You Don’t Say: ATF Lied About Number of Requests Received on Unfinished Frames and Receivers

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By John Crump

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the new proposed rule on unfinished frames and receivers was developed due to numerous requests from licensees seeking clarity on how [Privately Manufactured Firearms] may be accepted and recorded.” But a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Gun Owners of America (GOA) shows that reasoning to be false.

This is the justification the agency used for proposing new rules regulating 80% unfinished lowers, frames and “ghost guns.”

The ATF claimed that numerous federal firearms licensees (FFL) contacted the Bureau and asked how to handle privately manufactured firearms (PMF) they take into inventory. The word “numerous” can mean many things to different people. Some might consider numerous to be three or more. To others, it starts at a much bigger number, say 300 or so. What can be agreed on by most people is that the number is greater than one.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines numerous as: “consisting of great numbers of units or individuals.”

GOA wanted to see what the ATF considered “numerous requests,” so the gun-rights group filed a FOIA request with the government agency. The ATF answered the request by providing the requested documents to GOA’s lawyers.

The response shows that the ATF received one request from a single FFL sent to one Industry Operations Inspectors (IOI), about one PMF (privately manufactured firearm) in August of 2020. The ATF could not produce any other request from FFLs about PMFs!?

Read the rest of this post at Ammoland . . .


This article originally appeared at Ammoland and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. Numerous is more than a couple…Some sneaky someone who cooked the books assumed no one would ever ask questions. If those running the show at the top had any credibility no one would have to ask questions.

  2. Get real! Did you really think the ATF was not going to outlaw ghost guns when crime with them went up 320% in some areas and went up also in many other areas of the country as well as the big cities.


    Are ghost guns frequently used in violent crime?????????????????????????

    Yes, ghost guns are increasing being used in shootings across the country.

    In July 2020, an individual who was prohibited from possessing guns allegedly murdered two people in Pennsylvania using a homemade 9mm handgun.9

    In November 2019, a 16-year-old shot five of his classmates at Saugus High School in California—two of them fatally—using a homemade handgun, before fatally shooting himself.10

    In August 2019, a shooter used a homemade gun kit to build a .223-caliber firearm that he later used to fire 41 shots in 32 seconds in a bar in Dayton, Ohio, shooting 26 people and killing nine.11

    In 2017, in Northern California, a man prohibited from possessing firearms ordered kits to build AR-15-style rifles. On November 13, he initiated a series of shootings that began with fatally shooting his wife at home, followed by a rampage the next day during which he fired at multiple people in several different locations, including an elementary school, killing five people and injuring dozens more.12

    In 2013, a shooter opened fire in Santa Monica, California, shooting 100 rounds, killing five people, and injuring several others at a community college using a homemade AR-15 rifle. Reporting indicates the shooter had previously tried to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer and failed a background check, potentially indicating why he opted to order parts to build a gun instead.13

    Law enforcement officials around the country are sounding the alarm about the dramatic increase in the recovery of ghost guns at crime scenes in their communities. ATF reported that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered across the country in 2019.14 Ghost guns have also been illegally trafficked to Mexico.15 In addition:

    In 2019, Washington, D.C., police recovered 115 ghost guns, a 360 percent increase from 2018, when they recovered 25 ghost guns, and a 3,733 percent increase from 2017, when only three such firearms were recovered.16

    In 2019, ATF reported recovering 117 ghost guns in Maryland with almost 25 percent recovered from Baltimore alone. Ghost gun recoveries in the state then tripled in 2020.17
    According to law enforcement in Philadelphia, ghost gun recoveries in that city rose 152 percent from 2019 to 2020.18

    The special agent in charge of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division reported in January 2021 that 41 percent of the division’s cases involve ghost guns, and a May 2019 statewide analysis in California found that 30 percent of all guns recovered in connection with a crime in the state did not have serial numbers.19

    In addition, an investigation by The Trace found that ghost guns are increasingly becoming the weapon of choice for violent white supremacists and anti-government extremists.20

    In conclusion the ATF is a law unto itself and as in the past it rules at 8:00 AM and it is then a new “regulation” (disingenuous term for new law) is now the law of the land at 5:00 PM.

