Firearms Rules Discussion

Are the current firearm rules necessary? Fitting? For those interested they’re listed here.

I can understand not wanting people to manufacture lower receivers, suppressors, and other items that are regulated one way or another. However screwing a grip into a receiver? Cleaning a firearm? Assembling a kit? These things are all prohibited and shouldn’t be in my opinion.

The existing rules were unnecessary at the time and still are unnecessary. Thoughts on rolling this back to a reasonable position? Like prohibiting manufacturing of regulated items? I would like to see a return of classes and activities related to firearms and this would be the first step to do that. If there’s interest I would be happy to draft new rules and collaborate with other interested folks.


I would definitely be interested in that - I have some firearms I just wanted to bring into the media lab to photograph in the little white booth thing for online sales listings, but cannot under the existing rules. I certainly understand concerns about 3d printing and ghost guns and the like as well as the liability concerns, however, it would be great if there was some leeway.

Here’s a first draft of what I would suggest changing the rules to.

  1. Work on an item that would result in changing the legal definition of the item under all applicable firearms laws is prohibited.
  2. Firearms must be unloaded at all times unless they are being carried in accordance with all applicable laws.
  3. Firearms and firearm components must be handled safely and respectfully at all times.
  4. Firearms and firearm components must be attended at all times.

I feel like less is more in this case. We could easily end up with dozens of rules but there are already so many good and well thought out rules and laws that we can piggyback on. Those rules above would prohibit things like the following.

  • Manufacturing a receiver including finishing an “80%” receiver (the main concern from the ATF if I recall correctly)
  • Shortening a rifle or shotgun barrel to below the minimum legal length
  • Converting a semiautomatic firearm to an automatic firearm
  • Converting a pistol into a short-barrelled rifle
  • Manufacturing a suppressor or converting other items into suppressors
  • 3D printing regulated items like receivers and suppressors

Stuff that would be possible under the above rules which would enable lots of safe and reasonable activities.

  • Assembling kits that doesn’t involve changing the legal definition of any items like assembling an AR-15 rifle kit using a receiver that was obtained elsewhere like a gun shop
  • Cleaning and maintaining firearms of all kinds
  • Teaching others about firearms by doing things like disassembling a firearm and putting it back together
  • Modifying firearms in ways that doesn’t involve changing the legal definition of any items like changing the stock, sling, sights, etc.

It would ban having a loaded gun in the space unless someone is carrying it legally like in a holster. If they want to do show and tell or whatever they’d have to take the gun somewhere else, take it out of the holster, unload it, bring it back unloaded, do whatever, leave again, load it somewhere else, holster it, come back.

People would be violating the rules for pointing firearms at people or otherwise handling firearms disrespectfully like spinning them around. Firearms would have to be attended at all times which means they couldn’t be stored for any reason. Less risk of theft and other nonsense associated with storing firearms.

If we want to we could point to specific literature in the rule for the safe and respectful handling of firearms like the NRA, NSSF, or some other organization with well documented guidelines and rules. On the other hand we’re all adults and have common sense. I could go either way.

One part I’m not sure on would be adding a yield rule. For example you setup on a workbench next to someone that isn’t comfortable with firearms. If they ask you to move and there’s another place you could reasonably move to, then you would need to move. My only concern with this is potential for abuse and harassment. Like someone following you around and continually making you move because they disapprove of what you’re doing and the rule would protect them. On the other hand maybe we’re all nice enough to each other that this wouldn’t even be necessary to have as a rule. I’d be fine with someone asking me to move because they’re uncomfortable with firearms.


Just my two cents as a member, these seem pretty reasonable. I’d suggest adding a rule making clear you could only work on a firearm that you own.

I’d also suggest explicitly discouraging open carry, we haven’t really had a problem with it but it doesn’t exactly create a welcoming atmosphere.


Yeah, not sure I want to go through that ‘discussion’ again. The summary really does not do the issue justice - I recall the topic taking a good half of the meeting.

Thus were it not for the likely change to the law making Texas a so-called Constitutional Carry state I’d rather we not open that can of worms angry angry badgers again. However, since it is likely that the legislature will put such a law on the desk of the governor who is inclined to sign it, I humbly submit that we wait to see what change - if any - we see to member behavior before making rules.


In the past DMS has affirmed that it prefers concealed carry but there’s no rule about it and that’s not what I’m interested in with this. If someone else wants to go down that rabbit hole they can. :slight_smile:

Can you elaborate on why ownership of the firearm is relevant? For example if I wanted to replace the grips on a pistol for my father, does the organization actually care? Or are you more concerned about commercial work? What about simply prohibiting work for hire involving firearms?


