The ATF’s Proposed Rule on the Definition of Frames and Receivers is Built on Lies and Misinformation

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In the proposed rulemaking, ATF makes a series of extremely troublesome assertions to justify its rulings. For example, in attempting to justify it expansion of the phrase “frame or receiver” to separately cover multiple parts on a single weapon, ATF asserts that:

At the time these definitions were published around 50 years ago, single-framed firearms such as revolvers and break-open shotguns were far more prevalent for civilian use than split/multi-piece receiver weapons, such as semiautomatic rifles and pistols with detachable magazines.

In reality, ATF and its precursors were patently aware of striker-fired, selfloading firearms which were so tremendously popular they, in large part, led to the adoption of the very law ATF purports to be interpreting. Many of the popular imported firearms targeted by the [Gun Control Act of 1968], which ATF enforced, meet the exact factors ATF here claims it could not have known about.

In addition to this, hundreds of thousands of American made striker-fired pistols were flooding the market by 1968. To suggest that these firearms were so rare in what ATF terms “civilian use” compared to revolvers and break-open shotguns, despite their popularity literally preceding the very law ATF is presently interpreting, is disingenuous if not outright dishonest.

Similarly, ATF states that the AR-15 platform was “originally manufactured almost exclusively for military use,” and yet was acutely aware of the AR-15 as being intended for civilian use as early as 1963. Furthermore, the concept of a “split receiver” was nowhere near new. In fact, self-loading firearms invited, or even required, “split” components as early as their introduction. These firearms were incredibly common, undisputedly in common lawful use, and thus very unlikely to have gone unnoticed by ATF and its predecessor.

Once again, reliance on palpably false claims of changed circumstance to justify a radical change in the definition of a “frame or receiver” is arbitrary and capricious and undoubtedly masks the true, and likely unlawful, reasoning behind the change.

Because even a cursory review of the historical record demonstrates that many of the “facts” cited by ATF are either unsupportable or demonstrably false, its rulemaking is irretrievably defective. A rulemaking based on patently false information is arbitrary and capricious.

 – Firearms Policy Coalition’s Comments on “Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ and Identification of Firearms” ATF 2021R-05

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  1. Seems like this rule-making, should it go through, is ripe for a challenge in Federal Courts with an appeal to SCOTUS. And, moreover, it’s important enough to make the effort. (Arguably, bump-stocks don’t justify the effort but the frame/receiver issue does.)

    This frame/receiver rule-making seems to go so far as to exceed “Chevron deference”. And, Kavanaugh is particularly skeptical of Chevron. So, it seems a good issue to push.

    • Part of the 6th circuit ruling on bump stocks was a determination that the Chevron doctrine does not apply to laws with criminal penalties, it’s purely for civil disputes.

      This makes sense, as the common practice for a law where a plain language reading can be interpreted multiple ways is to interpret it in favor of the defendent in a criminal trial.

      Which basically means that the ATF can make any rule it likes on what a firearm receiver is, but a criminal trial will go to the statute (which they are not, and cannot, change) and, where the statute can be interpreted multiple ways, it will be interpreted in favor of the defendent. This is why the ATF settled a couple cases in the last few years regarding ARs, as the lower is not a receiver under statute, and they were in danger of losing the cases due to this.

      • Which means that the ATF knows that it is “reinterpreting” things contrary to the statutory language. So they are going about this anyway, without any input from Congress even. They are just doing this to shut up the left wing, to see what they can get away with, and probably to try to gin up controversy that will give them momentum to “update” the GCA ’68 (read: make it worse) in the likely event that they lose at SCOTUS. They are trying to manipulate things into a “can’t-lose” situation for themselves.

        This is why, in the long run, they often win.

        This is also part of why they hated Trump so much–he knew how to play this game, and they didn’t like it when it was turned back around on them.

    • One problem is if/when t goes through, it might be years or decades before SCOTUS even deigns to look at the case. In the meantime, we are all screwed.

      This is the problem with suits brought against law or policy. There should be a law that once a suit is brought against a particular law or policy, it is suspended pending the outcome of the suit including all possible appeals.

      • “One problem is if/when t goes through, it might be years or decades before SCOTUS even deigns to look at the case. In the meantime, we are all screwed.”

        We are in a vastly better position today than we were just 4 years ago, SCotUS-wise.

        We could be looking today at a SCotUS nakedly hostile to the 2A today if the HilaBeast had installed 3 hard-leftists in the place of what we have today…

    • I seriously doubt it. The Biden communists traitors have an agenda to destroy the entire Bill of Rights. The ruling will come out in the next few days and will be even more onerous than the proposal. The challenges will be denied by the usual circuits, 9th for example, then go to SCOTUS which will delay it long enough for the entire industry to collapse. At which point it will be rendered moot.

  2. “The ATF’s Proposed Rule on the Definition of Frames and Receivers is Built on Lies and Misinformation”

    Like that has ever stopped the Fed from pulling bullshit in the past, and most likely, in future concerning gun rights?

  3. A point to consider “reality.”

    The ATF can make up any wild excuse they want to and Congressional Leaders have seldom stepped in and told the Director to back off if he wanted to keep his job.

