Without a vote from any elected (i.e. accountable) official, the bureaucrats at the ATFE have essentially shut down the practice of building a firearm from an 80% lower. This is how laws are made in America today. No longer is it necessary for Congress to vote and send a bill to the president. The lessons we all learned while watching School House Rock are dead. Today, unelected bureaucrats make the rules that determine how we must live our lives.
Without a vote from Congress, ATFE Director, B. Todd Jones, released the following ruling, which makes it illegal for a machine shop to rent or loan their equipment to a private individual so that individual may complete an 80% receiver. It is also illegal for a private individual to complete an 80% in their friend or neighbor’s garage using using the friend’s equipment. Essentially this means the only way to complete an 80% lower is to buy your own equipment (jig, drill press, drill bits, or CNC machine, etc.) and finish it in your own home.
If a machine shop allows a person to use their equipment to finish an 80% lower, that machine shop is now required to serialize that lower and record and report the manufacture of that firearm to the federal government. They must also record to whom the firearms was transferred and they must have an FFL. Since that machine shop is now considered to be a manufacturer of firearms, they must also jump through a plethora of hoops and spend thousands of dollars on licensing at the state and local levels.
Here is a link to the 6-page ruling. The key 3 paragraph excerpt is below:
An FFL or unlicensed machine shop may also desire to make available its machinery (e.g., a computer numeric control or “CNC” machine), tools, or equipment to individuals who bring in raw materials, blanks, unfinished frames or receivers and/or other firearm parts for the purpose of creating operable firearms. Under the instruction or supervision of the FFL or unlicensed machine shop, the customers would initiate and/or manipulate the machinery, tools, or equipment to complete the frame or receiver, or entire weapon. The FFL or unlicensed machine shop would typically charge a fee for such activity, or receive some other form of compensation or benefit. This activity may occur either at a fixed premises, such as a machine shop, or a temporary location, such as a gun show or event.
A business (including an association or society) may not avoid the manufacturing license, marking, and recordkeeping requirements under the GCA simply by allowing individuals to initiate or manipulate a CNC machine, or to use machinery, tools, or equipment under its dominion or control to perform manufacturing processes on blanks, unfinished frames or receivers, or incomplete weapons. In these cases, the business controls access to, and use of, its machinery, tools, and equipment. Following manufacture, the business “distributes” a firearm when it returns or otherwise disposes a finished frame or receiver, or complete weapon to its customer. Such individuals or entities are, therefore, “engaged in the business” of manufacturing firearms even though unlicensed individuals may have assisted them in the manufacturing process.
Held, any person (including any corporation or other legal entity) engaged in the business of performing machining, molding, casting, forging, printing (additive manufacturing) or other manufacturing process to create a firearm frame or receiver, or to make a frame or receiver suitable for use as part of a “weapon … which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,” i.e., a “firearm,” must be licensed as a manufacturer under the GCA; identify (mark) any such firearm; and maintain required manufacturer’s records.