    No Judge Conservative or Liberal will declare the ATF ruling illegal or Unconstitutional because ghost guns are a danger to the people of the country and even the much ballyhooed Scalia decision with the usual double talk and smoke and mirrors declared “The Courts had the right to regulate firearms” (slick disingenuous term for ban or restrict firearms).

    In conclusion your right to own a weapon rests with the rulings of the courts, not the Constitution, and history has proven this reality like it or not.

    No sane person would want ghost guns legal and no other civilized nation tolerates them.

    • I was going to post my comment on its own, but since Dacian’s are always TL;DR rants, I suppose here’s a good a place as any.

      From the article:
      “…Privately Manufactured Firearms…”

      This is a misnomer the ATF seems to be purposely trying to foist upon us to gain traction and acceptance in our lexicon. The law already explicitly defines “manufacturing” as for the purpose of commerce, and not all guns are “firearms”. So if a private individual creates and assembles a gun for his/her own use, that gun is NOT a “privately manufactured firearm”. And let’s all remember that it is entirely legal per federal law to transfer that gun to another party if the assembler originally intended to keep it for his/her own possession and use at the time of assembly.

      Let’s not use the ATF’s bogus terms during our conversations.

      • It also needs to be pointed out a majority of the firearms recovered that were put into the “ghost gun” category were firearms where the serial number had been altered or obliterated. then again dacian just took the lying trace’s report as fact.
        Perhaps someone ought to let him know the trace isn’t a valid source.

        • The majority of guns recovered are not “Privately Manufactured Firearms” that dacin and the rest of his anti-gun buddies like to call ‘ghost guns’.

          The majority recovered are commercially manufactured guns where, as John pointed out, the serial number had been altered or obliterated. These are put into report’s as basically ‘ghost guns’ not because they are “Privately Manufactured Firearms” but because of the serial numbers being altered or obliterated so can;t be traced and they are treated as firearms without serial numbers AKA (also) ‘ghost guns’ .

          Yes, in terms of “Privately Manufactured Firearms” the ‘trace’ report is a lie.

        • to Booger Brain always 4 quarts low on a 2 pint deal.

          quote————Yes, in terms of “Privately Manufactured Firearms” the ‘trace’ report is a lie.———–quote

          Complete Right Wing propaganda that tries to refute the truth with smoke and mirrors. I hit you right in the face with murders and mass murders and they stated they were home made guns not altered or defaced serial numbers. Even a retarded Dotard would understand those statements. But perhaps you are not far enough on the evolutionary scale to understand simple English.

        • Dacian the stupid, you pathetic moron, the only thing you hit in the face was yourself. “Ghost gun” has no accepted legal meaning. LEOs all over the country use different variations – and most of them are ignorant, if you know anything about firearms (which you don’t).

          You give a “list” of supposed “ghost gun” violence, WITHOUT DEFINITION, and claim that is “proof” of some outbreak of “homemade” guns. dacian the stupid: (i) consistency of defnition of data points is critical to meaningful analysis, elsewise you are comparing applies to oranges (or, in your case, your empty head to a rotten banana), and (ii) THE PLURAL OF “ANECDOTE” is NOT “EVIDENCE”, you pathetic waste of oxygen.

          The cable awaits. Tell us, again, about your magnificent “education” that left you such an uneducated fool.

    • Except that individuals have been manufacturing their own firearms since before we became a country. Now do us all a favor and pull your lower lip over your head and swallow.

      • Yes we used to shit in outhouses but that does not mean we still should be using them either. Its time to stop the madness of crazies building ghost gun and using them in mass murder. I have you just a partial list of horrific killings and you said “Do not confuse me with the facts, it does not fit my political agenda.”.

        • Well if you show me the links to to all the information you’re supposedly putting out there is real I might believe you but without the links to your source of info it looks to me like you’re just making stuff up which would explain why you gave no links to sources.

