AK47 legal question

This is a discussion on AK47 legal question within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This is my first post. Hope I'm setting it up ok. My wife shocked me by buying me an AK47 (Romanian WASR 10) for Christmas. ...

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Thread: AK47 legal question

  1. #1
    Member Array cloudy's Avatar
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    AK47 legal question

    This is my first post. Hope I'm setting it up ok.

    My wife shocked me by buying me an AK47 (Romanian WASR 10) for Christmas. It may not be a high quality firearm, but it's a fun gun to shoot and a great price. I notice that the muzzle has a threaded muzzle cap which is tack welded in place. I can easily cut this weld with a dremel tool and restore the use of the threads, and replace the muzzle cap with a flash hider or compensator. Since this is a "post-post ban gun" (don't know what else to call guns sold after the ban expired), is it legal for me to do this modification? Is there some other reason besides the old ban that would have required this muzzle cap to be welded in place?

    Another site suggested that the Romanians welded caps on these threaded barrels to comply with import laws. If so, was that just to comply with the now-expired ban? Thanks for any help.

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    This is a very murky area of the law. Jon Gutmacher examines this issue in his book, and concludes that it is possible to make some modifications to your imported rifle and be OK, but it is also possible to land in serious trouble.

    The short answer is that the caps are there for import purposes, and modifying them could be risky.

    Mr. Gutmacher specifically discusses adding a flash suppressor as being a no-no.

    Matt
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    Member Array cloudy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply Matt. Unless I hear some strong argument otherwise, I will leave the cap alone. I don't really need a flash hider, I just thought "why not" (if legal).

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    Senior Member Array Ride4TheBrand's Avatar
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    And welcome to the forum!
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    Distinguished Member Array BIG E's Avatar
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    I have an SKS and have added a flash suppressor, but it is pinned in place. I think the real issue lies with the threads and the capability of adding more than just a suppressor. It's the whole ability to quick change that they worry about.

    Anyone please feel free to to correct me here.
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    Senior Member Array Ride4TheBrand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    Mr. Gutmacher specifically discusses adding a flash suppressor as being a no-no.
    However, he wrote his book while the ban was still in place.. 1999, I believe.

    The ban expired in September of 2004. Flash suppresors are quite legal, as are 30 round magazines, folding stocks, etc ... which at one time were banned.

    Still, some states (i.e. California) choose to ban certain characteristics of certain firearms.
    "We must remember that one man is much
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    No I'm no lawyer but I have a WASR-10 that I bought from a friend and it's just a naked barrel in front of the sight.
    I also purchased one of those "kits" (all the AK parts w/ a cut reciever) and it has a muzzle break, granted it wasn't a firearm at the time I purchased it.
    I'm not sure of the barrel length but if you have anything pinned or welded on it counts to the length if its removable then the barrel itself needs to be 16" +.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride4TheBrand View Post
    However, he wrote his book while the ban was still in place.. 1999, I believe.

    The ban expired in September of 2004. Flash suppresors are quite legal, as are 30 round magazines, folding stocks, etc ... which at one time were banned.

    Still, some states (i.e. California) choose to ban certain characteristics of certain firearms.
    This was from the 6th edition, written in 2005.

    He specifically discusses the post-ban era, so I don't think this chapter carried over from the first edition.

    I know flash suppressors are legal - there's one on the end of my scary black rifle (along with a collapsable stock, bayonet lug, 30 round mag, etc)

    But because this is an imported AK, the law preventing hanging a flash suppressor on it is not the gone-and-not-missed AWB, but rather the BATFE regulations.

    Matt
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    Related question - say, hypothetically speaking of course, I was given a Chinese (Norinnco) SKS that the previous owner had removed the bayonet from? I think it's ok, even though it's not in the original military configuration which is important for the rifle to be a "curio and relic". This SKS wouldn't have any other military features I can think of, no night sights, no grenade launcher, no threads on the end of the barrel, and it would have the standard 10 round internal magazine. I don't know when this rifle would have been imported. Since the AWB expired, is the issue of "pre-ban" or "post-ban" still important?

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    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    just to (possibly) clear things up here, it seems that there are two "bans" that people are talking about.

    One, the more well known, is the Federal Assault Weapon ban that lasted from 1994 - 2004. This dealt with "high capacity" magazines, evil features, semi-autos, etc.

    The other is an import "ban" related to USC 992(r)
    This deals with the number of parts (of foreign origin vs US origin) a gun can have before it is an illegally imported assault weapon. This is still in effect and why it can be considered illegal to change something as simple as a stock or magazine on an SKS without adding more US made parts to the rifle. This whole law is the cause of very much confusion if you ask me.

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    There is something else to think about.

    Although there may be restrictions on the importation of some items, these restriction are in place to prevent someone from DEALING in these things...meaning that a dealer may not legally get around the restrictions.

    There was alot of confusion on the "assault weapons ban" after it expiered. Since it is techincally gone, gonzo,kaput, those restrictions are NO longer valid, so whether a gun is a post,pre,post-post is irrevelant. You can do whatever you want to your gun as long as it doe not violate local or federal ordinances. There is a good buisness out there changing stocks,threading barrels and restoring bayonet lugs to pre ban rifles.

