Manufacturing Firm Charged with Illegally Manufacturing Key Component for AR-15s

TC McQuade

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This story is from 2014 but the final actions from the Feds is current

Manufacturing Firm Charged with Illegally Manufacturing and Selling Key Component for AR-15-Type Rifles


2014:

Manufacturing Firm Charged with Illegally Manufacturing and Selling Key Component for AR-15-Type Rifles

A federal grand jury today indicted the owner of an Orange County manufacturing business on a federal charge related to the illegal manufacture and sale of lower receivers for AR-15-type rifles, as well as completed firearms.

The one-count indictment charges Joseph Roh with engaging in the business of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

The indictment alleges that Roh, 46, of Fullerton, did not have the proper license, but he manufactured and sold hundreds of lower receivers for AR-15-type firearms. In addition to the lower receivers, the indictment alleges that Roh illegally sold complete rifles and pistols.

Through his business, ROHG Industries in La Habra, Roh allegedly started with unfinished lower receivers for AR-15-style firearms. A lower receiver is the frame of a completed firearm that holds the trigger and hammer. An unfinished lower receiver, when machined further, constitutes a firearm. Roh and his employees would finish the lower receivers by machining the devices with a computer-numerically-controlled—or CNC—machine and drill presses that Roh maintained at the La Habra warehouse.

Roh attempted to avoid the licensing requirement by requiring that each customer play a token role in the manufacturing process, which often meant merely pushing a button on a CNC machine, while company employees did the vast majority of the work.

While the sale of unfinished lower receivers is not regulated, the manufacture and sale of completed lower receivers—which are considered firearms under federal law—requires a proper license.

Additionally, Roh would, if the customer wanted, assemble the rest of the firearm by adding an upper receiver, a barrel, and other necessary parts to the lower receiver. Roh has agreed to surrender tomorrow and be arraigned on the indictment tomorrow afternoon in United States District Court.





 

TC McQuade

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Fast forward to 2019

This is a story on CNN and the link is to CNN it's the only story about the 2019 decision I could find

Feds drop charges to avoid hurting gun control efforts

Federal authorities quietly cut a deal with Roh earlier this year and agreed to drop the charges.

The judge in the case had issued a tentative order that, in the eyes of prosecutors, threatened to upend the decades-old Gun Control Act and "seriously undermine the ATF's ability to trace and regulate firearms nationwide."

A case once touted by prosecutors as a crackdown on an illicit firearms factory was suddenly seen as having the potential to pave the way to unfettered access to one of the most demonized guns in America.
Federal authorities preferred to let Roh go free rather than have the ruling become final and potentially create case law that could have a crippling effect on the enforcement of gun laws, several sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Each requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the case and its possible implications.

Under US District Court Judge James V. Selna's interpretation of the law, convicted felons and other people prohibited from possessing firearms would be allowed to legally acquire all the parts necessary to assemble an AR-15-style rifle and other weapons, according to federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors and ATF officials declined comment for this story, noting that the case against Roh is technically an open matter because he remains subject to a deferred prosecution agreement.

Adam Winkler, a UCLA constitutional law professor and Second Amendment expert, predicted that Selna's tentative order would have "broad implications" and would encourage others to challenge existing law.
"This case could open up a huge loophole in federal law" he said. "It could lead to an explosion in the number of AR-15s out on the streets."
 
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I thought there were atf interpretations already standing on how manufacturing hardware and pay to push builds operate.


Wonder what loophole they found.
 

TC McQuade

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I thought there were atf interpretations already standing on how manufacturing hardware and pay to push builds operate.


Wonder what loophole they found.

Continued from the story might answer your question


At issue in Roh's case was whether the law could fairly be interpreted to apply to just the lower receiver of the AR-15, as the ATF has been doing for decades.

To rule otherwise "would sweep aside more than 50 years of the ATF's regulation of AR-15s and other semiautomatic firearms," prosecutors wrote prior to the judge's order.

Federal law enforcement officials — and members of Congress — have been on notice about a potential problem with the language in federal gun law as applied to AR-15s since at least 2016.

In July of that year, prosecutors in Northern California abandoned a case against a convicted felon named Alejandro Jimenez after a judge found that the AR-15 lower receiver he was accused of purchasing in an ATF undercover sting did not meet the definition of a receiver under the law.

