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Author Topic: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?  (Read 2058 times)

PogoJack

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Thinking about converting my built pistol (from a stripped lower) to an SBR with the NFA tax stamp.


Once built and registered as an SBR could I legally convert it back into a pistol? Let's say I wanted to keep it stored as a pistol in there safe so if I croak my next of kin wont have to do anything heroic to inherit it?

Another scenario would be if I wanted to take it with me to another state, could it be pistolized and taken?

Not planning on passing anytime soon but I like to keep things tidy and have been too chicken to start an nfa trust and been told they are not that relevant nowadays.

Thanks as always for your wise advice.


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    PK90

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #1 on: January 18, 2020, 07:49:02 pm »
    100% legal
    Owner of Estrella Ordnance
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    delta6

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #2 on: January 18, 2020, 08:29:23 pm »
    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/can-i-lawfully-make-pistol-rifle-without-registering-firearm

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    U.S. Department of Justice
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Office of the Director
    Washington, DC 20226
    26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3): DEFINITIONS (FIREARM )
    26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4): DEFINITIONS (FIREARM)
    26 U.S.C. 5845(c): DEFINITIONS (RIFLE)
    27 CFR 479.11: DEFINITIONS (RIFLE)
    27 CFR 479.11: DEFINITIONS (PISTOL)
    A firearm, as defined by the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3), is made when unassembled parts are placed in close proximity in such a way that they: (a) serve no useful purpose other than to make a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; or (b) convert a complete weapon into such an NFA firearm. A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when parts within a kit that were originally designed to be configured as both a pistol and a rifle are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel or barrels of 16 inches or more in length). A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when a pistol is attached to a part or parts designed to convert the pistol into a rifle with a barrel or barrels of 16 inches or more in length, and the parts are later unassembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol). A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4), is made when a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, is assembled or produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle.
    ATF Rul. 2011-4
    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has received requests from individuals to classify pistols that are reconfigured into rifles, for personal use, through the addition of barrels, stocks, and other parts and then returned to a pistol configuration by removal of those components. Specifically, ATF has been asked to determine whether such a pistol, once returned to a pistol configuration from a rifle, becomes a “weapon made from a rifle” as defined under the National Firearms Act (NFA).
    Some manufacturers produce firearm receivers and attachable component parts that are designed to be assembled into both rifles and pistols. The same receiver can accept an interchangeable shoulder stock or pistol grip, and a long (16 or more inches in length) or short (less than 16 inches) barrel. These components are sold individually, or as unassembled kits. Generally, the kits include a receiver, a pistol grip, a pistol barrel less than 16 inches in length, a shoulder stock, and a rifle barrel 16 inches or more in length.
    - 2 -
    Certain parts or parts sets are also designed to allow an individual to convert a pistol into a rifle without removing a barrel or attaching a shoulder stock to the pistol. These parts consist of an outer shell with a shoulder stock into which the pistol may be inserted. When inserted, the pistol fires a projectile through a rifled extension barrel that is 16 inches or more in length, and with an overall length of 26 inches or more. Other parts sets require that certain parts of the pistol, such as the pistol barrel and the slide assembly, be removed from the pistol frame prior to attaching the parts sets. Typically, a separate barrel is sold with the parts set, which is 16 inches or greater in length. The barrel is installed along with an accompanying shoulder stock. The resulting firearm has a barrel of 16 inches or more in length, and an overall length of 26 inches or more.
    The NFA, Title 26, United States Code (U.S.C.), Chapter 53, requires that persons manufacturing, importing, transferring, or possessing firearms as defined in the NFA comply with the Act’s licensing, registration, and taxation requirements. The NFA defines the term “firearm” at 26 U.S.C. 5845(a) to include “(3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;” (“short-barreled rifle”) and “(4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length” (“weapon made from a rifle”). The term “rifle” is defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(c) and 27 CFR 479.11 as “a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed cartridge.” Although not defined in the NFA, the term “pistol” is defined by the Act’s implementing regulations, 27 CFR 479.11, as “a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s)” (emphasis added).