    The other is an import "ban" related to USC 992(r)
    This deals with the number of parts (of foreign origin vs US origin) a gun can have before it is an illegally imported assault weapon. This is still in effect and why it can be considered illegal to change something as simple as a stock or magazine on an SKS without adding more US made parts to the rifle. This whole law is the cause of very much confusion if you ask me.
    Confusion...that the Government is expert at creating...

    However that law specifically forbids certain guns from being IMPORTED without certain parts. If you have an FFL you cannot alter said guns from their original configuration. That does not mean that an individual cannot do that to their own gun.

    So, if you want to put a folding stock on an AK or an SKS, so far it is not illegal to do so...unless it is in your locality.If you want to get rid of that atrocious looking thumbhole stock on your post ban you can.

    This goes with the usual disclaimer...I am not a lawyer but it has been explained to me in detail by one that deals several milllon a year in weapons sales and has quite a buisness selling aftermarket parts. Since he just got audited by the BATF a few months ago and came out smelling like a rose, I would say that he has a little bit of a clue...


    However just to be safe, when in doubt write the ATF. They have whole dept. of folks that exist just to answer questions.
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    If you guys check this thread again, I want to thank you all again for helping out.


    I am not surprised that this is a murky subject. That was the impression I had after doing some investigating before making this post. Ride4TheBrand told me what I wanted to hear, but MattLarson and Raysheen tell me what I suspected, that there are two bans which are creating confusion, and the one which impacts me would be the import ban.

    That said, Hotguns makes a point that sounds valid too, that the import rules deal with importation, not the user. Still...after recently seeing how the feds bend or make up their own rules with impunity
    (as they nailed some 80% complete receiver manufacturers), I know you can't be too careful with these guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    However that law specifically forbids certain guns from being IMPORTED without certain parts. If you have an FFL you cannot alter said guns from their original configuration. That does not mean that an individual cannot do that to their own gun.

    So, if you want to put a folding stock on an AK or an SKS, so far it is not illegal to do so...unless it is in your locality.If you want to get rid of that atrocious looking thumbhole stock on your post ban you can.
    This is an area of confusion for everyone, including those that are legal pros and the BATF. However, just about everyone I know that plays with the AK rifle takes the safe route and inserts enough US made parts to make it legal. Usually you're talking about the fire control group, pistol grip, and maybe a stock. Nothing too major. The AK is so simple that anyone here can do the work. And, you know you'll be safe if you get under the magic number of parts to make it a domestic rifle.


    However just to be safe, when in doubt write the ATF. They have whole dept. of folks that exist just to answer questions.
    That is great advice, but those folks do at times get the answer wrong, or contradict other folks in the office. If you feel the need to call, document the call and what was said just in case.
    Last edited by Echo_Four; December 28th, 2006 at 06:09 AM.
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    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudy View Post
    I am not surprised that this is a murky subject. That was the impression I had after doing some investigating before making this post. Ride4TheBrand told me what I wanted to hear, but MattLarson and Raysheen tell me what I suspected, that there are two bans which are creating confusion, and the one which impacts me would be the import ban.

    That said, Hotguns makes a point that sounds valid too, that the import rules deal with importation, not the user. Still...after recently seeing how the feds bend or make up their own rules with impunity
    (as they nailed some 80% complete receiver manufacturers), I know you can't be too careful with these guys.

    yeah definately murky! just another thing to note...the importation ban is section 925 but 992(r) doesn't deal with importation or dealers (except where it exempts them)...it specifically states "no person..." doesn't say anything about licensees

    (a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.
    (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

    (1) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or

    (2) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the provisions of Sec. 178.151; or

    (3) The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into or assembled in the United States prior to November 30, 1990, or the replacement of any part of such firearm.

    (c) For purposes of this section, the term imported parts are:

    (1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings
    (2) Barrels
    (3) Barrel extensions
    (4) Mounting blocks (trunions)
    (5) Muzzle attachments
    (6) Bolts
    (7) Bolt carriers
    (8) Operating rods
    (9) Gas pistons
    (10) Trigger housings
    (11) Triggers
    (12) Hammers
    (13) Sears
    (14) Disconnectors
    (15) Butt stocks
    (16) Pistol grips
    (17) Forearms, hand guards
    (18) Magazine bodies
    (19) Followers
    (20) Floor plates
    This law is certainly controversial as to what, exactly, it applies to...some think it is very simple, others think it's very complicated. I've seen good arguments on both sides for what it applies to but needless to say echo four hit the nail on the head saying that both legal pros and BATF both have "problems" interpreting this law sometimes. Just my opinion.

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    From raysheen post: (a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section.....

    Interesting Raysheen. Perhaps the reason the cap on my threaded muzzle is tack-welded in place was just to keep the imported parts number below 10, with the thought being that a welded piece is not considered an attachment but a part of the barrel. If so, then removing the imported cap and attaching a US- made legal muzzle attachment might be fine.

    Though I hate the idea of talking to them, I may write the BATF, though from the ATF site it doesn't look too obvious how to go about contacting them. I'm actually surprised you guys say that they would answer questions. I figured the BATF would be like most federal agencies, that they don't want to clearly define or explain laws, but would prefer we guess as to how the laws apply. I know this is how things often work with OSHA and the FDA.

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