ATF Up To No Good Again

The Gun Control Act of 1968 imposes a “sporting test” on imported firearms. It appears according to reports that it is using that to prohibit the import of many AK and AR type pistols. While there is no real definition of “sporting” under the law, ATF examiners are claiming the weight of these pistols, the size of available magazines, and that they fire traditional rifle caliber (7.62×39 or 5.56) cartridges make the unsuitable for sporting purposes. It is also important to not that these determinations are not made public but are communicated in private letters to the importers.

From Wiley Law:

Despite ATF previously stating that there is no limit to how long or heavy a handgun should be to qualify as “sporting” under section 925(d)(3), ATF private classification letters issued within the past few months indicate that the agency has shifted course by reinterpreting what constitutes a “handgun.” In company-specific letters, ATF takes the position that if a submitted firearm is too long or too heavy, it fails to meet the definition of “handgun” under the Gun Control Act, as it is not “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) of ATF—which conducts importability evaluations—says that it is taking a subjective approach to the statute by allowing individual examiners to determine if he or she can fire the weapon with one hand without difficulty.

This approach is resulting in inconsistent determinations, of which the regulated community should take note. Within the past few months, at least one HK91 pistol-style submission as light as 8 pounds, with a barrel length of 8-3/4 inches and an overall length of 21-3/4 inches, has been determined to fall outside the definition of “handgun.” This is a change from previous determinations where firearms weighing over 8 pounds, with 20-inch barrels, and an overall length of approximately 31-1/2 inches were held by FATD to be “handguns.” Since the letters are not publicly available, it is impossible for regulated companies to know the full range of FATD’s determinations. This has serious implications for regulated businesses.

In some of the new letters, ATF has begun listing the following “objective design features” when making its evaluations:

Incorporation of rifle sights;

Utilization of “rifle caliber ammunition” (both 5.56mm and 7.62mm have been considered as such);

Incorporation of “rifle-length barrel;”1

The “weapon’s heavy weight;”

Ability to accept magazines that range in capacity from 20 rounds to 100 rounds, “which will contribute to the overall weight of the firearm”; and

Overall length of the weapon which “creates a front-heavy imbalance when held in one hand.”

However, ATF also noted in the most recent private ruling that the above design features are “neither binding on future classifications nor is any factor individually determinative[.]” ATF explained without elaboration that “the statutory and regulatory definitions provide the appropriate standard in classifying the firearm.” ATF concluded that “a firearm that is too large, too heavy or . . . otherwise not designed to be held and fired in one hand (as demonstrated by the objective features) cannot be a handgun under the statutory definition and cannot be subject to importation criteria governing handguns.” In light of ATF’s subjective and inconsistent analysis of size and weight, it is difficult to predict how the agency will classify any given firearm under this standard.

The ATF also has sent at least one letter to an importer stating that the prior approval of the import and determination that it met the sporting test “may require reevaluation.” You can read that as either ATF saying, “Oops, we made a mistake”, or “We changed our fickle minds and screw you.”

This redetermination of what is or isn’t a pistol could also impact anyone who has a domestic manufactured pistol of the AK, AR, CZ Scorpion, or the like. In other words, they could now be considered AOW under the purview of the National Firearms Act, subject to an extensive background check, and a tax stamp.

As Wiley Law notes:

Under ATF’s new interpretation of the handgun definition, millions of AR-15 style pistols could be considered “too large, or too heavy” to fall within ATF’s new interpretation, thereby making them unregistered NFA weapons, and subjecting manufacturers and gun owners to criminal prosecution. Given the private nature of ATF’s classification rulings, and the subjective nature of the analysis, it is extremely difficult to know for sure whether specific firearms fall within the new interpretation. This appears to be part of a continuing trend at ATF to apply firearms statutes in a more restrictive manner without informing the public—a trend that appears unaffected by the IFR. In this uncertain regulatory environment, importers and manufacturers should consult counsel before making significant purchasing, importing, or manufacturing decisions for firearms that could be implicated by ATF’s heretofore unknown and undisclosed analysis.

Gun Owners of America has called this a “rogue, secret ATF interpretation” meant to undermine President Trump with gun owners.

They said:

“Despite an executive action from President Trump prohibiting the imposition of ‘new standards’ without express authorization by law, the apparent interpretation by a rogue and reckless ATF has implications that could criminalize millions of otherwise non-violent and law-abiding gun owners,” Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President, for Gun Owners of America (GOA) said. “This continues to demonstrate why the National Firearms Act should be repealed and the agency itself should be fully dismantled.

