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How to Trick Out your Gun and Not Land in Jail

Have you ever wanted your firearm to look like the ones in the movies? Independent Program Edwin Walker lets you know what’s legal and what’s not legal, under federal law, to add to your firearms, so you can legally have the most tricked out gun around. Stay tuned for Part 2 in our next Newsletter. You will hear from your state’s Independent Program Attorney on the state laws for adding accessories to your firearm. 

Hi, I’m Edwin Walker independent program attorney for US and Texas LawShield. Many members have contacted us about modifying their firearms.

Firearms are becoming more and more modular. This means that you can add or attach many different devices and accessories, but you may wonder are any of these illegal or do they make my firearm illegal. Currently, under federal law, all accessories are legal to have and attach to your rifle.

For now, you may have heard about bump stocks. It’s a plastic stock that has a piece that covers the trigger. The Department of Justice has recently proposed a federal regulation that would redefine the word “machine-gun” to include bump stock type devices that allow a semi-automatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semi-automatic firearm to which is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

If this proposed regulation is made final, and becomes effective after the mandatory comment period, it will require that all bump stock type devices currently possessed by law-abiding citizens to be surrendered, destroyed, or rendered permanently inoperable even though this accessory had been produced for almost ten years and had previously been approved by the ATF as a completely lawful device. When it was used in the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, and the news media and politicians continuously stated that a bump stock turns a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun, its fate was sealed.

Most accessories that you may want to add to your handgun are also legal under federal law. However, there are two very big exceptions. If you add a vertical foregrip or stock to your handgun, you have made it an NFA weapon that is illegal to make or possess without getting the ATF’s approval and paying for a tax stamp.

This has caused many people to wonder about attaching a stabilizing arm brace to a handgun, in particular attaching them to AR pistols. The ATF is determined that as long as you use the stabilizing brace as it was designed, and you do not alter it for the purposes of intentionally using it to fire the handgun from your shoulder, you are not breaking the law. This shows how accessories can be legal, but its misuse may be illegal.

Therefore, to answer the question can I have a laser-guided grenade launcher? The ATF says the answer is yes if it has been designed or redesigned for use as a signaling pyrotechnic line throwing safety or similar device. However, if you possess a grenade or rocket launcher in conjunction with any anti-personnel projectiles such as: rockets, grenades, beanbags, or cartridges filled with pellets or balls, it is an ATF regulated NFA destructive device. So you can have the launcher but just be careful what you launch out of it.

Comment section

6 comments on “How to Trick Out your Gun and Not Land in Jail

    I have an ar rifle and it came with a vertical grip from the manufacturer, does that mean it is now illegal?

    No, as long as it is a legal rifle with a Barrell of 16″ or longer. If the barrel is within the legal guidelines, attaching a vertical foregrip is completely legal. However, I will say check with state and local laws before doing so, as some states and municipalities may say otherwise

    What does NFA stand for?

    NJ is considering an assault weapons ban with stricter standards… even 1 cosmetic feature, such as a pistol grip would be a prohibited rifle. Wouldn’t currently owned rifles have to be grandfathered? I thought ex post facto laws were unconstitutional.

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