When are you a "gunsmith"?

milktree

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C. 140 §121 says:

"Gunsmith" any person who engages in the business of repairing, altering, cleaning, polishing, engraving, blueing or performing any mechanical operation on any firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun.

Strict reading of this says an individual can do work for money on gun parts as long as they don't accept the whole firearm, rifle, shotgun, or machine gun (as defined in C. 140 §121) without being a "gunsmith"

But I can imagine that like many, many things in Mass. and federal law, the "you know what we meant" test overcomes what the actual law says, and any work on any part of a gun with or without payment could be considered "gunsmithing".

Where's the line here?

Clearly my students aren't "gunsmiths" when I have them clean guns as part of the safety class.

Where's the very fuzzy line here? Can I swap sights on a handgun slide for a friend? What about cutting a slide for optics? Can I profile a rifle barrel?
 
Look up definition of “business “.

That doesn't help. "business" in the context of Hummels or yard sales or IT means something different than in the context of "guns" (usually) and "business" isn't defined in C. 140
 
Somewhat related, as a data point: Several years ago, I had a table at Marlborough, sub-let from an FFL that I knew, that had several. Dude from Mass DOR comes over and wants my tax ID number.

"I don't have one, I'm not a business."

"But you're selling stuff here!"

"I'm cleaning out the basement." (true)

"Well, why are you doing it here?"

"Do you think this would go over real well, as a yard sale? In Mass?"

Guy took my name, to make sure I was not at all the shows.

Point being - DOR thinks a basement clean-out table at a gun show is a "business".
 
If 4139 passes then if you have any signs or stickers that indicate guns can be found inside then you are operating as a gunsmith.

Currently it's if you offer to do any work on a firearm for compensation - does it extend to accepting a coffee for helping someone install a trigger kit? Maybe but who knows until the judge bangs the gavel.
 
If 4139 passes then if you have any signs or stickers that indicate guns can be found inside then you are operating as a gunsmith.

Currently it's if you offer to do any work on a firearm for compensation - does it extend to accepting a coffee for helping someone install a trigger kit? Maybe but who knows until the judge bangs the gavel.
Since cleaning counts, as written, does the safety class mean we're teaching gunsmithing?
 
Since cleaning counts, as written, does the safety class mean we're teaching gunsmithing?
Yes, but is that operating as a gunsmith? No, but you likely have a sign that indicates guns can be found inside so that counts.

Mass is doubling down on the shark jumping with 4139 so either it gets expedited review by consolidation with another case or we are screwed for 3-5 years as the courts slow walk the case.
But the legislature is running out the SCOTUS clock in order to extend that timeline out far enough for them to replace a couple of justices.
 
Yes, but is that operating as a gunsmith? No, but you likely have a sign that indicates guns can be found inside so that counts.

Mass is doubling down on the shark jumping with 4139 so either it gets expedited review by consolidation with another case or we are screwed for 3-5 years as the courts slow walk the case.
But the legislature is running out the SCOTUS clock in order to extend that timeline out far enough for them to replace a couple of justices.
Poor Dr. King must be tired of my dragging him out...with more quotes this time
Letter from Birmingham Jail said:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
[...]
Justice too long delayed is justice denied
[...]
I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.
[...]
The question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremists we will be
 
If 4139 passes then if you have any signs or stickers that indicate guns can be found inside then you are operating as a gunsmith.

Currently it's if you offer to do any work on a firearm for compensation - does it extend to accepting a coffee for helping someone install a trigger kit? Maybe but who knows until the judge bangs the gavel.
I Installed a new trigger in my buddy's AR. He stood there and watched me do it, paid nor traded me anything in return.

I guess if I accepted a couple of beers in return then I would be a "gunsmith".
 
I Installed a new trigger in my buddy's AR. He stood there and watched me do it, paid nor traded me anything in return.

I guess if I accepted a couple of beers in return then I would be a "gunsmith".
Not sure what Mass considers "engages in the business"
However, I would assume that if they thought they could tax it then exchanging a beer would be considered doing business.

338 “Gunsmith”, any person who engages in the business of repairing, altering, cleaning,
339 polishing, engraving, blueing or performing any mechanical operation on any firearm.

1808 (b) Any person who, without being licensed under section 125 or exempt as provided
1809 under this chapter, sells, rents, leases or otherwise transfers a firearm, or is engaged in business
1810 as a gunsmith, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, or by
1811 imprisonment for not less than 1 year nor more than 10 years, or by both such fine and
1812 imprisonment.

1840 Section 130B. If there is exposed from, maintained in or permitted to remain on any
1841 vehicle or premises any placard, sign or advertisement purporting or designed to announce that
1842 firearms are kept in or upon such vehicle or premises or that an occupant of any vehicle or
1843 premises is a gunsmith, it shall be prima facie evidence that firearms are kept in or upon such
1844 vehicle or premises for sale or that the occupant is engaged in business as a gunsmith.
 
If you are doing work on guns for money you need an FFL or need to be running under someone else's.

Strictly speaking this is not "the lawr" at least if the person who owns the gun is in attendance of those maintenace operations, but usually people arent going to get into an argument with the ATF over it.
 
