Donald Trump is a little busy right now. Re-vamping Obamacare, revising his travel restrictions, sparring with mainstream media and fighting a “deep state” coup attempt has nearly thrown off his weekly golf schedule. Nevertheless, gun owners might be feeling a little left out; “all” Trump has done to restore gun rights so far: sign a resolution reversing the Social Security gun ban.
What could he do to improve the lives of gun owners in the United States? Things that could be done with the stroke of a pen and not take a whole lot of effort? I’ve got three suggestions.
1. Kill the “Multiple Sale” Border Registry
When the Obama Administration started Operation Fast and Furious (the program that would allow firearms to enter Mexico ostensibly in order to stop firearms from entering Mexico) there was increased attention on the “pipeline” of firearms from the U.S. flowing into Mexico.
While most of the perpetrators of this activity could probably be found on ATF informant lists, the government used the “iron river” of guns flowing to Mexico as an excuse to institute a new rule: anyone buying multiple firearms in border states would need to be documented and an alert sent to the ATF to try to stop these “straw purchasers.” The practice continues to this day.
There is no Federal law requiring this extra reporting, much like there is no Federal law specifically outlining most of what the ATF does.
Just as Trump was able to quickly reverse the Social Security gun ban, this border registry could be a thing of the past. All Trump has to do to issue a memo demanding it be dismantled. Low effort on his part for a high impact to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights in border states.
2. Redefine “Sporting Purposes”
There’s a limit to the kinds of firearms that can be imported into the United States: Only those firearms which have a “sporting purpose” are permitted to be imported.
The logic comes from the way the law was passed — Democrats wanted to choke off the supply of cheap foreign firearms flowing into the United States (before stomping out local firearm manufacturing as well).
The only way they figured they could get away with it: if hunters and Fudds were on board. They allowed “traditional” sporting firearms to continue to be imported, Fudds didn’t make a scene, and Democrats gained an effective way of stopping any firearm they want from being imported.
The law leaves that definition of “sporting purpose” vague; the government makes the final definition.
During the last Democrat run administrations the definition of “sporting purpose” has included bolt action rifles, break action shotguns and semi-autos with less than a five round capacity.
The “sporting purposes” requirement has excluded all sorts of firearms from being imported, from the Norinco M14 clones to the M1 Garand rifles the U.S. paid for and shipped to Korea for the Korean War.
If the Trump administration re-defined “sporting purposes” to include things like 3-gun and CMP shooting, the flood gates would open. Cheap M1 Garand rifles would be here again.
3. Reverse the ATF Open Letter on Shouldering an Arm Brace
This is one of the things that irks me beyond all others. I can see the twisted logic behind the “sporting purposes” situation, but the ATF’s flip-flopping and ultimate logic-free decision on the status of the pistol arm brace is one of the more egregious examples of the ATF making up laws when they see things they don’t like.
According to Federal law, firearms classification is based on design — not use. The difference between a “short-barreled rifle” and a “pistol” is based on the physical characteristics and the intent of the manufacturer. How that firearm is later used isn’t a statutory requirement for determining the legality of a firearm.
That didn’t stop the ATF from decreeing that the act of shouldering a pistol arm brace “remanufactured” the firearm into a short-barreled rifle.
A letter from the ATF clarifying their position, reversing the “open letter” they sent a couple of years back, would restore sanity to the classification process.
I’ve heard rumors that such a letter already exists. The ATF just waiting for the right time. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but there’s nothing stopping them from dropping it in the mail this afternoon.