There are as many answers to this question as there are gun owners in California. And that’s because the laws around AR-15 rifles (and most anything else gun-related) can be pretty confusing if you’re not an aficionado of firearms and all the legal regulations surrounding them. That being said, almost everyone has heard of an AR-15, whether it be from media coverage of mass shootings or just general knowledge about popular guns. However, according to the legal statutes in place, you can totally build an AR-15 (or any other rifle) at home provided you first get the correct permits and meet certain requirements. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to know if you want to build an AR-
Can You Legally Build An AR-15 In California?
Yes, you can build an AR-15 in California using an 80% lower. The process is simple and you can do it at home. The only thing you need to do is to find a company that sells 80% lowers in California. Additionally, you need to follow the instructions given by the company and use a CNC machine to mill the lower down to 80%. You need to make sure that the CNC machine won’t modify any of the safety features of the lower.
What Is An AR-15?
- AR stands for “Armalite Rifle”, which was the name of the company that originally designed the rifle. An AR-15 is a type of semiautomatic rifle that is famous for being lightweight and easy to use.
- Originally manufactured for the military and police, AR-15s are now very commonly used for hunting, sport shooting, and self-defense. However, the rifle does have some distinct features that are often associated with so-called “assault weapons”, which is why it’s often at the center of debates over gun laws.
- Compared to other rifles, an AR-15 is typically shorter and utilizes a gas-powered piston system to eject spent shells. For comparison, an M-16 is a type of fully automatic rifle used by the military.
How To Build An AR-15 In California?
1. Build Your Own AR-15
Building your own AR-15 gives you the most flexibility when it comes to the parts you use. You can use any manufacturer, any caliber, and any configuration that you like. You can even mix and match parts from different manufacturers, so long as they are compatible. However, you must remember that the rifle needs to be at least 10 inches long. Building your own AR-15 is not for the faint of heart. It can be expensive and time-consuming, as you’ll need to source all of the parts. You’ll also need to be knowledgeable about the laws surrounding AR-15s.
2. Rebuild an Internally Violated AR-15
If you have an AR-15 that has been internally violated, you can rebuild it as long as you replace the barrel, the upper receiver, the bolt carrier, and the buttstock. If you rebuild an internally violated AR-15 with a fixed magazine, you can use a 30-round magazine. If you want to use a detachable magazine, you’ll need to use an aftermarket fixed magazine with a capacity of 10 rounds. When rebuilding a violated AR-15, you can use any caliber you like. You’ll also need to make sure that you don’t use a barrel that has a muzzle velocity of over 5,000 feet per second. You also need to remember to use a fixed magazine with a capacity of 10 rounds.
3. Use a Legal Stump Firing Assembly
A stump firing assembly is a fixed magazine that is attached to the end of the barrel. They are usually installed on an AR-style rifle with a short barrel. A stump firing assembly is a good option if you want to build a rifle on a short barrel with a detachable magazine. With a stump firing assembly, you can use a standard 30-round magazine and you’ll be completely compliant with California law. Remember to not use a stump firing assembly if you want to hunt deer, elk, bears, or other large animals. The law restricts the use of a stump firing assembly to targets less than 82 yards away.
4. Use a Legal Fixed Magazine
Do you want to build an AR-15 with a standard fixed magazine? You can do that as long as the magazine has a capacity of 10 rounds or less. You also have to use a fixed magazine if you have a stump firing assembly attached to your rifle. A fixed magazine can be removed from the rifle without the use of any tools. It is attached to the rifle with a fixed feed that does not allow the magazine to be removed without pressing a release button or flipping a lever. Before you go out and buy a new magazine for your AR-15, make sure that it has a capacity of 10 rounds or less. You also have to check that the magazine does not have any sort of device that increases the capacity. Using a standard fixed magazine on your AR-15 is a great way to stay compliant, especially if you don’t want to rebuild your firearm.
5. Install a Legal Flash Hider
There are a few different ways you can go about this. If you already have a flash hider installed on your rifle, you can get it evaluated by a certified gunsmith. They will let you know if the flash hider is legal or not. If you don’t have a flash hider installed, you can buy a California-compliant one that has a diameter of at least 1.5 inches. You can also use a muzzle brake or a noise suppressor, but those are not as common on AR-15s. Make sure that you get your flash hider installed on your rifle before you go to a range or out hunting, as you won’t be able to legally use it until it is installed. Flash hiders and muzzle brakes do not actually reduce the amount of muzzle flash produced when the rifle is fired. Instead, they direct the flash sideways, away from the person firing the rifle and the people near them. This makes them a great choice for hunters or anyone who plans on using their AR-15 in low light.
Why Can’t I Just Buy One?
- The fact is, due to the aforementioned features, you cannot just buy an assault rifle in California.
- First, you must have a valid permit, which requires you to provide proof of identity and residency.
- This is why you may have noticed that many assault rifles are not physically present at gun shops in California.
- They are simply being ordered online and shipped to the buyer’s home.
How To Register Your DIY AR-15?
- The best way to register a DIY AR-15 is to send it to the ATF. If you’re building an AR-15 for personal use, you won’t need to register the rifle with the ATF. However, if you want to sell your gun after building it, you’ll need to register that rifle with the ATF. The process of registering an AR-15 is pretty straightforward and can be done online or by sending your gun in paper form.
- The ATF will also require you to send them a copy of your receipt for all the parts you purchased. In order to register your DIY AR-15, you will need to send them a copy of your receipt for all the parts that you purchased.
- If you’re building an AR-15 rifle for personal use, though, the ATF won’t require you to register it with them. If this is what you have in mind and are looking to build an AR-15 rifle for personal use, there are several other ways in which you can legally own an AR-15 without needing to register it with the government. For example, if you build an AR-15 from scratch and keep it in your home or at a friend’s house, then legally own an AR-15. However, if it is not registered with the ATF, then technically it is not legal to own that rifle.
Provided you get the correct permits and follow all the laws, you can build your own rifle from scratch in California. However, be aware that building your own gun does require some expertise. You’ll want to research the laws surrounding firearms before starting and make sure you get the build kit and serial number correctly engraved. Furthermore, you’ll want to properly store and maintain your rifle, as well as keep it away from children.