I was not fortunate enough to be heavily into AR-15’s 10 years ago when the AWB first went into effect. So, I draw upon the collective experience of the members of this board to compare what happened then, to what may happen now.
I was reviewing a number of articles that I saved over the last 4-5 years and found a common statement. It basically states, A LOWER RECEIVER MUST HAVE BEEN ASSEMBLED INTO A COMPLETE RIFLE PRIOR TO THE SEPTEMBER 1994 BAN AND THE MANUFACTURER MUST BE ABLE TO DOCUMENT THAT ASSEMBLY TO THE BATF IN ORDER TO QUALIFY AS A PRE-BAN LOWER RECEIVER!
So flash forward to now. Since it appears that the AWB is dead, all AR’s will be able to mount pre-ban components, regardless if you purchase a stripped lower or a complete rifle. But, what happens to stripped lower owners if (here we go again...) a ban is reinstated at some point in the future? In theory, without proving that the rifle was complete, then the lower would revert to post ban. How did you stripped lower owners in 1994 prove to the BATF or Manufacturer that they had a complete rifle at the time of the ban?
So I guess the root of my question is, does it pay to invest in stripped lowers? Or is it going to require that full rifles be purchased to ensure that you’re protected from any future laws?
I realize that there are a couple of ways around this based on more radical laws, which I would prefer not to think about. But let’s use a similar situation to 1994 and assume the AWB is reinstated as is.
It doesn't pay to invest in stripped lowers by themselves..........
However....if one had a stripped lower that was assembled ONCE and say transferred to your FFL and back to you.....then that stripped lower would be documeted.
Of course, say the ban does expire........and you have a stripped lower with a serial number of manufacture prior to the "new" ban. Many would say that the burden falls on you to prove you assembled the gun prior tothe new ban. I, however, feel you are innocent until proven guilty and if you say you assembeled the weapon then someone must prove you DIDN'T assemble it!
I have never seen anyone in the past 10 years than HAD to prove their weapon had a pre ban lower. Either it was legit, or they were clearly shanking the law.
If/when the AWB sunsets, none of this will make one damned bit of difference.
The law will revert to the situation prior to 9/13/1994 and it will be as if the AWB never existed.
Without a BAN, there can be no such thing as PRE or POST.
So, the answer to your question is that you'd be wasting your money on such speculation.
If a new ban works its way through both houses of congress - very bloody unlikely for the near future - THEN you might want to get some grandfathered inventory, but what that would entail is not knowable until such legislation is actually written! So, for now, don't waste brain cells worrying about it!
If you want to worry, worry about the next 3 weeks and start writing your representatives to make damned sure no new AWB is slipped in at the deadline.