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  1. #1
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    Default Question about unlicensed people working on guns

    Like anyone in this business, i get frequent requests for "fixit" work. I generally try not to encourage it, but recently a neighbor asked me to grind down an extractor for a Stevens pump shotgun. It seems they made two extractors, one thicker for heavy use. He got a replacement that turned out to be too thick for his gun. I put it on the surface grinder and immediately returned it along with the breechblock, the only parts I had. I have seen statements here about this sort of work possibly causing trouble. Recently I saw a revolver hammer in another shop that someone had asked the owner to do a minor repair on. I told him to get it out of sight and return it as soon as possible.

    What I am asking for here is a definite statement of the rules regarding this work.

    Bill

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    As long as you didn't have the receiver, you're OK with BATF.
    You do have to worry about liability. If the gun blows up and injures someone, you are in the line of fire. (pun intended)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    What I am asking for here is a definite statement of the rules regarding this work.Bill
    There is NO definitive answer. As the law reads maynah's statement is correct. However, I have read and heard of may people being harrassed for such minor cosmetic alterations as refinishing the furniture. However, all of the ones I have heard of are shops taking in some volume of work. Not some guy helping out his friend.

    There would be NOTHING in the FEDERAL law to prevent you from altering or manufacturing the two parts you described. As long as you don't have the receiver in your possession there is no LAW prohibiting your work. But I would think if you were to be doing this as a business you would probably get a visit or worse.

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    My BATF guy said if a person brought their serial numbered part and looked over your shoulder it would be OK. Don't keep it over night.

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    My understanding is that if the owner is there the entire time it is being worked on there is no trouble. (like Butch said above)

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    I just say no, it's too full or rules and maybes for the few dollars.
    Have enough problems with government regs, don't need added worry or lost sleep.
    If the gun owner is in your shop and gets a chip in his eyeball or any other hurt that rookies do in a machine shop,.... are you covered? That option seems sort of off the table.
    If the owner is sitting in the front office sipping coffee does the exclusion still apply in all cases or is the the gray area?
    To the few I know that are competition shooters and machinists I will give the use of my machines and tooling to do as they please.
    A very small trusted group that I will let loose in my shop but the machine is empty and fiddle with what you like. This costs me next to nothing, some electric and maybe a few carbide endmills but you do this for friends.
    I do not want to be turning the handles or doing the CAD/CAM processing.

    If you want to do gun work get in the game fully suited.
    One very good and long time friend in the carbide and toolholder business did this. I thought it crazy but has sort of worked out.
    Home | Spec Arms LLC
    Yet he still is one of big makers of carbide and holders and may be making your other name brand tools under a label.
    Carbide Cutting Tools | Spec Tool | Sparta, MI

    Now the net world has a source for some gun stuff and one of the best sources for special carbide/cbn/pcd in the USA.
    Yes in the tooling world my competition but we both know that, respect and deal with it. A figgen great guy runs these ops and came up from the bottom over so many years.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    Like anyone in this business, i get frequent requests for "fixit" work. I generally try not to encourage it, but recently a neighbor asked me to grind down an extractor for a Stevens pump shotgun. It seems they made two extractors, one thicker for heavy use. He got a replacement that turned out to be too thick for his gun. I put it on the surface grinder and immediately returned it along with the breechblock, the only parts I had. I have seen statements here about this sort of work possibly causing trouble. Recently I saw a revolver hammer in another shop that someone had asked the owner to do a minor repair on. I told him to get it out of sight and return it as soon as possible.

    What I am asking for here is a definite statement of the rules regarding this work.

    Bill
    I won't even make parts for my OWN firearms lo these many years.

    Not that the regs are ALL stacked against you. Only that it is a full-time job to remain aware of what the latest situation has become.

    Not worth the investment in - for example - you even having to take -time-out to seek guidance on THIS part, here and now.

    A brazillion pompous "wannabee's" aside, there still are "real" gunsmiths out there (several on this forum included..) who ARE licensed, regulated, and DO (try to) stay current with ever-so-many regs and changes and interpretations and ... changes... and abuses and ...changes.. then also do the work to earn an honest living on top of all that mess.

    IF/AS/WHEN I actually need sumthin'?

    More than happy to hire one of those worthy professionals to git 'er done and not have to worry over what THEY already know.

    "DIY" just isn't worth it. The individual need is too infrequent.

    If you ain't in the habit of buying overly-fragile firearms, nor abusing them, it probably never WAS worth it to "DIY".

    Then again, some folk would try to fab their own radial tires or false-teeth or make a set for the neighbour's over-age-in-grade dawg. The teeth, not the tires.


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    These are very rare quick jobs for nothing but good will. Re the extractor, I knocked a pin out of his breech block and ground about .020" off the part. The owner's shop selling rock and mountain climbing gear and camping equipment is about 50 feet from mine, so I can just have him hang around while I do something. We trade all sorts of things, including the Thanksgiving dinner his mother has invited me to.

