Archive for the 'BATFE' Category



ATF: Enabling A National Gun Registry?

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

GOA.

The ATF has issued new rules that will alter the format for Form 4473’s and make it easier to create a national gun registry.

Here’s what we know. ATF agents have used annual inspections to electronically record the contents of Form 4473’s being kept by federal gun dealers. See here and here.

We also know that a software company exhibiting its wares at the Shot Show in Las Vegas has crafted a system where ATF can take the contents of all the dealer’s Bound Book entries (which contain all of the buyer’s personal information and gun information which is on a Form 4473) by simply capturing them on a thumb drive.

And we know that the ATF is now trying to put the names of gun owners on the same page of the 4473 as the identifying information of the gun. See here.

But if they’re successful with changing the 4473 in this way, it will be much easier for ATF to create a national gun registry by photographing paper documents.

So it appears that we have an answer to the almost inexplicable question of why ATF is crawling over glass now to reincarnate the format for the 4473 which was junked decades ago.

Thanks to GOA for a good analysis of this.  It’s more than about allowing non-binary as a sex option, which in this case is obviously a misdirect.  It was magician’s trick to focus the eye somewhere else.

The only real solution for any of this is to abolish the ATF.  On top of that, abolishing DOJ, CIA, FBI and DHS would also be a good solution to many ills.

ATF Recognizes “Non-Binary” As Sex Option

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Changes come to form 4473.

“Non-binary” is added in the sex field options, too. The section inquiring if the transferee is under indictment for a felony would also now ask, “…or are you a current member of the military who has been charged with violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whose charges have been referred to a General Court Martial?”

In addition, the question regarding whether the person has ever been convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence would, if approved, include,“…or are you or have you ever been a member of the military and been convicted of a crime that included, as an element, the use of force against a person as identified in the instructions?” A variety of boxes and questions have been moved for clarity and continuity, apparently, and the “county” of residence field now includes “Parish/Borough.”

So what if you were referred to a general court martial and were acquitted?  I’ve never agreed with the notion anyway that problems with a dishonorable discharge should affect recognition of God-given rights.  But that’s the difference, yes?  I see this right as God-given, the state sees itself as the source.

But thank goodness that “Non-binary” is now officially recognized as a sex option.  I won’t have to lose sleep over that any longer.

BATFE Tags:

More Creative ATF Rulemaking

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

Via David Codrea, courtesy of Len Savage, the ATF is involved in more creative rulemaking.

No mechanism currently exists for ATF to authorize a request from an FFL to transfer a GCA/SBS, such as the Reformation, to a non-licensee. Therefore, until ATF is able to promulgate a procedure for processing and appr.oving such requests, an FFL may not lawfully transfer a Reformation configured as a GCA/SBS to a non-licensee.

I don’t personally care since I don’t want one.  But I do care because if someone else wants one, they should be able to have one.  Fudds are not honorable men.

Because.  Liberty.  I don’t have a bump stock either, but if I wanted one I should be able to have one.  Because.  Liberty.

Because.  Shall not be infringed.  All gun control is wickedness.

ATF Firearms Industry Operations Manual Obtained Via GOA FOIA Request

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

John Crump writing at Ammoland.

Gun Owners of America has obtained the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] Industry Operations Manual used by Industry Operations Inspectors (IOI). The gun-rights group received a copy of the document after submitting multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request the federal law enforcement agency.

This copy is the first time since the 1990s that the manual has been made public. The ATF was not quick to supply the information to GOA, but continued pressure by the gun-rights organization forced the ATF’s hand. The document does have a few redactions, but it does give enough information to help out FFLs by understanding what the ATF is looking for in their inspections of FFL and gun shop retailers.

And thus it may be helpful to some of my readers.

I truly wish they wouldn’t put documents on Scribd.  There is a direct PDF link for those of you (like me) who don’t wish to “log in” with any ID.

ATF Informants

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

Len Savage sends this.  It means that the ATF has so many paid informants that they have to have federal forms for them.  This bit of twisted sickness is also interesting.  The ATF had an informant passing on Savage’s litigation strategy to the FedGov.  It seems that very few can be trusted.  Keep that in mind.

But beware, if you’re a traitor.  Remember the case of Mike Detty.

Although Detty never solicited a dime, he was promised hefty rewards, which, of course, were never paid. This particular case took many a turn. The final twist being when Detty’s good intentions, his actions at his own peril just because it was the right thing to do, were rewarded with betrayal by the very agency on whose behalf he had risked so much.

