House Judiciary Committee Republicans sent a letter to ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson over the agency’s proposed rule change on “ghost guns.” The ATF is currently seeking to reclassify AR uppers and receivers as fully functional firearms, an attempt to prohibit Americans from producing homemade firearms.
According to the letter, the ATF’s latest proposed rule change “is deeply flawed, beyond the scope of ATF’s authority, contrary to years of previous ATF opinions, and harmful to millions of lawabiding American firearm owners.”
What’s most concerning to the members of Congress is the agency’s desire to circumvent Congressional legislation surrounding firearms and gun control, which they explicitly spell out:
ATF concedes that its “new definition would more broadly define the term ‘frame or receiver’ than the current definition.”4 Moreover, ATF expands the definition of a firearm beyond the intent of Congress in the proposed rule. The ATF includes “a weapon parts kit that is designed to or may readily be assembled, completed, converted, or restored.” However, the GCA defines a firearm as:
A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon…
When passing the GCA, Congress did not include “weapon parts kit[s]” and the ATF took it upon itself to include assembled and completed where Congress explicitly left those actions out of the governing statute. In fact, ATF seeks to unilaterally insert a new definition using language from the Federal Firearms Act (FFA) of 1938 which Congress affirmatively repealed in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). ATF attempts to resurrect the FFA’s language through its new regulatory definition of “the frame or receiver” so that a single weapon might be comprised of multiple “frames” and “receivers.” Any of these “parts” in ATF’s interpretation would be considered a firearm so long as the Director decreed any “specific part or parts of a weapon is the frame or receiver.” By doing so, ATF disregards its controlling statutory language in the GCA and ignores Congress’s clear legislative intent in repealing the FFA.
The Biden administration has taken aim at ghost guns because they have absolutely no idea how these firearms are built (it only takes half an hour!) or the process for obtaining various parts kits. What’s amazing is the very people “proposing” these rules have never purchased lowers or upper kits in their lives. They fail to realize the shortfalls their regulatory action will have.
These gun control advocates truly believe they’re doing something right by saying every single part in a parts kit needs to be serialized and undergo a background check. But what this proposal really does is create a de facto registry.
If you have a home made firearm — or even a factory firearm — that you built at home and eventually need to replace the trigger or the stock, under this rule change, you would have to undergo a background check at an FFL. Implement this over a period of time and eventually, the government can piece together what types of firearms every individual has and a rough estimate of how many guns a person owns.
This sets a very dangerous precedent, especially with gun control zealots hellbent on confiscation.
“Leaders” at the ATF are using the regulatory agency to implement this because there isn’t enough support in Congress to make these changes through the legislative process. That should tell Beltway insiders something: most Americans love and respect the Second Amendment. We want the ability to defend ourselves and our families. We want to have the ability to hunt and partake in the shooting sports. It’s why we elect those who fight for the right to keep and bear arms. And it’s why David Chipman’s confirmation as head of the ATF will ultimately fail.