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By Larry Keane

If U.S. senators were hoping to give a lift to the Department of Justice’s proposed rule to redefine a firearm, they underestimated Ashley Hlebinsky.

She’s a historical powerhouse when it comes to guns. Hlebinsky testified before the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, in a hearing titled: Stop Gun Violence: Ghost Guns. Hlebinsky started by shredding any pretenses of false authority by those using loaded terms and ended her opening statement reminding senators whom they represent.

“Firstly, I will not be using the term ghost gun and that’s because as a historian I try to be as precise as possible and the term is used more as a rhetorical tool, a marketing tool and because of that, it can create a false sense of authority on the subject,” Hlebinsky told the senators.

Hlebinsky knows a thing or two about firearms. She’s the president of the consulting group The Gun Code and was formerly the Robert W. Woodruff Curator of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Cody Firearms Museum, and is now Curator Emerita and Senior Firearms Scholar. Before that, she researched at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Firearms Collection.

That’s why Hlebinsky wouldn’t repeat the politically-charged term “ghost gun.” It’s too easy to conflate with something that is invisible, undetectable or untraceable. None of which is true.

What’s Old is New

“But the big takeaway about the history is that these privately made firearms have been around for centuries, basically since the first system was developed over 500 years ago,” she said.

Hlebinsky reminded senators that it was private gun makers that played a vital role in the American Revolution, using locks and barrels the same way parts kits are sold today. Private innovation fueled development.

Ashley Hlebinsky testifying on “ghost guns”, clarifying the terms from the start and offering some history on privately made firearms.

Posted by Gun Culture 2.0 on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

“I know a lot of people here don’t necessarily like some of the technology that exists today, but I really want to make the point that innovation also means making firearms safer,” she explained.

Hlebinsky added that the proposed rule change by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) suggests modification to definitions that are inaccurate. She noted that striker-fire and split-receiver firearms aren’t new phenomena, but technologies that date to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

“It’s interesting and important to understand that these things can affect both sides, criminalizing those that would otherwise be considered innocent and opening the door for loopholes and litigation, and worst of all, continued violence,” she explained. “The complicated laws continue, you are not only leaving your constituency left vulnerable of a false sense of security, something here nobody wants from either side.”

I did not get the black/navy suit and boring shoes memo…yesterday was such a great experience and I really enjoyed the…

Posted by Ashley Hlebinsky on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Guns and Criminals

That’s what Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted in his opening remarks. The notion of firearms that possess supernatural powers is a ghost story.

“Homemade firearms aren’t any more dangerous than any other firearms and for all relevant purposes, homemade firearms are treated like any other farm under the law,” Sen. Cruz said. “If a person commits a crime with a homemade gun, they will be prosecuted just the same as anyone else. If a felon makes a homemade gun, he’s a felon in possession of a firearm and will be prosecuted. If a person sells a homemade gun to a criminal, that person will be prosecuted.”

Sen. Cruz challenged Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Conn.) assertion that the hearing was intended to reduce crime, when antigun Democrats refuse to enforce the laws already enacted. It’s really about getting a handle on who has what guns in America, he said.

“They want a registry of every firearm in America,” he said. “They want a government list of what guns there are. Who owns them, how many they own them. And when you see countries enact registries of firearms, the next step is confiscation. And numerous Democrats on this committee have advocating confiscating firearms.”

In fact, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) openly called for confiscation. Sen. Feinstein explained in a 1995 60 Minutes interview that she wanted much more than a 10-year ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs).

“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in,” she said.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) noted that it was John Moses Browning who revolutionized gun making in America and did so privately, designing and creating his own firearms before selling the patents. He explained that the law will have greater impacts on those who obey the law than those who circumvent it to commit crimes. Sen. Lee said the proposed rule is an attempt to make an end run past Congress and negate its role in creating law.

“I’m convinced that proposals like the proposed rule the Biden administration issued on Friday will affect those law-abiding Americans who use 80 percent lower receivers or receiver blanks while doing very little to stop criminals who want to use guns in order to hurt other people.”


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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  1. Good for Hlebinsky and Cruz. The main question is whether the Republicans or the judiciary will do anything about this blatantly unconstitutional power grab.

