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AK-47 and the MA Law

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Upfront-I'm going to get the Chief Glidden Book that LenS recently provided a link to so I'll hopefully have the answers that I'm seeking. In the mean time I need your collective brain power about the legal implications of owning an AK-47 in MA.

1) Many shops in MA (including Four Seasons) advertises a Century Arms imported Ak_47 WASR10 with a 30 mag capacity.

I'm confused of why these particular guns are allowed because they are advertising them as "NEW". This is my logic. Is it valid?

While by some definition it is "NEW" as it contains some ratio of imported old parts vs new American manufacturered parts. There is more new than old parts so they can advertise as new while at the same time it has some old Communist parts before the ban so it can be sold in MA. (I'm confused about what MA Law allows this. Does it predate the AWB ban of 1994 or the MA gun law changes of 1998?) Bottom line-why are these guns allowed? Especially, the 30 Mag Capacity. Are they old mags? The gun I saw had what it appeared to be a pretty new mag.

2) Depending on the answers to #1 what do I need to be concerned with regarding buying other AK-47 outside of the Century Arms firearms that are in a few shops? This question pertains to buying from an Internet site and transfer to a local MA FFL.

3)Kits. If I buy a AK-47 kit mailorder and build it including adding a new receiver what are my legal liabilities? What do I need to be aware of?

4) If I get a kit and run into trouble completing it is there anyone in MA that I can send it off to and pay to complete? Will a FFL transfer be required when he completes the build?

Thanks for your help. From a high level I understand that the BATF has modified their import kit rules so I'm trying to figure out if I should pull the trigger on a kit before 12/31 or buy one of the new AK's for sale in many of the shops. I'll probably do both but I need to make sure that I understand the rules in MA.

Thanks
 
I'll try and cover as much as I can....
1. The WASR's are not Assault Weapons as per Mass law which refers to the old Federal Ban on Assault Weapons. It is a post ban rifle. These Wasr's that you can buy in Mass only have two evil features, the HI-Cap and pistol grip. If you were to add an FS or folding stock, it would then be illegal. It has 10 imported parts and 5 US. You would not be able to add any imported parts to it per Federal Regs but US parts are OK.

2. If you buy and build a kit, i believe that your imported parts count could be no more than 10 under Frederal Reg 922r.

3. See #2. You could buy a receiver flat and it would not have to go through a 01FFL. If you buy a 100% rec, it will have to be through an FFL. YOu can order a pay for the receiver but the company will want a copy of the FFL that you're using and it will have to be shipped to him and then transfered to you.

4. Don't know if anyone in Mass builds AK's for a "living". There are some people out of state that will do it for you.
If someone did it in state, I can't see why you'd need an FFL transfer. Out of state, yes an FFL would be needed. I could be wrong on these points.
If you buy a kit and receiver flat, you and only you can finish the receiver.

I hope that covers it....If not, let me know or someone please chime in.
 
Ok-I think I understand.

1)Any of the "Post Ban" AK variants are LEGAL in MA. These would include the WASR, SAR, ROMAK, etc. That's why in the description everyone also upfront describes it as "post ban" Does Post Ban mean the actual firearm was manufactured post 1994? Does that what post ban mean? Does it matter when it was imported into the country?

2) While Post Ban AK variants are legal the high capacity magazines manufacturered after Sept 1994 are not. The reason that the WASR 10 advertised by Four Seasons and Others is legal to have a high 30 capacity magazine is it must have been manufactured Pre-Ban correct? What threw me is that the mag looked brand spanking new. That was where some of my confusion was coming from.

It would be appreciated if you could confirm my understanding.
 
Post Ban means different things to different people. Where we still have the AWB in Mass. it means more to us than others.
As for those rifles you listed, yes they are indeed post ban and manufactured after '94. They are not Assault Weapons by definition until they are modified to have that 3rd magic feature, like the folding stock or FS.
I don't think it matters so much as to when it was imported but manufactured. My WASR is dated 1980's but it wasn't built into a rifle until sometime in the 2000's.

As for the mags that come with the WASR, they are Pre-Ban. You are correct, if the mag was manufactured pre '94, it is pre-ban. I have read that almost if not all imported AK mags are pre-ban. I cannot confirm this but they are not dated either.
The rifle does not have to be pre '94 to take a hi-cap mag. Only the hi-cap mag must be pre '94.

BTW: I have a WASR-10 and if you have any Q's about it I'll be happy to help.
 
A few points to review:

1. If Four Seasons sells it, you can be sure they've checked out the legality of the the sale. Carl is definitely on top of this one.

2. You don't need an FFL to get parts kits without receivers, but be careful when you do buy a receiver and build the gun. Parts kits usually include all imported parts, so you have to make some substitutes to stay within the "parts count" rule. For example, you may have to buy a US-made fire control group (hammer, trigger, sear), gas piston, and stocks to include as part of the re-build.

3. Yes, the BATFE is finally enforcing an existing rule - import of foreign parts. The rule has been around for some time, but was basically overlooked so domestic manufacturers could get repair parts to meet existing contracts. Of course, the exception was not meant to allow companies to build "new" firearms for sale, and that's just what happened. Long story - short: get the parts kit now before prices go through the roof.