[ … ]

Loyalty, it turned out, was not a two-way street between the Department of Justice and a public-spirited citizen who had volunteered, and worked for years at personal risk, to do the right thing.

“I learned that the ATF’s public information officer in Phoenix gave my name and contact information to a New York Times reporter who was inspired to write an article after Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech of Feb. 2, 2009, in which he detailed that Mexicans were being killed with American guns and that he and President Obama would like to see the Assault Weapons Ban reinstated,” Detty said. “If it wasn’t bad enough that Department of Justice employees were exposing me as an informant, now an ATF agent was doing the same thing.”

To keep the facts straight, from early on Detty had kept a private journal. Government minions learned of it. They apparently feared it could be a source of embarrassment or worse—in passing it detailed several official misadventures.

From that point on, Detty was cast into a limbo somewhere between persona non grata and outright threat. His personal e-files were hacked and redacted by persons unknown, but of course there were backups. Detty does not make this observation. But it begs: If a former intelligence asset now has the potential to be a liability or embarrassment, how better to solve the problem than to let the cartels he was working against know who he is and let nature take its course?

[ … ]

“With American guns being used in ruthless savagery across the border, a push could be made for a new assault weapons ban here in the United States. There is no other explanation why guns would be continually allowed to cross the border after the purchasers, their cartels and ports of entry had already been identified.”

They aren’t playing by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

New Case Law Derails Sentencing Of Nevada County Man In Federal Weapons Case

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

The ripples of this case are just beginning.

A South County man indicted by a federal grand jury in 2015 on weapons and marijuana charges was set to be sentenced today after taking a plea agreement. But Craig Mason’s sentencing has been postponed until mid-November, because a different case currently being litigated could invalidate the weapons charge.

Mason pleaded guilty in March to unlawfully manufacturing and dealing in firearms and was facing as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to court documents. At the center of the charge was an allegation that Mason manufactured and sold the parts necessary to assemble a firearm to a person he believed to be a felon.

But in a memo sent last week to U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, Mason’s attorney cited developments in a case involving similar allegations — United States v. Roh. Like Mason, Roh was indicted for manufacturing and dealing firearms — hundreds of AR-15-type lower receivers, completed pistols, and completed rifles, according to court records.

At issue is whether “lower receivers” can be considered firearms. Federal prosecutors have, as in Mason’s case, considered the answer to be “yes.” Mason operated a workshop on his Rosewood Road property just outside Lake of the Pines, where he allegedly converted AR-15-style blanks into lower receivers. A “blank” is a metal casting that can be converted to allow the firing a of a projectile. Once converted, it is considered a firearm by statute, even if there is no barrel, handle, or trigger, and it is subject to regulation.

In Joseph Roh’s case, a judge ruled “the evidence at trial was uncontroverted that a finished AR-15 receiver does not contain a bolt or breech block and is not threaded to receive the barrel. … The plain conclusion is that the finished receiver is not a firearm.” The ruling continued, “Roh did not violate the law by manufacturing receivers. The Court further finds that with respect to manufacturing receivers, the statute and regulation are unconstitutionally vague.”

Following the tentative order, the prosecution and defense agreed to a deal in which Roh would plead guilty to the charge against him, but would be allowed to withdraw that plea if he stayed out of trouble for a year. Prosecutors would then dismiss the case. If Roh abides by the deal, he will have no criminal conviction and serve no time behind bars. Roh’s sentencing has been set for July of next year.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been investigating the unlawful sale and manufacturing of firearms by Sacramento dealer LCG AR Parts and Custom Accessories. A confidential informant reportedly purchased blanks from LCG in 2013, asked to have them illegally converted and was directed to Mason. According to court records, Mason manufactured two AR-15-style lower receivers for the confidential informant, despite being told the man had been to prison and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

During execution of a federal search warrant on Mason’s property in October 2013, law enforcement officers reportedly found multiple AR blanks and lower receivers, as well as several AR-15 rifles and a pistol built with a lower receiver that originally had been blanks, and three jigs used to machine blanks into lower receivers.

I wonder how far this will go?  Will this case be dropped as well, or at least, recast into something else?  Is the ATF’s spider web of judgments, regulations and letters of interpretation beginning to unravel, or will they just judge-shop until they find a ruling they like?

BATFE Tags:

ATF Drops Lower Receiver Case For Fear Of Doing Damage To Other ATF Regulations

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 4 weeks ago

This is a fascinating case, telling us more about the ATF and their world view than anything to do with lower receivers.  Read every word of the report.