“It also demonstrates why President Trump recently issued an Executive Order creating a new classification of ‘Schedule F’ employees. This new classification allows the President to ‘drain the swamp’ by firing policy-making employees who would rather go rogue than follow the law.

“The recent Honey Badger gun ban and revelation of absurd private classification rulings represents a pro-Biden ‘October Surprise’ by an out-of-control, anti-gun ATF. By disregarding orders to stand down, rogue ATF agents seem prepared to help usher in a Joe Biden Administration, especially because their actions appear to be purposefully timed to anger President Trump’s base immediately before an election.

I am taking a class from Montgomery Community College on gun shop management. Our homework this week was researching ATF interpretations of pistol arm braces among other things. Talk about timely!

Cities And Everytown Sue BATFE Over “Ghost Guns”

In a lawsuit supported by the Everytown Law, the cities of Syracuse, San Jose, Chicago, and Columbia, SC have sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives over 80% receivers. Of course, they characterize them as “ghost guns” and not semi-finished lumps of metal or polymer.

BATFE is accused of failing to follow the Gun Control Act of 1968.

From the lawsuit:

Defendants ATF and United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) refuse to apply the clear terms of the Gun Control Act. That federal law defines regulated “firearms” to include not only operable weapons but also their core building blocks—frames for pistols, and receivers for long guns—so long as those core building blocks are designed to be or may be readily converted into operable weapons. See 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3). Notwithstanding that statutory language, Defendants have declined to regulate unfinished ghost gun frames and receivers as “firearms,” even though they are designed to be and may be readily converted into
operable weapons.

Instead, Defendants have issued rules and letter determinations—continuing to this day—giving the green light to the unregulated sale of unfinished ghost gun frames and receivers.

The cities and Everytown are seeking an injunction and a declaratory relief in the Federal lawsuit brought in the Southern District of New York. They want any and all determination letters set aside.

The Everytown press release makes these assertions:

A ghost gun is a do-it-yourself, homemade gun made from easy-to-get, building blocks that are unregulated under the ATF’s current interpretation of federal law. These guns are finished by an individual, not a federally licensed manufacturer or importer. Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. 

The ATF’s current interpretation of federal law — which the lawsuit seeks to have set aside as unlawful — allows people who can’t legally own a firearm to easily buy the parts for a ghost gun. In only a few hours, these self-made weapons become fully functioning, untraceable firearms. A person can buy the parts and assemble a ghost gun without even receiving a background check

Research by Everytown shows ghost guns are becoming a weapon of choice for people with felony convictions, gun traffickers, and other people legally prohibited from owning guns. 

I call BS on the assertion that “ghost guns” are the weapon of choice of criminals. Stolen guns and guns obtained through illegal straw purchases are much more likely to be found in the hands of a criminal than a completed Glock-ish Polymer80.

Former BATFE technical expert Rick Vasquez had this to say in a Reuters report:

But Rick Vasquez, a Virginia-based firearms consultant and former ATF technical expert who evaluated guns and gun products to help the bureau determine if they were legal, said anyone wanting to address the proliferation of kit guns should pass new laws in Congress.

There is no word if Everytown Law intends to demand that the plumbing department of Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards now be required to have a FFL. As Tam has always said, they are selling 90% Sten guns.

Arsenals Behind Enemy Lines

An alternative title might be your tax dollars at work if you live in New York City.

In an effort to curb “gun violence” (sic) in Gotham City, a joint firearms task force that included BATFE, the NYPD, and, believe it or not, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General recovered this enormous arsenal in a raid.

The streets of DeBlasio’s New York have never been safer.

If Fast Food Was Sold Like Guns

It should come as no surprise that the gun prohibitionists are in a tizzy because the BATFE has adopted sensible regulations during this time of COVID-19. The regulations allow gun dealers to use drive-in windows or a table in front of their store so as ensure social distancing. It never absolved them of running a NICS check or having a Form 4473 filled out.

Kris Brown, co-president of Brady United, opined, “We should not need to say this, but guns should not be sold like fast-food burgers or lemonade.”

That’s a nice little sound bite but lets look at what it would look like if fast food was actually sold like guns.

During this time of stay-at-home orders and eating your own cooking everyday, you decide you need a treat. You decide you want a BigMac, large fries, and a chocolate shake from McDonalds. If you don’t like McDonalds, it could just as well be a Whopper from Burger King.

