BATFE Rings in the New Year with More Executive Gun Control

Discussion in '2nd Amendment' started by 1024Megabytes, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. NRA Institute for Legislative Action

    On January 2, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives issued its first ruling of 2015. Identified as ATF Rul. 2015-1, it significantly expands the scope of activities that BATFE considers to be “manufacturing” for purposes of the Gun Control Act (GCA). While BATFE claims this ruling is simply a “clarification” of their prior position taken in ATF Rul. 2010-10, 2015-1 is clearly an attempted expansion of the definition of manufacturing.

    The Gun Control Act primarily regulates commercial actors in the firearm industry. Only those “engaged in the business” of dealing, manufacturing, or importing firearms are required to have the applicable Federal Firearm License (FFL). As applied to manufacturers, a person is “engaged in the business” of manufacturing firearms, and must therefore be licensed and serialize any firearm manufactured, when the person “devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of firearms manufactured.” The GCA also makes an allowance for licensees who hold only “dealer” licenses to engage in common gunsmith activities including “repairing firearms or … making or fitting special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms . . . .”

    In the ruling, Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives goes through several contortions of the English language to reach conclusions that severely complicate the making of firearms for private (i.e., noncommercial) use. Along the way, BATFE proposes two important thresholds in the manufacturing process. First, when sufficient manufacturing is performed on a receiver blank, often referred to as an “80% receiver,” so that it legally becomes a “frame or receiver” of a firearm. Unfortunately, the ruling does little to identify exactly when a receiver blank becomes a frame or receiver. The second threshold is crossed when something that may already legally be a “frame or receiver” is made suitable, or more suitable, for use as a functional firearm.

    According to the new ruling, “when a person performs machining or other manufacturing process on a blank to make a firearm ‘frame or receiver,’ or on an existing frame or receiver to make it suitable for use as part of a ‘weapon … which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,’ that person has performed a manufacturing operation other than what is contemplated by the Gun Control Act of dealer-gunsmiths ….” It’s unclear how this new threshold approach will play out in practice. If each step is carried out by a different subcontractor, the ruling would seem to require that each frame or receiver so “manufactured” would have to be serialized and marked by each subcontractor.

    The logic in the ruling is stretched especially thin where it describes when the “sale or distribution” of a firearm necessary to trigger the manufacturer licensing requirement. BATFE claims a sale or distribution includes situations in which a gunsmith receives a firearm from a manufacturer, performs a “manufacturing operation,” and then returns the firearm to the same customer. The ruling states:

    BATFE claims a sale or distribution includes situations in which a gunsmith receives a firearm from a manufacturer, performs a “manufacturing operation,” and then returns the firearm to the same customer. Although licensed gunsmiths return firearms to their customers after performing the contracted work, the GCA does not consider this to be a sale or distribution of the firearms manufactured. This is because the returned firearm has only been repaired or temporarily received for custom work – it has not been machined in a manner or otherwise created or made suitable for use as part of a weapon. However, when a licensed gunsmith takes in a frame or receiver to perform machining or other manufacturing process, that gunsmith “distributes” a firearm to the customer upon return because that manufacturing activity results in the making of a different “frame or receiver” and also a “weapon … which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile” – both defined separately as a “firearm” under the GCA.

    Unfortunately for gunsmiths, the ruling gives no guidance to determine the difference between “custom work,” which seemingly is not considered manufacturing, and “machining,” which is manufacturing (at least when one of the identified thresholds is crossed) and would therefore require a gunsmith to comply with all of the Gun Control Act’s requirements for licensed manufacturers.

    While the GCA’s requirements for obtaining a manufacturer’s license may not appear substantially more difficult than obtaining a dealer-gunsmith license at first glance, there are numerous requirements beyond obtaining the additional license. Not only must a manufacturer obtain a slightly more expensive manufacturer’s license, but manufacturers are required to serialize and mark every firearm or receiver they manufacturer and the markings must comply with specific requirements in federal law. Manufacturers are also subject to additional record keeping requirements beyond those required of a licensed dealer.