    Unassembled Parts Kits
    In United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Company, 504 U.S. 505 (1992), the United States Supreme Court examined whether a short-barreled rifle was “made” under the NFA when a carbine-conversion kit consisting of a single-shot “Contender” pistol was designed so that its handle and barrel could be removed from its receiver, and was packaged with a 21-inch barrel, a rifle stock, and a wooden fore-end. The Court held that, where aggregated parts could convert a pistol into either a regulated short-barreled rifle, or an unregulated rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length, the NFA was ambiguous and applied the “rule of lenity” (i.e., ambiguities in criminal statutes should be resolved in favor of the defendant) so that the pistol and carbine kit, when packaged together, were not considered a “short-barreled rifle” for purposes of the NFA.
    However, the Court also explained that an NFA firearm is made if aggregated parts are in close proximity such that they: (a) serve no useful purpose other than to make an NFA firearm (e.g., a receiver, an attachable shoulder stock, and a short barrel); or (b) convert a
    - 3 -
    complete weapon into an NFA firearm (e.g., a pistol and attachable shoulder stock, or a long-barreled rifle and attachable short barrel). Id. at 511-13.
    Assembly of Weapons from Parts Kits
    The Thompson/Center Court viewed the parts within the conversion kit not only as a Contender pistol, but also as an unassembled “rifle” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(c). The inclusion of the rifle stock in the package brought the Contender pistol and carbine kit within the "intended to be fired from the shoulder" language in the definition of rifle at 26 U.S.C. 5845(c). Id. at 513 n.6. Thompson/Center did not address the subsequent assembly of the parts. United States v. Ardoin, 19 F.3d 177, 181 (5th Cir. 1994). Based on the definition of “firearm” in 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3), if parts are assembled into a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, a regulated short-barreled rifle has been made. See, e.g., United States v. Owens, 103 F.3d 953 (11th Cir. 1997); United States v. One (1) Colt Ar-15, 394 F. Supp. 2d 1064 (W.D.Tenn. 2004). Conversely, if the parts are assembled into a rifle having a barrel or barrels 16 inches in length or more, a rifle not subject to the NFA has been made.
    Therefore, so long as a parts kit or collection of parts is not used to make a firearm regulated under the NFA (e.g., a short-barreled rifle or “any other weapon” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(e)), no NFA firearm is made when the same parts are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length). Merely assembling and disassembling such a rifle does not result in the making of a new weapon; rather, it is the same rifle in a knockdown condition (i.e., complete as to all component parts). Likewise, because it is the same weapon when reconfigured as a pistol, no “weapon made from a rifle” subject to the NFA has been made.
    Nonetheless, if a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length is assembled or otherwise produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle, such a weapon is a “weapon made from a rifle” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4). Such a weapon would not be a “pistol” because the weapon was not originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile by one hand.
    Held, a firearm, as defined by the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3), is made when unassembled parts are placed in close proximity in such a way that they:
    (a) Serve no useful purpose other than to make a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length (e.g., a receiver, an attachable shoulder stock, and barrel of less than 16 inches in length); or
    (b) Convert a complete weapon into such an NFA firearm, including –
    (1) A pistol and attachable shoulder stock; and
    - 4 -
    (2) A rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length, and an attachable barrel of less than 16 inches in length.
    Such weapons must be registered and are subject to all requirements of the NFA.
    Held further, a firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when parts in a kit that were originally designed to be configured as both a pistol and a rifle are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length).
    Held further, a firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when a pistol is attached to a part or parts designed to convert the pistol into a rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length, and the parts are later unassembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol).
    Held further, a firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4), is made when a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, is assembled or produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle. Such weapons must be registered and are subject to all requirements of the NFA.
    To the extent this ruling may be inconsistent with any prior letter rulings, they are hereby superseded.
    Date approved: July 25, 2011
    Kenneth E. Melson
    Acting Director

    PogoJack

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #3 on: January 18, 2020, 10:54:45 pm »
    Thank you for posting the relevent statue for reference.