To make it go faster you place your order over the Internet using the McDonalds’ app. After all, you’ve know about the Internet loophole from reading the literature of the food safety groups (formerly known as food control).

You arrive at the drive-thru window anxious to pick up your BigMac, fries, and shake. Instead of handing you your meal, the cashier ask you to fill out the USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service’s Form FAST. She tells you that they will need to run a NICS (Nutritional Inventory Check System) check through the FDA.

You are flabbergasted. But what about the Internet loophole you say! The cashier says you always have had to fill out Form FAST and have a NICS check even if you bought it over the Internet. You eventually get approval and go home to eat while grousing about the unfairness of it all.

However, imagine if you lived in Illinois or New Jersey or California.

In Illinois you would have to have your FFID (Fast Food ID) Card. If you were just visiting, the only way you could get it is if you had a non-resident eating permit. That also would be required if you just wanted to buy condiments.

Now in New Jersey, it gets a bit more cumbersome. There you would be required to apply for a Fast Food Application and Registration System permit in advance. To get the FFARS, you would have to submit an official cholesterol report and BMI to the nutritional police for their OK. Now if you wanted to get a Big Mac or Whopper that requires additional paperwork for your FFPID (Fast Food Purchasers ID). The rationale is that Big Macs are more dangerous than a simple hamburger.

That goes back to an effort by Josh Saccharine of the Food Violence Policy Center to confuse the general public by coining the term “assault burger”. He knew that a Big Mac had fewer calories than three slices of pizza but the average consumer would be wary of those people eating Big Macs because they were assault burgers.

Now assume our fast food consumer is in California. A regular Big Mac is banned because the State Nutritionist General has deemed it an Assault Burger. Thus, fast food restaurants have come up with California-compliant versions that replace the beef burger with a soy burger. Our man can still get his California-compliant Big Mac but he will have a 10 day wait to pick it up after placing his order, paying for it, and having the require background checks. If he wants extra ketchup, that requires a separate check.

If all of this seems a bit far-fetched, never underestimate the power of bureaucrats, nanny-state politicians, and anti-freedom groups to implement such a regime. They have done it for firearms which are actually mentioned in the Constitution so it isn’t that much of a stretch to see them do it for something that doesn’t have such Constitutional protections.

The point here is that when Kris Brown of Brady United or John Feinblatt of Everytown say that guns are being sold like fast food they are full of crap. You know it, I know it, and they know it.

Kind Of Shocking That They Sought An Indictment

I subscribe to press releases from various BATFE Field Divisions. I got one from the Chicago Field Division yesterday that kind of shocked me.

They actually sought an indictment against someone for lying on the Form 4473 and facilitating a straw purchase.

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Hanna N. DeCicco (age 22) of Milwaukee with Making a False Statement to a Federal Firearms Dealer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(a)(6) and 924(a)(2) on July 10, 2019.

DeCicco is charged with one count of being a straw purchaser of firearm. She knowningly made a false and fictitious that she was the actual buyer of the firearm, when in fact, she was acquiring the firearm for someone else. DeCicco faces a maximum of ten years of imprisonment, three years of supervised released, and a $250,000 fine. 

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods’ strategy brings together all levels of law enforcement and community resources to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life in all our neighborhoods.

Do you know how rare something like that actually is? It is usually near the bottom of a Federal prosecutor’s agenda. At least it was during the Obama years.

This NPR report from 2015 noted that straw buyers were rarely prosecuted.

Many licensed gun dealers are concerned that straw purchasers are rarely prosecuted, says Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“The law says that somebody could go to jail for up to 10 years and face a fine of up to $250,000. Why that doesn’t happen more often is a question for, you know, the federal judiciary and the Department of Justice,” Keane says.

Bouchard, who retired from the ATF in 2007, admits charging straw buyers falls towards the bottom of federal prosecutors’ priority lists. He says the cases are difficult to win and resources are limited.

However, that has started to change as the Trump Administration has decided not to ignore those crimes. In the last year of the Obama Administration, only 111 people were charged with false statements on the Form 4473. By contrast, in the first seven months of FY 2019, the Department of Justice had already charge 167 people with making false statements.

The number is still low in comparison to the other Federal prosecutions involving weapons but it is on the rise. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with going after straw purchasers.

As an aside, Ms. DeCicco needs to clean her Facebook page up. An Assistant US Attorney is going to love this comment from December.

