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Posted: 6/11/2009 7:23:51 PM EST
Hi there,
I have a legal pre-ban Olympic Arms CAR-15 look-alike that I love. It's a carry handle model, and I'd like to get a flat top upper so that I have more optics choices. I just went to one of the Crossroads gun shows, and saw an Acog that I fell in love with. It was one of the models with the red dot, maybe the TA01NSN-TRD.

I know that if I get an adapter to mount it on the carry handle, then it will be up there a bit.

Is it legal to put a new flat top upper receiver on my legal pre-ban lower?

Thanks for any info.
Link Posted: 6/11/2009 7:45:31 PM EST
Yes, as long as it is registered you can do as you please (minus SBR, Silancer, NFA, etc)
Link Posted: 6/11/2009 8:42:46 PM EST
Thanks. Sorry, I'm a bit light on the terminology, not sure what you mean by silancer or nfa.

Basically, I am wondering if I can replace the carry handle upper receiver I currnetly havewith the 16 inch barrel, bayonette lug and flash suppressor) with a similar flat top receiver?

I know those items are illegal to purchase now for the most part, but not sure if they are ok to 'replace.'

Sorry for the ignorance.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 4:35:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/12/2009 4:39:03 AM EST by Swatter911]
The lower (with the serial number) is the "weapon". An upper is a collection of parts. You may collect and possess as many uppers as you like and swap them to your hearts content. There is no law that prohibits the importation of uppers into California, so I can't provide you a law that says it's OK, they don't usually write laws that way. You may swap the upper for a flat top with no issues.

I know those items are illegal to purchase now for the most part, but not sure if they are ok to 'replace.'

This is not correct. As long as you are not replacing your lower receiver, you may remove and replace parts freely.

The only thing you should be careful of is barrel length. Federal law classifies any rifle with a barrel under 16" as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR). To possess one, you have to register it with the ATF in accordance with the National Firearms Act (NFA) AND it must be permissible in your state. California has a permit process for these but they refuse to issue any permits. Hence, you cannot possess a SBR in CA unless you fall under one of the exceptions (LE Agency, military, some movie permits, etc.).
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 5:45:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By Swatter911:
The lower (with the serial number) is the "weapon". An upper is a collection of parts. You may collect and possess as many uppers as you like and swap them to your hearts content. There is no law that prohibits the importation of uppers into California, so I can't provide you a law that says it's OK, they don't usually write laws that way. You may swap the upper for a flat top with no issues.

I know those items are illegal to purchase now for the most part, but not sure if they are ok to 'replace.'

This is not correct. As long as you are not replacing your lower receiver, you may remove and replace parts freely.

The only thing you should be careful of is barrel length. Federal law classifies any rifle with a barrel under 16" as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR). To possess one, you have to register it with the ATF in accordance with the National Firearms Act (NFA) AND it must be permissible in your state. California has a permit process for these but they refuse to issue any permits. Hence, you cannot possess a SBR in CA unless you fall under one of the exceptions (LE Agency, military, some movie permits, etc.).


Great info, thanks. That helps alot.

I do currently posses an SBR, and it is legally registered with the ATF. (I have the certificate) In that case, can I replace the upper and still be legal? Or, would I have to reregister if I got a new upper that falls under the SBR specifications?

It sounds like this is a bit of a gray area, thanks for the info genltemen.

Link Posted: 6/12/2009 9:10:02 AM EST
The lower half is the firearm the upper half is not regulated by anyone, if the lower is a registered SBR then you can use a barrel that is the length you registered with the ATF. Christ, you can even swap it out with a cross bow if you like:

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/12/ar-15-assault-crossbow-upper-pse-tac-15/
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 2:13:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By jeremyk187:
The lower half is the firearm the upper half is not regulated by anyone, if the lower is a registered SBR then you can use a barrel that is the length you registered with the ATF. Christ, you can even swap it out with a cross bow if you like:

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/01/12/ar-15-assault-crossbow-upper-pse-tac-15/


Ha ha, thanks. Makes sense...

Link Posted: 6/12/2009 4:50:14 PM EST
I noticed that your listed as being from NV.
By "pre-ban" I hope you mean your Oly AR-15 was registered with the California DOJ as an assault weapon prior to 1 Jan 2000. The Clinton-era Federal "pre-ban/post ban" assault weapon rules never applied to California. Likewise an SBR registered in another state will mean trouble for you unless you are a Law Enforcement Agency or Movie Studio and have obtained permission from California DOJ.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 6:56:46 AM EST
Originally Posted By DnPRK:
I noticed that your listed as being from NV.
By "pre-ban" I hope you mean your Oly AR-15 was registered with the California DOJ as an assault weapon prior to 1 Jan 2000. The Clinton-era Federal "pre-ban/post ban" assault weapon rules never applied to California. Likewise an SBR registered in another state will mean trouble for you unless you are a Law Enforcement Agency or Movie Studio and have obtained permission from California DOJ.


Odd, I never noticed that and don't remember putting that into my profile. I am from California, and currently live in Orange County.

It was registered back in '95 I believe, after the passed the bill back then.

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 11:04:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By DnPRK:
.... an SBR registered in another state will mean trouble for you unless you are a Law Enforcement Agency or Movie Studio and have obtained permission from California DOJ.



What he said. the only people who can legally own a SBR in CA are LEO's who meet certain criteria and specifically permitted movie studios.

If you have legally registered your AR in CA as an "asault weapon", then you can slap any upper you want on it, as long as the barrel length is greater than 16".
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