    I guess this is really all we can go by in a forum as I now see on other forums that this question is often asked and the answer is clear as mud.  As in many cases the answer is clear as mud and ATF doesn't provide mich clarity on the subject.

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    AlienLoveDoll

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 04:59:12 pm »
    I'm looking to do this shortly with a scorpion (sbr back to pistol) and it seems like it's kosher...for now...until they say otherwise. with the letters on braces sbr now seems over restrictive. thanks for posting the letter.
    « Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 05:03:46 pm by AlienLoveDoll »

    pscipio03

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #5 on: June 26, 2020, 12:33:56 pm »
    Pistol to SBR to Pistol = Bueno
    Pistol to SBR to Rifle to Pistol = Bueno
    Virgin Lower to Pistol to SBR = Bueno
    Rifle to Pistol = No Bueno

    ATF would request that you send them written notification of your intent to convert from SBR to Pistol or from SBR to Rifle, but there doesn't seem to be any legal ramifications if you don't.
    I suspect you're asking so you can take a SBR to another state. Unless that state doesn't allow SBRs, it's probably easier just to fill out a 5320.20 for 364 days. Last ones I filled out I got signed returns in less than 2 weeks.

    CZ

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #6 on: June 26, 2020, 04:00:56 pm »
    If it is not in the SBR configuration you can take it any place it is legal. 

    If you want you can convert it from SBR to pistol and back any time you want with out any notifications to ATF.

    Roger9mm

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #7 on: November 25, 2020, 10:59:12 am »
    Sorry to bring back an old thread. I read through but didn’t see anything on sales. Sorry if I missed it.

    If I have a mp5 that has been SBR. I get I can turn it into a pistol. My question is can I sell it as a pistol? If yes then how would I cover my butt if the person who bought it decides to slap a stock on it without doing a sbr.
    Statistics have shown most boating accidents have been caused by gun owners. Stop going on boating trips!

    delta6

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 12:11:24 pm »
    Sorry to bring back an old thread. I read through but didn’t see anything on sales. Sorry if I missed it.

    If I have a mp5 that has been SBR. I get I can turn it into a pistol. My question is can I sell it as a pistol? If yes then how would I cover my butt if the person who bought it decides to slap a stock on it without doing a sbr.

    What was it, be4 you SBR'd it? That will give you your answer. See pscipio03's post above.

    Roger9mm

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #9 on: November 25, 2020, 06:13:27 pm »
    What was it, be4 you SBR'd it? That will give you your answer. See pscipio03's post above.

    Lets just say it was a pistol before. I know personally I can do whatever I want after I sbr it but can I configure it back to a pistol and then sell it as a pistol even though on record its a sbr. I heard people say some crazy stuff of how its legal to take a pistol you sbr and convert it back to a pistol to lend it to a friend to take to the range without you there. When its in a sbr configuration it has to be controlled in your possession but since its a pistol they say thats legal to loan out. It just doesn’t sound right to me.
    « Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 06:15:34 pm by Roger9mm »
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    delta6

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #10 on: November 25, 2020, 06:23:30 pm »
    Lets just say it was a pistol before. I know personally I can do whatever I want after I sbr it but can I configure it back to a pistol and then sell it as a pistol even though on record its a sbr. I heard people say some crazy stuff of how its legal to take a pistol you sbr and convert it back to a pistol to lend it to a friend to take to the range without you there. When its in a sbr configuration it has to be controlled in your possession but since its a pistol they say thats legal to loan out. It just doesn’t sound right to me.

    It is only an SBR, when it is in a SBR configuration. If it is not in a SBR configuration, then it is not a SBR. It's actually fairly simple to understand.
    If it started out as a pistol and you SBR'd it, I imagine it had a barrel less than 16" and you put a stock on it. Take the stock off and it is back to being a pistol.

    Roger9mm

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #11 on: November 25, 2020, 06:49:18 pm »
    It is only an SBR, when it is in a SBR configuration. If it is not in a SBR configuration, then it is not a SBR. It's actually fairly simple to understand.
    If it started out as a pistol and you SBR'd it, I imagine it had a barrel less than 16" and you put a stock on it. Take the stock off and it is back to being a pistol.

