4:32:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/26/2002 4:33:56 PM EST by Phil_A_Steen]
Troy, you should reconsider. This is contrary to ATF's most recent positions. I would not want to be the test case even if I thought differently.
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS WASHINGTON, DC 20226 MAR 29 2000 This refers to your letter of January 22, 1999, requesting information on the legality of possessing a registered full auto AR15 and also possessing one or more semiautomatic pre-1994 assembled AR15 rifles. You appended a number of specific questions relating to this subject which will be answered in the order received. 2. If legal to own both, which spare parts for the registered gun can you also own? Any weapon which shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger meets the definition of a machinegun in section 5845(b) of the NFA. An AR15 rifle which is assembled with certain M16 machinegun fire control components, and which is capable of shooting automatically is a machinegun as defined. The definition of a machinegun in section 5845(b) also includes 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. Thus, an AR15 rifle possessed with separate M16 machinegun components can meet the definition of a machinegun, if the rifle shoots automatically when the components are installed. The fact that a person lawfully possesses a registered NFA firearm does not grant authorization to possess additional non-registered firearms. A person who possesses a registered M16 machinegun and a semiautomatic AR15 and a separate quantity of M16 machinegun components could be in possession of two machineguns. We advise any person who possesses an AR15 rifle not to possess M16 fire control components (trigger, hammer, disconnector, selector, and bolt carrier). If a person possessed only the M16 machinegun and spare M16 fire control components for that machinegun, the person would possess only one machinegun. 4. Can you have several short barrel uppers (less than 16 inches) for the registered AR and still own semi-auto AR's? The definition of a firearm in section 5845 of the NFA includes a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length. An individual possessing more than one short (less than 16 inches) barreled upper receiver for a registered AR15 machinegun along with one or more semiautomatic AR15 rifles would have under their possession of control an unregistered short barreled rifle, a violation of the NFA. Sincerely yours, [signed] Edward M. Owen, Jr. Chief, Firearms Technology Branch
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[url=http://www.titleii.com/Bardwell/atf_letter90.txt]Link to ATF Letter[/url]
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 6:20:54 PM EST
Well, if ATF's position is enforced literally as what Mr. Owen says in that letter, then they've got a LOT of doors to kick down. Every single person I know that owns an M16 also owns an AR and several short uppers for the M16.
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 6:44:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By Troy: False. The Thompson/Center case established that as long as you have a LEGAL combination for the extra parts (i.e., 10.5" upper for the M16), and you don't have those parts illegally assembled (putting that 10.5" upper on the SP1), then you're fine.
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Pretty much, yes. United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Co., 504 U.S. 505 states in part: "We also think that a firearm is "made" on facts one step removed from the paradigm of the aggregated parts that can be used for nothing except assembling a firearm. Two courts to our knowledge have dealt in some way with claims that when a gun other than a firearm was placed together with a further part or parts that would have had no use in association with the gun except to convert it into a firearm, a firearm was produced. See United States v. Kokin, 365 F.2d 595, 596 (CA3) (carbine together with all parts necessary to convert it into a machinegun is a machinegun), cert. denied, 385 U.S. 987, 17 L. Ed. 2d 448, 87 S. Ct. 597 (1966); see also United States v. Zeidman, 444 F.2d 1051, 1053 (CA7 1971) (pistol and attachable shoulder stock found "in different drawers of the same dresser" constitute a short-barreled rifle). Here it is true, of course, that some of the parts could be used without ever assembling a firearm, but the likelihood of that is belied by the utter uselessness of placing the converting parts with the others except for just such a conversion. Where the evidence in a given case supports a finding of such uselessness, the case falls within the fair intendment of "otherwise producing a firearm." See 26 U. S. C. § 5845(i)." Of course, if the extra parts are NOT utterly useless except to make an illegal SBR (because you have a registered SBR or MG) then possession of additional <16" uppers should be fine. It seems, therefore, that ATF's "constructive possession" theory fails if the unassembled part has a legal use by the owner, even if it also has an illegal use.
Link Posted: 7/26/2002 7:06:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/27/2002 8:53:06 AM EST by Dave_G]
If you register the SP-1 as an SBR, you would be in the clear with no worries. Just don't maintain any spare M16 fire control parts. {edited because I couldn't spell "SBR"}
Link Posted: 7/27/2002 3:56:57 AM EST
Originally Posted By dbrowne1: Of course, if the extra parts are NOT utterly useless except to make an illegal SBR (because you have a registered SBR or MG) then possession of additional <16" uppers should be fine. It seems, therefore, that ATF's "constructive possession" theory fails if the unassembled part has a legal use by the owner, even if it also has an illegal use.
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I think ATF disagrees with that view, whether or not it's correct. The ATF letter dates back two years, Thompson is a 92 decision. I think they distinguish Thompson on the grounds that it provided a legal configuration, the pistol barrel, and another legal configuration, the stock and rifle barrel. In the question raised, if one of the two short uppers is put on the M16, the only legal configuration that remains with the AR-15 and the other short upper is illegal short barrel rifle. Look, I'm not necessarily saying ATF's worldview is correct; however, their position in the letter is crystal clear that they view this as illegal. So proceed at your own risk. I have moved my two Bushmaster AR-15's out of my house since I got an M16 to avoid this exact problem. Besides, when you have an M16, an AR-15 feels kind of passe anyway.
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