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denial-form1Three months and one week after e-filing my Form 1 to turn that Lancer L15 into a short barreled rifle, I finally received the expected disapproval notice from the ATF (Nick gave us the heads up while my form was still pending). Unfortunately, after speaking to some folks in the know — FFL-07 + SOTs, those deeply involved in 2A politics in Washington State here, etc. — it does seem like the ATF’s interpretation of current Washington law is correct. When the state’s law banning the possession of SBRs was amended, going into effect almost exactly a year ago, it seemed that the intent was to simply defer to federal law on the subject. However, what happened was. . .

the legislature actually wrote specific language into the text of the amendment, precisely stating what SBR-related activities would now be legal:

(2) It is not unlawful for a person to possess, transport, acquire, or transfer a short-barreled rifle that is legally registered and possessed, transported, acquired, or transferred in accordance with federal law.

Unfortunately, “manufacture” or “make” or “assemble” isn’t mentioned, and apparently that is absolutely not covered under the legal definition of “acquire,” either. This becomes doubly clear when we read the text outlining what is illegal in Washington:

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in possession or under control, any [insert NFA items here]… or to assemble or repair any machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle…

Hmm. “Manufacture” is the first one out of the gate. Apparently this was an oversight. Whoops. At any rate, yeah, it sure does appear that manufacturing a SBR via Form 1 would not be legal for a resident of Washington after all. Even if that wasn’t in there, the law goes on to say that assembling or repairing an SBR is illegal, and the amendment from a year ago did not change that, either.

So…back to the drawing board we go. Amendments are already being drafted for future legislative sessions, and there is some agreement among representatives that the entire original point of last year’s amendment to this law was to defer to federal law anyway. Hopefully it isn’t too much of an uphill battle and we’ll see Form 1’d SBRs in Washington in the not-too-distant future.

Another alternative, although a bit annoying for all parties, will be to contract a licensed manufacturer (FFL-07 with SOT, I do believe) to have them manufacture an SBR for you from your shopping list of parts or from your provided parts (be careful of constructive possession in that case). They’ll assemble it, they’ll engrave it with their manufacturer info, then they’ll transfer it to you on a Form 4 — the same transfer process as if you were purchasing any other NFA item.

Obviously this process would come with added expenses (e.g. paying the manufacturer for building it, storing it for about 9 months, doing the transfer paperwork, etc…maybe even 11% excise tax on the completed rifle’s value in some cases?) you wouldn’t incur if you did it yourself.

For the time being, I suppose we Washingtonians are stuck with purchasing from the limited pool of factory SBRs on the market or jumping through some silly SOT hoops to end up with a custom model.

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  1. What’s with all the question marks in the “Reason for Disapproval”? Can they not get they formating and font correct on one legal document?

    • Fancy characters like “Section” characters (§) and curly quote marks (outside of standard basic ASCII character set) are being replaced with a “safe” placeholder, the lovely question mark.

  2. This law is definitely not hindering lawful gun owners and definitely stopping or reducing crime. Because all those criminals out there request approval from the ATF before building their own.


  3. Yet again the atf is making it very hard to be a law abiding citizen. Hmm makes sense.

    • I think that’s their point – make it so hard to obtain an SBR that you dont’ do it. Gun control through bureaucracy.

      • Law-abiding citizen: Pays $200, waits 6 months to be denied approval.

        Criminal: Assembles illegal SBR with no paperwork, tax, or delay.

        Yeah that’s effective.

        • In your scenario, the “criminal” is only deemed as such because he chose not to abide by a bullshit unconstitutional law.

          Not a single damn person is victimized by an unregistered NFA item, except for the federal government missing out on a tax fee and a registration form.

    • It makes perfect sense. There’s no purpose for any normal law-abiding citizen to want or need a SBR. It has no sporting value. Our forefathers only wanted us to use muskets for self defense, hunting and protection from tyranny.