Not sure what Mass considers "engages in the business"
However, I would assume that if they thought they could tax it then exchanging a beer would be considered doing business.

It's not even worth worrying about mass because they're not going to enforce shit 99% of the time. The feds however, are another story.
 
C. 140 §121 says:



Strict reading of this says an individual can do work for money on gun parts as long as they don't accept the whole firearm, rifle, shotgun, or machine gun (as defined in C. 140 §121) without being a "gunsmith"

But I can imagine that like many, many things in Mass. and federal law, the "you know what we meant" test overcomes what the actual law says, and any work on any part of a gun with or without payment could be considered "gunsmithing".

Where's the line here?

Clearly my students aren't "gunsmiths" when I have them clean guns as part of the safety class.

Where's the very fuzzy line here? Can I swap sights on a handgun slide for a friend? What about cutting a slide for optics? Can I profile a rifle barrel?

It specifically states that it has to do with engaging in business. So swapping sights for a friend doesn’t meet this criteria unless you are providing that service in exchange for pay. Same thing with your students cleaning a gun.

It doesn’t seem fuzzy to me.
 
It specifically states that it has to do with engaging in business. So swapping sights for a friend doesn’t meet this criteria unless you are providing that service in exchange for pay. Same thing with your students cleaning a gun.

It doesn’t seem fuzzy to me.
The issues arise when the legal definition of "engaged in the business" differ from the plain reading - As most of us are not lawyers, we don't have training in those differences nor do we have easy access to the information that would define it from a legal perspective.
 
It specifically states that it has to do with engaging in business. So swapping sights for a friend doesn’t meet this criteria unless you are providing that service in exchange for pay. Same thing with your students cleaning a gun.

It doesn’t seem fuzzy to me.

OK, I'll play. If your buddy brings you beer. Are you in the business? If your buddy's buddy has you drill his rifle for scope rings, and he brings you a bottle of Gin, are you in the business? If your wife's co-worker buys the carbide drill and end mill to cut a slide for optics, and you keep the tools, are you in the business? If someone pays you for the tools you bought for her project, are you in the business? What if it becomes known at your club that you've got the right tools to swap sights without damaging anything, so "strangers" ask you to help them out, keeping you in beer and cookies, are you in the business?

Where is the edge of "pay"? Is it only pay if you file a schedule C?

We already know that you become a manufacturer if you help someone with their 80% build, even if you do it for nothing in return.

None of these involve the usual trappings of "in the business of..." (advertising, source of income, etc) but that doesn't mean there's not some "we don't like guns and you know what we mean" interpretation that could get you jacked up.
 
OK, I'll play. If your buddy brings you beer. Are you in the business? If your buddy's buddy has you drill his rifle for scope rings, and he brings you a bottle of Gin, are you in the business? If your wife's co-worker buys the carbide drill and end mill to cut a slide for optics, and you keep the tools, are you in the business? If someone pays you for the tools you bought for her project, are you in the business? What if it becomes known at your club that you've got the right tools to swap sights without damaging anything, so "strangers" ask you to help them out, keeping you in beer and cookies, are you in the business?

Where is the edge of "pay"? Is it only pay if you file a schedule C?

We already know that you become a manufacturer if you help someone with their 80% build, even if you do it for nothing in return.

None of these involve the usual trappings of "in the business of..." (advertising, source of income, etc) but that doesn't mean there's not some "we don't like guns and you know what we mean" interpretation that could get you jacked up.

My opinion is if you exchange a good, commodity, or a service for another good, commodity, or service then you are doing business.

So doing a favor for a friend without that type of exchange isn’t doing business.
 
The issues arise when the legal definition of "engaged in the business" differ from the plain reading - As most of us are not lawyers, we don't have training in those differences nor do we have easy access to the information that would define it from a legal perspective.

That’s true. And I think most laws are left intentionally vague so that those in power can have their appointees on the bench interpret said laws how they would prefer them to interpret the law.
 
A few questions:
  • Can you operate as a gunsmith out of your home?
  • Do you have to have a Federal Firearms License to apply for a MA gunsmith license?
  • If so, do you also have to have a Massachusetts Dealer's License?
The DCJIS application for a gunsmith license does not ask you to specify where you will be operating nor does it ask for FFL information.
 
My opinion is if you exchange a good, commodity, or a service for another good, commodity, or service then you are doing business.

So doing a favor for a friend without that type of exchange isn’t doing business.

Sure, in the same way a dog “does his business” when you let him out to shit.

The law says, “engaged in the business of…” which is not the same thing as “doing business”.

You can’t seriously think that selling some junk on Craigslist makes you “engaged in the business” of selling used stuff. If so, then everything offered for sale in the classifieds would make us all dealers.
 
Sure, in the same way a dog “does his business” when you let him out to shit.

The law says, “engaged in the business of…” which is not the same thing as “doing business”.

You can’t seriously think that selling some junk on Craigslist makes you “engaged in the business” of selling used stuff. If so, then everything offered for sale in the classifieds would make us all dealers.

I’m not sure I understand the dog reference.

But yes. I do think that when you exchange commodities or services for other commodities or services that you are engaged in that business or are doing business. It may be temporary. It may not meet the criteria that the law established for the definition of a dealer.
 
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