For more than a year, Joseph Roh illegally manufactured AR-15-style rifles in a warehouse south of Los Angeles.

His customers, more than two dozen of whom were legally prohibited from possessing a firearm, could push a button, pull a lever, and walk away a short time later with a fully assembled, untraceable semi-automatic weapon for about $1,000, according to court records.

Roh continued his black-market operation despite being warned in person by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that he was breaking the law.

But five years after raiding his business and indicting him, federal authorities quietly cut a deal with Roh earlier this year and agreed to drop the charges.

Why?

The judge in the case had issued a tentative order that, in the eyes of prosecutors, threatened to upend the decades-old Gun Control Act and “seriously undermine the ATF’s ability to trace and regulate firearms nationwide.”

In the eyes of prosecutors, the case “threatened to upend the decades-old Gun Control Act and seriously undermine the ATF’s ability to regulate firearms nationwide.”  This is important.

No one can change the law except those who made the law, i.e., the House and Senate.  It may be that the GCA is reprehensible, and it is, and it may be that it is unconstitutional, and it is, but only the House and Senate can change it.  The fear that losing a case, whatever that case may be, could upend the GCA is ridiculous.  Ponder that for a moment and let’s continue.

A case once touted by prosecutors as a crackdown on an illicit firearms factory was suddenly seen as having the potential to pave the way to unfettered access to one of the most demonized guns in America.

Federal authorities preferred to let Roh go free rather than have the ruling become final and potentially create case law that could have a crippling effect on the enforcement of gun laws, several sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Each requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the case and its possible implications.

Under US District Court Judge James V. Selna’s interpretation of the law, convicted felons and other people prohibited from possessing firearms would be allowed to legally acquire all the parts necessary to assemble an AR-15-style rifle and other weapons, according to federal prosecutors.

[ … ]

The guns are sometimes assembled from separately acquired parts. Under federal law, the one regulated individual part of a firearm is what’s known as the frame or receiver — a piece that, among other things, provides a housing for the hammer and firing mechanism of a gun.

Though incapable of firing a round, the part is considered a gun in its own right and is subject to the same restrictions as a fully intact firearm. Manufacturers must stamp it with a serial number and licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks on prospective buyers. The restrictions are intended, in part, to keep felons and other people prohibited from possessing firearms from acquiring them piece by piece.

AR-15s, however, do not have a single receiver that meets that definition. They have both an upper and lower receiver — two parts as opposed to the single part described in the law.

At issue in Roh’s case was whether the law could fairly be interpreted to apply to just the lower receiver of the AR-15, as the ATF has been doing for decades.

To rule otherwise “would sweep aside more than 50 years of the ATF’s regulation of AR-15s and other semiautomatic firearms,” prosecutors wrote prior to the judge’s order.

Federal law enforcement officials — and members of Congress — have been on notice about a potential problem with the language in federal gun law as applied to AR-15s since at least 2016.

In July of that year, prosecutors in Northern California abandoned a case against a convicted felon named Alejandro Jimenez after a judge found that the AR-15 lower receiver he was accused of purchasing in an ATF undercover sting did not meet the definition of a receiver under the law.

The ruling and subsequent dismissal drew little notice but prompted a letter to Congress from then-US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She advised lawmakers that the judge’s decision was not suitable for appeal and that if ATF officials believed the definition should be changed, they should pursue regulatory or administrative action.

Further into the report, we get to the details of the case.

“We here at ROHG Industries have been doing build parties for quite some time,” he wrote in the sparsely worded, one-paragraph letter.

“The customer installs the part into our machine and pushes the start button,” Roh explained.

“Is this legal?” he asked.

In November, the chief of ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch responded to Roh by letter. He told him that if the “build parties” he was referring to resulted in the production of anything the ATF classified as a firearm, he would need to obtain a license for manufacturing.

Roh did not heed that advice. When an undercover ATF agent visited his factory on two occasions in December, he “observed parts and machinery used to manufacture AR-15-type firearms,” court documents state.

Two days before Christmas, the ATF gave Roh a warning in the form of a “cease and desist” letter. It informed him that he was engaged in the unlicensed manufacture of firearms and was at risk of criminal prosecution.

This time, Roh appeared to take heed.

When undercover agents visited his factory in early January, he was not there. But employees told agents they were no longer machining gun parts.

“The ATF had shut them down,” the employees said, according to a report recounting the conversation.