      (I don’t think it’s necessary but to be safe I’ll add it). /sarc

    • I could establish a trust — or possibly move my current one — at a family lake cabin in Idaho. The trust could then own anything NFA, and if it’s SBRs then I could use a 5320.20 to bring them back and forth as much as I desire and suppressors can cross the border with no approval needed. I’ve been mulling it over and would do it tomorrow if I had $6k+++ for a machine gun (which could not travel to WA at all) but, alas, I do not.

  4. F – WA

    All you WAs out there, get your sh_t fixed in your evil house of blue before the next civil war.

    • Please direct your anger at the progressive left I-5 corridor centered around Seattle. The typical WA resident of history was an outdoor freedom loving person and set an example for American liberty. Sadly the WA Gov’t and parts of the populace have been infiltrated, many from CA. Most of us despise what is happening here.

      • Please direct your anger at Olympia, and certain neighborhoods in Seattle and Tacoma. The rest of us around Puget Sound don’t like being lumped in with them.

        • Some experts believe that God is already targeting the regions you suggest:

          Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

          In the Pacific Northwest, everything west of Interstate 5 covers some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people.

      • “Please direct your anger at . . .” I don’t know if it is anger, frustration or what.

        I always try to play the argument out to the end. 1) Me (we) are the nameless/faceless “they” that is threatening their security by owning/transferring/using firearms. We are the stupid rabble that’s not sophisticated enough to understand. SO, I’m just giving that back every chance I get. WA is a small state, and it doesn’t matter how many dead people voted in the evil (D) there, they don’t speak for me, and I will push back as necessary to prevent their uselessness from speaking for America.
        2) Just think in terms of civil war. Do you need/will you submit yourself to having ask your neighbors for permission to start one? What if it was a Civil War to support and defend the Constitution? If it came (comes) down to it (like it did in the last one), nobody is going weeding through a naughty or nice list. You fix the enemy that surrounds you and [if our bullets are traveling in the same direction] you might get lucky and not be counted among them. Don’t assume any one individual (or group massed against you) is coming to bail you out, because [by logic, and confirmed by history] there won’t be any civil discourse to sort that.
        3) Expand the same notion to war with China/Mexico. You can say there won’t be one [a ground war here], but, should one occur, what if the a-hole gun-grabbers didn’t get the brown and yellow to check their weapons at the border? You want to spool up on response capability on the fly? If so, you might be one of the whiney b_tches that complained about not enough body armor or up-armored HMMVs during our last middle-eastern vacation in Iraq, after years of defunding the military (especially in the MOB commands).

        Do not come to disarm me (even in the distant rumblings of disarmament up in WA) it all sounds like your coming to f-with me and mine, and I will respond likewise at every opportunity that I don’t first beat you to the punch. I beg the same from you. That is the only peace we will ever have between us until we meet GOD.

      • The irony in your comment is that “most of us” – i.e. most of WA residents – do in fact live in that I-5 corridor that you so hate.

        • 1-5, OPFOR, you say potatoe I say evil house of (D) pain in my a_ _ bs . DAMMIT, I love guns, I love them so much I had to give them up for LENT (and I break into a sweat thinking about it). I don’t know why I do, but I like talking about them, reading about them, shooting… all of it. Hover your cursor over the logo at the top of this page and read they byline. The first word is ethics, and the f-er’s we’re constantly referencing here DON’T HAVE ANY. Plus they like to pretend that their happy go lucky brand of bs hasn’t been tried before and been bitch-slapped every time (sometimes in a more littered eventuality). I don’t like the v-block of bs we have to get caught up in because we have to defend a position on that. I say some mean stuff here (TTAG). I don’t know why the blog bosses don’t come crush my head, but they’ve been exceptionally tolerant, and I pray they have a long and happy life and die amongst friends for that. But SH_T people, WTF? Why is what we love here being attacked constantly by liberal/blue-state/un-American a-holes? WHY? Who are these people? Why do I not find so many amongst my neighbors?
          “AMERICA” (what ever part of it you’re hiding in) isn’t really a place, (because real Americans can play this game anywhere, and GOD may let us stretch out into space before HE calls us all home). America is AN AGREEMENT. We all need to have the desire to uphold it, and defend it. Therefore we need the very means to do that. And we need the means to go do America again when you (they/me/anyone) goes and breaks it. I’ll end you for that, please come and off-me if I stray there too.

