ghost gun 80% arms
(JWT for TTAG)
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In another blow to the Biden Administration’s ongoing war on the gun industry and firearm owners, a federal judge has thrown out the ATF’s attempt at regulating gun parts and partial receivers as complete firearms. Parts kit and 80 percent frame makers JSD Supply and Polymer80 were intervenors in the case, VanDerStok v. Garland.

After earlier issuing an injunction blocking ATF enforcement, United States District Court Judge Reed O’Connor ruled yesterday that the ATF overstepped its regulatory authority by skirting the legislative process and, in effect, unilaterally re-writing the Gun Control Act of 1968 in order to allow it to regulate gun parts as it does complete firearms. O’Connor vacated the agency’s rule granting the plaintiffs summary judgement.

As O’Connor wrote . . .

In sum, there is a legal distinction between a weapon parts kit, which may be an aggregation of partially manufactured parts not subject to the agency’s regulatory authority, and a “weapon” which “may readily be completed [or] assembled . . . to expel a projectile.” 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)(A). Defendants contend that drawing such a distinction will produce the absurd result whereby a person lawfully prohibited from possessing a firearm can obtain the necessary components and, given advances in technology, self-manufacture a firearm with relative ease and efficiency.86 Even if it is true that such an interpretation creates loopholes that as a policy matter should be avoided, it (sic) not the role of the judiciary to correct them. That is up to Congress. And until Congress enacts a different statute, the Court is bound to enforce the law as written.

The Firearms Policy Coalition issued this statement cheering the decision . . .

Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and FPC Action Foundation (FPCAF) announced that a federal judge has granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs in VanDerStok v. Garland, vacating the ATF’s “frame or receiver” rule and preventing the federal government from enforcing it. The opinion can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.

“This case presents the question of whether the federal government may lawfully regulate partially manufactured firearm components, related firearm products, and other tools and materials in keeping with the Gun Control Act of 1968,” wrote Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in his Order. “Because the Court concludes that the government cannot regulate those items without violating federal law, the Court holds that the government’s recently enacted Final Rule… is unlawful agency action taken in excess of the ATF’s statutory jurisdiction. On this basis, the Court vacates the Final Rule.”

“We’re thrilled to see the Court agree that ATF’s Frame or Receiver Rule exceeds the agency’s congressionally limited authority,” said Cody J. Wisniewski, FPCAF’s Senior Attorney for Constitutional Litigation and FPC’s counsel in this case. “With this decision, the Court has properly struck down ATF’s Rule and ensured that it cannot enforce that which it never had the authority to publish in the first place.”

“This is a monumental victory against the tyrannical ATF. Firearms Policy Coalition and FPC Law have argued that this rogue agency has unlawfully attacked gun owners in this latest round of ‘rulemaking’ and we are grateful to see the Court agree,” said Richard Thomson, FPC’s Vice President of Communications. “We will not stop, however, with this latest victory. FPC and FPC Law will continue to bring these cases to put a stop to the immoral and unconstitutional actions of the disarmament regime.”

Plaintiffs in this case are two individuals, Tactical Machining, LLC, and FPC. FPCAF represents the Plaintiffs, alongside Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Individuals who would like to join the FPC Grassroots Army and support important pro-rights lawsuits and programs like these can sign up at JoinFPC.org. Individuals and organizations wanting to support charitable efforts in support of the restoration of Second Amendment and other natural rights can also make a tax-deductible donation to the FPC Action Foundation. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLegal.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

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55 COMMENTS

  1. It’s good that you can read about it here, as I am certain that MSM will bury it or try to “reinterpret” the ruling.
    FJB

  2. I haven’t read the whole thing or looked into it, but does this also apply to completed lowers?

    • No. It just means we can buy 80% frames/lowers and jigs together again as the same SKU until Congress goes insane and decides that aluminum and plastic blocks are firearms.

      I’d be more concerned about the lifetime paperwork storage for FFLs that was part of the rule that wasn’t addressed in the lawsuits and no one in gun media actually sees as concerning or an undue burden on small businesses.

      • on going and reading it, although 80% is what those plaintiff’s do…the court seems to not limit at 80% but rather ‘not complete’ which would mean that 99% is ‘not complete’ just as 80% is not complete.

        I don’t worry about it anyway. I do my own personal use mil spec complete lowers now, starting with a solid block of 7075. CNC is a good thing, done lots of other non-firearms stuff too.

      • Not in Los Angeles or other areas of CA. Buying 80% frames is illegal here by local ordinance, so online retailers won’t ship to us.

        • Just for giggles, has anyone considered suing that vexing local/state ordinance as facially unconstitutional?

