The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a 14-point clarification on what does and what does not make an 80 percent lower receiver, and reminds people that they’re legal to buy.
ATF routinely collaborates with the firearms industry and law enforcement to monitor new technologies and current manufacturing trends that could potentially impact the safety of the public.
“80% receiver,” “80% finished,” “80% complete,” “unfinished receiver” are all terms referring to an item that some may believe has not yet reached a stage of manufacture that meets the definition of firearm frame or receiver found in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). These are not statutory terms or terms ATF employs or endorses.
Receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a “firearm” are not subject to regulation under the GCA. The ATF has long held that items such as receiver blanks, “castings” or “machined bodies” in which the fire-control cavity area is completely solid and un-machined have not reached the “stage of manufacture” which would result in the classification of a firearm per the GCA.
See comparison examples:
The GCA does not impose restrictions on receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a “firearm.”
Receivers that meet the definition of a “firearm” must have markings, including a serial number. See 27 CFR § 478.92 (Firearm manufacturers marking requirements).
ATF successfully traces crime guns to the first retail purchaser in most instances. ATF starts with the manufacturer and goes through the entire chain of distribution to find who first bought the firearm from a licensed dealer. Because receiver blanks do not have markings or serial numbers, when firearms made from such receiver blanks are found at a crime scene, it is usually not possible to trace the firearm or determine its history, which hinders crime gun investigations jeopardizing public safety.
Manufacturing & Licensing
There are no federal restrictions on an individual making a firearm for personal use, as long as it does not violate the GCA or National Firearms Act (NFA).
10. What is the National Firearms Act (NFA)?
The NFA imposes a tax on the making, transfer or import of certain firearms recognized to present a greater risk to public safety. The law also requires the registration of all NFA firearms as defined in title 26 USC 5845(a):
(2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
(3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
(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;
(5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e);
(6) a machinegun;
(7) any silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code); and
(8) a destructive device.
If an individual is “engaged in the business” (defined below) as a manufacturer or seller of firearms then that person must obtain a federal firearms license. In addition, manufacturers have a variety of specific responsibilities under the Gun Control Act, such as including a serial number and other markings on all firearms.
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 27 CFR 478.92. [18 U.S.C. 923(i), 26 U.S.C. 5822]
ATF will approve a properly executed application if the applicant:
- Submits fingerprint cards;
- Submits a frontal view photograph;
- Is 21 years of age or older;
- Is not prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce;
- Has not willfully violated the GCA or its regulations;
- Has not willfully failed to disclose material information or willfully made false statements concerning material facts in connection with his application;
- Has premises for conducting the business
- The applicant certifies that:
- the business to be conducted under the license is not prohibited by State or local law in the place where the licensed premises is located;
- within 30 days after the application is approved the business will comply with the requirements of State and local law applicable to the conduct of the business;
- the business will not be conducted under the license until the requirements of State and local law applicable to the business have been met;
- the applicant has sent or delivered a form to the chief law enforcement officer where the premises is located notifying the officer that the applicant intends to apply for a license; and
- secure gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold under the license to persons who are not licensees (“secure gun storage or safety device” is defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(34)).
Under federal law, an application shall be approved if an applicant for a federal firearms license or a manufacturing license meets all of the licensing requirements and criteria.
Submit ATF Form 7 (5310.12), Application for License, with the appropriate fee in accordance with the instructions on the form to ATF.