ATF Releases 14 Point Clarification on 80% Lowers

November 11 2014
by GSL Staff
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Eighty percent lowers, they’re the talk of the gun industry right now.

The concept is simple enough – an AR-15 receiver that is only 80% finished is not legally considered a firearm. That means (in most states) that anyone can purchase one just as easily as you can purchase any other chunk of metal and finalize the machining to turn it into a functioning firearm for personal use only.

However, as we’ve seen in the past, some sellers have found themselves in hot water because what they thought was an 80% lower turned out to be a firearm by ATF standards. Well, the ATF decided to help prevent that from happening again. The agency has released a 14 point bulletin clarifying what is and is not considered a firearm and reminding people that 80% lowers are in fact legal.

Here are a few highlights:

1. Is ATF aware of the receiver blanks, commonly referred to as 80% receivers?
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.

2. What is an “80%” or “unfinished” receiver?
“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.

3. Are “80%” or “unfinished” receivers illegal?
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.





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