They promised to call the purported customers back when they got the “green light” to resume operations.

Less than a week later they got the call. Their visit to the factory the following day was captured in secretly recorded video obtained by CNN.

Roh, dressed in a T-shirt and New York Yankees baseball cap, appeared congenial and knowledgeable about firearms. He made no secret of his business model.

“Are you here to … make yourself a rifle right now?” he asked the agents during the encounter in January 2014.

“I’m not going to get into trouble or anything like that?” one of the agents asked.

“No,” Roh reassured him. “We’re legal, man.”

Roh told the undercover agents he’d enacted a new policy after being shut down by the ATF: Anyone who wanted machining services performed had to pay a $25 fee to join his “gun club.” That way, he was no longer catering to the general public, he explained.

He told one of the agents he was already considered a member because he’d bought a gun before. Roh told him he would have to vouch for the newcomer so that he could join the gun club as well.

After collecting $25 from the new customer and agreeing to a price of $1,000 each for a pair of rifles he wanted to buy, Roh directed an employee to begin the machining process.

Moments later, he stood next to the agent in front of a large piece of equipment that is computer-coded to precisely machine parts for AR-15-style firearms.

“Go ahead and press the green button,” Roh told the undercover agent.

“The green button?” the agent asked.

“Yeah,” Roh replied. “That basically means that you did it — believe it or not.”

A member of Roh’s staff then oversaw the process of machining and drilling that converted an unfinished lower receiver — an innocuous chunk of metal before the process began — into a finished receiver the ATF considered a firearm under the law.

Roh then added barrels, stocks, bolts, triggers and other parts to make them fully-functioning weapons.

Now to the legal machinations.

When the case finally came to trial last year, much of the four-day proceeding consisted of Nicolaysen, Roh’s defense attorney, grilling ATF officials on arcane gun laws and regulations and the agency’s internal decision-making process.

After both sides presented their evidence, the defense filed a motion for acquittal, arguing that the government’s case against Roh was “legally flawed” because the charges were based on a violation of an internal ATF “classification” as opposed to federal law.

Nicolaysen argued that the definition of a receiver under the relevant federal code differed in various ways from the AR-15 component Roh was accused of manufacturing.

Under the US Code of Federal Regulations, a firearm frame or receiver is defined as: “That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”

The lower receiver in Roh’s case does not have a bolt or breechblock and is not threaded to receive the barrel, Nicolaysen noted.

He called the decision to classify it as a firearm nonetheless, the result of “secret, in-house decision-making.”

Nicolaysen accused the ATF of abusing its authority by pursuing Roh based on his alleged violation of a policy “that masquerades as law.”

He asked the judge to consider recommending that then-US Attorney General Jeff Sessions conduct a review to determine whether there were any similar cases pending around the country or past convictions “sustained on the basis of ATF policy, rather than law.”

Prosecutors acknowledged there were technical differences between the regulation and the lower receiver in Roh’s case, but said the ATF’s interpretation of the regulation was consistent with the intent of federal gun laws. The agency’s reading of the law “should also receive deference from this court,” prosecutors Shawn J. Nelson and Benjamin D. Lichtman argued.

Adopting the defense position, the prosecutors wrote, would be “manifestly incompatible” with the intent of the federal Gun Control Act and would “severely frustrate” enforcement of the law.

The prosecutors’ filing said a ruling in favor of the defense could impact the receivers for up to 90% of the firearms in America.

“The necessary result of this would be that the unregulated parts could be manufactured, sold, and combined with other commercially available parts to create completed, un-serialized firearms which would not be subject to background checks, and which would be untraceable,” the prosecutors wrote. “Defendant’s interpretation would mean that nearly every semi-automatic firearm could be purchased piece by piece with no regulation or background check before a prohibited person would have a firearm.”

Though the trial lasted less than a week, Selna deliberated for more than year. In April, he issued a tentative order in which he determined that the ATF had improperly classified the AR-15 lower receivers in Roh’s case as firearms.

He rejected the prosecution’s argument that the ATF’s interpretation of the regulation describing a receiver could reasonably be applied to the device at issue in Roh’s case.

“There is a disconnect,” the judge wrote.

Selna added that the combination of the federal law and regulation governing the manufacturing of receivers is “unconstitutionally vague” as applied in the case against Roh.

“No reasonable person would understand that a part constitutes a receiver where it lacks the components specified in the regulation,” Selna wrote.

