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Letter Re: AR-15 Rifle and Pistol Legality in the U.S.

Mr Rawles,

In the Odds ‘n Sods section on Saturday 29 December, a reader indicates that, regarding AR pistols: “Most people don’t realize they exist, and that they can be legally converted to rifles, and back”. Anyone considering this route to acquiring an AR rifle should be very aware of the relevant laws about assembling an AR rifle from the pistol configuration. As the rule has been explained to me, any rifle with a barrel less than 16″ in length would be considered a ‘short-barelled rifle’ and would fall under the regulation of the National Firearms Act (NFA), i.e., would become a ‘Class 3’ weapon. As most AR pistols are sold with barrels ranging in length from 7.5″ to perhaps 13.5″‘ a rifle assembled from such a pistol may indeed fall under the NFA. ATF Ruling 2011-4 and related information may help clarify the rules for anyone considering such a conversion. 

I wouldn’t want to see any of your otherwise law-abiding readers get caught out on this issue. Please check the laws before converting an AR pistol to a rifle, and back!

God Bless, and keep up the good work. – NMShooter