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ipguy

Benelli M4 or M1014 stock; legal question

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I realize that this issue is being touched on in other threads, but I would like to bring it to the forefront and see if we can get any official Benelli comments on it.

 

From my telephone conversations with Benelli, it's my understanding that the Benelli M4 (Part No. 11707) has been designated as a "law enforcement" model. It includes a pistol grip and non-collapsible stock, but I am unclear whether the stock is the standard stock or the "skeletonized" version.

 

During the AWB, that shotgun was available for civilian purchase, and it was in compliance (at that time) with the AWB, because it had a fixed magazine of less than 5 rounds and no collapsing stock. I also seem to recall that Benelli did not OFFER any collapsible stock to non-LE persons.

 

Now that the AWB has expired, there is no legal limitation on the number of rounds in the magazine, and there is no legal restriction (under the expired AWB) against having a collapsible stock. In speaking with a person at Benelli, I was told that a true collapsible stock (Part No. 70085) is now (as of last week) being made available to ANYONE who wishes to add such a feature to their M4.

 

In view of the Benelli shotguns being "imported" into the US, I understand that the 1989 import ban is now the primary legal impediment to certain modifications to Benelli shotguns, under the so-called "sporting purpose" tests employed by ATF. I also understand that such determinations are based largely upon the number of imported parts used on the gun. I believe that such provisions affected the M4, but also the M1 and the M3.

 

When I mentioned on another board that such a collapsible stock was being made available by Benelli, it was met with much skepticism, and some called this "B.S." What I would like to know from Benelli is simply this: What changed?

 

Here are some specific questions, in no particular order:

 

(1) Is the M4 somehow exempt from what would otherwise be a legal restriction against that shotgun having a collapsible stock? In other words, are there enough US-made components, or some other set of circumstances that avoids such issues?

 

OR

 

(2) Is Benelli taking the position that it can sell a collapsible stock (by itself) to anyone, and it's entirely up to the end user to determine whether modified guns (such as the M4) which use that stock are legal? For example, all through the AWB, AR15 uppers with flash hiders, and collapsible stocks were sold all day long, but it was up to the end user not to install them on post-ban lower receivers.

 

If it's the second situation, and there remain legal restrictions against possessing an M4 with a collapsible stock, then I will further research the issue so that I remain in compliance with whatever existing laws are in place. But, I would rather hear from Benelli that it was worked out some agreement with ATF as to whether the M4 can actually legally be modified with a collapsible stock.

 

Thanks to Benelli for any light that can be shed on this important situation, as well as for any comments from other interested persons on this board. I just want to sleep better if I buy the M4 and add a collapsible stock.

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I'm not 100% sure but, Shotguns are not considered assault rifle's under the import laws. They do not have the evil features like detachable magazines, flash hiders bayo lugs . They were never exempt from importation. Weapons like the AK, the FAL etc were restricted by both configuration and by name.

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Hi ipguy,

Don't want to throw cold water on the party, but here is my concern:

®

It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to -

(1) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or

(2) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.

For Reference here's 925, take note of (3):

(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition -

(1) is being imported or brought in for scientific or research purposes, or is for use in connection with competition or training pursuant to chapter 401 of title 10;

(2) is an unserviceable firearm, other than a machinegun as defined in section 5845(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (not readily restorable to firing condition), imported or brought in as a curio or museum piece;

(3) is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes, excluding surplus military firearms, except in any case where the Attorney General has not authorized the importation of the firearm pursuant to this paragraph, it shall be unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or barrel of such firearm which would be prohibited if assembled; or

(4) was previously taken out of the United States or a possession by the person who is bringing in the firearm or ammunition.

The Attorney General shall permit the conditional importation or bringing in of a firearm or ammunition for examination and testing in connection with the making of a determination as to whether the importation or bringing in of such firearm or ammunition will be allowed under this subsection.

It wouldn't be illegal to import the shotgun as is, and it is not illegal sell the collapsable stock. What MAY be illegal is putting the two together, if you're not a .gov agency.

 

There may be a way that it is legal, but I don't see it right now. If Benelli has gotten any clarification it would be very helpful.

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My thought would be that either:

 

(a) the M4 was never "not authorized" under 925(d)(3), and/or

 

(b) the M4 is "generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes", or

 

© the M4 is considered a "surplus military firearm" (and hence excluded from the list).

 

My question is: has the M4 EVER been characterized by ATF as not particularly suited for sporting purposes? If not, then installation of a collapsible stock would not make it "identical" to a prohibited shotgun, because the M4 is not a prohibited shotgun. Sure, it's issued to military forces, but that's not conclusive of any lack of sporting purpose, especially if ATF has not identified this shotgun as being problematic.

 

I just don't know where to look on the web (or the ATF site specifically) to find what determinations have ever been made by any federal agency with regard to the M4.

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Good point if the ATF didn't prohibit them then they're OK.

 

The question is, is Benelli not importing the version with the collapsable stock in order to keep the ATF from issuing a ruling on the legality of importing them for other than USMC use?

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Ah ha! That makes sense. Maybe it's off the ATF radar in its currently imported configuration for non-LE use. And as long as it remains that way, modifications to it can never make it "identical" to a "prohibited shotgun." So, once the AWB went away, there were no more artificial barriers to assembling an M4 with all the features everyone really wants.

 

But, the M1 and M3 were previously "tagged" by ATF, were they not? Even so, adding collapsible (not fixed or folding) stocks to those would still not result in the assembly of a firearm that was "identical" to the prohibited versions, because neither of those (M1 or M3) had M4-style collapsible stocks. If so, then perhaps it's just a marketing decision by Benelli not to provide them for the M1 and M3. I'm just guessing here...

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