    Perhaps most importantly for dealer-gunsmiths, if merely working on a firearm means that a new firearm is manufactured, the Gun Control Act would prohibit return of the “new” firearm to the owner without a background check, and, in the case of an owner who lives in another state, the “new” firearm must first be transferred to a licensed dealer in the owner’s state of residence. On top of the Gun Control Act requirements, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations require anyone who manufacturers firearms to complete a costly annual registration. With all of these additional costs, some dealer-gunsmiths could be forced to abandon their current gunsmithing work.

    In addition to limiting the machining work that gunsmiths can engage in, the ruling claims that an FFL not licensed as a manufacturer or an unlicensed machine shop may not allow unlicensed persons to “initiate or manipulate a CNC machine, or to use machinery, tools, or equipment under its dominion or control to perform manufacturing processes on blanks, unfinished frames or receivers, or incomplete weapons.” This portion of the ruling appears to require any business that rents out its machinery or tooling to ensure that the tooling is not used in any part of the manufacturing of a firearm or of a firearm frame or receiver. It’s unclear how BATFE reaches this result without completely rewriting the GCA’s definition of manufacturing, which BATFE does not have the authority to do by formal regulation, much less an informal “ruling.”

    Although BATFE may have intended this ruling to act as a “clarification,” the new guidelines raise far more questions than they answer. In fact, the only thing truly “clarified” by this ruling is that the Obama administration will continue to bypass Congress with more executive gun control measures.

    https://www.nraila.org/articles/20150109/batfe-rings-in-the-new-year-with-more-executive-gun-control
     
  2. In my opinion these new rules are too ambiguous to be enforceable. I think it is this Bureau attempting to flex its muscles and clamp down on gunsmiths and create its own law. It needs to be challenged in court, but who has the money and time?

    Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is a worthless unconstitutional organization that needs to be abolished.
     

  3. Liberty

    Liberty Shhh! Lifetime Supporter

    This is a blatant attempt to shut down machine shops that teach classes on how to make your own firearms, and rent their equipment for people to do so.
     
  4. reverendg

    reverendg Member

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    Exactly. The Ares Armor raid was the pre-cursor to this ruling.
     
  5. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    The ruling is nothing new, it is a clarification and explanation of the existing regulations pertaining to who is required to have a license and what activities are considered manufacturing. The ruling was done in response to questions received by the BATFE from people seeking details on whether they could legally purchase an 80% lower and use it to make a firearm without having to have a license or break a law.

    If you read the actual ruling you will see that all it does is clarify, not create, the regulations.

    much ado about nothing.

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  6. cicpup

    cicpup Resident PITA Supporting Member

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    Does it just pertain to 80% or should I probably read it? I only work with completed serial #'d receivers and frames.
     
  7. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    I read a much shorter article that said what we really need is to simply have 100% of the needed firearms mfg. in every state, and whatever is made for in said state, is kept in the state, which makes void any and all federal firearms regulations, because they do not apply to intrastate commerce, only INTERstate commerce. This has been applied in numerous other cases and been upheld by honest and knowledgeable judges.
     
  8. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    What they are doing is strengthening their prior infringements.
    Almost as bad as reversing themselves on the arm brace fiasco.
    What happened is someone got their pee-pee spanked... :eek:
     
  9. reverendg

    reverendg Member

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    Actually, rulings have been made where intrastate commerce has been regulated because it can have an effect upon interstate commerce. Far fetched, yes, but that is how our government works when it really wants to screw the people.
     
