One of our Facebook followers messengered an ATF letter that’s been making the rounds. [Posted after the jump.] Dated November 10th, it advises an inquiring gun owner that “if this device [the SIG SB-15 brace ], unmodified or modified [italics theirs], is assembled to a pistol and used as a shoulder stock, thus designing or redesigning or making or remaking, of a weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder this assembly would constitute the making of a ‘rifle’ as defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(7).” And thus become an NFA item. The letter is from . . .
After the success of the SB-15 stabilizing brace, there has been something of an arms race (if you’ll pardon the pun) to see how far the ATF ruling can be pushed. Since the SB-15 is designed to be used as an arm brace and not a stock, adding one to your AR pistol doesn’t legally make the gun a “short barreled rifle” — and saves you $200 in tax stamps. A newer design is the “Shockwave Blade,” which is basically a single vertical rubber fin that hangs from the buffer tube of your AR pistol and claims to improve stability by limiting side-to-side motion while firing. The astute among you will notice that this device looks strikingly similar to a stock. So Shockwave Technologies asked the ATF to rule on whether it is indeed a stock. The reply was a bit surprising . . .
Filed yesterday in Dallas, the lawsuit of Hollis v. Holder is suing the U.S. Department of Justice to allow legal entities such as trusts and corporations to legally register new machine guns. As you probably know, machine guns are regulated under the National Firearms Act, and in most states (as well as on the federal level) possession of an item regulated under that act is a felony unless it is properly registered. However, starting in 1986 the U.S. Government declared that they would no longer approve new registration applications for machine guns — they “closed” the registry. The newly filed lawsuit is seeking to change that.
The folks at NFATracker.com have for years now tracked how long it takes for NFA paperwork to be approved. They remain the best source of information about the NFA Firearms Branch of the ATF (since the ATF doesn’t really do the whole metrics thing). Ever since a spike in applications in the last couple years forced the department to finally hire some more staff we’ve been waiting with bated breath for the wait times to come down from their 14 month peak (as in, 14 months for a paper form 4…from the moment you sent it in to an approved stamp). According to a new chart from NFATracker.com, that prodigious wait time has dwindled to 30 days . . .
Back in May, I first wrote about the possibility that a new ruling could open the floodgates for trusts to register new machine guns. On September 11th, that possibility became fact when the ATF approved — and then immediately rescinded — a Form 1 for a brand new machine gun for civilian ownership. Now it looks like a couple attorneys are filing suit against the ATF, trying to use this ruling as leverage to overturn some or all of the provisions of the National Firearms Act . . .
“Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly ‘adamant’ about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.” Either that or . . .
How long has Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) asked gun buyers to state their ethnicity? I don’t know for sure, but Dan the Man reported on a change in the ATF Form 4473 ethnicity categories in July 2012. I’ve been ticking “African American” for at least five years. For some reason, the media suddenly woke up to the ethnicity aspect of the form 4473 earlier this week. And so “Republican Reps. Diane Black (Tenn.) and Ted Poe (Texas) have introduced legislation to eliminate the requirement for individuals to identify their race when filing paperwork to buy a gun,” thehill.com reports. Because “‘Failing to adhere to this requirement by not checking all of the correct boxes on the 4473 Form is considered an ATF violation that can be so severe as to result in the gun dealer being shut down for having incomplete purchaser forms,’ Black said.” Yes, well, why . . .
In case you missed it, the ATF got caught running one of the most inept and corrupt “stings” in the agency’s long history of inept and corrupt “stings.” That would be “Operation Fearless” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sherman set the way back machine for May 2013. “A bipartisan group of congressional members demanded answers after a Journal Sentinel investigation of the sting that revealed an agent’s guns, including a machine gun, were stolen, the ATF storefront was ripped off of $40,000 in merchandise and agents allowed an armed felon who threatened to shoot someone to leave the store,” jsonline.com reported. But wait! There’s more! . . .
I’m no fan of government regulation, but sometimes it serves a purpose and sometimes it’s an inadvertent subsidy to the manufacturers of over the counter migraine medication. This morning I got yet another ATF error letter in for a transfer to a colleague of mine in another state . . . Continue Reading
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 . . .
If you’ll remember, despite a restraining order to prevent it, the ATF executed a search warrant on San Diego gun parts retailer Ares Armor in March during which their computers and sales records were seized. What chapped the ATF’s hide was Ares sales of 80% polymer lowers that the regulators reckoned were illegal and they wanted to know who had purchased them. Since then owner Dimitrios Karras has been fighting the battle in the courts and according to their web site, they’ve won round one by getting their hands on the affidavit on which the ATF based their request for a search warrant. Ares’ statement on the matter after the jump . . .
Our friends at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave a regulatory update at last week’s 13th Annual Firearms Import/Export Conference. Among the tidbits they dropped were a few more non-surprising data points indicating the (relative) slowdown in firearms and related sales. Number one on the hit parade as reported by princelaw.com: The NFA Branch is now processing more applications than they’re receiving for the first time since 2009. Oh, and they’ve whittled their backlog down to a mere 56,000 applications from 81,000 in February . . .