US 2nd Amendment Under Assault, Freedom Firearms Guns Defense
grarpamp at gmail.com
Wed Aug 25 02:55:36 PDT 2021
What is Going on With Gun Control Right Now in 2021?
"Puzzle Pieces All Laid Out" - How ATF Has Plan To Classify
Semi-Automatic Rifles As "Machine Guns"
Op-Ed via The Machine Gun Nest (TMGN).
Just a general warning. The statements presented may start to sound
like a conspiracy theory, but I promise you, dear reader, it is not.
There's been much talk at the range recently about the new proposed
gun control by the Biden Administration. Many people are perplexed. We
get a ton of questions, emails, and phone calls asking, "Will this
affect me?", "What can I do?", "Why are they doing this?" among
I want to answer these questions as best as I can. We've been in the
firearms industry here at TMGN since 2013 and have had a shop & range
since 2015, so we've seen tons of changes from different
administrations. There is a clear agenda here, and I'm reasonably sure
most gun owners are going to be a little unhappy with the information
I'm about to deliver.
So, I guess the main question to answer first would be, how did we get
here? Right now, we're looking at two (maybe more, who knows what the
future holds) rule changes coming from the Biden DOJ and the ATF.
These rule changes are an example of the Biden Admin governing by
executive fiat, as they know they don't have the votes in the Senate
to pass any of their gun control agenda. But let's unpack this. This
situation is a culmination of events starting way back.
Also, before we start, for the sake of those new to firearms
(statistics show 9 million people bought their first gun in 2020
alone), many more in 2021. To those of you, we say welcome!) Let me do
some quick-term definitions and give some critical context.
NFA (National Firearms Act): The National Firearms Act of 1936. The
NFA was the first major federal gun control act in American history.
The NFA created a tax and registry for Suppressors (sometimes called
silencers), Short Barrel Rifles & Shotguns (referred to as SBRs / SBSs
respectively), and Machine Guns. If you wanted to own any of these
items, you'd have to submit to a lengthy background check and pay a
$200 tax. (Equivalent to $4400 in 1934) In return, you'd receive
what's known as a "tax stamp" showing that you were approved to own
any of these "NFA items".
FFL: Federal Firearms License, shortened to FFL is used
interchangeably to refer to a Firearms licensee aka a Dealer, or the
physical License that is given by the federal government for the
ability to manufacture firearms and/or to sell them. FFLs are overseen
by the ATF.
ATF Form 4473: The main form that people are required to fill out when
purchasing a firearm. FFLs are required to hold this form on site for
20 years. The forms are used in the event a firearm is used in a
crime, the ATF can "run a trace" on that firearm and figure out who it
was last transferred to.
NICS: The National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The NICS
conducts background checks on people who want to own a firearm or
explosive, as required by law. When a person tries to buy a firearm,
the seller, known as a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), contacts NICS
electronically or by phone. The prospective buyer fills out the ATF
form 4473, and the FFL relays that information to the NICS. The NICS
staff performs a background check on the buyer. That background check
verifies the buyer does not have a criminal record or isn't otherwise
ineligible to purchase or own a firearm.
1968 Gun Control Act: The creation of the system that we all know
today. The GCA created the FFL system, banned mail-order guns, and
more. This law has been updated a few times, most notably in 1993 with
the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which created the NICS
system we use today. The GCA replaced and updated the Federal Firearms
Act, an older provision enacted in 1938.
2008 Heller Decision: In DC V Heller, the supreme court ruled that the
2nd Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm,
unconnected with service in a militia, and use that firearm for
traditionally lawful purposes. Before this, gun control advocates
argued that the 2nd Amendment had more to do with state militias than
individual firearm ownership. With this decision, the Supreme court
said that view was incorrect.
Stabilizing Brace: Sometimes called a pistol brace. A Device designed
to help shooters with limited mobility stabilize their firearm more
easily. Attached to the rear of a gun, usually equipped with straps or
some way to allow the shooter to use their forearm to help stabilize
the firearm while shooting.