    • I’ve got five Ben Franklins in my wallet that says they won’t. Mostly because of the ongoing ‘rigging’ of the process by the Democratic Control of the Government Branches. And that would be a bottomless shame because this is much, much, more than a mere power grab. It’s a blatant in-your-face- attempt at a tyrannical take over of the American Constitutional Free Market Capitalist system of egalitarian and the Libertarian Republic Rule of Law by We-The-People that the Constitution was created to protect!

      In other words, it’s a shameless, ruthless, Commie usurpation of our whole American lifestyle! While we all just stood by and watched…

      • It’s like déjà vu all over again…

        In 1777, William Knox, Under Secretary of State in the British colonial Office, circulated a proposal entitled “What is it to be Done with America?” Knox advocated the creation of a ruling aristocracy loyal to the Crown, establishment of the Church of England throughout the colonies and an unlimited power to tax. To keep them servile, Knox offered the panacea of disarming all of the people and relying solely on a standing army:

        The Militia Laws should be repealed and none suffered to be re-enacted, & the Arms of all the People should be taken away, & every piece of Ordnance removed into the King’s Stores, nor should any foundry or manufactory of Arms, Gunpowder, or Warlike Stores, be evre suffered in America, nor should any Gunpowder, Lead, Arms or Ordnance be imported into it without License; they will have but little need of such things for the future, as the King’s Troops, Ships Forts will be sufficient to protect them from any danger.

        • You sure that was not written by Biden?

          You’re kidding, right? Beijing Biden can’t even read what’s on a prompter or talk for more than a minute without someone in his ear… How could he possibly collect a train of thought that would let him write more than his own name (after someone reminds him who he is)..

    • The fact is so called ‘Ghost Guns” are advertised as “Untraceable.” Talk about paying to shoot yourself in the foot and handing gasoline to the democRat Party.

      On the other hand she was long on the history of firearms however she and Cruz were both silent about the racism and genocide left in the path of Gun Control. That needs to change pronto.

      Daily the democRat Party and their media cohorts make it their mission to hang the race card around the neck of the Party of Lincoln. And where is the push back? Failing to mention Jim Crow Gun Control and Concentration Camps was another opportunity missed to lay Gun Control and all of its ugly baggage at the feet of the democRat Party.

      • Gun traceability is almost entire useless in rime solving. You get a clear path to the innocent victim who had his house burgled and his gun stolen, and from that point on, there’s zero difference to the cops between tracing this gun and any unserialized gun. Today, gun serialization is a seductive solution looking for a real-world problem.

      • The gun banning cults will not stop at anything.
        Back in the 1980’s the gun banning cults and gun banning politicians wanted to ban Uzi’s saying every gang member and ever drug dealer in America owned one. What nonsense! They probably watched too many episodes of the TV show “Miami Vice”. For one thing, they never imported that many and they were expensive. Customers would look at them, but didn’t want to pay the high dollar for them.
        Then when Glock pistols came out, the gun banning cults and gun banning politicians wanted to ban them saying terrorists would use them to hijack airplanes. Again what nonsense. Glocks are used today by most police department s.
        Now the gun banning cults and gun banning politicians want to ban homemade firearms using the silly, child like term “ghost guns”. Claiming all felons and drug dealers are using them. Really? How do these gun banning groups know this?First it’s against the current laws for a felon or drug dealer to have any firearm. And these groups say they are so simple to assemble. It only takes 15 minutes, or you can put one together faster than you can pump gasoline into your car. What nonsense. And how would they know this anyways?
        During WW2, Germany and Japan had plans to attack the east coast and west coast but were afraid of “all those gun owning Americans”.
        Most of these gun banning cults are being run and financed by Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, the Chinese government, the U.N. and Russia.
        Cuba and Nazi Germany banned firearms when their leaders came into power.
        There are so many illegals coming from Central America that the Border Patrol has no more room for them, so they are being put on busses and sent off to major cities. The teenagers are all m-13 gang members, and crime has jumped in big cities and the politicians blame law abiding gun owners for the crime.