        • and those local ordinances are in clear violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause.. if you lived ten feet east of the line up in Stateline, Lake Tahoe area, you could walk a few hundred yards and buy them over the counter, but the clowns in EllAye have determoned illegeally, to bind “trade between the several states” and this deny YOU your right to those bits of tin. Don’t bother going after the louts in any state court. Go Federal right out fo the gate. The ICC is a federal issue. Find someone down San Diego way who is “harmed” by these regs, and file in Judge Benitez’ federal court. Add the denial of your right to arms as a side issue

  3. They’ll transform the loss into another win.
    Unable to recognize their own fascism, or actively embracing it, they’ll play the victim to rally the troops.

    “We just want to make the country safer for everyone and these evil, racist, -phobic, child-murdering (without a hint of irony), extremist zealots won’t let us!!!”

    • We will be forced to use the same playbook as when the Blacks were freed by Lincoln, and all the Jim Crow ‘Black Codes’ were passed.

      We won big with ‘Bruen’, now comes the hard work of ramming it down their fascist throats… 🙁

  4. Soros’ unlimited free resources and the resources of other antigun law firms given pro bono (with strings) to Garland and the antigun state AG’s will keep coming to disarm Americans. Disarmament may take another 50 years and they are in it for the longhaul.

    One world government control with income taxation is the goal. Armed subjects won’t comply. Hitler will be thought of as a joke when the final evolution is taken.

  5. Barley (nickname), recently rebuilt an old musket he purchased years ago. Scoured Ebay and gun shows for as many original parts as he could, but, since precision and standardized parts had not been perfected by the 18th century, he had to do some of his own machining. Barley has some serious skills.

    He test-fired his restored musket with a low-power black powder charge. Due to the age of some components, he figures he’ll never do more than minimal charges.

    This weekend, he intends to celebrate the 4th by shooting musket balls into a red coat. Barley knows how to have fun.

  6. We have too many people in this country assuming authority they don’t actually have. Things are being done that are not actually legal to do. THIS needs attention. This judge doing this is a good thing but what price will the ATF pay? Likely nothing at all and that’s the problem here. Wether it’s Northam, Newsom, Clinton, Pelosi, or Biden. Allowing this kind of criminal activity will only result in chaos. Regardless of what you think about guns. People on the left that hate Trump want him to pay for what they are told he did but no one seems to care that what Biden truly is doing gets ignored by those very same people. It just doesn’t occur to the Democrat voter that politicians on the left just might be lying to them and even if they understand that it doesn’t matter. The FBI choosing to align itself with the Democrats is not acceptable. The ATF doing the same thing should never be tolerated.

    These people must be held to account. A reckoning is required.

    • And that’s why we have firearms! Which I will never give up. There will be a reckoning in this world or the next🙄

    • Thats why I believe knowing where the pols and bureaucrats live is necessary. When the reckoning begins we know where to start

  7. Here’s the bad news. The government wasted taxpayer dollars defending their egregious overreach, and private citizens then had to spend dollars supporting the FPC and other organizations to defeat this rule. This waste is especially evident in states like California. They enact laws they know are unconstitutional, knowing that they will be tied up in court. The attorneys win every time.

    • And, of course, the next “bad news”, when this judgment is appealed and no change will yet occur. Don’t pop any corks yet- this isn’t over…

  8. in going over this more, it seems the governments whole thing comes down to, basically, “we can do this because we say we can do this and the plaintiff’s lawsuit is inconvenient to us.”

    • .40 is exactly correct.
      Right and wrong are out the window and things are being done just because they can.
      And, if you don’t like it, then sue us for we have unlimited tax payer dollars to pay legal fees.

  9. One branch slapped the hand of another and said “You can’t do that, stop.” Does the phrase “checks and balances” ring a bell? For once the thing that supposed to happen actually happened!

  10. I am going to the auto parts store to buy some exhaust pipe to make a semi auto tube gun from.

    Ban exhaust pipe!

    anyone know if this covers templates on sten tubes too?

    • Let them. The stuff is too thinwalled to be anything more than amusing. Find a steel supplier and start buying “steam pipe” of the appropriate diameter for your intended use. This class of goods is made of steel with a greater tensile strength than is normal water pipe, And the walls are four to six times as thick as water pipe. It is dear, but a very low priced pathway to your final destination. I came into a smallish pile of half and three quarter inch such pipe, most shots less than two feet. The ID on the half inch is.. half inch. The OD comes in at one inch. that means a quarter inch thick wall,,, of high tensile steel. Prolly not well suited for chambering the S&W .500 At least not handheld personally. Maybe bench-fired or from a trunnion of some sort, or remote discharge.
      I watched goofy guy fire his air compresssor cannon. 120 galln pressure tank gimball mounted, fitting on the top mounted a four foot shot of the two inch steam pipe, with a quarter turn flap valve rated for medium pressure between the barrel and the tank. He ran the compressor till iit shut off at full pressure (I checked… 150 psi was all). He raised the muzzle to maybe 45 elevation, turned the whole tank on its gimball to aim it toward a stand of TALL fir trees, distant above a quarter mile. He threw the air valve open them right to closed again, That ball left the muzzle and climbed as it travelled toward the trees. It was still climbing when I lost sight of it due to distance.. well above a quarter mile. I want one…….