    • #1 – Who cares? Nobody prosecutes violent felons for the guns they used anyway, unless it’s a tack-on charge. So serializing and/or registering so-called ghost guns will not make the tiniest dent in the number of violent crimes committed.
      #2 – What do you define as a “civilized” nation? Throughout the mideast, entire communities are dedicated to the hand-crafting of AK clones and other weaponry. And it would be difficult to prove that a small village in Afghanistan is any less civilized than various neighborhoods in Chiraq, Detroit, or LA.
      #3 – You are really going to take a “study” by The Trace seriously?

    • Yesterday, while my wife and I were out running errands, my dog ate all of the tiles from the Scrabble game that we left out. I just now picked up the mess that she left in the backyard, and I can say for certain that what she composed with her ass made much more sense than anything that dacian has deposited here EVER.

      • A leftist using Scrabble tiles to crap out a forum post—now that is one funny (and astute) word picture. Well done.

      • And your dog wouldn’t even need to be very smart to accomplish that. It would probably smell better than dacian’s blather, as well.

    • Yet car crashes kill on average 35,000 Americans every year in the USA. Thank God we don’t have “Ghost Cars” without VIN #’s Maybe if we registered all cars and licensed all drivers and even make them take “tests” which they have to pass, we can eliminate mass shootings, I mean mass crashes.

      • cigarettes don’t have serial numbers and they literally kill millions each year being used as intended, must be ‘ghost cigarettes’

        • So, dacian the stupid, if your observation were correct (it isn’t), .40cal would be having YOUR average day?? ‘Cause you post like you’re on crack on the daily.

    • “… crime with them (“80%” firearms) went up 320% in some areas…”

      Gee, that could be an increase of one, from none, in a nirvana like Chicago, NYC, Baltimore, LA, et al if the same thug committed multiple crimes with that same firearm. Not that any violent crook would ever commit multiple crimes against multiple victims…

      I’d reply to other comments in the posting but it’s way too long even to read, let alone verify any linked documentation. Like a number of posters here, I’m about as up-to-date on stats concerning firearms as anyone, and better informed than most. Volume means little- if it did, the Second Amendment would have been repealed 40 years ago rather than have been strengthened.

      And, BTW- my collection has quite a few old firearms that were manufactured without serial numbers. I suppose those fit the “ghost” category as well .

    • Do you post such lengthy replies thinking that folks are actually reading all (or any) of it, or do you just have no-one else around to talk to?

    • First, the percentage increases are meaningless. If I recover one “ghost” gun this year, and four next year, that is a 300% increase. The fact is the numbers are small, and thus the percentages are misleadingly large.

      Second, and unfinished receiver is not a “firearm” as defined by the operative federal statute. An ATF regulation cannot, as a matter of law, exceed the scope of the authorizing statute, as a number of Senators have already pointed out to the ATF, in a letter suggesting that their attempt to regulate unfinished rece3ivers is illegal.

    • “… crime with them (“80%” firearms) went up 320% in some areas…”

      That’s a lie.

      That number did not go up to 320% in some areas. The number originated in Boston where crime spiked at 320% above the national average and not “in some areas” and “80%” firearms had nothing to do with it.

      • Booger Brain your posts get more bizarre by the minute.

        Now let us see what wild lies you can use to refute this part of the above post.

        In 2019, Washington, D.C., police recovered 115 ghost guns, a 360 percent increase from 2018, when they recovered 25 ghost guns, and a 3,733 percent increase from 2017, when only three such firearms were recovered.16

        And do not bother making up lies that they all had serial numbers. Ghost guns means 80% receivers made into workable weapons not Right Wing lies trying to refute the findings of law enforcement.

        • Like everybody said, small potatoes. One may double the number of small potatoes, or even increase it tenfold, but the potatoes are still small. It’s just basic math, dude.

        • Again, you pathetic fool, “ghost guns” has NO accepted legal definition. Some LEOs include guns from which the serial numbers have been removed (a common practice among criminals), some also include guns made before the serialization requirement, and SOME DO NOT. Now stop lying and being stupid. We have refuted your poorly-sourced and PATHETICALLY “analyzed” crap so many times it’s getting boring, and you keep coming back with the same, stupid, inaccurate, statistically invalid NONSENSE.