4. Just to clarify the AW definition - it is a magazine-fed, semi-automatic weapon with more than one of the following features: protruding pistol grip, grenade launcher, flash supprressor, folding stock, bayonet lug. So, the WASR (or my SAR-1) with a pistol grip is fine, as long as I don't add a flash suppressor or one of the other features. Crazy, but true.

KK
 
If you want to do an AK, the suggestion on US parts is a trigger group (trigger, sear, disconnector), a SAW pistol grip and a gas piston. That will keep you within the 10 parts, though you may have to remove the muzzle break and it's threads.

The 10 part rule is NOT affected by the 1994 ban sunsetting, since it's the 1989 Presidential Import Ban that was later made law by Congress that does this.

What the 1994 ban's sunsetting does is let you have ALL the Evil Parts IF you meet the imprt part restriction AND live in Free Territory.
 
BATFE ruled that if you permanently attatch the brake to the barrel, it becomes part of the barrel and is no longer a "part".
 
Ok, now here is another question for the pot.. if its a "Post ban" AK with a thumbhole stock, can you change the stock to a normal stock as long as you dont add a FS then your ok?
 
Ok, now here is another question for the pot.. if its a "Post ban" AK with a thumbhole stock, can you change the stock to a normal stock as long as you dont add a FS then your ok?

No, because then you run afoul of 922r issues which are Federal, not state.
 
i'd like to add a question to this thread...how does one identify a post-ban ak 30 rd mag from a pre-ban? i mean aside from differentiating between a poly magpul and a steel cosmoline covered one...i only ask because i have 4 mags...two of which i purchased together on a website that claimed they were pre-ban and they have metal followers...the other two are practically identical but have plastic followers so i was a little concerned over their "age".
 
i'd like to add a question to this thread...how does one identify a post-ban ak 30 rd mag from a pre-ban? i mean aside from differentiating between a poly magpul and a steel cosmoline covered one...i only ask because i have 4 mags...two of which i purchased together on a website that claimed they were pre-ban and they have metal followers...the other two are practically identical but have plastic followers so i was a little concerned over their "age".

Unless there's a mold mark date stamp on it, the answer is "you don't."

-Mike
 
Unless there's a mold mark date stamp on it, the answer is "you don't."

-Mike

I wonder if it is possible to "carbon date" the cosmoline?? [wink] [rofl]

Seriously, Mike is right. Lots of mags for various guns haven't changed design in eons and don't mark them in any way that you can tell definitively that it is pre or post ban!
 
and what about AR mags?

AR Mags are a little more complicated, but USGI ones have date codes stamped into the body, usually. The manufacturers etc are also usually on the floorplates. Somewhere there is a list of AR mag manufacturers, but trust me, it's not all inclusive. There is a lot of generic stuff out there, too, of varying quality.

-Mike
 
So to be clear, if I have a completely stock SA-85M (Hungarian import AK47), then I can't change anything on it unless I drop the imported parts count below 10?

It depends.... is the rifle normal or is it in lame config? (thumbhole stock). If it already came with a pistol grip on it it probably already satisfies 922R. You just have to watch out if you want to add foreign parts to it at that point. EG, so if you wanted to add foreign furniture to it, that would upset the 922R counts.

Ignoring 922R there is still the MA AWB bs, but that's a whole other ball game.

-Mike
 
Edited after your reply, it is indeed in sporting configuration with a thumbhole stock. With regards to upsetting 922R, is it adding more foreign parts? Or the act of changing parts is then "building" a new rifle that is then restricted to 10 or less parts.
 
Edited after your reply, it is indeed in sporting configuration with a thumbhole stock. With regards to upsetting 922R, is it adding more foreign parts? Or the act of changing parts is then "building" a new rifle that is then restricted to 10 or less parts.

Ok, the deal is this- if you want the rifle to be un-gay, (eg, pistol grip, real stock) it then must become 922R compliant if those changes haven't been made already. Once the rifle
has the PG and a detachable mag on it, then the parts count starts to matter, and the total foreign parts count remaining in the gun must be less than 10. The common deal is most people change out their fire control group (worth 2-3 parts depending on how much you change) furniture (worth 3 usually) and using a US piston (worth 1 point).

This page explains it pretty well, better than I can...
http://home.comcast.net/~navy87guy/home/922r.html

There is also a hack to use magazine parts as a compliance part, but I think that route more
or less sucks for obvious reasons. (can't use foreign magazines in the gun without upsetting the count).

ETA: FWIW, the reason you never see this with other rifles (eg, AR-15s) is because on those kinds of rifles the foreign parts count is way too low to even trigger 922R, in most cases.


-Mike
 
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Damn, that is what I was afraid of... Thanks.

Looks like I keep the thumbhole stock, and add other things, or completely redesign the rifle just to get a pistol grip and real stock.

Changing out the parts actually isn't that hard. It's just a matter of getting your hands on them and doing the work. There are a crapload of AK guys here, like Flintoid, Atilla, Boris, etc.. . that know a hell of a lot more about the platform than I do, and they'd probably be more than willing to help.

