The ATF simultaneously is and is not the most idiotic and useless appendage of the federal government. There are some good people within the ATF that genuinely understand the law and are working towards making things better, and then there’s B. Todd Jones. The ATF recently released a circular attempting to make it more difficult to produce firearms from 80% lower receivers (expertly analyzed here), but Ares Armor sees things differently. The shop that was famously raided by the ATF for producing illegal receivers sees the letter as vindication that they are in the clear, and sent a note to the ATF illustrated with crayon pictures in the hopes that they will be able to understand if presented in that medium . . .
From the Ares Armor letter:
PART 3. The Common Sense Conclusion Based On Your Statements.
) A “frame or receiver” and a “weapon”, are separately and uniquely defined in the GCA of 1968.
) The “may readily be converted” phrase only applies to “weapon” and not to “receiver”.
) The meaning of the word “manufacture” is “to make into a product suitable for use.”
) An object that is NOT suitable for use as a “receiver” is NOT classified as a “receiver”.
) Indexing marks DO NOT make a random object into a “receiver”.
I conclude, based off of your statements, that one cannot be charged with a crime of “manufacturing” (make into a product suitable for use) an AR “receiver” ( “[t]hat part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”) if that “receiver” does not provide housing for any of the intended mechanisms.
I would like to thank you for your clarification that NOT drilling the through holes for the fire-control group (safety selector, trigger pin, and hammer pin) would be sufficient to have NOT manufactured a “receiver”.
Just to sink your own words in one more time, I will provide you with your quote from page 3 again,
“ATF Ruling 2010-10 assumes that a licensed dealer-gunsmiths would perform certain activities on articles ALREADY classified as frames or receivers (i.e., no machining or other processes required to allow it to be used to assemble a weapon)… *emphasis added
I expect that you will issue a letter in response to this stating that one can manufacture a 99% receiver (missing only the 3 holes for the fire control group) and not be charged with “manufacturing a ‘firearm’”.
I salute you on your efforts of making the hobby of building firearms at home easier!
To make things easier for you and your agents to understand, I have commissioned these concepts to be drawn in crayon. I have attached this drawing to this letter. You are welcome.
The ATF has a bad track record of making things worse for themselves when trying to change definitions to crack down on gun ownership. They most recently may have re-opened the machine gun registry when trying to get people to stop using trusts with NFA items, and this most recent exercise may have dug them yet further into another hole. I can’t wait for the lawsuits to start, and finally get some clarification on this whole business.