          Go away, dacian. Go FAR away. Your gun-and-policy ignorant drivel is clear proof that you belong at Slate or VOX, not here bothering intelligent people.

    • Pincil neck spewing bullshit again. ATF “outlawed” whatever. When was the ATF granted the power to pass legislation? Sign it into U.S. Code?

      • Flag Waver

        Wake up to reality. The ATF even banned a piece of leather called the wallet holster. What planet do you live on?

        • No, you flaming dips***, you COMPLETELY misread his point. Not that those @$$holes at the ATF don’t CLAIM the right to ban things that are NOT firearms, you FOOL, but that there is no such Constitutional authority for their doing so.

          Reading comprehension is nice. You should try to develop some.

    • Dacian – Dude, you have to stop posting.
      Nobody cares
      If you post just for your own ‘joy’ it just proves you are ill
      go away

      • What he and others like him are doing is a form of self-stimulation and titillation; Consider it public masturbation with a keyboard.

        They come here to type away, and post what they think are overwhelmingly erudite and highly illuminating arguments that none can possibly refute due to their sheer genius and keen intellect, ignoring the simple fact that no one bothers to read the word salad that they create, let alone understand it, agree with it, or even merely take notice of it.

        Yet, others here persist in engaging with these types, entering into literary circle-jerks with no possible positive outcome. Derpian et al will continue to bloviate, will continue to believe themselves immortal fonts of reason, and until they are simply ignored, they will come here for the self-gratification.


    • dacian the stupid,

      First, I find it fascinating that YOU, of all people, find “reports” from police persuasive.

      Second, check those reports. Every local jurisdiction maintains, AND DEFINES, records on ghost guns on their own terms. Guess what a frequent “included category” in the definition of “ghost guns” is??? That’s right – manufactured firearms that have had the serial numbers removed. So, are more people building firearms with 3D printers or CNC milling machines? Sure. Are more criminals filing off or otherwise defacing printed serial numbers? Yeah. So, your mythical “ghost gun” category needs further definition (which you are entirely incapable of providing).

      Third, the entire concept of “ghost guns”, IF you were referring to actual, personally-manufactured firearms, NOT registered and serialized, is . . . well, kinda like you, just bomfozzlingly stupid. I can “manufacture” a fully functional firearm with $50 and a trip to Home Depot. Would it be my first choice? No. Would it work? Oh, HELL yeah – I’ve done it. How the HELL do you plan to regulate THAT, you mouthbreathing moron????

      Your abject ignorance of all things . . . I was going to say “all things related to firearms”, but I think it works better if I just stop with “all things”. Your ignorance is so close to total it is statistically indistinguishable.

      Your every post puts me in mind of Shakespeare, “A tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

      Go visit the cable, dacian.

      • to the Lamp that went out in his head.

        You can lie your ass off all you want but I have yet to see a genuine recovered 3d gun that was used in a crime because they do not work unless they have traditional manufactured parts like barrels , springs, pins, etc, etc. Yes you could make a receiver but try making some of the critical parts that require precision made steel parts. It could be done of course but not on the mass scale that people are doing with 80% receivers and traditional parts often supplied with the kits including temp plates to drill the holes correctly.

        Lamp that went out in his head you do not even make a good liar.

        • Wow, way to trumpet your “L”, dacian the stupid. And literally EVERYTHING you wrote above is a lie. Ever hear of a radio antenna zip gun? No, because you are ignorant. Ever hear of a shotgun made with a pipe, a board, a spring, and a nail? I’ve made one. It worked.

          dacian, just go commit serial onanism; that’s all your comments here consist of, and we’re not impressed or amused.

    • “Yes, ghost guns are increasing being used in shootings across the country.”

      No, they aren’t. Media is purposely conflating stolen firearms with serial numbers removed with home built firearms for the ad revenue such articles generate.