The ruling and subsequent dismissal drew little notice but prompted a letter to Congress from then-US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She advised lawmakers that the judge's decision was not suitable for appeal and that if ATF officials believed the definition should be changed, they should pursue regulatory or administrative action.
 

enbloc

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I wonder how the British Crown would have ruled on Hershel House's "firearm manufacturing" of components in 1775...?

 

doctorbossman

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Here’s the Judge’s ruling.https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/JVS/TR/Roh%2C%20Ruling%20on%20R%2029%20Motion.pdf

https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/JVS/TR/Roh, Ruling on R 29 Motion.pdf

It seems I’ve been wrong. An AR lower receiver is not a firearm because it doesn’t have a bolt.

The definition of receiver under the ATF regulations requires four component: a “housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” (27 C.F.R. § 478.11; emphasis supplied.) The evidence at trial was uncontroverted that a finished AR-15 receiver does not contain a bolt or breechblock and is not threaded to receive the barrel. (E.g., Tr. Feb. 21, 2018, pp. 111-13 (Jackson); Tr. Feb. 24, 2018, pp. 65-67 (Hoffman).) Indeed, the Government concedes the point in its opposition. (Opposition, p. 23.) The plain conclusion is that the finished receiver is not a firearm.


The judge also take a swipe at the ATF creating “laws” by simply issuing letters of determination that a lower receiver is a firearm contrary to the written law without going through the rule making process of comment period.

The Government contends that Roh knew that AR-15 lower receivers constituted “receivers.” (Id., pp. 36-38.) He certainly knew through correspondence with the AFT and visits that it was the ATF’s position that the lower receiver were “receivers.” But his knowledge of the AFT’s position does not give ATF’s unsupported position the force of law. Significantly, in its discussion of Roh’s knowledge it cites neither case law nor statutory authority.
 

PappyM3

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Here’s the Judge’s ruling.

https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/JVS/TR/Roh, Ruling on R 29 Motion.pdf

It seems I’ve been wrong. An AR lower receiver is not a firearm because it doesn’t have a bolt.

The definition of receiver under the ATF regulations requires four component: a “housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” (27 C.F.R. § 478.11; emphasis supplied.) The evidence at trial was uncontroverted that a finished AR-15 receiver does not contain a bolt or breechblock and is not threaded to receive the barrel. (E.g., Tr. Feb. 21, 2018, pp. 111-13 (Jackson); Tr. Feb. 24, 2018, pp. 65-67 (Hoffman).) Indeed, the Government concedes the point in its opposition. (Opposition, p. 23.) The plain conclusion is that the finished receiver is not a firearm.


The judge also take a swipe at the ATF creating “laws” by simply issuing letters of determination that a lower receiver is a firearm contrary to the written law without going through the rule making process of comment period.

The Government contends that Roh knew that AR-15 lower receivers constituted “receivers.” (Id., pp. 36-38.) He certainly knew through correspondence with the AFT and visits that it was the ATF’s position that the lower receiver were “receivers.” But his knowledge of the AFT’s position does not give ATF’s unsupported position the force of law. Significantly, in its discussion of Roh’s knowledge it cites neither case law nor statutory authority.
Thank you for the details on why an AR lower isn’t a firearm. That’s pretty huge. I wonder if the process of selling them will change before congress amends the definition with law. I doubt it.
 
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Thank you for the details on why an AR lower isn’t a firearm. That’s pretty huge. I wonder if the process of selling them will change before congress amends the definition with law. I doubt it.
based on that definition neither the finished upper nor the finished lower is a firearm. And each can be sold as complete but separate.

In that definition both pieces would have to be linked together to make a firearm.

Hammer is in the lower....not the upper.
Bolt and threaded barrel are on the upper...not the lower....

This is their fear.

So they delay it until they change the law and the definition.
 
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one-eyed Jack

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Here's one for you. My 1928 A1 Thompson has the serial# on the upper which is the regulated part. So, if you had a 28 lower and figured out how to mate it to an AR upper so as to fire semi only, what would you have?
 

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This is why it is so important that Trump keeps filling vacancies in the Federal Courts with the "right" people.... There are 37 waiting for Senate approval, 98 more waiting to be filled, and the potential for 15 more before the end of Term 1
 
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This is very interesting. Can other cases now use this motion ruling even though the case was dismissed? Are there any other cases that could make this same argument now?
 

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Here’s the Judge’s ruling.

https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/JVS/TR/Roh, Ruling on R 29 Motion.pdf

It seems I’ve been wrong. An AR lower receiver is not a firearm because it doesn’t have a bolt.