Somebody’s gonna take these games to far & end up gettin popped.

Damn Furriners!

If you were to believe the representative from Giffords the AR market is being flooded with foreign imports and home-made ARs.

This came up today in the House Judiciary Committee hearing today on banning “assault weapons”. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) started the conversation by asking David Chipman about Colt and their decision to temporarily leave the commercial market. Chipman, a retired BATFE agent, is now a Senior Policy Advisor with Giffords. He previously held a similar position with Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors.

I seem to remember that the late President George H. W. Bush imposed a ban on so-called assault weapons in 1989. Given that, I wonder where Chipman is getting his information. I mean an ATF agent, active or retired, would never make stuff up, now would he?

They Should Have Done Like French Farmers

I was reading a press release on Monday from RW Arms of Fort Worth, Texas. They were a retailer of bump stocks. As I understand it, they had purchased the entire remaining inventory from Slide Fire last year. The press release said they were were surrendering their remaining 60,000 bump stock to BATFE for destruction.

Fort Worth based retailer, RW Arms, will turn in their entire inventory of bump stocks to the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on Tuesday, March 26th, to be
destroyed, in compliance with the Bump Stock Ban. RW Arms will transfer 60,000 bump stocks
to American Shredder in Fort Worth, Texas, to be shredded and recycled under the supervision
of ATF agents.

 Subsequent stories in Texas newspapers shows them being crushed at the recycling plant.

Now I’m sure they turned them over like this because they want to stay in the good graces of the BATFE and the rest of the Deep State. However, I might have taken a page from the French farmers protesting what they considered injustices.

I would have loaded them up into this.

Driven them to this building which is the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Donned my yellow vest. And then done this like French farmers have done in Paris.

Bearing in mind that French farmers have dumped more “odiferous” offerings, I think this would have been a more gentle protest of the perversion of the rule of law by the administrative state at the behest of politician than those French farmers might have conducted. I guess we will have to wait and see if the courts can grow a spine and actually stand up for the rule of law.

She’s Right You Know

This is something that I thought that I’d ever write but Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is correct. To be more precise, she is correct on one thing. That is that any ban on bump stocks is the business of Congress and not a regulatory agency.

In an op-ed published Wednesday in the Washington Post, she wrote:

Automatic weapons produced before 1986 are highly regulated, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tracks them. Despite this, the agency has consistently stated that bump stocks could not be regulated under the current law. That was because they do not fit the legal definition of an automatic weapon under the National Firearms Act.

Automatic weapons are defined by their ability to fire a continuous number of rounds by holding down the trigger. Bump stocks and other accessories have made this definition largely obsolete, creating a loophole that circumvents Congress’s intent to bar civilians from achieving automatic rates of fire. That’s because the recoil of the stock “bumps” the finger against the trigger, allowing the weapon to achieve automatic fire. Because of this technicality, bump stocks have not run afoul of the law.

ATF initially concluded that it could not ban these devices through regulation in 2008. And after the 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., ATF further explained in a 2013 letter to Congress that it could not take unilateral action because “stocks of this type are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes.” In addition, internal ATF documents made public through Freedom of Information Act requests by Giffords Law Center and Democracy Forward show that the agency had reiterated its lack of authority to ban bump stocks unilaterally and that it had approved similar devices as recently as April 2017 — under the Trump administration.

In March 2018, the Justice Department did an about-face, claiming that bump stocks do, in fact, fall under the legal definition of a machine gun and therefore can be banned through regulations. The administration’s position hinges on a dubious analysis claiming that bumping the trigger is not the same as pulling it.

Feinstein goes on to say that banning bump stocks by executive fiat opens it to legal challenge and that the Final Rule provides a roadmap for the “gun lobby” to do just that. This is not to say that Feinstein is pro-bump stock. Far from it. She wants them banned along with “trigger cranks” but says it should be done by Congress. Part of her rationale is that if it is done by Congress a future President can’t change his or her mind about bump stocks and ditch the ban. The other part of her rationale is the feeling that President Trump and the BATFE with the ban are intruding upon a Congressional prerogative.

The bump stock ban is already being challenged in District Court in Guedes et al v. BATFE et al. Gun Owners of America have also been promising a lawsuit which as of this afternoon still hasn’t been filed.

Bumpstock Ban, Part II

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in response to the announcement by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker that the final rule banning bump fire stocks has more detail as well as “instructions” for owners of these firearms accessories. You have to wonder if the release of this final rule was delayed until after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fired and a more compliant acting AG was in place.

