Robert Bevis, the owner of Law Weapons in Naperville, has come up with a brilliant workaround for owners of America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15.  At least when it comes to exempting the rifles from gun registration in Illinois.

UPDATE:  We’ll leave the rest of this post largely intact, save for strike-throughs of relevant information that’s just plain wrong.  We thought Mr. Bevis had a great idea.  In fact I called Law Weapons at least six times today trying to order at least a couple of these devices (and I’ve got the call logs to prove it).  Fortunately, it turns out, Law was too busy fielding other orders to answer.

A subject matter expert and manufacturer of firearms in our fine state talked with me Monday night as I drove down to Newman, IL.  He shared a lot, but let me distill it down to this:  changing a part in an AR-15 upper doesn’t change the status of the lower receiver (the part ATF considers a firearm) at all.  It was “born” a semi-automatic rifle or handgun and physically nothing has changed in the lower receiver.

Need something more substantive that a manufacturer who worked for years to develop a product that complies with legal intricacies?

How about this example of a “workaround” very similar to Mr. Bevis’, the “Tier 5 Modified Bolt Catch” that would supposedly turn your semi-auto AR-15 into a manually cycled firearm – akin to what Mr. Bevis claims his device will do for users (at $119.95 a pop).  Well, great idea, except New York State cops offered an “interpretation” that the device did not change the mechanical operation of the firearm, and as such did not make it a compliant modification under NY’s “SAFE” Act.

From the Long Island Firearms forum.

Subject: Notice – NYS Police Interpretation & Opinion of Tier5 MBC

As we have continually stated firearm laws are subject to change and interpretation. In contradiction to BATF’s definition of a semiautomatic firearm, it has recently come to our attention that New York State Police has taken the position that the use of the Tier5TM MBCTMdoes not change the mechanical operation of the firearm, therefore it is NOT considered a compliant modification under the NY SAFE Act. We have not received anything official from New York State Police regarding their determination nor do we expect to receive anything in writing stating their position. The courts will have to make the official ruling. We are also seeking an official ruling from the BATF specific to the Tier5TM MBCTM. In abundance of caution, we are notifying our New York State customers that at this time firearms fitted with the Tier5TM MBCTM are still considered a semiautomatic firearm by New York State Police.

Something similar was also tried in California to bypass that state’s scary gun ban.  California looked over the product idea, snickered a little and issued an opinion that it did not change the type of firearm upon which it was attached.  Instead, it merely made it a “broken” semi-auto rifle.  (Credit to “Quiet” at CalGuns.)

So despite the opinion of the attorney Mr. Bevis consulted with (who may regret writing that letter attesting to this as a legal workaround), until and unless the Illinois State Police approve this as a legitimate way to turn your AR- into a “bolt action” rifle, is it worth risking a felony for not making any modifications that would cause the law enforcement agencies / courts / juries to think that your AR-15 isn’t still an AR-15 because it effectively malfunctions with every shot?

Put yourself in the jury box.  You’re maybe agnostic at best on guns.  You don’t understand the internals.  You have an individual who was arrested with this rifle.

And the defendant’s attorney is trying to claim that because the defendant changed out this:

That somehow that minor change made this something besides an AR-15…

Yeah, that’s not gonna fly.



The “LAW-BOLT 15” AR bolt redirects the gas out the ejection port instead of using it to cycle the action when the gun is fired.  This keeps the dirty hot gasses out of the innards of the gun.  [Update:  And blows a ton of hot gasses out the side of the gun near your face.)  More importantly, because the gun has to be cycled with each shot, it turns the gun into a bolt action rifle.  This, of course, exempts it from gun registration in Illinois.

William Kirk, the attorney behind Washington Gun Law surely seems to think so.

Me, my first-blush concerns that those utilizing this are trading one bad scenario for another.  So you’ve exempted yourself from registering your AR-15.  Does that mean that all the “weapon accessories” on your “bolt action rifle” must therefore be registered?  I doubt it under the current guidance from ISP.  Not according to the Law Weapons ordering page for this item, Bevis’ lawyer(s) don’t think so.  And neither does William Kirk.

Two  items:

  1.  You would have to dispose of the original AR bolt, or register it as a weapon accessory.  Possession of “accessories” is a felony right out of the gate under this screwed up law.  I’m sure Kwame Raoul would love to convict you for “constructive possession” of an illegal firearm if you had the bolt on your workbench.
  2. The cost of this item is $119.95.  That’s a helluva lot better than the $389 that someone emailed me earlier Sunday, which automatically put it on my “eh, no” list.  However at $120, that’s another story.  Yes, that’s about twice a generic AR bolt, but Mr. Bevis has all sort of legal expenses, and business has fallen off a cliff for him between the Naperville gun and magazine sales ban and the PICA law.  Think of it as a donation.

I suspect I’m in for a couple of these LAW-15 devices.  Not any more.

You might well consider ordering some for your ARs as well.

Just give me a chance to order mine first.


6 thoughts on “(NOT!) A LEGAL WORKAROUND: Law Weapons has a “LAW-15” bolt that turns your AR-15 into a “bolt action” rifle, exempting it from gun registration UPDATE: Except it doesn’t…”
  1. Since the ISP says lower receivers, by themselves, are controlled items, requiring PICA registration (for the record, I disagree), how does converting a formerly semi rifle to bolt action exempt anything?
    By the same token, one could cut the gas tube, crimp it shut, and end up with a straight pull bolt action rifle, ala the Swiss K31, like they sell in merry old England, and be legal.

  2. IF the new modified BCG strategy passes legal challenge, how would people seeking to obtain an AR15 bring an AR15 legally into IL so as to switch out the manufacturer’s semi-auto BCG for the new modified BCG? Would this necessitate self-builds only? Great ingenuity, Mr. Bevis.

  3. This is like a student saying “duck” in the grade school classroom instead of fuck. It might work for a while but one thing to be mindful of is that the anti-gunners might “close the action type loophole” and make all of these scary cosmetic features apply to any action, not just semi-auto’s. So that means a bolt action with a threaded barrel is probably at risk come next spring. Just a hunch. Another thing to consider is that the ISP will certainly want a list of every customer that bought one of these bolts for witch hunting purposes. I don’t see any middle ground bird flipping here that will work forever, assuming the law stands for a long time. You either ignore the law or you comply with it and with that registration = confiscation.

  4. Much like he who shall not be mentioned selling plaintiff status earlier this year Mr Bevis is no different. Non-critical thinking desperate people will make him wealthy.
    Here is better advice keep your mouth shut and doors closed until this statute is declared unconstitutional. It will be declared as such as sure as the sun rises in the east.

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