Bump Stock: Bump fire stocks are gun stocks that are specially
designed to make bump firing easier, which assist semi-automatic
firearms with somewhat mimicking the firing motion of fully automatic
weapons but does not make the firearm automatic. Essentially, bump
stocks assist rapid fire by "bumping" the trigger against one's finger
(as opposed to one's finger pulling on the trigger) thus allowing the
firearm's recoil, plus constant forward pressure by the non-shooting
arm, to actuate the trigger.
Ghost Gun: Made up term to make "homemade firearm." It's made to sound
scary to those with little firearms knowledge. It has been common
practice for people to build their guns. It's also perfectly legal to
do and has been for years, contrary to what corporate media outlets
would like you to believe. If you make a firearm in your house for
personal use, it's legal and does not have to be serialized or
registered. Although it still must conform to Federal firearms law and
not violate the NFA.
So, where do we start?
The United States has a long history of gun control. But let's not be
complete pessimists here. On the bright side, the ability to carry a
pistol concealed for self-defense has been significantly expanded in
recent years and has been trending towards fewer restrictions
nationwide since 1976 when Georgia established the "Shall issue"
process we have today. (Shall issue is when you are guaranteed a
permit should you complete the state's process for acquiring said
permit. whether that means taking a class or paying a fee. Inversely,
States like Maryland and California use a process called "May Issue"
where even if you complete the requirements for obtaining a permit,
the state must still deem your "reason" for having said permit to be
permissible. This has been declared unconstitutional in D.C. but
that's a story for a different time.)
What is ironic here is that if you were to look at crime statistics,
most crimes committed with a firearm, said firearm is a handgun. Why?
It's simple. Criminals prefer smaller, more concealable firearms. It's
hard to conceal an AR15, regardless of barrel length. Ironically when
anti pistol legislation is proposed, it's much harder for the
government to pass. So, the anti-gun lobby has (for now) given up on
the issue. Instead, they've targeted the scary-looking modern sporting
rifles of today. Most notably, the AR15. However, their aim does
extend to most semi-automatic rifles that accept a detachable box
Now that we've established what they're after, let's talk about the
events leading up to today.
On the evening of October 1st, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire upon
the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival from the 32nd
floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. He killed 60 people and wounded 411.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United
States. Paddock was able to achieve high rates of fire with a device
known as a bump stock.
President Donald Trump ordered his Justice Department to find a way to
ban the bump stock. The DOJ decided to classify the bump stock device
as a machine gun in December of 2018, going into effect in March 2019.
Since the only legal way to own a machine gun is to have a registered
one on the NFA before 1986, bump stocks were effectively made illegal,
and anyone in possession of one would be subject to 10 years
imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The problem here is that a bump stock isn't a machine gun. It's not
even a firearm at all. It's a piece of molded plastic that uses the
gun's recoil, discharging a round to "bump" the trigger. It does not
guarantee automatic fire, nor does it modify a semi-automatic rifle
and "convert" it to full auto. The firearm itself would remain
semi-automatic, and the bump stock would allow the user to fire
faster, using the force of the recoil.
Most gun owners weren't up in arms over the bump stock ban. Public
opinion of the ban was positive. More comments supported the proposed
rule change on the federal register than opposed it—a rare thing for
gun control. Many gun owners viewed bump stocks as a novelty and wrote
it off entirely. The issue, though, was much more complex. It had
little to do with the bump stock itself and much more to do with
reclassifying an item that was not a firearm itself under the NFA and
effectively banning it with no recourse for gun owners.
Fast forward to 2020. In May, the ATF announced it was changing its
4473 form. The form change would go into effect in November of 2020.
Most gun owners are familiar with this form, even if they don't know
it by name. It's the form that is filled out anytime that you purchase
a firearm from a firearms dealer. It holds all the information of the
individual looking to buy a gun before the FFL performs a background
check through the federal NICS system.
"Why is a simple form change relevant?" you might ask. Well, the ATF
did update the form itself. But the ATF also changed the layout of the
form dramatically. Before the change, the ATF had all the personal
information for the individual filling out the form on the first page.
