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"


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.

  • The FFL isn't needed for the lower 80, please see the link in my answer.
    – Putvi
    Nov 26 '19 at 21:04
  • 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. Nov 26 '19 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. Nov 26 '19 at 21:50
  • Thanks for the information. This looks like to covers the situation and the correct means for the transaction. Dec 6 '19 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 Nov 26 '19 at 20:06
  • Hence why I said as long as you follow all other laws.
    – Putvi
    Nov 26 '19 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 ? Nov 26 '19 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
    Nov 26 '19 at 20:12
  • I think @GeorgeWhite doesn't understand what a 80% lower is, the definition can git tricky for someone who isn't a gunsmith. Nov 26 '19 at 21:13

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