    • Two-thirds of all gun-related deaths are by suicide. Fact. Suicide is the National crisis. Gun ownership makes it easier.

  2. Elections have consequences, especially when they are stolen, as the communists (democrats), have shown. The democrat party has become the “domestic enemy” of the Constitution. The time is rapidly approaching when our private firearms will be necessary to right the wrong.

    • +1 for your spelling of democrat with a lower case ‘d’. They’ve collectively lowered their standards, so it’s fitting to lower the case.

      • I’ve been reading your replies to the actual patriots this page. You really are that much in the tank for the communists, aren’t you.

      • Thanks for the laugh!

        Miner, It only seems fair that someone bring a spot of light to your dark little world since you work so hard to entertain so many of us almost daily with your own comedic stylings…

      • Miner 49, you are the epitome of a scum-sucking stool pigeon. I have had the displeasure of reading many of your flames over the past year or so and every time you demonstrate how ignorant and sycophantically ridiculous you are. Please, keep showing us your ass, we’ll keep laughing…until you catch a bullet somewhere. In which case we’ll have to move on to other useful idiots for our entertainment. May the chains of your enslavement rest lightly upon you.

  3. While I applaud her efforts. I can’t help but be reminded of what my father used to say about trying to educate disinterested people. ” You should never try to teach a pig to sing…It wastes your time and annoys the pig”.
    On that same line of thought simply know. You can’t negotiate with Terrorists or Tyrants. As to which category democrats belong. Both seem appropriate for different reason.
    Keep Your Powder Dry…

    • Agree with your assertion about Tyrants, but we would do well to remember that there are many sheep being led by the wolves. Our continued dedication to educating those sheep will result in many leaving the ignorant flock and becoming their own additional voices for liberty.

      Many choose to remain asleep. Other the other hand, many wake up upon hearing the truth and become sheepdogs. The wolves know this.

      Let’s liberate as many sheep as possible.

      • Sheep being led by wolves and being led *to* the wolves…it’s an apt analogy.

        But we’re humans, not sheep — and we don’t have to let ourselves be fleeced and led to slaughter. The control/left is deathly afraid that too many people will realize this and that the flock will scatter, taking their power with it.

        I’m very familiar with the feeling that it’s hopeless; it’s good to be reminded that people CAN be woken up. Not all…probably not most, but some… And some may be enough, because even the most sheep-like of humans still has free will and the ability to decide which flock they’d rather be in.

        When some leave, others will follow.

        • This is the reason for the open boarder policy. To fill the gaps of those leaving the demonrat party. Allowing mostly uneducated, poor and destitute Illegals into the country and then offer them Free Everything including voting rights in hopes they will support the party that “Saved” them from the hell of their existence. Nothing the democrats do is an accident or unintended. The Ends always justifies the Means. Especially when their Ideology and Power is the Ends.

        • “The sleeper must awaken.”

          I’d much rather the ‘Old Ones’ asleep under the sea *stay* asleep…

          ‘The Call of Cthulhu’

    • As the Bible also states ” Do not throw pearls to pigs ” , quote not necessarily word for word perfect.

  4. One thing they should always come back to is that criminals have never needed to manufacture their own guns to have untraceable weapons. They simply steal them. A weapon that traces back only to the last lawful owner is effectively untraceable once it enters the black market.

    All of which goes to show they’re not worried about criminals and what they might do with guns. They’re afraid of honest people and what they might do with guns.

    • Dave L…..Criminals like Bonnie and Clyde stole theirs from the National Guard Armories.

  5. A modern proponent of the 2nd and a Fine cook as well(her facebook is full of masterchef meals). The Firearms community needs different types of people representing it, other than old white guys. The younger generation needs to get their voices heard.

  6. Face it, the Leftists goal is confiscation of all firearms, straight from the communist playbook. They love term like “Ghost Guns” because to the uninformed it has a omunious connotation. Biden said it, they want to take your guns. Coming from the same mouth that took a oath to abide by and defend the constitution. These people are traitors, plain and simple. You know they are lying because they are talking.

