The legality of an 80% lower is one of the main concerns individuals have when deciding whether or not to purchase one. Fortunately, the laws surrounding 80% lowers are not as complicated as one might assume. 

80% Lowers in the Eyes of the ATF

According to the ATF, 80 lowers are not consistent with the definition of the word firearm. This is due to the fact that the fire control cavity is solid and there are no holes for the safety selector, trigger, or hammer pins. This means that they are not regulated by the Gun Control Act. It is important to note that any partial machining of the fire control cavity would cause the lower receiver to fit the definition of firearm and therefore be subject to regulation.

Purchasing an 80% Lower

80% lower receivers have a streamlined purchasing process. If you have ever purchased a gun online, then you know that you are required to complete your purchase using an FFL. Since an 80% lower is not considered a firearm, you do not need to use an FFL which greatly simplifies the process. You are legally allowed to purchase an 80% lower online and have it shipped directly to your home. This eliminates the middleman, and helps you to get your lower receiver in less time. 

Completing an 80% Lower

The owner of the 80% lower must be the only individual involved in completing the machining process. By completing an 80% lower receiver for someone else, you are considered to be in the business of building, completing, or distributing firearms without the proper licensing to do so. It is illegal to finish an 80% lower receiver for someone else. This also includes loaning equipment or tools to others to use when completing their lower receivers. The only other individual, besides yourself, who may assemble your 80% lower is a licensed FFL. 

Selling an 80% AR15

If you build an 80% lower AR15 with an 80% jig, but then decide later on that you would like to sell it, it is legal for you to do so. However, if you build your 80% lower AR15 with the sole intent of selling it, it is illegal. State laws regarding the private sale of firearms will apply. Some states do not require the use of an FFL for private sales and will not require your lower to be serialized. However, the best way to sell your 80% AR15 and ensure that the interests of each party are protected is to serialize it and use an FFL.

How do 80% lower laws vary by location?

It is important to note that 80% lower laws differ by state. 80% AR15 builds are either illegal or restricted in:

–      California

–      Connecticut

–      New York

–      New Jersey

–      Washington

–      Rhode Island

–      Washington DC

Please always refer to your local laws to ensure that you are compliant.