The following is a video transcript.
Today, we will answer the most commonly asked questions we get from U.S. LawShield members regarding firearm building and customization. First, let’s talk about bump stocks under federal and Florida law.
Many firearm enthusiasts prefer to customize their firearms. Unfortunately, gun laws often change and customizations that were legal one day can become illegal the next. One popular customization that is now illegal under both federal and Florida law is the addition of a bump stock to a rifle. A bump stock causes a rifle to bump fire, meaning the rifle uses the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire ammunition in a rapid succession, similar to a fully automatic weapon.
Most people are aware that both federal, and state law in Florida now ban bump stocks. However, many are unaware Florida’s law went much further. Under Florida law, bump-fire stock is defined to mean “a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semi-automatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.”
Reading the definition should cause concern. It is so vague it could include almost any modification to your firearm. There are many items sold that can accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm (including both handguns and rifles), without making them automatic weapons. It can be argued that lightening the pressure necessary to pull the trigger increases the rate of fire to a faster rate than possible unassisted by a kit, tool, accessory or device. Until a court rules on this, understand you may become the test case if you modify your firearm to fire more easily by decreasing the pressure necessary.
Other accessories that can fall under this definition include, but are not limited to: traditional bump stocks, crank fire devices, binary triggers, and many more commercially available conversion kits or devices.
Building Your Own Firearm
Another common question refers to kits to build your own firearm. People wonder if it’s legal to buy kits online or locally and use it to build their own unregistered firearm. Guns built from these kits do not have serial numbers and are commonly referred to as “ghost guns.” Under federal and Florida law, it’s legal to possess a firearm you manufacture without a serial number. However, it is illegal for any other person than the person who manufactures the firearm kit to possess it.
According to the ATF, a license is not required to make a firearm solely for personal use. However, a license is required to manufacture firearms for sale or distribution. The law prohibits a person from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or shotgun from 10 or more imported parts, as well as firearms which cannot be detected by metal detectors or X-ray machines. In addition, making an NFA firearm such as a short-barreled rifle requires a tax payment and advance approval by the ATF.
If you have any further questions regarding modifying or making your own firearm, please give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.