          Please get your 1-5 neighbors to wake up.

    • Easy tiger.. Only a small portion of the State is blue. But unfortunately it’s where the laws are made.

  5. Since when does the letter of the law matter? The legislature’s intent is all that matters, right? Good for the goose and all that.

    • That’s right. That is what the ATF said when you shoulder a sig brace – it’s all about intent right? They saw people’s intent to take $200 from the ATF – because they are entitled to it.

    • Beat me to it. SCOTUS latest rulings on Obamacare clearly show that we know longer need to heed the letter of the law, just the intent. Someone should clue the ATF in on that.

      Double standards… what a joke.

  6. So worst case you just have to by a registered SBR lower from a FFL that can deal in NFA? I know the form 1 paper work has a details about barrel length, overall length, and caliber.

    Can’t see where you have to bring them all the parts to make a complete gun, because the lower IS the complete gun as far as the .gov is concerned.

    Wonderful grey areas.

    • A lower is not an SBR and can’t be registered as one. To be a short barreled rifle it has to meet specific criteria like have a stock and have a barrel under 16″ (or have a stock and be under 26″ OAL), and like you said on the transfer paperwork the fields for caliber, barrel length, and overall length are mandatory. For the reason that it’s still illegal to assemble or repair an SBR in WA as well, what you describe would not work here either. If you want a custom SBR you could simply provide the FFL-manufacturer with all of the components.

  7. Have you folks seen the latest attempt by the Seattle City Council to tax ammo and firearms to raise money for gun violence issues ? Funny thing is, the Councilman who proposed it says he does not care if the gun shops in Seattle go out of business. Does that statement make any sense ? Raise more revenue by taxing them but who cares if they go out of business. More about making guns and ammo more expensive and harder to get for law abiding citizens than stopping illegal activity or gun crimes. Another “Progressive” trying to “do the right thing” by controlling the citizens in Seattle. This could be yet another strategy by the gun grabbers to restrict guns and ammo.

    • The Seattle city council has tried lots of illegal anti-gun actions in the past. They banned guns in city parks, then got sued, lost, and changed the ban to “no illegal weapons allowed”. (So it’s now illegal to illegally carry a weapon in Seattle parks.) They’ll pass this, Gottlieb will sue them, Seattle will lose, and the city tax payers will cover the legal costs on both sides. That’s why I live in Bellevue.

  8. Another example of why CLEO signature needs to go away.

    You can have a CLEO signed Form 1, but ATF will still overrule the CLEO and decide for themself it is not legal in CLEO jurisdiction.

  9. I really hope the ATF doesn’t try to go retroactive on the whole thing. I slid two SBR Form 1s in during the window.

    I’m not too concerned about getting prosecuted, since I believe the state attorney general’s interpretation was that form 1 SBR assembly was perfectly legal.

  10. Uh yeah so I know of quite a few people who got approved Form 1s just after the law was changed. THE ATF THEMSELVES APPROVED THOSE FORM 1s – now they suddenly decide to start denying them.

    What now? Are they in possession of illegal NFA items?

    Latest news from the giant thread on Arfcom is that the attorney behind Hollis vs. Holder is gearing up to take the state to court over this.

    for your reading pleasure:

  11. How does this effect your Scorpion build, Jeremy? I thought you had a form1 approved, but only had 922r issues to overcome. Sucks how a simple omission keeps y’all from SBRs the “easier” way.

    • Tons of SBRs were built via Form 1s in WA between July 2014 and ~March 2015 when ATF started denying them. Whether I believe this was technically in violation of state law or not, I wouldn’t want to guess…

  12. Oh, yeah, we’re totally gonna win this fight. We’re busy building coalitions to amend laws to ALLOW us to cut a few inches of barrel off. We got this in the bag. They’re right where they want us.

  13. As a Washington resident do you know the status of;

    “Amendments are already being drafted for future legislative sessions, and there is some agreement among representatives that the entire original point of last year’s amendment to this law was to defer to federal law anyway.”

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