The definition of receiver under the ATF regulations requires four component: a “housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” (27 C.F.R. § 478.11; emphasis supplied.) The evidence at trial was uncontroverted that a finished AR-15 receiver does not contain a bolt or breechblock and is not threaded to receive the barrel. (E.g., Tr. Feb. 21, 2018, pp. 111-13 (Jackson); Tr. Feb. 24, 2018, pp. 65-67 (Hoffman).) Indeed, the Government concedes the point in its opposition. (Opposition, p. 23.) The plain conclusion is that the finished receiver is not a firearm.


The judge also take a swipe at the ATF creating “laws” by simply issuing letters of determination that a lower receiver is a firearm contrary to the written law without going through the rule making process of comment period.

The Government contends that Roh knew that AR-15 lower receivers constituted “receivers.” (Id., pp. 36-38.) He certainly knew through correspondence with the AFT and visits that it was the ATF’s position that the lower receiver were “receivers.” But his knowledge of the AFT’s position does not give ATF’s unsupported position the force of law. Significantly, in its discussion of Roh’s knowledge it cites neither case law nor statutory authority.
If this stands, it creates a dramatic upheaval in firearms law.

Good. :D
 
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Mountain

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This story is from 2014 but the final actions from the Feds is current

Manufacturing Firm Charged with Illegally Manufacturing and Selling Key Component for AR-15-Type Rifles


2014:

Manufacturing Firm Charged with Illegally Manufacturing and Selling Key Component for AR-15-Type Rifles

A federal grand jury today indicted the owner of an Orange County manufacturing business on a federal charge related to the illegal manufacture and sale of lower receivers for AR-15-type rifles, as well as completed firearms.

The one-count indictment charges Joseph Roh with engaging in the business of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

The indictment alleges that Roh, 46, of Fullerton, did not have the proper license, but he manufactured and sold hundreds of lower receivers for AR-15-type firearms. In addition to the lower receivers, the indictment alleges that Roh illegally sold complete rifles and pistols.

Through his business, ROHG Industries in La Habra, Roh allegedly started with unfinished lower receivers for AR-15-style firearms. A lower receiver is the frame of a completed firearm that holds the trigger and hammer. An unfinished lower receiver, when machined further, constitutes a firearm. Roh and his employees would finish the lower receivers by machining the devices with a computer-numerically-controlled—or CNC—machine and drill presses that Roh maintained at the La Habra warehouse.

Roh attempted to avoid the licensing requirement by requiring that each customer play a token role in the manufacturing process, which often meant merely pushing a button on a CNC machine, while company employees did the vast majority of the work.

While the sale of unfinished lower receivers is not regulated, the manufacture and sale of completed lower receivers—which are considered firearms under federal law—requires a proper license.

Additionally, Roh would, if the customer wanted, assemble the rest of the firearm by adding an upper receiver, a barrel, and other necessary parts to the lower receiver. Roh has agreed to surrender tomorrow and be arraigned on the indictment tomorrow afternoon in United States District Court.




Ruh Roh!
 

jpk

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I expect congress to attempt to make a change to current law at some point.....will probably be draconian and result in an attempt to serialize everything from bolt/barrels/upper recievers to who knows....

The judge made it clear that current law doesnt allow the ATF to simply rule that uppers for AR's are now considered the gun.......

Anyone in a free state that has been on fence about owning an AR should seriously get off that damn fence, buy parts/whole guns/whatever
 

fshalor

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Here’s the Judge’s ruling.

https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/JVS/TR/Roh, Ruling on R 29 Motion.pdf

It seems I’ve been wrong. An AR lower receiver is not a firearm because it doesn’t have a bolt.

The definition of receiver under the ATF regulations requires four component: a “housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” (27 C.F.R. § 478.11; emphasis supplied.) The evidence at trial was uncontroverted that a finished AR-15 receiver does not contain a bolt or breechblock and is not threaded to receive the barrel. (E.g., Tr. Feb. 21, 2018, pp. 111-13 (Jackson); Tr. Feb. 24, 2018, pp. 65-67 (Hoffman).) Indeed, the Government concedes the point in its opposition. (Opposition, p. 23.) The plain conclusion is that the finished receiver is not a firearm.


The judge also take a swipe at the ATF creating “laws” by simply issuing letters of determination that a lower receiver is a firearm contrary to the written law without going through the rule making process of comment period.

