Am I Required to Apply a Serial Number to an 80 Lower I Finish Myself?

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First off, we are not lawyers, we do not work for the ATF, DO NOT consider this legal advice. But the answer is Yes and No when it comes to finishing an 80 lower.

When you complete any AR build or complete an 80 lower, according to the ATF, homemade firearms are not required to be marked with a serial number as long as they remain in the possession of the original owner, BUT SHOULD BE, as a safeguard in the event the firearm is lost or stolen.

So basically, if you have an un-marked AR or complete 80 lower and it is stolen and it is reported, there could be consequences.

A serial number IS REQUIRED IF TO LAWFULLY TRANSFER your firearm to another individual.

You can own as many complete or incomplete 80 lowers you’d like as long as you can legally own a firearm.

For all you Californians, buckle up, because it gets a little tricky for you folks on the west coast…

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IN CALIFORNIA ONLY: on July, 2016, California passed AB 857. This law requires all completed firearms to have a serial number applied by Jan 1, 2019. An 80% lower receiver is not a firearm, so a serial number would only be required once the 80% lower is completed.

For those Californians who engraved a serial number onto your 80% lower prior to July 1, 2018, you are not affected by this law and you do not need to notify any government agency that you built a firearm. Nor do you need to apply to the state or tell them what your customized serial number is.

For those of you unfortunate enough to have missed that July deadline, if you built an 80% lower receiver after July 1, 2018, you must FIRST apply to the California DOJ for a serial number. This requires the necessary paperwork and fee. The state will then assign uyo a serial number that you are REQUIRED to put onto your lower. You cannot choose your own, you must use what the government provides. Failing to do so will result in penalty from the state.

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