    Remember the “wallet holster” it was a piece of leather which the ATF did not like so they branded it “a weapon”.

    Remember the Street Sweeper Shotgun (it had a scary name) and the Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun ( it looked scary) so the ATF branded them “not suitable for sporting use”

    So the ATF was saying the above mentioned shotguns had no sporting use. I am sure the animals that were killed or wounded with them would beg to differ with the ATF but then again animals operate on a much higher plane of intelligence than the Morons who run the ATF.

    I do not think any of the Congressmen, Republicans included, are going to raise a stink about putting serial numbers on partially made frames as this is not a ban on the frame itself it is just mandating a serial number be put on them and of course doing the paperwork to buy one i.e. the 4473 form so if you want to build a gun with little resale value and take a big hit financially if you ever sell it then you still can. Its just that you will not in the future be able to shoot your flaming bitch on wheels old lady and then claim the gun they found is not yours or use the throw down gun to rob a local bank when you run low on beer and pizza money. Yeah I know life for the Far Right just got tougher.

    I once tried to talk a local Moron out of building an AR-15 Carbine years ago. Like most gun owners his evolution was far behind that of Homo Sapiens so it was a waste of time. I told him the build would actually equal or cost more than a new factory Colt AR carbine and it would not go up in value over time like a factory built gun would. It turned out the receiver he bought was so out of spec that the mags would not even seat properly in the frame which caused it to jam on every shot unless the operator pushed forward on the inserted mag while he was firing it. Of course the company that made it laughed in his face when he wanted an exchange and he ended up shoveled a lot of money right down the drain not even including the big resale loss. He may have been trying to prove the validity of his Neanderthal ancestry being a dominate characteristic of Far Right Evolution. The good news is his wife is still alive probably because of it and he sold the piece of trash he built for a pittance as spare parts. The little money he made his wife spent on a new set of wheels she put on her feet. Every good deed does not go unpunished.

    The good news is the ban on none serialized receivers closes another big market that was supplying guns by the thousands to crooks and Psychopath mass murders.

    • You’re going to be one of the first in here to lose your rights. I won’t feel a damn bit sorry for you neither.

    • I don’t see crooks spending 3.5 hours machining an 80% lower, then cleaning it up, maybe anodizing it or painting it, assembling it into a complete lower and building their upper to mount on. And then add slings, Optics, sights, lights etc. About a two to three day job of any hobbyist taking their time making sure everything is right and functional.

      Some people like to build things from scratch. Guns, cars, scale models, electronic gadgets, miniature gas or diesel engine, furniture. Nothing nefarious here for people who like to expand their skill set or see if they can, because it’s America and our freedom is the law of the land, not the fear and peer and social pressure of being labeled “evil” by those who are indeed evil.

    • Wow, the locals in your area really suck at building the simplest of modular firearms. You extrapolate from the sample of 1 how dumb they are. The only reason it matters that they are even local to you must be that there is an inherent stupidity to your locale. Therefore you, being no exception, must fall into that category.

      I can only recommend that you don’t build any firearms for any reason, not because of any of your unfounded perceived dangers, but because you are just too damn stupid.

    • TLDR, last time I bothered to read anything of yours it made my head hurt, though it did demonstrate just how much stupid could be packed into one post.

    • “It turned out the receiver he bought was so out of spec that the mags would not even seat properly”

      Who manufactured that receiver and how long ago was this?

  4. I predict that if the ban on none serialized receivers remains in place 95 per cent of the manufactures making them will quit making them proving that all the people screaming that “I was just a law abiding citizen and meant to do no harm with them” was bullshit at its deepest because they will not be buying them anymore because now they all have serial numbers on them.

    • That doesn’t make since. If there is a ban on non-serialized 80% “receivers” all manufacturers will cease making them. Thats100%, not 95%. Why take a chance of the unconstitutional ATF raiding your facility and putting you out of business? But they have the right to pursue ATFs illegal rule making that basically creates new law.

      They will wait until such time as the law/rule is reversed and/or ATF is abolished and thrown on the ash heap of tyrannical history.

      Whatever the 80% manufacturers produce in the future has no bearing whatsoever on the desire of a % of the peaceable citizenry to build their own guns from scratch as much as possible.

      Several states are starting to outlaw federal gun laws, which is their right as the right to arms shall not be infringed.

      • Sounds to me several states should start up an ammunition plant.
        Only sale instate, no federal contracts.

  5. “Corruptisima republica plurimae leges.”

    The more corrupt the state the more numerous the laws.
    Tacitus (56AD-120AD)

    • Tacitus should know too well. He was there when the first power-state began it’s ruin.

      This nails it perfectly.

    • I love the quote. Thank you for that Troubled soul. I escaped California and so know first hand how perfect that quote is. Cheers mate!

  6. If you want to blame anyone, go after Dan O’Kelly. He is the ex ATF agent who has managed to convince a some federal judges that an AR15 lower is not a frame by itself and they managed to get gun runners (felons were building and selling completed guns to convicted felons) charges dismissed. So there is now case law on the books that a AR15 lower is NOT the controlled part. There is NO controlled part on an AR. The case law states that you can have anyone do a straw purchase on a AR15 lower.

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