The Government contends that Roh knew that AR-15 lower receivers constituted “receivers.” (Id., pp. 36-38.) He certainly knew through correspondence with the AFT and visits that it was the ATF’s position that the lower receiver were “receivers.” But his knowledge of the AFT’s position does not give ATF’s unsupported position the force of law. Significantly, in its discussion of Roh’s knowledge it cites neither case law nor statutory authority.

AHAAAH. hahahaha. I've been wondering about this.

I think atf has been stupid in the lower bit. I remember being surprised when I first bought a lower that the lower was the thing the feds cared about since... Well. Other than a hammer, all the fun bits which make magic happen are on the upper.

They would have done better just serializing barrels. Now they are in a snarmlfest.
 
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While the law appears to be badly written, I don't really know what people want from this case. I believe the intent of the law was that every firearm will have exactly one serialized part, and every other gun part will be treated like a tool part at the hardware store.

I can see that it is slightly unfair that for some designs it is unclear whether the upper or the lower should be the serialized part, but I can't see how we have been harmed by having the ATF just pick one.

They would have done better just serializing barrels.
The barrel is a replaceable wear part. This is an example of a plan that would be way worse for gun owners than just arbitrarily deciding that the lower is the receiver.
 
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jpk

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AHAAAH. hahahaha. I've been wondering about this.

I think atf has been stupid in the lower bit. I remember being surprised when I first bought a lower that the lower was the thing the feds cared about since... Well. Other than a hammer, all the fun bits which make magic happen are on the upper.

They would have done better just serializing barrels. Now they are in a snarmlfest.
Uppers dont comply with the law either though.....thats the best part

Even if they had taken that route it still wouldnt comply with the law as written......and ATF cant just make up a regulation on this....its clearly enumerated in law what a gun is based on parts
 

assaultknifle

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The government is wasting time with these laws and stupid pursuit to infringe on 2A. Homemade firearms are going to proliferate. 3d printing and metamaterials are becoming cheaper by the day. Soon enough you'll be able to print light like plastic but strong like metals ARs in your home office.
 

June4th

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Legislators and their ignorance of things they want to control... I hereby declare all my firearms 'happy sticks', and thus should be exempt from any and all gun control laws.
 

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While the law appears to be badly written, I don't really know what people want from this case. I believe the intent of the law was that every firearm will have exactly one serialized part, and every other gun part will be treated like a tool part at the hardware store.

I can see that it is slightly unfair that for some designs it is unclear whether the upper or the lower should be the serialized part, but I can't see how we have been harmed by having the ATF just pick one.



The barrel is a replaceable wear part. This is an example of a plan that would be way worse for gun owners than just arbitrarily deciding that the lower is the receiver.
I think you're missing the greater point here, that ALL gun laws are unconstitutional, period.
 
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I expect congress to attempt to make a change to current law at some point.....will probably be draconian and result in an attempt to serialize everything from bolt/barrels/upper recievers to who knows....

The judge made it clear that current law doesnt allow the ATF to simply rule that uppers for AR's are now considered the gun.......

Anyone in a free state that has been on fence about owning an AR should seriously get off that damn fence, buy parts/whole guns/whatever

The best part of this is President Trumps two most recent EO's he just signed. He basically forbade Government agencies from "writing their own laws" by keep piling on and adding "Regulations". He Stated in no uncertain terms "you can not write laws". So there ya go. EO. settled.



The Captain's Journal » ATF Drops Lower Receiver Case For Fear Of Doing Damage To Other ATF Regulations

The judge’s tentative order also found that the ATF’s in-house classification process failed to comply with federal rule-making procedures. Changes to substantive federal regulations typically include a notice-and-comment period and eventual publication in the Federal Register.

“Consistent with the intent of federal law.” What the ATF doesn’t want the general public to know is that they’re making up the rules as they go. Letters to the ATF and ATF responses don’t constitute law, and they don’t even constitute regulation, strictly defined.

First of all, I’ve discussed that before. There is a difference between law and regulation. Laws are made by Congress. Regulation, that behemoth which has so empowered the federal executive and the bureaucratic state, at least has the requirement that it gets published in the federal register, has a comment period, goes through a cost-benefit analysis as required by law, and then the final version gets published in the federal register. ATF regulations get none of this, and judgments and rules promulgated by the ATF bypass all of these requirements.
 
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