  10. reverendg

    reverendg Member

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    What they are doing is trying to stop "build parties" where a shop "assists" buyers in finishing their 80 percent receivers. In essence any assistance by an FFL, to include lending of machine equipment, is being considered as adding to the percentage of the receiver work done for the buyer, making the receivers no longer 80 percent, and needing serial numbers and background checks to purchase.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  11. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    It simply clarifies what constitutes "manufacturing" and when said license is required. If you are only buying serialized lowers and building your own personal firearms, with no intention of selling said weapons, nothing in it applies to you.


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  12. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    The ruling did not strengthen anything, it only clarified what the existing law is.

    They also never reversed anything with the arm brace. It was and remains against the NFA to use it as a shoulder stock, doing so makes the weapon an SBR. It is still 100% legal and requires no stamp if used solely as an arm brace; which is exactly as Sig was advised in the original letter of authority that the NFA Technical bureau provided them upon their review of the brace Sig submitted for approval.

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  13. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    The argument the Federal agencies have typically made was that any parts or materials used in any portion of the manufacture that originated from outside the State made it fall under their control.

    So even if the steel was made within the State, but the coke for the smelter came from out of State, it falls under the Feds. Silly, but try to fight them.


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  14. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    Examples would help, especially firearms related. Getting that specific reduces the possibilities, I'd imagine;)

    Whatever, we'll have to agree to disagree on this. If they render an initial ruling, and basically ignore what ensues, it is a weak code. If they issue more "letters of clarity" which clamp down on real freedoms, it is seen as stronger. I'm dealing with semantics here, I know. But if the next Prez is wanting to appear more "Pro 2A" they may become lax on enforcement, but not really reverse anything. Effectively, these subsequent ATF letters "strengthen" the ruling.

    As for the arm brace, someone went rogue and said it was not against the "law" to shoulder an unmodified pistol arm brace, so finally the official "talking d!ck-heads" slammed down that line of reasoning. An "effective reversal", period!
    I am 1000% in compliance with ALL Firearms Laws and even BS "rulings" but I do not have to agree with them. We can work to deregulate the 2A and defund the "F" and make it the BATE or even BAT. Total waste of tax dollars, and everything they do can be enforced under other existing law. If they were doing anything to earn their way, OKC Bomber would not even be a buzzword. Them fvcks built a huge bomb and detonated it, despite an agency that "regulates" that type of thing. USELESS.


    * These are usually not "LAWS", but Bureaucratic Rulings that seek to usurp the Constitution. :p Either way, they are BS!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  15. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    BS on top of BS does not equal "LAW", just a bigger mountain of BS ;)

    ...and YES, we should fight them! I expect nothing less from a Texan... :cool:
     
  16. reverendg

    reverendg Member

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    I don't remember the specifics, I remember it being farm related. Here's an example of that:

    In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), Congress set quotas on wheat production through the Agriculture Adjustment Act. Wickard exceeded his quota when the amount of wheat produced for his own use was included with the amount he sold. The Supreme Court held that Congress has the power to regulate local intrastate activities, such as the production of wheat for personal use, if they have an aggregate effect on interstate commerce.

    This could be applied to firearms manufacturing:

    In Katzenbach v. McClung (1964), Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited race based discrimination by restaurants serving food obtained through interstate commerce. The Supreme Court held that Congress can regulate business activity that is purely local, if any part of the activity affects interstate commerce, if the aggregate activity has a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

    Of course this one is helpful to us, as some states refuse to recognize the gun free school zones act:

    In United States v. Lopez (1995), Congress enacted the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 (GFSZA) prohibiting the possession of firearms in school zones. Lopez brought a loaded handgun to school and was charged under the Act. The Supreme Court held that the commerce power only grants Congress the ability to regulate the use of the channels and instrumentalities of interstate commerce, and other activities having a substantial relation to or a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The Act was held to unconstitutional for exceeding the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause.
     
  17. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Wickard v. Filburn.

    I've actually been to the Filburn farm. It's an abandoned Shopping Mall. When I was shopping there I had no idea how important the land was to our nation, it was just a nifty looking mall which reminded me of Star Trek TOS sets.

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    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk