There’s some verbiage in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (And Really Big Fires) “Final Rule” on ATF 41F that deserves greater scrutiny. Specifically, the ATF’s justification for its provisions. Like this (paragraph breaks and emphasis added):
“The Department disagrees that it must show a direct link between the proposed rule and enhanced public safety. Congress has directed the Department to ensure that individuals who are prohibited from possessing NF A firearms do not obtain them, even if those individuals have no intention of using them in an unlawful manner . . .
“The Department regards the appropriate question to be whether the rule will better ensure that prohibited individuals do not unlawfully possess NF A firearms, not whether individuals who possess firearms are likely to use them to commit crimes. Additionally, the Department notes that some individuals who own NFA firearms do in fact commit crimes.
“A review of trace data and criminal records from 2006 to 2014 disclosed twelve incidents in which owners of NF A firearms were convicted of crimes; however, there is no evidence that these crimes were committed with NFA firearms.
“Convictions include attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit felony offenses of firearms laws, operating a drug involved premises, possession of unlawful firearms, possession of marijuana, intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during commission of drug trafficking, domestic violence, theft, dealing firearms without a license, and possession of an unregistered NFA firearm.
“In one instance the purchaser was arrested 9 days after the purchase of the firearm. In another instance the purchaser was arrested within 3 months of the purchase of the firearm. Both purchasers were convicted of drug related charges.
“The Department acknowleqges that the majority of firearms traced are handguns. However, between 2006 and 2013, local or Federal law enforcement recovered and ATF traced 5,916 NFA firearms . . . There were also at least seven instances in which the possessor of the firearm at the time it was traced was not the person it was registered to in the NFRTR . . .
“The Department also emphasizes that NFA weapons are dangerous weapons that can empower a single individual to take many lives in a single incident. Therefore, a low incidence of the use of NFA firearms in crimes does not reflect the threat to public safety that they pose.
“A low usage of NFA firearms in crime may also bespeak the success of the NFA in preventing such weapons from reaching the hands of prohibited persons in the past. The large increase in transfers in which no background check takes place, however, increases the risk that NFA firearms will reach prohibited persons.
“The Department does not believe it is reasonable to wait for an NFA firearm to be used in a significant criminal incident before crafting procedures reasonably calculated to carry out its regulatory mandate to prevent prohibited persons from obtaining NFA firearms.”