If you want a good look at the way the ATF is operating under the Biden-Harris administration, there’s no better example than how the federal firearms regulatory agency is conducting business now that they’ve officially “redefined” the legal definition of a firearm. The sub-rosa motivation behind putting the new rule in place, which doesn’t officially go into effect until August, is to shut down as much of the online gun parts business as possible.
You can read the ATF’s summary of the new rule here.
You may remember that ATF agents raided Polymer80 back in December of 2020, alleging that selling complete build kits is the equivalent of selling firearms without a license. Now, with the new rule under their belt and set to go into effect in a few months, the agency is stepping things up.
As our friends at Ammoland report the ATF served Pennsylvania-based 80% frame retailer JSD Supply with a vaguely worded cease and desist order last week, “demanding the company stop selling unfinished frames and firearm parts.” In other words, the ATF moved to shut them down.
JSD attempted to get the ATF to clarify exactly how they’d allegedly violated the law. The novel theory they were given that the ATF is now using is that a retailer selling all of the parts needed to build a firearm is basically the same as selling firearms.
The ATF claimed that by selling these parts, the company was selling unserialized firearms by “structuring” the purchases. JSD Supply did not sell complete kits, but the Bureau said if someone bought an 80% frame and then bought another part from the company in the future that the company would be guilty of selling guns without a federal firearms license (FFL).
Ammoland reports that another parts company had been served a similar cease and desist order.
JSD’s attorney attempted to get a straight answer out of the ATF as to what JSD could do to comply with their current arbitrary, opaque interpretation of firearms regulations and stay in business.
Again from Ammoland . . .
The ATF would not clarify what the company was allowed to sell, although the ATF did state that taking several parts off of the website would not be enough to satisfy the ATF since the parts are “easily available.” When asked if the company could still sell parts and take down the 80% kits, the ATF refused to say if that would comply with the cease-and-desist order.
Why did the ATF refuse? Because that’s how they roll, and have for years.
The agency actively avoids giving out guidance or clarification on how to stay in compliance with the laws they enforce because that might limit what they can do down the road. Instead, they treat each case as separate, stick their finger in the political winds, and do anything they damn well please whenever they choose to do it. Don’t like it? Sue them.
In response to the ATF’s non-answers, JSD Supply has filed for a restraining order to stop the agency from issuing and enforcing such cease and desist orders.
JSD Supply’s legal team claims that the ATF does not have the authority to arbitrarily shut down the company by using a vague cease-and-desist letter. They also claim that the ATF does not have the power to issue a cease-and-desist order over the selling of unfinished frames. The legal team asks the courts to block the ATF from enforcing the cease-and-desist order.
Read the full report from Ammoland here including JSD’s complaint and request for relief from the court.