      Phil Luty published ‘Expedient Homemade Firearms: The 9mm Submachine Gun’ back in 1997 that details how to create a gun that is actually cheaper, less traceable, with a higher rate of fire than any AR15-esque lower that someone milled the fire control pocket out.

      Still waiting on that murder spree that happens with it…

      • Tactical Giggles,

        You are wasting your effort. dacian the stupid is so monumentally ignorant that he is immune to facts, logic, or anything that doesn’t accord with his pathetically stupid worldview.

        But, good effort. I’ve read the Luty work, as well. There are MANY others. And anyone with an IQ greater than their shoe size (which obviously excludes dacian) knows that building a functional firearm DOES NOT require any of the crap dacian claims. Samuel Colt had none of those things. Teenage gangs back in the day who made “zip guns” with car antennas had none of those things. Ferguson, who made the Ferguson rifle, had none of those things. I sincerely doubt that the inventor of the Puckle gun had access to advanced alloys and 3D CNC milling machines. dacian’s mind is so narrow, if he fell on a pin, he’d be blind in both eyes (to quote the late, great Jimi Hendrix).

  3. “Some might consider numerous to be three or more. To others, it starts at a much bigger number, say 300 or so. What can be agreed on by most people is that the number is greater than one.”


    “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
    Two can be as bad as one… ”

  4. Congress needs to look into this flat out lie by the ATF. I can imagine the hearings now…

    Senator: “How many FFL’s requested clarity on how [Privately Manufactured Firearms] may be accepted and recorded?”

    ATF: “One.”

    Senator: “But one is not numerous and the ATF claimed it was ‘numerous’. Why?

    ATF: “Math hard.”

    • #923867598237649821763423 on the list of things that won’t happen.

      Besides, even if it did, the ATF’s answer would be “I don’t have those numbers in front of me” and that would be the end of it.

      • I’m sure it will come up in regularly scheduled oversight hearings. Senators love to show a gotcha in questioning. The repercussions for the lie will be zero.

  5. Just watched the dude on Guns n Gear-he said the same. lies. Water is wet. Alfred E. Neuman gets paid by the word. So what? Off to buy some boo-lits…

  6. Well, The AFT never gave a shit about what they or anyone else says or does anyway. So nobody should be really surprised. They do what the fuck they want! With no accountability or responsibility or real-time oversight. That’s because They’re just a rogue repeat of the ‘EYE’ which is a knock-off of the CIA, which is a dirty little inbred cousin of the Welfare-Warfare New Marxist Deep State that has now pretty much clearly taken over the late, great American concept of exceptional Liberty and Justice for all.

    To wit: The other Day Senator Ted Cruz homed in like a ‘Cruise’ missile on that Asst. Eye Director at a ‘Jan 6 insurrection’ hearing about how many undercover agents or paid informants were involved in the ‘Riot’ that day on the Capital with instigating the crowd to violence. She swung to the other end of the pendulum of mendacity with ‘I don’t know, I can’t answer that, and No, not to my knowledge’ on every direct question Cruz threw at her.

    So no comprehension of ‘Numerous’ in their construct of communications there, either? Even though everybody in Law enforcement knows that every single organization or fomenting group of political action from the Boy Scouts to Religious Fusion Centers to PTA school groups to Militias and Motorcycle Clubs have built-in undercover agents or well paid professional informants. There are virtually No exceptions to this practice of preemptive law enforcement today.

    Also given the provable suspicious FACTS involving past government ‘investigations’ in everything from 9-11 to WACO to Oklahoma to the despicable murder at the Muir Wildlife Reguge to corruption and Crimes at the top level of agency leadership in the Trump frame-up debacle (and STILL never-ending with this latest 14th/A scheme to violate Trump’s rights by preventing him from ever running for office again), a bigger question than numeric definitions might be…

    How the fuck do they keep getting AWAY with these anti-Constitutional crimes against the people in everything from murder to Treason? When there are clear Federal Laws Against this?

    The answer is remarkably stupid but true. Most Americans do know exactly how bad the government is but are way too comfortable in their habitual lifestyles to become motivated enough to deviate from it long enough to get going hard enough to do something about it.

