What You Need to Know About 80 Percent Firearms in Louisiana thumbnail image

What You Need to Know About 80 Percent Firearms in Louisiana

80 Percent Arms   |   Jun 15th 2020

Louisiana Gun Laws in regards to 80% firearms

When it comes to gun laws, Louisiana is one of the more forgiving states in the nation. You do not require a permit to purchase a handgun or long gun in this gun-friendly state. That being said, there are rules to follow. For instance, to buy a handgun, you must be over the age of 21, present a state ID, and pass a background check. With a long gun, you need only be over the age of 18, show a state ID, and pass the same background check.

But can the same be said about an 80 percent lower? Under the current legal definition, an 80 percent lower is not yet a firearm, so the same rules do not always apply. Let us move into that in due time, though.

As elsewhere in the country, you are barred from owning a firearm of any kind, including a home-built gun, for several reasons, such as if you:

  • Are convicted of a crime punishable by prison time of over one year;
  • Are a fugitive;
  • Illegally use narcotics;
  • Are deemed mentally defective or incompetent;
  • Are an illegal alien;
  • Are a former citizen who has renounced their citizenship;
  • Were dishonorably discharged from any of the Armed Forces;
  • Are subject to a restraining order;
  • Were convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence;
  • Have completed a sentence, probation, parole, or suspension for any violent crime within the past decade.

What is an 80 Percent Receiver?

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms:

“80% receiver,” “80% lower,” “80% finished,” “80% complete,” and “unfinished receiver” are all terms referring to an item that some may believe has not yet reached a stage of manufacture that meets the definition of firearm frame or receiver found in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). These are not statutory terms or terms ATF employs or endorses."

In layman’s terms, an 80 percent receiver is a hunk of metal — usually aluminum — with no milling. It is an unusable paperweight without the proper drilling to create a fire-ready AR-15. The same goes for a Polymer80 frame.

By the ATF’s very definition, an 80 percent lower is not yet a firearm and is not subject to the same regulation according to the Gun Control Act of 1968. To become a firearm, the receiver blank must undergo machining to create holes or dimples for the firearm selector, trigger, and hammer pins. Only then, once completed, is the receiver considered a firearm by law.

Do I Require an FFL to Complete an 80 Percent Receiver?

No. Under Louisiana law, you do not require an FFL to bring an 80 percent lower to completion, as long as the piece is for personal use only. If you intend to manufacture a firearm intending to sell or distribute the piece by law, you will need an FFL license.

There are several caveats, though. The ATF is strict about imported firearm pieces, and you may not construct a usable firearm with over ten imported parts. Any firearm you do craft in your home must be detectable by metal detectors and X-ray machines.

Does An 80 Percent Lower Require a Serial Number?

Excellent question! It’s one that stumps many first-time firearm manufacturers early on. But no! Unless you live in California or are constructing a Title II firearm, such as a short-barreled semi-automatic rifle, you do not need to serialize your new 80 percent lower.

But again, the ATF has something to say about serializing a weapon built at home. If your new handcrafted firearm is for personal use, you’re golden — you do not need any serialization. If, for whatever reason, you intend to give away or sell the gun, the law requires owners to serialize the lower.

Of course, the ATF recommends all firearm owners and manufacturers discreetly serialize their lower — even an 80 percent — in the event the weapon is stolen or lost. In doing so, you will significantly help law enforcement in the firearm's recovery and keep your name clean of any wrongdoing that occurs.

How Does An 80 Percent Rifle Play Into Castle Doctrine Law?

Louisiana is one of but a handful of states with an active ‘Castle Doctrine’ law in place. Essentially, as a homeowner, you are well within your rights to defend your person, family, and home from an attacker or intruder if you feel your life or that of your family is at risk. In Louisiana, any illegal entry or attempted burglary or robbery is grounds for the Castle Doctrine.

Most in the area will use a firearm. But what about an 80 percent firearm? These so-called “ghost guns” are technically untraceable by the U.S. government, as they do not have a serial number unless you engraved one somewhere on the receiver. You are well within your legal rights to use such a firearm to protect your home and loved ones.

Remember: As long as you are using the firearm for personal use and not selling or giving away the weapon after manufacturing, you do not need a serial number. It is your firearm, and you are rightfully allowed to use it in such a scenario as a burglary.

Of course, and anyone from Louisiana will argue, a firearm is a last resort. If you can stop an intruder using another method, such as a deterrent, like a security system, then most will do so immediately. But at times, unfortunately, there are no other options to protect those you love.

How Do I Get Started With an 80 Percent Lower in Louisiana?

As an 80 percent lower is technically not a firearm, you need not pass a background check, show an ID, or carry an FFL to purchase a lower receiver. What you do need, however, is a drill press and an 80 percent jig, which takes all the guesswork out of milling a lower receiver.

Here in Louisiana, you may purchase an 80 percent lower from various online businesses. A quick search will bring up many well-reviewed options, including right here at 80 Percent Arms.