  7. I am happy people are speaking out, but just like sitting in California it falls on deaf ears. You know dam well what they want. You also know that it would be the largest act of disobedience in history.

    • “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”
      –The personal seal of Thomas Jefferson

  8. What is there to say?
    Words have meanings and if your going to twist the whole thing around then you lose the meaning and eventually your history. You become a subservient slave.

  9. It was private gunmakers that played a vital role in the American revolution.
    Open mouth insert foot.

    • Well yeah, THAT’S what they are afraid of… They don’t give a damn about some clown shooting up a school, church or a walmart… They afraid the people might finally wake up to their bullshit…

      • Yeah, and we saw on 6 Jan what chickenshits they are, too. All the hysteria about an “insurrection” when nobody found a gun except for whoever shot dead a peaceful protester, no fires set, no explosions, no looting (OK, Pelosi’s laptop or whatever, you know we taxpayers paid for it and its replacement), but LORD, the panic?! They actually ended up praising the Capitol Police! The terror which must ensue whenever they imagine a REAL insurrection must drive them crazy with the need to confiscate all guns RIGHT NOW, as if they could. Think of it! The uncouth rabble right here in our sacred chapel, the shame, the shame, we must kill them all!

        • “insurrection” when nobody found a gun“

          You don’t need firearms when the ringleader is the sitting President.

          Unfortunately, Trump chickened out and skedaddled instead of leading the insurrectionists in their assault on the Capitol.

        • the ringleader is the sitting President.

          Miner, I would agree that the current sitting POTUS IS the ringleader of the current attempt to overthrow the United States IF he knew where he was, the day of the week, his own name, not to mention the fact that you can SEE the actual strings making him dance… “I’m going to get in trouble, I’m not supposed to answer any questions”… Now I wonder just who the FUCK the President Of The United States is AFRAID of…

  10. I’m sure some organization is making a back door deal with the politicians right now

    • Ya know, Matt? That’s what I’ve been thinking. I’m wondering why some of the front runners in this ‘Ghost gun’ Tyranny, like Polymer 80 aren’t talking the same talk or walking the same walk–as the rest of ‘us’ on the same Constitutional page? Especially since they certainly can afford some ‘big guns’ lawsuits–at least against the alphabet agencies under direct Fiat control of illegal administrataive mandates to deprive us of our Rights?

      Unless I’m missing something in my constant exposure to news events of this subject, I don’t see any proactive moves by them in the Legal system, even though i heard that there was some online ‘chat room’ activity with them? Anybody out there know the actual facts of the situation?

      Maybe they’re so well-situated financially now that they figure they would rather just avoid the hassles litigation of fighting with the G altogether and quit making 80% receivers or Kits, or maybe cop a deal with the devil and cave to serialize everything that comes out of their factory and care less about the fact that they are then aiding and abetting the illegal Confiscation and Registration which is the ‘Deprivation of our Rights’, (criminal violation of USCC 18-241-242)?

      • The firearms industry is NOT “BIG”. Certainly Polymer 80 could be only a bit larger than a hobby/garage business.

        The prog plan is to drive all out of business by making to too expensive with endless legal BS than they can afford.

  11. “homemade firearms are treated like any other farm under the law”

    You know maybe growing firearms could work. Shave off a piece of glock add water and in few months . . . ? Profit? Maybe guns really do grow on trees? I am thinking “gun farm” would be a pretty cool brand name.

    • As many gunms as Jess Harper slings in the weeds on a Laramie episode we should have a national forest of them by now.

    • Does this whole farm thing mean I can get Uncle Sam to start subsidizing my guns? I got bills to pay and ammo to buy…

        • She did a few historical articles for TTAG a few years back.

          They were well-received, as I recall.

          Ask her again, Dan!

  12. Got to love this. Passive aggressive, accurate, detailed testimony. Which will go largely ignored by the liberal agenda. You have to keep fighting though, what else are we to do?!