  11. Hats off to those who go the extra miles using 80%. As for me there is more than enough time and money spent using serialized.

    Unfortuately some of these wounds 80% endured were self inflicted by nitwits whose ad campaigns marketed 80% as “untraceable” “ghost guns” and other gangster mob hoopla.

    The forum I visited way back that was for 80% builders was no place for nitwits because talk there circled around micrometers, machinery, etc. Let’s say there were no escape plans discussed for a gas station robbery, hit, etc.

    It pretty much sums up which direction to go when Primary Arms is selling boxed AP .308 stripped lower receivers for $105 and sealed Anderson AR-15 stripped lower receivers for $48.

    • I think the attraction of 80% receivers is 50% thumbing your nose at the ATF and 50% sense of accomplishment. I have seen guys who cast AR lowers out of melted beer cans or bend and hammer a AK receiver out of an old shovel. Most people don’t have the skills or the tools to forge or cast a receiver, forge and rifle a barrel or machine a bolt and bolt carrier, but basic milling and drilling can be accomplished with hand and power tools costing less than a few hundred dollars, a 80% lower, stripped upper a barrel and some stock off the shelf parts. Americans have been building their own quality firearms since the 1600’s, just ask the British.

  12. Judge O’Connor, essentially told the ATF that their only option is to take it to the Legislature, and open up GCA ’68. That means this will be a political fight during the run up to the ’24 election. It could potentially lead to the repeal of the GCA, and every law on the books that references it.

    • Whether or not the 1968 Gun Control Act lives or dies depends on a gun owner grassroots effort to Define Gun Control in any shape, matter or form as a History Confirmed agenda Rooted in Racism and Genocide.

      Until the public views Gun Control like the public views its sidekicks nooses and slave shacks expect Gun Control to skate on by…But don’t expect help from some on this forum when there are those who bark at such efforts and denigrate POTUS DJT and his voters and bigots hanging around waiting to inject their bigorty into articles, replies, etc.

      I expect my fan club will read this and come after me because they cannot handle The Truth About Themselves.

  13. … or it’ll be like FJB getting slapped on his school loan forgiveness where his next breath is ” Oh well, I’ll find another way to buy votes “

  14. Being out in a rural community I know at least 5 people in the area who have both the skills and equipment to carve out receivers if they want or need to do so.
    The ability to make whatever tools needed, including firearms is not uncommon outside the concrete jungles. In many cases small farmers have no choice but to be capable of doing so.
    Just a matter of economics, against time involved.
    You have to wonder if the bureaucrats, college kids and city dwellers running the government and bureaucracies have any idea just how simple firearms really are.
    Not to give anyone ideas, but the most technically difficult part of making working firearms would be making the brass casings and primers for the ammunition.

    • oldmaninAL,

      In my opinion the hardest part of making a firearm is the barrel: making that long narrow hole, making it super straight, adding the rifling, and polishing it is an exceptional (bordering on impossible) task if you don’t already have all of the tooling that gun makers have.

      And if someone is going to claim that Farmer Pete can make all of that tooling in his shop, I want to see it.

      • “And if someone is going to claim that Farmer Pete can make all of that tooling in his shop, I want to see it.”

        A lathe, a deep drill, and a chamber reamer is pretty much all you need to craft a fully-functional gun barrel in your home shop.

        Deep drills are neat because they self-center during the drilling process.

        Every last one of those things is sold on the Brownells website :

        https://www.brownells.com/

      • Easy peazy lemon squeezy, the most difficulty comes from waiting for the hydraulic tube to pass customs before you plug in your ECM setup.

        Ctrl+pew for the guide, but use washing soda instead of salt. If you can’t find it because the stores in your area don’t cater to the hipster laundry set, make it with baking soda and your oven.

  15. “Federal Judge Throws Out ATF’s…”

    Waiting for the news…Federal Judge Throws Out ATF, Finally.