Therefore, the judge determined, “Roh did not violate the law by manufacturing receivers.”

The judge’s tentative order also found that the ATF’s in-house classification process failed to comply with federal rule-making procedures. Changes to substantive federal regulations typically include a notice-and-comment period and eventual publication in the Federal Register.

“Consistent with the intent of federal law.”  What the ATF doesn’t want the general public to know is that they’re making up the rules as they go.  Letters to the ATF and ATF responses don’t constitute law, and they don’t even constitute regulation, strictly defined.

First of all, I’ve discussed that before.  There is a difference between law and regulation.  Laws are made by Congress.  Regulation, that behemoth which has so empowered the federal executive and the bureaucratic state, at least has the requirement that it gets published in the federal register, has a comment period, goes through a cost-benefit analysis as required by law, and then the final version gets published in the federal register.  ATF regulations get none of this, and judgments and rules promulgated by the ATF bypass all of these requirements.

Second, it’s apparent that the whole intent of the ATF rules is to limit the firearms in circulation, attempt as best as possible to govern who has them, and know with as much certainty as possible where they are at any particular time.  The rules aren’t arbitrary – they have the purpose the controllers intended.  They make the policy as it suits them at the moment, and then change it on a whim if they deem it more advantageous to their designs.  For a silly example of this, witness their hand-wringing and rule du jour over whether you can legally shoulder a stabilizing brace.

Third, they are so afraid that this decision would have disrupted those designs that they were willing to drop the case outright.  After hearing the truth from this judge, that is, that the ATF was illegally bypassing the regulation process and imposing seemingly arbitrary policies in lieu of real regulations and laws, they literally don’t care.  They are completely unmoved by the revelations of their illegality.

Fourth, the ATF is run by controllers.  We’ve also discussed this before.  As I’ve pointed out before, “The desire to control others is the first sign, incorrigible pathology and premier sin of the wicked.”  These folks are sociopaths.  They have no conscience, and their pathological drive is to control others.

Len Savage Has Some Fun!

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

This is our buddy Len Savage having a little fun.  And by the way, Len also had some fun noting the irony of the ATF managing to creep out their own attorney.  It’s more than a little amusing – in a sad sort of way – when even the controllers become repulsed at their own kind.

But It Provides Income For ATF Employees

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

That makes it fair to ask – and expect answers to – how many cases are solved based on traces. How many perpetrators have been convicted that would otherwise not have been had ATF not identified a name gleaned from a retailer’s 4473 copy? Intuitively, if you catch the perp, it would seem you’ve solved the case. Ditto, what percentage of guns found at the scene trace back to the “retail purchaser” who is either guilty or able to provide a useful lead to who is? Factoring in the costs of these operations, how much does that work out to per solved crime?

So how’d you like that tweed suit?  And the extreme unction with which they work?  Is this good use of your tax money?

ATF Rescinds Prior Method To Measure A Firearm’s Overall Length When Equipped With A Stabilizing Brace

BY Herschel Smith
9 months ago

Prince Law.

Late yesterday, I received an email from an individual containing a letter from ATF which was a response to a correspondence requesting the correct method to “measure a firearm with a ‘stabilizing brace’ and folding adaptor.” It was explained that the correspondence was sent in the form of an email over a year ago and that the person had received a response via email shortly after it was sent. This letter was unsolicited and came over a year after the original request and response.

[ … ]

Based on the letter, ATF is taking the position that because a stabilizing brace is not an integral part of the firearm, it is not relevant to the overall length measurement. Why does this matter? A number of individuals have been building AR pistols or other similar pistols that have utilized a stabilizing brace. Some have opted to add a vertical foregrip. However, based on this interpretation, those people may find that they have manufactured an “AOW”, which is subject to the restrictions of the National Firearms Act (“NFA”).

[ … ]

ATF has taken the position that once a vertical foregrip has been added to a firearm, it is no longer designed to be fired when held in one hand, removing it from the definition of a pistol, even though ATF previously lost this argument before the Ninth Circuit in U.S. v. Fix, 4 Fed. Appx. 324 (9th Cir. 2001).

Further, ATF has consistently held that the overall length of 26 inches is the breaking point for concealability. Put another way, if the firearm has an overall length of less than 26 inches, it places it into a category of arms that could be considered to be regulated by the NFA depending on their other characteristics. If it has an overall length greater than 26 inches, it could remove it from those class of firearms, again, depending on their characteristics.

Law-making by memorandum.  Any time you change your mind, just write a new note.

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