As gun owners, we can always count on the editors at Rolling Stone magazine to keep us in compliance with the myriad laws pertaining to firearms. So with the news that Dick’s Sporting Goods will be destroying their inventory of AR-pattern rifles that they’re now too responsible and virtuous to sell, the Rolling Stoners did a little research to find out how to do it legally.
It’s no small question. As you may remember, a few days after the Parkland shooting, one know-nothing educator who’s running for Congress in Virginia displayed her lack of knowledge for all the world to see when she converted her husband’s AR into an illegal short-barrel rifle.
Maybe that’s what prompted Rolling Stone to seek advice on the proper way to do the job.
Apparently, lots of people need help.
And what did they learn? Well, they dug up the ATF’s instructions for how to destroy a machine gun…as if anyone would ever want to do something so insane.
The federal guidelines that outline the destruction of an assault-style or “modern sporting” rifle like the AR-15, are derived from two laws: the National Firearms Act of 1934, drafted in response to prohibition-era mafia violence, and the Gun Control Act of 1968, prompted by the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
To meet the requirements under the NFA and GCA, the firearm frame or receiver “must be destroyed by completely shredding, melting, or crushing.” Alternatively, the ATF also offers the option of “destroying firearms through torch cuts.”
And how does Rolling Stone suggest you go about cutting up your AR receiver?
First, you’ll need a blowtorch. According to the bureau’s official guidelines, “cutting by means of a band saw or cut-off wheel does not ensure destruction.”
Really? We’d think a chop saw would do a more than sufficient job of bisecting you average AR lower.
Next, you’ll need to disassemble the rifle, separating the firearm frame or receiver from the rest of the gun. In order to be rendered fully inoperable, the receiver – the part of the gun that holds the hammer, bolt or breechblock and firing mechanism in place – needs to be completely severed in three specific places.
For some reason, the experts at RS don’t specify separating the AR upper form the lower. It’s almost as if they don’t know much about how an AR is designed.
Where you make the cuts depends on which model of gun you’re torching – ATF provides diagrams for a Browning M1919 type firearm, a Heckler & Koch G3 type firearm and Sten type firearm – and to destroy an AR-15, the ATF recommends following its guidelines for the FN/FAL rifle.
We’d guess the poor saps Dick’s designates to destroy all of their AR’s know enough about firearms to pop the upper off the lower before attempting to cut the thing up. Or is that too optimistic?
In any case, we’d pay money to watch them try to make those cuts in hundreds of rifles using a Home Depot blow torch. Good times.