ATF Just Approved the First New Civilian Machine Gun in 28 Years. By Accident.

A couple months back I talked about an ATF ruling that may have made it possible for those with a gun trust to legally manufacture machine guns. The key element is that since the Gun Control Act of 1986 stated that no person may manufacture or register a new machine gun and the ATF says trusts aren’t people, there may be an opening for trusts (not people) to register those devices. As soon as word leaked out a couple people immediately filed applications to make and register machine guns (ATF Form 1), and those applications seem to have finally made it through the process. Rumor has it at least one application has been approved — with a twist . . .

From an Arfcom thread on the matter, one of the regulars who sent in a form 1 posted the following:

I haven’t seen it yet, but supposedly both a denial and an approval are in the mail. ATF called and wants the approval returned immediately.

[…]

ATF agent stated they denied first, then accidentally ran it a second time and approved it. I recorded the call. I haven’t had time to check my audio (and won’t until after work) but hopefully it came out well.

[…]

Anyone have SAF’s contact information? I’m not sure how keen they would be on a machinegun case given some of their Supreme Court arguments, but it’s worth a shot.

Unfortunately I don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer myself. I’m not even sure if their is much a lawyer can do.

The audio confirming that the approval took place (and subsequent revocation) is in the YouTube video above.

The ATF have dug themselves into a pretty big legal pit over the last couple years. First they kicked the hornet’s nest that is SIG SAUER by classifying their muzzle brake as a silencer, which has led to a long and protracted legal battle that SIG SAUER is hell bent on winning. Then they decided to stick their noses into Ares Armor’s business, for which they have drawn some significant criticism and once again firmly ensconced themselves as the “bad guys” in the firearms industry.

This latest issue arose when President Obama demanded that the ATF close the “gun trust loophole” and make it harder for individuals to purchase legal firearms. They proposed a rulemaking change to make that demand a reality, and promptly received an avalanche of letters opposing any such move.

While the official rule change is probably more than a year away if ever (and the legal battle to follow such a change would take even longer), the ATF decided to try and make that change happen right now anyway by re-defining a couple things. Thanks to that definition — that a trust is not a person for purposes of a form 4473 — it opened the flood gates for trusts to build machine guns. In theory, anyway.

There’s already a legal fund coming together to fight this revocation and take the ATF to court over this issue. Stay tuned.

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