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Disturbing ATF Assertions

Via SayUncle, we learn of some disturbing interpretations of the NFA on the part of the ATF. I do believe that the ATF has long held that “one a machine gun, always a machine gun” in regards to firearms that have been converted to only fire semi-automatically. Thus an M14 receiver is always a machine gun, no matter what you do to it subsequently. The argument being that it is readily converted to fire full auto.

I’m more disturbed about the short barreled rifle (SBR) charge. I’ve long considered registering my AR-15 carbine as an SBR, then using an M4 style upper. But I also have another AR-15 that I did not intend to convert. Does this leave me vulnerable to ATF prosecution? Remember, I hold a type 03 FFL, so the ATF can ask to inspect my records and inventory, so this is an important deal for me. It’s one of those things you’d be tempted to get a letter from the ATF saying it was OK, but we know what those are worth.

You want to talk reasonable gun control? Does the Brady Campaign want another opportunity to “work with the NRA” to “strengthen our nations laws on machine guns?” How about undertaking a major restructuring of federal law so that the ATF can’t, at whim, turn someone from a law abiding collector into a felon looking at ten years hard time in Club Fed? It’s long time to codify what “readily converted” means, in hard, clear language, that’s not easily open to interpretation by federal agencies. It’s long time to reexamine whether there’s any reasonable connection to the SBR and SBS law and public safety. Is that rifle more dangerous because it has a barrel an inch and a half longer than another one? Is that pistol more deadly because someone clipped a stock onto it? Come on Brady’s, if you guys can spin this last thing as gun control, surely you can spin this as the same. So how about it? Let’s pass some more “reasonable” laws together.

8 Responses to “Disturbing ATF Assertions”

  1. SayUncle says:

    Once a MG always a MG is not the law. It’s another random, made up application of it

  2. deadcenter says:

    This may be an anecdote, but I thought ATFs definition of easily convertible was that any conversion that took less than 16 hours of work in a machine shop is considered “easily converted”.

  3. Sebastian says:

    I think you could make a machine gun from scratch in less than 16 hours if you have a machine shop. Perhaps next the ATF will declare that machine shops are machineguns.

  4. Sebastian says:

    The ATF regs suck, but the law itself is bad too:

    The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

  5. Spence says:

    I have worried about this a bit also. I have one AR registered as a SBR, and I almost always have the 11.5″ upper on it. I honestly believe that so long as I don’t mess with them they wont mess with me. I did get ATF letters to say that I can put 16″ and 20″ uppers on the SBR in different calibers just to be safe, on the other hand I try not to get too paranoid. I guess what I am saying is that provided I stay out of trouble, don’t mess with poeple, and do the best that I can to follow the law, I sleep OK

    I also have a type 3 FFL (just for the Midway and Brownells discounts), and keep a nice pretty bound book

  6. deadcenter says:

    Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense. I’m going off of a memory of something I read, 2, 3, maybe 4 years ago about an inert shotgun and how it was illegal because it could be returned to service in less than 16 hours given a machine shop. Lousy memory and probably doesn’t have anything to do with the point of your entry, but I figured I’d toss it out anyway.

  7. Sebastian says:

    How do you get the FFL discount for Brownells and Midway? Just send them a signed copy?

  8. Spence says:

    Brownells lets you enter the FFL number in your account (I forgot exactly where) and you get the discount immediately. You mail a signed copy to Midway with a note and your customer number.

    The Brownells discount has saved me a ton, and Midway varies.

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