    Even George Orwell's Big Brother would have trouble catching me at this job.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    These are very rare quick jobs for nothing but good will. Re the extractor, I knocked a pin out of his breech block and ground about .020" off the part. The owner's shop selling rock and mountain climbing gear and camping equipment is about 50 feet from mine, so I can just have him hang around while I do something. We trade all sorts of things, including the Thanksgiving dinner his mother has invited me to.

    Even George Orwell's Big Brother would have trouble catching me at this job.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Bill
    Yah but...

    George Orwell's "Big Brother" caught you at it when you started the thread on over-google-ized PM.

    And there you have it.

    We live in glass houses and then... turn on our OWN spotlights to light-up what is afoot in our own fish-bowls .. just in case it had somehow been missed!

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    My ATF examiner told me that the #1 criterion used by the ATF as to whether or not you need a FFL to work on guns is whether or not you're charging money for doing so.

    If you're working on gun parts for no monetary consideration, and especially when you don't have the whole gun in your shop (ie, there was no transfer of a gun from the owner to you without the serial #'d part), you're not in need of a FFL from the ATF's perspective.

    Now, if you were making parts, even non-serial #'d parts, en masse for guns... that might be a different issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Yah but...

    George Orwell's "Big Brother" caught you at it when you started the thread on over-google-ized PM.
    I thought of that before posting. I have no doubt that near Alexandria, VA there is a nuclear bomb proof bunker containing a super computer monitoring everything we write.

    There is a type of clamp with parallel jaws used to hold silk screen printing frames, still known as "silk clamps" although most screens are polyester now. I'm told that BDSM folks use them to inflict controlled pain. Reportedly someone into that used the term on his cell phone. Immediately his computer screen filed up with ads for silk garments. No doubt a computer flagged the word "silk".

    Since the examples of gun repair were so minor, I didn't worry too much. Besides I am no doubt already on the high risk list. I did manage to get a secret clearance back in cold war days.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyop View Post
    My ATF examiner told me that the #1 criterion used by the ATF as to whether or not you need a FFL to work on guns is whether or not you're charging money for doing so.

    If you're working on gun parts for no monetary consideration, and especially when you don't have the whole gun in your shop (ie, there was no transfer of a gun from the owner to you without the serial #'d part), you're not in need of a FFL from the ATF's perspective.

    Now, if you were making parts, even non-serial #'d parts, en masse for guns... that might be a different issue.
    I don't believe even making parts is a problem. That is, as long as they are not to convert a semi-auto to fully automatic fire or are making the guns themselves (or what the ATF considers guns, ie. AR lowers, etc.) Nothing wrong with making barrels, triggers (semi auto), sights, springs, etc. as the "parts" are not controlled.

    JMHO

    -Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalCarnage View Post
    I don't believe even making parts is a problem. That is, as long as they are not to convert a semi-auto to fully automatic fire or are making the guns themselves (or what the ATF considers guns, ie. AR lowers, etc.) Nothing wrong with making barrels, triggers (semi auto), sights, springs, etc. as the "parts" are not controlled.

    JMHO

    -Ron
    If you're making parts that can be readily assembled into a firearm, you can run into ITAR issues.

    For example, barrels. You either have to get your customers to certify that they're not going to export said product, or you need to become licensed as a 07 FL and then pay the ITAR licensing fee. Here, the ATF isn't the one setting the agenda, it is the US State Department. A bigger pack of fools and idiots you will not find than the US State Department, BTW. I've had to deal with these same people on computer parts & system sales in the 1980's, for the same treaty reasons.

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    Point taken. The laws and the ATF are a huge poo-show when it comes to firearms. It is always best to read the laws directly from the ATF or if you have questions give them a call (but get it all in writing because their agents don't necessarily know what the law is either.)

    -Ron

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyop View Post
    If you're making parts that can be readily assembled into a firearm, you can run into ITAR issues.

    For example, barrels. You either have to get your customers to certify that they're not going to export said product, or you need to become licensed as a 07 FL and then pay the ITAR licensing fee. Here, the ATF isn't the one setting the agenda, it is the US State Department. A bigger pack of fools and idiots you will not find than the US State Department, BTW. I've had to deal with these same people on computer parts & system sales in the 1980's, for the same treaty reasons.
    Quote Originally Posted by MetalCarnage View Post
    Point taken. The laws and the ATF are a huge poo-show when it comes to firearms. It is always best to read the laws directly from the ATF or if you have questions give them a call (but get it all in writing because their agents don't necessarily know what the law is either.)

    -Ron
    Point is.. that EVEN IF one is fully aware of ATF AND ITAR rules... while their OWN staff may NOT be..

    They are not even the only potential players as can stitch a person up, harmfully, expensively, now and then FATALLY, and even if only out of ignorance, accident, neglect, mistaken interpretation or mistaken identity.

    Or - be-you-rock-rats, lest we forget - off circling their own "deep state" or "swamp" wagon-train to protect themselves from criticism for some PRIOR mistake of their own tribe!