    It’s like the comment i hear a lot in related conversations where somebody always says, ‘Oh, I don’t care because I don’t watch the news anymore. I get a headache from all of it…so I just detach from it.’

    Well, I always say to them, yeah, but how are you going to ‘detach’ so easily from ‘it’ like you do now –which allows them to more easily take the power–when in the future when the ‘Authorities’ don’t allow ‘detachment’ anymore? Because you will be compliant, or else? And that ‘headache’ you don’t like getting, will be from a bullet… if you don’t comply totally and immediately?

    In Less than 11 Months things could change for the better for a more Egalitarian Libertarian
    America. If we all get seriously pro-active in Electoral work. Complacency is not an option. These Commies are like that old Story high school fiction “Lenington versus The Ants’ (Based on African hoards of Driver Ants phenomena attacking and not stopping until they consume or destroy everything in their paths).

    The alternative to not swinging the power of Congress and the Senate back to the Libertarian Constitutional Republic at the mid term elections this time is…


  7. Us Against Gunms are just throwing they’re money away. My beloved Pestident Joe theBiden is scamming them too, ” Give me money, I’ll put on a good show, and the constitution stays the same, because it’s to much trouble to change it. Chumpman never had a chance I knew it , senate knew it, however you thought he did and I’m your man because you bought me”
    That’s why I admire my Pestident, he’s such a weasel.

  8. If you are interested.
    Ghost Gun Gong Show at
    [quote]“Criminals are taking advantage of this loophole to obtain guns that are later used in crimes.”

    In California, perhaps. Elsewhere “ghost guns” are the “assault weapon” for the new millennium… rarely used, marginally worrisome, and perhaps a byproduct of strict gun control laws.
    The Summary Data

    Worst case, 1.7% of crime guns are DIY (e.g., “ghost guns”).
    But when the top six outlier cities (all in California) are excluded, the rate drops to 1.1%.
    34% of agencies recovered no ghost guns.
    This compares to 8% of crime guns that have no visible serial numbers (obliterated + DIY).
    California is the primary state having DIY guns in circulation, averaging 8% of crime guns.

    What We Did to Tally DIY Guns used in crime

    We sent public records requests to the top 100 police agencies in the United States and asked them to tell us for 2019:

    How many crime guns 1 were confiscated.
    How many of the crime guns had no readable serial number. This included both DIY guns and those where serial numbers had been obliterated.
    How many of the crime guns appeared to be DIY (ghost) guns.

    The goal was to see if DIY guns were a significant part of the crime gun inventory. Another study—which we’ll be happy to do once we receive a great big grant from anyone—is to find out if the percentage of DIY crime guns is growing, and if so, if it is growing rapidly. Break out your checkbook and add an extra couple of zeros… this would be a non-trivial exercise.

    As of this update (2021-05-12), 47 of the 100 agencies fully complied with our request, four provided incomplete information, and several were simply snotty about the whole thing. Most notably, the Washington, DC police department sent us a canned year-end PDF which had one of the numbers we needed, then dug in their heels about providing real and complete data (it has been appealed to the mayor’s office… and appears to have died there).

    Incomplete reports were not included in the analysis since that would screw up everything. But a 47% response rate is robust and enough to get started.[/quote]

    Pretty interesting read.

    • John,

      please don’t tell dacian this, it would be further proof of his COMPLETE failure to understand the UNRELATED and UNRELIABLE statistics he occasionally spouts.

      “Ghost guns” is not an established category with legal meaning. Depending on the responding LEO, it may include “personally-manufactured firearms” – which may or may not include (depending on the agency) any or all of firearms made with 3D printing technology, firearms made from 80% or less lowers, etc. Many do include guns that are (i) built before serialization was required, and so never had a serial number, and (ii) guns that have had the serial numbers defaced or removed (common practice with criminals). So, even the data sets they were receiving were going to contain inconsistent data so . . . they were useless bullbleep.

  9. I am totally against “ghost guns”, but entirely in favor of homemade firearms. I mean, really, who believes in ghosts? And if you did believe in ghosts why would they have guns?

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