    I understand the configuration.. I know the configuration.. I get you’re trying to help but maybe I am not making my question clear..

    being that it WAS a NFA item can you sell it as a pistol? Can you lend it to a friend?
    If you’re at the range shooting your SBR with your buddy and you needed to be rush to the hospital and a ATF agent is there.. with every last ounce of your strength before passing out you take the magpul moe stock off and throw in a sba3 brace. Could your buddy now legally take it home for you with the ATF agent giving you a thumbs up and a smile?

    Should just be a yes or no?

    I get its a pistol now but is it that easy to make something a nfa item or not whenever you want?

    I have ran into times where my friend wants to use my sbr mp5 and I can’t make it to the range. I can just throw a brace on it and say here go have fun?

    Sorry if I am asking something dumb. I just want to be clear if I did do that I wouldn’t be doing anything illegal.
    « Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 06:57:45 pm by Roger9mm »
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    ynotaz

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #12 on: November 25, 2020, 07:47:47 pm »
    It isn’t dumb it is confusing and the ATF keeps it that way.

    The answer to your question is.  “it is only an SBR when it is configured that way”.

    i.e. you get hurt at the range with your last once of strength you throw a 16” upper on your SBR and give it to your friend.  SAFE.  You throw your SBA3 on it and it may be safe, see below *.

    Your buddy wants to borrow your MP5 SBR, you throw a 16” barrel on it.  SAFE.  You throw your brace on it may be safe *. 

    *  The ATF, continuing to confuse everyone.  They are claiming that they only certified 2 models of SB Tactical pistol braces as being actual pistol braces and the SBA3, which is the most popular, is NOT one of them. 

    So, take it out of the “SBR configuration”, no vertical fore grip, no stock, or have a longer barrel and you are good.  It makes no difference that it is in the registry.  If you want to sell your AR SBR put a 16” upper on it and sell it, take the stock off your MP5, make it a pistol and sell it.   
    Finally found my new sig:

    https://youtu.be/yuEBBwJdjhQ?t=46

    Roger9mm

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #13 on: November 25, 2020, 08:14:16 pm »
    It isn’t dumb it is confusing and the ATF keeps it that way.

    The answer to your question is.  “it is only an SBR when it is configured that way”.

    i.e. you get hurt at the range with your last once of strength you throw a 16” upper on your SBR and give it to your friend.  SAFE.  You throw your SBA3 on it and it may be safe, see below *.

    Your buddy wants to borrow your MP5 SBR, you throw a 16” barrel on it.  SAFE.  You throw your brace on it may be safe *. 

    *  The ATF, continuing to confuse everyone.  They are claiming that they only certified 2 models of SB Tactical pistol braces as being actual pistol braces and the SBA3, which is the most popular, is NOT one of them. 

    So, take it out of the “SBR configuration”, no vertical fore grip, no stock, or have a longer barrel and you are good.  It makes no difference that it is in the registry.  If you want to sell your AR SBR put a 16” upper on it and sell it, take the stock off your MP5, make it a pistol and sell it.   

    Awesome! Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    Sorry if I had came off in a negative way. I went back and read my comments and saw that it could have been taken in a negative way or if I came off as being hard headed. I just didn’t want to do something and end up in trouble. I really do appreciate the help. If we ever meet up one day I owe you and delta6 a beer. 
    Statistics have shown most boating accidents have been caused by gun owners. Stop going on boating trips!

    CGIS

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    Re: Can you build a pistol into an SBR and legally return it to pistol?
    « Reply #14 on: November 26, 2020, 11:52:44 pm »
    Yes you can.

    I did a Daniel Defense mil spec + m4v7 pistol and form 1d it. Took 15 days for approval and I spoke with the lady that approved it and I asked her the same question and she said it was legal to put on an approved SB15 brace and travel with it or file another form to travel to another sbr friendly state. If it was born a rifle she said you cannot do that. So I had her email it to me in writing and made sure it's specific to my gun and model.

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