This is, apparently, an 80% receiver that was finished out, and then assembled into a firearm. Perfectly legal in TX and many other states.
Federally, you are strongly encouraged to add a serial number of some type, so that the gun can be traced if stolen. Selling it without a manufacturers license from the BATFE will net you a bunch of prison time and some big legal bills.
Perhaps true in this particular case but not generally.
What generally happens is that the charge related to unlicensed manufacture is used as a throw-away to pressure the defendant into accepting a plea bargain on the more serious charges that started their being investigated to begin with.
The unlicensed manufacture is a Fed. charge, the Fed’s are not really interested in prosecuting the local dope dealer, child molester, rapist, check kiter, etc.
But the local DA likes using the threat of a Fed. charge to get the defendant to plead out.
Avoiding actual trial seems to be the major effort of DA’s these days.
Maybe because we just have too many laws on the books, maybe because counties don’t want the expense so “Saving the taxpayers money” is now the priority?
Expect this guy to spend about $40K in legal fees and get probation.
All for an AR he maybe made a hundred dollar profit on!
Selling any firearms as a business w/o an FFL is illegal. Making (80%) receiver and eventually selling it or any other firearm one owns other than as a business is not illegal. Occasional buy/sell is not illegal.
There is a glitch however, making any AR lower ( the actual firearm per the law) into a rifle or pistol is authorized, but one cannot take apart a rifle, use that lower to build a pistol ( IOW, remove the rifle buffer/stock and un pin the rifle upper, add pistol buffer parts, then snap in a pistol upper) that is a felony.... It is the law, it does not need to make any sense.
So, selling a firearm made by oneself to another is not necessarily illegal. The guy who made it needs to have his ducks in a row, otherwise they will find something to hook him on. I would recommend he say absolutely nothing to the ATF folks w/o a firearms lawyer present.