As we take a minute to breathe and welcome the New Year, there is an unfortunate a bitter taste of new laws and legislation. Most of the nation does not have to deal with this new pile of restrictions and limitations, but our valued patrons from California are left in wonder about what these new laws mean to gun owners. We are hoping to provide some clarification on this issue. Please know this is not legal advice, and we do not have a background in law, nor did we have the aid of a lawyer when reviewing these changes. We were hoping to share our understanding of the changes taking place and hopefully provide some clarity to these changes as we see them.

There are three main issues to discuss that involve the purchase of lower receivers in the state of California:

  1. The first would be purchasing a 100% Stripped Lower Receiver,

  2. The second would be purchasing 80% Lowers,

  3. And lastly, what is a “Featureless Rifle” everyone is talking about?

 

  1. When purchasing 100% Stripped Lowers not a lot has changed. They can still be purchased online and transferred to your local FFL (You might shop around as transfer fees do vary). Once they arrive at your local FFL facility you can go in and sign for them and then begin your 10 day “cooling off” period. 10 Days later you can return to your local FFL gun store and take possession of you lower receivers. Now that you have them in your procession you are legally allowed to make a “Featureless Rifle” which we will talk more about later.

  2. Looking at 80% Lower Receivers, there are a few adjustments to keep in mind. Because these items are not considered “Firearms” by the ATF standard, they do not go through the same processes as purchasing a Firearm.

    • These items can be mailed directly to your house.

    • There is no FFL or DROS paperwork required at the time of purchase.

The new law states that 80% lower, purchased after 12/31/2016, upon completing your lower receiver it will need to be registered and be issued an identifying number from the DOJ and when built, it will need to follow the same “Featureless Rifle” criteria.

For 80% Lower Receivers purchased before the first of the year there are some options. By the letter of the law and assuming no repeal of these laws, ALL 80% lowers will need to be registered with identifying markings with the DOJ by 2018. Obviously, regulating and enforcing this will be a logistical nightmare. If you purchased your 80% Lower Receiver prior to the first of the year, you have the option to build the California legal weapon that was available and legal last year. This will require you to register the weapon, when the time comes, as an assault weapon which will forfeit certain rights for that particular weapon (IE can not sell it in CA, it may not be inherited or passed down, and some other “small” infringements on your 2nd Amendment rights). The hope is that these new laws can be pushed to the ballot later this year, and we will have the opportunity to vote on them.

Keep your eyes open for petitions regarding the issue, as for this to happen it will undoubtedly require signatures. Note that there is no law or issue with owning unfinished 80% lower receivers, however, once they are finished, these new laws apply.

  1. Now let’s discuss the “Featureless Rifle” we have mentioned earlier. They have added limitations to various parts of the rifle that include the butt stock, the forward grip, the pistol grip, flash compensators, and the CA bullet button. The new laws states that the butt stock needs to be a fixed length and can no longer be adjustable or collapsible. On the hand guard it is no longer permitted to have a forward grip. The pistol grip is also no longer a legal option and we can only use muzzle breaks and not flash compensators. The CA Bullet Button is being discussed and potentially changed, but last we have heard, there has not been a finalized revision from the DOJ.

There is a great video on YouTube where a gentleman lays out these changes along with some innovative workarounds.


The reality is you can still make fun and functional rifles, and every time a law is passed it will encourage the enthusiasts to find innovative and unique ways to maintain compliance without sacrificing functionality. The sad part about these new laws is the folks that will follow these laws are the same folks that follow other laws, and aren’t the individuals California needs to be worried about. These laws seem to be attempting to make felons out of everyone who wants to own a rifle, but we have faith that even if these laws don’t get repealed, there will be innovative solutions to maintain compliance and allow law abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment Right, and Thrive!