  13. The leftist Dimwitocrats (sorry for being repetitive) heard “ghost gun” and then “blah, blah, blah, blah….”

  14. She should have brought in a example of every gun she mentioned and done a show and tell for the idiots.

    • By the way, in the morass of dumbass obfuscation within this situation that creates the impression that ‘Ghost guns’ from 80% receivers it might be prudent for everyone to realize and then ‘Know’, as opposed to inadequate and corruptible ‘belief’ concerning the reality–that 80% unregistered and perfectly legal receivers/frames were always fairly abundant in the gun world, way before Polymer 80 and 3D printing came along.

      They just weren’t Called 80% frames. They were referred by the Batfa experts as ‘partially completed receivers’ and could be legally bought as such by anybody-even so-called (illegally) prohibited individuals and were accepted as perfectly Legal to privately make into semi-auto firearms, blank only firing, or dummy replica display props for personal use over all those past years…

      Would, then, the hundreds of thousands of such non-firearms and legally sold ‘partially completed’ frames/receivers currently legally out there somewhere with no serialization (because serial registration is illegal under the 86 Firearms protection Act) be subject to registrative serialization if the G gets its way?

      They must have a real seriously tyrannical ‘enforcement’ plan at the top of their disarmament agenda if they get away with any such deprivation of your rights at this point in their tyranny???

  15. Good for you Ashley. I’m always encouraged to see women who are not only supportive of our Second Amendment, but likewise have a historical interest in firearms. Ashlely: if you can read my comments I post here you might be interested in Paxton Quigley’s 2010 revised book: Armed and Female: Taking Control.” Also….Richard W. Steven’s 1999 book: “Dial 911 and Die: The Shocking Truth About The Police Protection Myth.” Available from JPFO, Inc. at http://www.jpfo. org. This can also be viewed online at You Tube. Dial 911 and Die exposes and debunks the myths, fallacies, and failures of not only police response and protection, but likewise restraining orders. The
    judiciary and courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court have ruled consistently that “local law enforcement has no moral or legal duty to provide armed security and protection to individuals, but only to attempt or try the same for the public at large”. JPFO, Inc. is “America’s Aggressive Civil Rights Organization” and is non-NRA affiliated. Another non-NRA
    affiliated pro-Second Amendment institution is The John Birch Society in Appleton, Wisconsin at and, respectively.

    Don’t get me wrong. The NRA
    deserves the moral high ground on teaching firearms safety and education, including women’s safety and protection “Refuse To Be A Victim!” as well as conservation and hunter’s safety. That is what the NRA does best. However, both JPFO, Inc. and The John Birch Society delve considerably deeper into the the real and hidden issues and agenda of the socialist elite who remain hellbent to subvert, undermine, and destroy our constitutional republic! Historically “gun control/civilian disarmament” will bring this about if American gun owners, Christians, pro-life activists, voters, and civic minded citizens remain apathetic, lukewarm, wishy washy, and refuse to take a bold stand in the public forum!
    The Bible states: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” —-Hosea 4:6

    James A. Farmer
    Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County)
    Long Live The State of Jefferson!

  16. 80% lowers must have a serial number , and that lower sold by a holder of an FFL. He/she runs a background check, which NICS keeps records on.
    Then if that firegunm is used criminally it traces back to the original owner who is charged as an accomplice.
    What a novel idea.

    • exactly, possum, or ‘aiding or abetting’ as phrased in the statute the gun grabbers like to quote. Glad to see so many astute people on TTAG. This is how more and more people–even the wannabe commies–who really never wanted to be but just didn’t know any better and were brainwashed on top of it, start to get it. And then maybe we can build some formidable political momentum ro start to ‘Stop The Steal’ of our Rights!

      By prioritizing some accountability for their Constitutional violations and deprivation of our rights by Law Enforcement under the false ‘justification’ of necessary extreme crime prevention methodology for the specious notion of ‘Public Safety’ in an illegal Unconstitutional tyrannic police state envioronment.

      The kind of ‘accountability that makes THEM the criminals with immediate consequences under another Federal law 18-241-242 that all police agencies, lawmakers, and elected officials cleverly and surreptitiously avoided for decades.

      We can do it now that we have the support of directly opposing Legislators like Senator Cruz and a few other great American Patriots.

