CNC shop owner sentenced in 80% AR-15 Lower court case
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    Default CNC shop owner sentenced in 80% AR-15 Lower court case

    (Went back and forth on thread title.)

    Anyway, here's an article on the "build-your-own AR on my machine" case, and sentencing of the owner/operator. Spoiler alert: he was found guilty.

    Man who used CNC mill to make untraceable guns sentenced to 41 months | Ars Technica

    Chip

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    Well wasn't he a fool!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Well wasn't he ^^^ an arrogant, greedy, serial ^^^ fool!
    There. Fixed that for yah!

    Something nasty-stupid in the water supply lurks when they believe they can not only flout the Law real folk have to jump paper hoops and spend treasure to obey, but make a high-visibility repeat business out of it, brag as to their untouchability, then assume they can get away with all that, indefinitely.

    Those other charges that were dropped? Safe bet that possession of stupid pills with intent to distribute were among them.

    Go figure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Well wasn't he a fool!
    Eh, it was a grey area in the law for certain. He was pushing the definition of how much work is required to be able to claim you manufactured the 80% receiver the rest of the way. Obviously this guy just became a test case for how much "pushing the green button" is worth.

    All you not-quite-machinists who just swap parts and push the green button beware. Your boss doesn't appreciate you as a machinist, but now the government is on record saying that "just pushing the button" doesn't mean shit.

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    This case was certainly an interesting one. I wish it had not contained other issues like the unregistered full auto AK that was found in his possession.

    This machinist got caught up in a sting operation that was focused on another facility where they were factually and knowingly breaking the laws regarding the manufacture of firearms. In that location they did ALL of the work for you, and assembled the firearm for you, and provided magazines that were above the legal capacity for the state.

    The machinist who was just sentenced was involved in helping folks finish 80% AR receivers. But he did not do any work on the 80%. The customer put it in the machine, pressed the button, took it out of the vice, drilled the holes, reamed the holes, deburred the receiver. The customer paid a fee for use of the equipment and tooling.

    This prosecution lead to 'build parties' becoming illegal, even tho the law was not changed. This is and was a regulatory interpretation that has expanded the reach of government.

    Today in California (or KommiFornia) you must own or control (rent/lease) the property and own or control(rent/lease) the machine used in the completion of an 80% receiver.

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    So that would mean that hanging around after work to finish an 80% would be illegal if you were a lowly employee who didn't own/control the property or machine, even if you stand there and run it all day long. And even with the owner's approval.

    Of course, now someone will come up with a "milling lease" similar to the "hunting leases" that pop up here in Ohio every deer season. Or aircraft/boat fractional ownership leases. Same thing, just higher penalties if the constabulatory don't agree with your interpretation.

    Of course, the whole 80% completion deal is just about as sketchy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    So that would mean that hanging around after work to finish an 80% would be illegal if you were a lowly employee who didn't own/control the property or machine, even if you stand there and run it all day long. And even with the owner's approval.

    Of course, now someone will come up with a "milling lease" similar to the "hunting leases" that pop up here in Ohio every deer season. Or aircraft/boat fractional ownership leases. Same thing, just higher penalties if the constabulatory don't agree with your interpretation.

    Of course, the whole 80% completion deal is just about as sketchy.
    There's nothing sketchy about 80%s at all. You've always been able to make your own guns for personal use with no licensing requirements. The 80% receivers are just a chunk of "receiver shaped object" (literally) that still needs all the important bits done for it to work. It's just a couple steps past 'raw bar stock' or 'raw forging' in the process, but well before it reaches the legal definition of 'receiver'.

    The whole issue is just stupid dancing around what the definition of "is" is.

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    If your attempt to skirt a law comes to the attention of the authorities who make such regulations, and you piss them off, they will interpret THEIR regulations to burn you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock6.3 View Post
    The machinist who was just sentenced was involved in helping folks finish 80% AR receivers. But he did not do any work on the 80%. The customer put it in the machine, pressed the button, took it out of the vice, drilled the holes, reamed the holes, deburred the receiver. The customer paid a fee for use of the equipment and tooling.
    I think we can be sure the 'customer' did not have to code the toolpath, either.

    'Gray area' if customer even carried the code in on media, machine-renter having no sight as to whether it was copied, borrowed, stolen, or personally created by the 'customer'.

    When the toolpath is provided behind that button-push, it gets hard to say the customer did anything significant, and the machine-renter had not done.

    Either way, this class of s**t in general attracts more and more scrutiny, hardens attitudes, makes it tougher each year for the honest professionals to earn their crust.

    I can't see defending it on the nuances.

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    The thing I think is sketchy is the regulation, not the act of obeying it (or those who do obey it). No problem with them, but the reg is almost comically arbitrary. While I was mansplaining it to my wife last night, she rolled her eyes at the 80% number. And neither of is anti-gun at all.