First, the final 157 page rule can be found here. It will officially become final when it is published in the Federal Register. The rule goes into effect 90 days from when it is published in the Federal Register.

Second, the BATFE has published instructions on how to destroy your bump fire stock. They also have links to diagrams for a number of named bump fire stocks which are below.

Third, the other opinion is turn in your bump fire stock at your local BATFE office. They “advise” to call ahead. Also, while they don’t mention it, make sure you have your dog in a safe, undisclosed location.

Fourth, and this is not mentioned by BATFE, you can support the lawsuits that have or will be filed seeking to have this overturned. I will cover some of them in the next post.

Wednesday Is The Last Day To Comment On ATF’s Proposed Retroactive Ban On Bump Stocks

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 28th at 11:59pm EDT, is the close of the comment period on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives proposed ban on bump fire stocks. According to the legal sophistry of the DOJ lawyers, the BATFE erred when it said bump fire stocks did not violate the National Firearms Act. Thus, if the rule is adopted, bump fire stocks will be treated as machine guns and since they were produced after the Hughes Amendment was enacted they will be destroyed without compensation.

Bump fire stocks are a novelty to me. However, more important is how this ruling could be used to expand restrictions on all semi-automatic firearms, trigger upgrades, and the list goes on. To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemoller’s quote about the Nazis, “first they came for the bump fire stocks and I did not speak out because I didn’t own a bump fire stock…”

The corporate gun ban lobby has been active in the last few days trying to solicit their members to submit comments. I’m sure they’ll get a lot that will ignore the law and play on emotion. While I’ll have another post up in the morning about the Firearms Policy Coalition’s 900+ page submission, for the time being here is a reminder from Grass Roots North Carolina.

STOP THE ‘BUMP-STOCK’ GUN BAN

The Dangerous Precedent of the ‘Bump-Stock’  ban.


The law that a ‘machine gun’ is defined by one trigger
pull firing multiple rounds
was written by congress and signed off on
by the executive branch.  But with
‘Writing It Out’
 the executive branch all by its
lonesome is going to magically redefine multiple trigger pulls as one so that they can call a bump-stock equipped semi-auto firearm a
‘machine gun’.  

Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into
a machinegun
by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm
in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the
shooter.

The trigger still has to be pulled for every shot, but with the word
play magic, those additional trigger pulls are going to be ‘written out’ so with supposedly one trigger pull, you have a
‘Machine gun’!

It’s a semi-automatic
miracle! 
    


If the
required trigger pull for every shot has been ‘written out’ devices such as Bump-stocks, belt loops, rubber
bands or fingers will have to be banned since these can also turn that which is ‘semi-automatic’ into something that is
‘automatic’. 
But they can’t very well ban pants, rubber bands or fingers, so
they will have to ban semi-automatic firearms instead.
   
But wait!  There’s more!
   
With
this magical word play any gun that can
fire again with just a trigger pull could also be banned as a ‘machine
gun’, meaning revolvers or shotguns could also be eliminated.


See how easy it is to ban just about everything by just changing the meaning of a few
words?
Nancy Pelosi [Bless her heart]
openly admitted that she hoped the ‘Bump-Stock’ ban would lead to a slippery slope towards other restrictions on our
freedom.  
The
Left wants
to cynically exploit the recent shootings for political gain, This is
only round one of a coming battle to defend your Constitutional
rights.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!

  • The end of the comment period is tomorrow: June 27,
    2018
      so you only have a short time to express your opinion on this important and far reaching
    issue.
  • Help GRNC reload for the coming
    battle
    The
    Left cannot stand it when you exercise your rights and they will stop at nothing to deprive you of them. 
  •  We desperately need money and volunteers for
    the upcoming battle. Please help by donating at:
    https://www.grnc.org/join-grnc/contribute

 

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE

This is in opposition to the ‘bump device’ ban, or any such rule.
  
 The Executive branch
of the Federal government cannot simply change the meaning of words to ‘write out’ things that are unpopular at the moment.

It also cannot turn
semi-automatic firearms into ‘machine guns’ with the stroke of a pen.  These firearms require multiple trigger pulls to fire. 
No amount of word magic can change that fact.


Attempting to do so will set a dangerous precedent with potential to put all guns on the
chopping block.  That will most certainly INFRINGE on the 2nd amendment. 


The Federal government has no authority to  change the meaning of words
that impact the law in this matter.
 
Respectfully,