      Otherwise, ideas like this that make criminal punishment for simple ‘association’ not related to any criminal acts of another in the ‘association’ of the march or demonstration. And the totalitarian insanity gets like a death race down the slippery slope of Tyranny faster than a Jet Ski off Niagra Falls–like some moronic fools recently attempted in Florida with legislation to violate the 1st A right of the majority of peaceful protestors being arrested in ‘association’ for the violent behavior of a few ‘in association’.

      Yeah, it’s hard fighting infringement AND psychotic emotional content of these people. But I think see a Liberty Light at the end of the tunnel…

    • At least she tried and put some alternate brain patterns into the subconscious of some who might actually be able to do something that ‘means…anything’.

      What the fuck did you ever do in proactive accomplishment against the infringement of your gun rights besides being a negative smart-ass?

  17. Address please of the young lady so I can send her a dozen roses as thanks for lifting my hope for America. No, I’m not a Trump supporter. Not a Biden supporter. Have no political affiliation. I’m that theoretical armadillo in the middle of the road. Wish there were an Armadillo party!

  18. A point I’ve been trying to make for years – as the D.C. Sanitorium for the Criminally Insane (also known as the U.S. Congress) has proven innumerable times – legislation cannot trump human innovation. Yesterday, it was “military-style assault weapongs”, today, it’s “ghost guns”. Who knows what it will be, tomorrow. What do they ALL have in common? Ignorance, lack of understanding of the technology, lack of understanding of human innovation (c’mon, it’s Congress – a new idea and a cold drink would kill them dead).

    Adopt all the idiotic, unConstitutional, stupid, ineffective, virtue-signaling nonsense you want – and watch us easily innovate around your stupid @$$es. Sorry, “experts”, we’re smarter than you are, we’ve read more history, and we . . . will not comply. Sucks to be you, dunnit???

  19. Followers of Satan are currently running this country.
    How can you tell they’re followers of Satan?

    Easy, they offer extremely painful human sacrifices to him in the millions, and slyly say:” My body, My choice “….when what they really mean is “Accept these little children , who were painfully killed for your glory and adoration”.

    These apostles and followers of the evil one have a name: demoncrats.

    They are now rightly fearful of the coming Night of the Long Knives.
    They are doing all they can to make sure that followers of God have no way to defend themselves.
    However, the old saying is still valid: What goes around, Comes around….

    The Purge IS coming, and the evil ones will suffer the consequences of their persecutions, lies, theft, slander, and deviant behaviors.

    So let it be written, and so let it be done…. 🙂 🙂

    • Another way you can tell the people are followers of satan is that they take money from Soros and do his ” Open Society ” organization bidding.

  20. TTAG has contracted with Ashley Hlebinsky for a series of historical articles in the past, and I hope they will again.

    How about it, Dan?

  21. The Dems WANT the ATF to Regulate guns out of existence because they know they can’t get the votes to make it happen. That is why Biden nominated that dickhead to run the ATF. The intention is to use red flag warrantless searches and confiscation to death!!!

  22. Could you have found a worse image of Ms. Hlebinsky?

    Seriously, messaging/propaganda/advertising 101 here…

  23. The US Military takes an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of The United States. I don’t think the US Military hierarchy will do that. From the limited searches I have done, there seems to be no provision for The Military to take action, except on the orders of The Commander in Chief. The present Commander in Chief is the one that will sign the order to abolish The Constitution whole, or in part. If The National Front for Organized Crime takes full control after the mid term elections they can do whatever they like. They have no intention of ever being voted out.

    • The US Military takes an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of The United States.

      Funny thing, that “kommander in Chief” swore that very same oath (along with ALL his Minions) and I don’t see that stopping him from trampling all over said Constitution..

  24. NO ONE can “School” a progtard Dem Senator. They already know EVERYTHING. Thats why the are the Senator.

  25. Two-thirds of all gun-related deaths are by suicide. Fact. Suicide is the National crisis. Gun ownership makes it easier.

  26. Two-thirds of all gun-related deaths are by suicide

    And I’d be willing to bet that none of those suicides spent hours laboring with drill presses, files, dremmels, hand drills and other assorted hand tools to build a “ghost gun” just to ventilate their own skull…

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