I’m not an expert but my concern is that it might be viewed as gunsmithing to work on someone else’s firearm. As an organization, because this is such a tricky area from a regulatory perspective, I’d only want to permit things which are obviously allowed by the law and shy away from anything even close to a gray area.


That makes perfect sense. How do you feel about this? Added as the first rule for emphasis.

  1. Work for hire involving firearms is prohibited.
  2. Work on an item that would result in changing the legal definition of the item under all applicable firearms laws is prohibited.
  3. Firearms must be unloaded at all times unless they are being carried in accordance with all applicable laws.
  4. Firearms and firearm components must be handled safely and respectfully at all times.
  5. Firearms and firearm components must be attended at all times.

Another way to handle it would be to create a new rule about work for hire and include things that are prohibited firearms, vehicles, etc.


Prohibiting any “for hire” work takes care of that neatly…
…it could also raise some questions that I once opined about during my tenure as Secretary.

We could explicitly prevent certain uses of the space for commercial purposes if we wish, but my opinion was that’s already not allowed and is something members simply get away with so long as they do not draw attention to themselves.


Did a quick review of the rules and not seeing anything preventing you from bringing in an unloaded firearm (no ammo) for the purpose of photographing. Might have missed something, but should be OK.

Some while back (~3 BoDs back) the regional BATF director paid DMS a visit - think there was an invite on our part. A lot of BATF changes, additions, definitions, restrictions, legalese, etc, etc came out at the time. Key buzzwords include business vrs individual as applied to ownership, manufacturing, etc. This is where things can get interesting.

Things we used to do such as reloading classes are now a no go. Roll the reloading cart down the ramp and have reloading party off the premises - also a no go. Maintenance classes should be OK provided there’s no mods. Replace a worn part - gray area. AR assembly class - possible provided the owner is the only one doing the hands on assembly of their kit only… Instructor can instruct but not touch. Good luck proctoring all that.

In our membership we have folks w/ FFLs, folks w/legal expertise in all things firearm, etc. Forming a “Firearms Review Board” might be a way to proceed. Submit your project / class for review and if it passes it goes to the BoD for final approval. Gonna need liability waivers for all this. Would rather deal with our own internal bureaucracy than deal an external bureaucracy that can bankrupt DMS in a heartbeat.

Yeah it sucks that clowns, idiots, cartels, activists, lobbyists have complicated things for the rest.


Reloading actually got shut down by the fire marshall if I remember correctly.

We had tried to avoid it being an issue, so we’ve never allowed anyone (not even the committee) to store gun powder, primers or anything that contained those (e.g. primed cases and completed ammo). Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to convince the FM.

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Same. I recall that the level of fire suppression demanded would have been … impractical … to implement.


May have been at that point in time. From what I recall powder, primers, etc were brought in for the class. After the class all primers, powder, finished ammo were taken home. As I understand it now - the issue is business (DMS) owned hardware being used by individuals for manufacturing.

The FM was concerned about proximity to the machine shop where hot metal and sparks were probable. I didn’t follow it after that. This doesn’t have anything to do with reloading though.

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Yup! Sorry for the tangent :slight_smile:

Part of the problem with forming rules around reloading and some of the more nuanced firearms rules is that nothing was ever written down from an authoritative source as a record. As such, we have nothing but Hearsay for most of these decisions.

Kris’ board supposedly based the decision on the in-person meet, but there was no one to provide any context for what actual work could be done here / desired to be, half the documents Kris and co produced was supposedly for unrelated things like import/export laws that apply to sales, and this contradicted a letter from National which typically supercedes local fields especially when it’s all in writing (however that said, the letter in question would need clarification / updating at this point anyway)

This is why I’m a big proponent of ensuring everything goes on our SOR in writing

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It would be nice to at least be able to do some basic firearm work at DMS. Years ago, when it was still allowed, I used the parts washer to remove the cosmoline from all the metal parts of an old K98. It worked great, and it’s a shame we can’t currently do things like this.


A buddy of mine would like me to help him make some wooden grips for an old Colt revolver and it would sure be nice to be able to test fit them for adjustments before leaving the space. Unfortunately the paranoid pantywaists shut even that down.


I’d just like to throw my voice in here. I’d be open to perform as much firearm work as the space would allow. I still kick myself that I didn’t perform some of the firearm modifications before the rule changes.

I’d expect that a lot of people are like myself (as everyone does lol) and want to join to use the machine shop to make parts for their firearms (not gunsmithing but accessories). It’s the reason I became a member.


Sooo…Where do we go from here???
Maybe this should go to “Ask the Candidates”?
@lukeiamyourfather would you like to do the honors?