-Mike
 
Its not that I can't do it, I just don't want to really do it. The trigger on the rifle is really crisp, and the SA85M is one of the best AK's to begin with.

It is. Very well put together and a high quality rifle- it's very unassuming, too. Personally- I'd leave it alone. They are no longer being brought into the US, so it'll be collectible some day. And there's really nothing wrong with them, IMO.

If you wanted to keep the trigger, you could change out the magazine to a low-cap US made tapco mag. It'd get you three parts: floor plate, body, and follower. Then add a US pistol grip, US stock, and US foregrip. Now you are 922r compliant.

If you rebuilt a preban magazine with US made followers and floor plates, and swapped out your gas piston on the carrier with a US made piston, and used the US pistol grip, stock, and foregrip, you'd be 922r compliant, too.

http://gunwiki.net/Gunwiki/BuildAkVerifyCompliance

We just don't know how MA stands with rebuilt pre-ban magazines. That would be a risk you'd be taking.
 
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Hi guys, I know this is an old thread but I’ve been reading it and have been trying to glean as much as I can out of it. If anyone who posted on this is still around, I’ve got a question: if I purchase a parts kit (Romanian, Polish, etc) dated pre-94 and build it myself, for myself, I can have all the “evil” parts (PG, FS, pre-ban mags) as long as it’s 922r compliant, right?
 
Hi guys, I know this is an old thread but I’ve been reading it and have been trying to glean as much as I can out of it. If anyone who posted on this is still around, I’ve got a question: if I purchase a parts kit (Romanian, Polish, etc) dated pre-94 and build it myself, for myself, I can have all the “evil” parts (PG, FS, pre-ban mags) as long as it’s 922r compliant, right?

Lol, how do you intend on doing that when your AK receiver was "made recently" ? This new gun was "manufactured' now, not back then. Either under MGL or the old fed law that would
not have worked, at least not by the letter of the law. Whether you care or not is another story, but I suspect you do, because you actually bothered to ask.

Additionally, 922R is a whole other ball of wax and irrelevant in this context, so you should push that out of your mind for the moment.
 
Another example. You buy an AR lower that was manufactured in 1993, sold as a stripped lower to someone who put it in their safe and forgot about it until today. Now you build it into a rifle. According to ATF, that is a post-ban rifle because the lower was never made into a rifle prior to 9/13/1994. It needs to be on an FFL's books as a rifle prior to that date to be a pre-ban rifle. In this scenario I'm describing, it would be on an FFL's books as a receiver only prior to that date so could never be a pre-ban rifle.
 
Another example. You buy an AR lower that was manufactured in 1993, sold as a stripped lower to someone who put it in their safe and forgot about it until today. Now you build it into a rifle. According to ATF, that is a post-ban rifle because the lower was never made into a rifle prior to 9/13/1994. It needs to be on an FFL's books as a rifle prior to that date to be a pre-ban rifle. In this scenario I'm describing, it would be on an FFL's books as a receiver only prior to that date so could never be a pre-ban rifle.

Maybe, maybe not. Back then, a lot (possibly even most) lowers left as being demarcated as "rifles" . The ATF let people do that, a long ass time ago. You could literally lowers as a "rifle" and get it logged out to you that way. This avoided the more stringent requirements on handguns in some states, etc. That's also why they used to have lowers marked PISTOL to sort of demarcate this. Once "other" was created, all that went out the window.

I can't think of a single case where this ever was a problem, regardless. If it pings out by the manufacturer as pre 9/94, it's pre 9/94, good luck to someone proving it was never assembled into a
gun by the cutoff.
 
Maybe, maybe not. Back then, a lot (possibly even most) lowers left as being demarcated as "rifles" . The ATF let people do that, a long ass time ago. You could literally lowers as a "rifle" and get it logged out to you that way. This avoided the more stringent requirements on handguns in some states, etc. That's also why they used to have lowers marked PISTOL to sort of demarcate this. Once "other" was created, all that went out the window.
I can't think of a single case where this ever was a problem, regardless. If it pings out by the manufacturer as pre 9/94, it's pre 9/94, good luck to someone proving it was never assembled into a
gun by the cutoff.

Well it would be easy for them to prove if its never on a pre-94 FFL book as a rifle. Then the onus would shift to you to prove that it was a rifle prior to the cutoff. Good luck with that! I've never heard of it happening either - yet.
 
Maybe, maybe not. Back then, a lot (possibly even most) lowers left as being demarcated as "rifles" . The ATF let people do that, a long ass time ago. You could literally lowers as a "rifle" and get it logged out to you that way. This avoided the more stringent requirements on handguns in some states, etc. That's also why they used to have lowers marked PISTOL to sort of demarcate this. Once "other" was created, all that went out the window.

I can't think of a single case where this ever was a problem, regardless. If it pings out by the manufacturer as pre 9/94, it's pre 9/94, good luck to someone proving it was never assembled into a
gun by the cutoff.
Mike, you're forgetting that all mfrs reported S/Ns of built/kitted pre-bans to BATFE. That list is on ARfcom and copied here on NES.
 
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