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Interesting legal question so I did some research on ATF’s website. You may legally make (and don’t have to register) a weapon that complies with the National Firearms Act and any state laws. What 3rdweal has made is considered short barrel shotgun, so for it to be legal as it is he would have had to first get pre-approval from the ATF to make it, then pay a $200 fee.
Shotguns, to be NFA compliant, must have a barrel of at least 18 inches, OR be more than 26 inches in length overall (the minimum overall size varies a bit by state). So, technically, if 3rdweal were to add something on the end that makes the thing more than 26 inches, it’s legal! 3rdweal might even just be able to attach string to the end to make it 26 inches long when laid out. Nothing I found says how the ATF or law enforcement measures the length of a shotgun….
I found one legal case involving a guy who made a boomstick, had it in the back of his car, and was pulled over. The cop saw it, asked what it was, and arrested him for possession of an illegal firearm (a felony). BUT, he had a concealed carry permit and the boomstick was longer than 26 inches, so after the cops did some research he was free to go with his boomstick in hand and his charge was dropped.
This weekend I’m now definitely making a boomstick.