  16. This is a textbook example of a well thought out and perfectly executed test case, that now nukes the ATF rule nationwide. And O’Connor’s ruling is very unlikely to be overturned by the Fifth Circuit; heck, I seriously doubt that a stay pending appeal will go anywhere.

    This old federal court trial attorney’s hat is off to Cody and the FPC. Very, very well played indeed.

  17. There’s guns where the difference between “sheet of metal” and “receiver” is a single stamping operation. If this weren’t struck down, everything would be a receiver.

  18. Still not a whisper or an exploding head on the news about this. I’d have expected the anti-gun industry to have gone on an epic rant by now. Maybe they’re all off work for the long weekend, or all their heads exploded earlier today.

    • Yup. I spoke to Cody earlier today to congratulate him, and we discussed the radio silence on this major decision. We both suspect the SCOTUS affirmative action, student loan cases, and website designer cases have sucked all the oxygen out of the MSM’s room.

      BTW, if you only read one legal opinion this year, read Justice Thomas’ concurrence in the affirmative action cases. Absolutely masterful (and readable) opinion, and he destroys Justice Brown’s dissent like a minigun on a sounder of hogs.

      Kinda like this:

      • Could the strategy they used be applied to other lawsuits like getting SBRs and suppressors off the NFA for good?

        Especially on suppressors, as they are over-counter sold with little to no regulation in Europe, and the Leftists here get hard and wet at the prospect of turning this nation into Europe…

        • That’s gonna be a much heavier lift, as you would have to attack the ‘34 Act directly under the Bruen test. (The facts that suppressor regulation is unwise *policy* isn’t a basis for a constitutional challenge.) A Bruen test case challenging the Hughes Amendment is probably a smarter first move, and then use the precedent of that case to then go after the regs of cans, SBSs, SBRs, etc.

          What I was referring to in my comment are all of the various ATF regs that have sprouted up over the years that cannot be squared with the text of the ‘68 GCA. For instance, 922r (requiring certain imported weapons to contain at least a certain number of US-made parts) — where’s the statutory authorization for that? That was nothing but a naked power grab by ATF because somebody didn’t like milsurp weapons being imported into the US.

          Especially if SCOTUS nukes Chevron deference next term (which looks increasingly likely), ATF is gonna be on defense for a while, with its powers chipped away.

      • Thomas blasted Jackson in his concurrence in the affirmative action case.

        Some of the things he destroyed her with were this:

        “So Justice Jackson supplies the link herself: the legacy of slavery and the nature of inherited wealth. This, she claims, locks blacks into a seemingly perpetual inferior caste, … ‘Such a view is irrational; it is an insult to individual achievement and cancerous to young minds seeking to push through barriers, rather than consign themselves to permanent victimhood.”

        He also slammed Jackson’s ‘race-infused world view,’ which he says “falls flat at each step.”

        further he wrote:

        “Individuals are the sum of their unique experiences, challenges, and accomplishments, … What matters is not the barriers they face, but how they choose to confront them. And their race is not to blame for everything — good or bad — that happens in their lives. A contrary, myopic world view based on individuals’ skin color to the total exclusion of their personal choices is nothing short of racial determinism. ”

        Thomas emphasized how the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was a ‘race-neutral text’ and invoked the lone dissent in the infamous Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the majority opinion ruled racial segregation was legal as long as facilities and accommodations for each race were equal.

        Thomas recalled how Justice John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in Plessy argued that the Constitution was colorblind and categorically rejected laws designed to protect a ‘dominant race — a superior class of citizens,’ while imposing a ‘badge of servitude’ on others.

        He destroyed Justice Brown’s dissent.

        Justice Brown waved her true color (no pun intended) left-wing agenda flag here, the typical left-wing racism in disguise of ‘affirmative action’ … claiming to fight racism by imposing racism is still racism.

        • Yup. The news reports indicate that while Thomas was reading his dissent from the bench, Brown was visibly seething. He embarrassed her by showing the world how shallow and inept her reasoning was.

          Thomas’ concurrence will go down in history with Harlan’s Plessy dissent as one of the masterpieces of American judicial writing.

  19. Wonder how ATF would have applied this to FCGs and grip modules. i.e. Sig 320, 365, Beretta APX ect.. As fluid as interpretations are now days I wouldn’t put it past the ATF to change the rules. All these pushes are coming directly from Penn. Ave..

  20. At about 5:00 to 5:30 a.m. back on the 10th of December 2020, the ATF raided the corporate headquarters of Polymer80…
    According to a very reliable source, two computers were taken… The computers were to be returned on 11th December, once the ATF has taken “images” of the data on the computers.

    Since the data on these computers was taken as a result of a search based on illegal presumption, will all that data be definitively purged from ATF systems? Have the computers been returned?

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