I was apart of a conversation where one person who lives in the state of Washington wanted someone who lives in Texas to buy a glock 80% lower for them and ship it to them in Texas. To me, this sounds like a really bad idea and I alerted the Texan about my concerns. I tried looking up the legality on it and it seems like it might technically be legal because the ATF doesn't consider an 80% lower a firearm until it's been milled. Can someone please explain to me if this would be a legal transaction, or should I continue to urge these two to back out.

edit: An 80% lower is described as "An 80 lower is an unfinished lower - "80" meaning it is 80% percent complete. To turn an 80% lower into a 100% lower you have to mill out the fire control group"


2 Answers 2


Note, Washington State Senate Bill 5061 seeks to block certain "untracable" firearms without a serial number. This relates in part to "3D printable" guns, but the act of milling of a 80% lower (in Washington) could be a violation, if and when it passes. But it appears the bill hasn't been made a law yet... Is Washington specific news this issue what drives the question?

Federally, the ATF web site says:

Receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a "firearm" are not subject to regulation under the GCA. The ATF has long held that items such as receiver blanks, "castings" or "machined bodies" in which the fire-control cavity area is completely solid and un-machined have not reached the "stage of manufacture" which would result in the classification of a firearm per the GCA.

But this gets a bit technical. For further risk mitigation, the Texan could mitigate any risk related to both Federal and Washington state law by shipping it to a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in Washington as if it were a firearm, per ATM instructions which say (in part):

Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) within the recipient’s State of residence. He or she may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check.

That FFL is then responsible for ensuring the transaction properly conducted in the state of Washington, including federal and state requirements. The FFL I contacted only charged $25.00 (plus collecting the state sales tax). Form 4473 was easy enough; only about one page for me to fill out. Of course, I've got a clean record, so going through channels isn't a problem for me, it took less than an hour.

The FFL confirmed for me that it wasn't necessary for something like an antique musket, which legally isn't a firearm by the federal defeinitions. In my case the sender was a nervous "trust" lawyer who wasn't sure, hired yet another lawyer to advise him. The FFL didn't charge me anything for receiving that musket.

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    The FFL isn't needed for the lower 80, please see the link in my answer.
    – Putvi
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 21:04
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    Yes @putvi, I acknowledge that in the first quote, but it might get complicated for someone who isn't experienced in this. Using the FFL is simply a way of mitigating any risk to the sender. The links in my answer are to the official ATF web site, rather than a commercial cite. Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 21:06
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    I've added some notes about why proposed legislation in Washington might complicate matters, but it seems questionable to me if it could ever apply in Texas. Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 21:50
  • Thanks for the information. This looks like to covers the situation and the correct means for the transaction. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 22:42

It's legal to ship a gun provided you follow all other laws.

I took your question to mean can you ship a gun, but if you are asking if you can ship an 80 lower without a license, the answer is yes.


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    Incorrect - one must ship to an FFL. Any shipper who does not have an FFL is considered to be an unlicensed person. Unlicensed persons must ship modern firearms to a licensed FFL dealer only. If the buyer is not licensed, they will need to make arrangements to have the item shipped to a licensed FFL dealer in their state. ATF.gov Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 20:06
  • Hence why I said as long as you follow all other laws.
    – Putvi
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 20:09
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    Your answer is you can ship a gun except for the law that says you can’t that you don’t mention ? Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 20:11
  • My answer is that you can ship it as long as you follow that law and all others as I said.
    – Putvi
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 20:12
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    @Dave D - thanks, I didn't know that. But it is not the OPs case. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 0:38

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