    There's no problem with walking right up to the line and staying on the legal side of it. Where the shop owner goofed is when he stuck his ass way over the line and said "Nah, nah, nah, can't get me!" Then, of course, whomp.

    I think he would have won if A) He didn't have that fully-auto firearm, and B) if folks rented his manual machines to finish the parts manually. No programs, obvious skills necessary. But that's not the business model he chose...

    Chip

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    I had friends asking me why I wasn't doing the same thing, thinking there'd be big money to be made.

    Umm, no ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wesg View Post
    I had friends asking me why I wasn't doing the same thing, thinking there'd be big money to be made.

    Umm, no ...
    Ahh, no. That's just it. "Big Money"?

    Safer and more profitable to make 'billet' LED flashlight barrels with thousand-year alleged warranty, or pink-anodized 'sost pipe tips for making clapped-out Honda Civics dance faster to Mariachi band music.

    Easily as many fools out there. Less legal risk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock6.3 View Post

    This machinist got caught up in a sting operation that was focused on another facility where they were factually and knowingly breaking the laws regarding the manufacture of firearms.
    This so called "machinist" was known as 'Dr Death' online. Another fine upstanding citizen just going about his business....

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    This so called "machinist" was known as 'Dr Death' online. Another fine upstanding citizen just going about his business....
    I've seen much worse from much better people in Call of Duty lobbies.

    If you think that's bad... you should check walk around SHOT Show some time, and check out the general nomenclature, advertising imagery/wording, and products being sold. It's facepalms at every turn, lol.

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    Yup I won't even do serial numbers for some one else on my cnc.
    could be quite a short live market around here now that
    the state requires home builds to have serial number and be registered.

    Could just see some anti gun zealot in government interpreting that as manufacturing.
    might even be sticky with a ffl.

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    Have a neighbor friend, in his 80's, his brother is a retired airline pilot, former air force, 747's, obviously not an idiot. Well, for some reason he got enamoured with the "tax denier" crowd, or cult as it may be, and decided, despite the warnings of family, attorneys, accountants, everyone, that his retirement pay was not taxable. After **many** years of not paying taxes, the irs trying to work with him, people trying to reason with him, the irs finally confiscated his 50 acre spread, a house, cash. Similar mentality it seems.

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    It's my understanding there was considerable "color" in the case. Not just the NFA item, but also a prohibited person. Either of those makes it easier to get a conviction.
    Pretty much all of us that own cnc mills have had people asking for "help" with stuff like this.
    Here is CA, there's been considerable effort by the DOJ/.gov/politicians to limit/discourage/long term end firearms ownership. The demographic of the state has changed a bunch in the last 40 years. I don't see it changing in my lifetime....

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    Quote Originally Posted by sealark37 View Post
    If your attempt to skirt a law comes to the attention of the authorities who make such regulations, and you piss them off, they will interpret THEIR regulations to burn you.
    That pretty well sums it up. There's thousands and thousands of federal, state and local firearms regulations. Somewhere in all those there's likely a way to drop the hammer on just about anybody.

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    I've never been a fan of laws professing to control criminal activity by regulating the actions of everyone else. However, the laws DO exist and penalties can be severe so it is wise to stay well inside of safe ground.

    What an "80% receiver" means is that only 20% or 1/5 of the work must be done by the end user/builder. Thus IMO it is not unreasonable to expect the builder to have sufficient skills to do the work himself. Simply pushing a button on a pre-programmed machine with an expert looking over your shoulder is hardly proof of such skills. I agree that the shop owner was clearly guilty of illegal manufacturing.

    The whole issue of 80% receivers is almost certain to receive additional scrutiny as more and more people go that route. If some of those people are unable to buy such an item (a finished lower) through an FFL and are trying to sidestep laws the blowback will be on everyone. Particularly those who live in places like California and Massachusetts should think carefully before going that route. In Mass. not too long ago our Attorney General chose to reinterpret the state's "assault weapon" ban (actually a prohibition of certain feature combinations) such that no AR-15 type could be sold, re-sold, or brought into the state as personal property. That left more than a few folks with recently or partially completed lowers unable to comply with the state's registration requirements. Most have moved them temporarily out of state awaiting either corrective action or deciding to move themselves out of state as well. This is a very tenuous situation at best and could easily happen to those in other restrictive states.

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    I don't believe 80% is a hard and fast rule. There are non-receivers with higher and lower percents available.

    ATFE has taken this pretty far with decisions since this case started. Now,one almost certainly can not use a machine located in a non-profit makerspace to which they are a member without the makerspace having an FFL.
    There are some issues with California law v. the free states in relation to ATFE requiring persons to follow local laws in order to be in compliance with federal regulations.


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