    What is to be "saved" in time and money over that sort of risk, however slight or however severe, either one?

    .. vs paying a few bucks to a proper gunsmith who IS bearing this burden just to pursue his honest craft?

    Give these poor sufferin' folks a bit of trade now, or prepare to see them give it up, and THEN even simple stuff will go clear unavailable, be done dangerously, illegally, priced clear out of sight, all or some combination of the above.

    "Support your local Sheriff". Yes. Good ones to be respected. Even a bad one can be removed, population cares enough. Or one individual can move-house to a cleaner venue. Distant and pervasive Federals? Not so easily avoided.

    "Support your local gunsmith", too. Same yardstick. Same "voting" with the spend else travel to find better if need be. Why would it not be?

    I never worked "for free". Whom does for long? Why should they be bypassed for DIY, pretenders, and dangerous wannabee's calling themselves a "gunsmith" because they can tell breech from muzzle three times outta five, sometimes even on a firearm?

    2CW

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    My understanding of it has always been if you make a reciever for someone else to sell (intent) you may be getting past the edge of the line. If you make a suppressor baffle (Yup, BATF says a suppressor part is just as illegal if made without a stamp as the whole thing!) or a full auto device you are treading on thin ice, but! all those laws are, in my opinion, based on the reading of the second amendment, infringements ensconced illegally into our laws long ago.

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    But they own the penitentiaries, and the courts, and the judges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post
    But they own the penitentiaries, and the courts, and the judges.
    If there WAS any sort of consistent "THEY", at least it could be understood, right, wrong, or indifferent.

    Part of the problem is that whilst "the Law" is meant be swift, sure, and impartial, it hasn't been for ages.

    And while it was meant to NOT be capricious and arbitrary, is has become so.

    "Administrative Law" displacing far too much of statute or common law, a major driver of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Point is.. that EVEN IF one is fully aware of ATF AND ITAR rules... while their OWN staff may NOT be..


    2CW
    This right here, is major truth. It is true with the IRS, it is true with the BATFE, it is true with the State Department.

    I know FFL's/gunsmiths that have gotten into arguments with ATF FFL inspectors on the interpretation of the ATF's regulations on what a "bound book" is. This FFL/smith had the federal reg change, from the Federal Register, in their hand. They had a letter from the ATF's legal office back in West Virginia. Their FFL examiner came out to look at their books and she flipped when she saw that the "bound book" was now three-hole punched, with serial #'d pages that could be removed.

    She threatened to shut them down. He showed her the reg change, and the letter from ATF's home office on their view on the rule change. Not good enough for her. She stomped out, started calling her home office. She returned later in the afternoon, seriously pissed off, and tried to find some fault with their books and paperwork. Finding nothing, she stormed out.

    There are lots of people in regulatory enforcement that don't really know their own regulations. I've seen this in multiple federal agencies. If you're going to walk up to the line and stay on the legal side, you better have done your homework and have paper evidence that you've looked at the regs in your hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyop View Post
    She stomped out, started calling her home office. She returned later in the afternoon, seriously pissed off, and tried to find some fault with their books and paperwork. Finding nothing, she stormed out.
    And there you have it. Marked in her file as "problematic" for vengeance as opportunity arises, potentially by others of the tribe, and multiple years into the far future.

    Not "law enforcement professionals" as do yah in.

    An entire field-army of OFFICIOUS f**king CLERKS, prime directive a fat Government retirement check, mutual covering of asses. Sod any barriers to securing it, all available orifices, new holes bored as suit their whims.

    "Deep State" or "swamp" take many forms, many agencies, are not even political in the conventional sense. DJT didn't "invent" these as a new thing. Been a cancer growing for ages - long before the USA even came into being, Persia, then Rome had the same embedded parasitism and self-serving corruption. Monarchist Spain virtually perfected it, spread it far and wide. Imperial Japan did much the same.

    Self-serving parasites dedicated to their own survival and advancement off Other People's Money, and "fuck we" for episodes of their stress-relief along the way.

    IRS have actually improved their act.

    Social Security is playing games of late.

    Even so, both are far higher rated than CONGRESS, ATF may be as well, "Brand immaterial", even - not all that "partisan", after all!

    Not YET, anyway.

    Congress-critters shut down the FedGov next go over another budget impasse?

    I'd love to see DJT give up fighting that, make it permanent, turn it all back to the individual States to sort 'til after the next General elections.

    States are where the power WAS, and was meant to REMAIN. They do OK for their citizens - at least "on average".

    Don't LIKE your one's performance? Move house.

    Let the parasite infestation die-off, starved of taxes. Start over, later.

    Start-over with about ten-percent as many Federal Munchkins, too. Limit Federal service to ten years max in a full lifetime, no more than four years in succession. BAN anyone with experience prior to 1 January, 2021.

    We've won MAJOR WARS off the back of conscript armies as wanted to simply git 'er DONE and go TF home to a healthy family and a wiser use of their time.

    They were NOT all 'young people", lacking in experience, either.

    Why not win this one?


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