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Selling an 80% Lower. Can it be done…. legally (of course)?

DISCLAIMER! I’m not a lawyer, and no one on this site is giving legal advice. At most, this article is to be considered hearsay for the purposes of standing trial in court. You MUST take responsibility for your own liberty. Laws change all the time, as a result, before you take anything in this article as fact, you should do your own research and consult a real lawyer. Here are some fantastic places to start: (for all of us unfortunates in California)

So now that we have cleared the air and you are aware that I will in fact be spouting fiction and fairydust, let’s talk what the DOJ will and will not say.

“Can anyone make firearms and sell them? With certain exceptions, and subject to any state law that might apply, as long as an individual is not prohibited from possessing a firearm, he or she can make a firearm for personal use. If an individual wants to manufacture and sell firearms, he or she is required to obtain a license, and mark each firearm manufactured in accordance with 27CFR 478.92 [18 U.S.C. 923(i), 26 U.S.C. 5822]”

That is taken straight from the ATF’s own page. Elsewhere on their site the following is quoted:

“If an individual is engaged in the business as a manufacturer or seller of firearms then that person must obtain a federal firearms license.”

Now if we take the actual definition of “engaged in the business” as laid out in 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(21)(A), the term means (in relation to a manufacturer) “a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms manufactured.”

My lawyer and I came to the consensus that so long as I manufactured with the intent of personal use and not sale, we are in the clear. So can you finish an 80% lower for a buddy? NO. The intent was the sale or distribution, not personal use. Can you make one for yourself, end up not liking the way it turned out and sell it to get rid of it? Possibly…?

The problem is, with as clear as the wording of the law is, there is no precedent in court. There is no case law supporting either position. And the ATF and DOJ will refuse to clarify, because guess what, they aren’t lawyers either. So until someone gets taken to court for the periodic and irregular sale of firearms manufactured for personal use and either wins or loses, when the question is asked, the answer from every corner is, “Maybe?”

Long story short is, I have yet to find an FFL in my vicinity who was willing to be the guinea pig in trying a PPT with an 80. And in all honesty, why would you want to sell your craftsmanship? Take pride in your work and let freedom ring.

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