Later he replied with a response from someone from the NFA branch of the ATF:Hello,
I was wondering about SBR rules and AOW rules. If I were to purchase a MP5 Pistol clone and get it registered as a SBR so I could put a butt stock on it, would it at the point always be considered at SBR with or without the butt stock actually being attached?
The reason I ask is if I were to take the butt stock off of it and place a Forearm Vertical grip (Thus making it look like an AOW) would I now be in possession of an unregistered AOW or would I still be covered by the SBR rules.
This led me to a number of questions. Some of the questions build upon prior questions, so if something has an answer different than what I'm assuming (or how I'm interpreting ATF documents), further questions may not make sense.I actually spoke with the NFA branch of the BATFE, They said, since there are two different items which can be classified as a SBR, 1. a Rifle with a Barrel less than 16" and or a OAL less than 26" or 2. a firearm made from a rifle. (Thus a firearm that was a rifle, that no longer has a shoulder stock).
He said what I was proposing was legal, however he advised me to send a letter to the NFA branch informing them, that the said weapon would have multiple configurations, one of which was a Shoulder Stockless firearm with a forward vertical grip measuring x in OAL.
First I'll start with what he was told:
Essentially, a pistol registered as an SBR, while not in SBR configuration, can have a forward vertical grip installed. Since it has previously been registered as an SBR, the addition of the grip makes it an SBR with a forward vertical grip, not an AOW.
He was also told that he should send a letter to the NFA branch indicating the firearm would be used in this way.
First questions. If the firearm can be updated in this way with a letter, can the Form 1 initially be filled out to include this use? If so, how would that be indicated on the form?
In the ATF SBS/SBR FAQ (http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/nati...-shotguns.html) it in essence appears that if an NFA firearm is put back into a non NFA configuration (and can’t readily be converted back to NFA configuration), it is OK to transport across state lines without a 5320.20. An AOW wouldn’t require a 5320.20 anyway.
Second questions. Since this particular item could be returned to pistol status it should be able to be moved across state lines as a pistol, right (without 5320.20)? You also couldn’t add the vertical foregrip back to it while across state lines because: a) you don’t have it registered as an AOW but rather an SBR, and b) you didn’t fill out the 5320.20 for it as an SBR.
After those questions and reading through some other posts and some of the laws and ATF rulings, I came up with some more questions.
PART 2 - New Questions
So now I’ve read through the ATF NFA Handbook, Form 1, 5320.20, and various other things (CFR, USC, etc.) that will be mentioned as necessary. This is where I expect there will be contradictions and rulings from the ATF that I’m unaware of.
I’ll start out with some basic definitions and try not to make too many assumptions; although there may have to be some assuming on my part. I’m going to try to keep everything relevant to pistols and rifles since that was the original scope of the question.
Pistol - “...a weapon originally designed, made, and intended...when
held in one hand...a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore”
Rifle - “...weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder...”
Firearm (NFA) - “a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length” or “a weapon made from a rifle…has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.”
Since the regular definition for a rifle doesn’t include a barrel or overall length but the NFA firearms definition includes barrel or overall length restrictions, it can be presumed that a non NFA rifle must have a barrel of at least 16” and an overall length of at least 26”.
From most of what I’ve read, it’s thought that an SBR and a weapon made from a rifle are essentially the same thing, but I’m not sure that holds true if you look at the actual wording of the law. (I know, I know -- ATF interprets things how they see fit at the moment, and sometimes it doesn’t actually make sense with the wording of the law...forget that part for now)
So to break down the NFA Firearms definitions (Title 27 Chapter 2 Section 479.11 Subpart B) and the Form 1.
The NFA definitions refer to 8 separate and distinct items:
a) A shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18”
b) A weapon made from a shotgun...barrel less than 18” or overall length less than 26”
c) A rifle with a barrel shorter than 16”
d) A weapon made from a rifle...barrel less than 16” or overall length less than 26”
e) Any other weapon
f) A machinegun
g) A silencer
h) A destructive device
Form 1 Box 4b “Type of firearm to be made” and it’s instruction 1c gives 8 possible choices for the type of firearm to be made. (See above for those choices - they are labeled 1-8 on form 1 rather than a-h in the prior subsection). So it appears that a short barreled rifle and weapon made from a rifle are two separate things.
Going back to the definitions of a rifle, a short-barreled rifle, and a weapon made from a rifle, it should be fairly easy to draw the following conclusions:
1) A rifle must have a shoulder stock, a 16”+ barrel, and a 26”+ OAL
2) A short-barreled rifle must have a shoulder stock and a 26”+ OAL (with no minimum barrel length, but shorter than 16”)
3) A weapon made from a rifle may have a shoulder stock, but it is not required. It must have had a shoulder stock, 16”+ barrel, and 26”+ OAL before it was a weapon made from a rifle, otherwise it would not have been a rifle and could therefore not be made from a rifle. It would have no minimum OAL or barrel length.
So now back to the original question posed in the prior thread:
“If I were to purchase an MP5 Pistol clone and get it registered as a SBR so I could put a butt stock on it, would it at the point always be considered at SBR with or without the butt stock actually being attached?“
Am I correct to assume that without the buttstock it would be a pistol, and nothing more? Why?
1) Without the buttstock it’s not intended to be fired from the shoulder, so it’s not a rifle.
2) Since it wasn’t registered as a weapon made from a rifle to begin with it won’t revert to that either (On another note, since it was a pistol to begin with, by logical deduction it could not be registered as a weapon made from a rifle in the first place.)
3) According to ATF ruling 2011-4, since it was “originally” a pistol, it can revert to being a pistol.
So in this case, I would think that if the MP5 Pistol Clone does not have a shoulder stock, it would not be allowed to have a vertical foregrip.