By Lee Williams
If there is any federal agency that can be counted on to create a problem just to justify their own existence, it’s certainly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. When it comes to overhyping the next “threat” to the homeland – regardless of the facts – the ATF seldom disappoints.
The embattled agency’s latest piece of creative fiction is a warning about “privately made firearms” or PMFs, and it should serve as a warning to gun owners, homebuilders and everyone else who values their civil rights.
An ATF document titled “First Responder Awareness of Privately Made Firearms May Prevent Illicit Activities,” was published last week by the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team (JCAT).
“JCAT is a collaboration by the NCTC, DHS and FBI to improve information sharing among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial governments and private sector partners, in the interest of enhancing public safety,” the document states. “This product is NOT in response to a specific threat against the United States. It provides general awareness of, considerations for, and additional resources related to terrorist tactics, techniques and procedures, whether domestic or overseas.”
To be clear, the ATF and JCAT consider homebuilt firearms “terrorist tactics, techniques and procedures,” even though Americans have been making guns legally in their homes since before there even was a United States of America.
The document was never supposed to be leaked to the media or the public, and is exempt from discovery through the federal Freedom of Information Act, but some freedom-loving soul published it online yesterday despite its ominous warning:
“WARNING: This document is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY. Do not release to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid need to know without prior approval from NCTC, DHS, or the FBI. This document may contain US Person information deemed necessary for the intended recipient to understand, assess, or act on the information provided. Additionally, this document may contain information exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).”
“Criminals and violent extremists continue to seek ways to acquire firearms through the production of privately made firearms (PMFs),” ATF’s document warns. “PMF awareness and identification can aid PMF recovery, prevention of illicit activities including terrorism, and overall first responder and public safety.”
Evidently, even the ATF was worried that their door-kickers might go too far, again – they can’t really afford another Waco or Ruby Ridge – so they included a subtle warning before things get out of hand.
“NOTE: Many of the activities described herein may involve Constitutionally protected activities and may be insignificant on their own. Action should not be taken solely based on the exercise of Constitutionally protected rights.”
Yep, those pesky Constitutional rights do tend to get in the way, don’t they?
Much of the advice the ATF passes on to First Responders would be laughable, were it not for the fact that Americans have a right to make firearms in their own homes. Apparently, that doesn’t matter.
If you’re found with 3D printers, printing medium such as plastic, ceramic, or metal spools, or place what the agency considers to be too large an order online, you’re going to be suspected of terrorism or violent extremism even though your actions are perfectly legal.
I have written about the need to abolish the ATF before, because no one seems capable of reining in the rogue agency or forcing them to accept the fact American actually do have constitutional rights.
This is more important now than ever before, because Biden’s nominee to head the ATF, David Chipman, is a paid anti-gun activist who would definitely take the agency in the opposite direction. If Chipman is confirmed by the Senate, this leaked ATF report is just a warning of more serious civil rights violations yet to come.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.