The firearm information was located on a separate page. The change
moved the buyer's information and the firearm information (serial
number, make, model, and more) to the first page. Here's where we get
into speculation a bit, but I promise, there's a reason for it.
I believe that the ATF is setting up for eventually keeping a digital
database of 4473s. They are currently forbidden to do this by law. The
only way that they're legally allowed to keep physical 4473 forms is
at one of their facilities in Martinsburg, WV. That facility is so
full of paperwork that recently, the floor just caved in.
What's also important to know is that 4473 forms can (and should) be
destroyed by dealers after 20 years. That means that the ATF will
never keep those forms on file. Good FFLs do this. The only way for
the ATF to acquire 4473 documents is if an FFL goes out of business,
closes, or loses their license, they will need to turn over the forms
that have not yet hit the 20 year mark. The ATF doesn't like this. So
eventually, I'm sure we'll see a push for the ATF to digitize their
data collection (hence the change to the 4473 form, as digitizing
forms becomes much easier with all critical data on the first page).
A quick side note here is that the government should never know what
firearms you own. It's your constitutional right to own firearms. The
same way it's your constitutional right to speak your mind. You
wouldn't want the FBI to keep a database of your text messages, would
you? Same concept. We also know from history that keeping a database
of firearms owner information eventually leads to a registry. Gun
registries ALWAYS precede confiscation. If you look at history, this
is always the case. It's better to not allow for a registry so that
confiscation cannot occur because doing even light research on what
happens to disarmed populations is a scary thing.
So let's continue with what's going on currently.
In Nov. of 2020, Joe Biden won the Presidential election. During his
campaign, he had been known for extra inflammatory statements on gun
control. Saying, "Yes, I'm coming for your assault weapon" and
associating himself with Robert-Francis "Beto" O'Rourke, promising to
nominate him as Gun Czar. Robert-Francis had famously said during a
debate, "Hell yes, we're coming for your AR15." When speaking to union
workers at a campaign stop, he told a worker who asked him about his
gun control plans: "we'll take your AR14s away".
On December 18th, 2020, the ATF announced that it was planning to
treat pistol braces as stocks and felt that they were being used to
skirt the NFA and create unregistered Short Barrel Rifles. Gun owners
came out in droves to comment on the Federal Register. A mere five
days later, the ATF withdrew the pending rule change.
In 2021 things were quiet for the start of the year, President Biden
primarily focusing on infrastructure, coronavirus, and taxes. That is
until April 7th, 2021, when he held a press conference, announcing six
actions that Biden is taking on gun control.
The Justice Dept. will make a rule to "help stop the proliferation
of ghost guns."
The DOJ will, after that, issue a rule about stabilizing braces.
The DOJ will publish model "Red Flag" legislation for states.
Biden will nominate David Chipman to serve as the Director of the ATF.
The DOJ will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking.
The Biden admin is investing in "evidence-based" community
At that moment, there was little information about any of the incoming
rules. The only clear thing was that Biden's nominee for the ATF would
be David Chipman. David Chipman is a current gun-control activist and
ex-ATF agent for those of you who don't know. For all the Biden
campaign sloganeering on "Healing a Divided Nation," David Chipman has
turned out to be one of the most divisive nominees yet, and one who
has a clear ideological bias.
We know that David Chipman has a bias because during his confirmation
hearings in May of 2021, He stated that he "supports a ban on AR15
style rifles." He also has written numerous articles and made many
public statements on his opposition to Americans owning firearms.
One of the most important things to know about David Chipman is that
in 2017 he wrote an article for Giffords called "Legal and Lethal – 9
Products That Could Be the Next Bump Stock". In the article, he speaks
about how Congress must take action and ban things like High-Capacity
Shotguns, AK & AR Style pistols, AR Pistol Arm Braces, 50 Caliber
Rifles, Muzzleloaders, and more.
Shortly after David Chipman's hearing, the DOJ announced its rule on
"Ghost Guns." Of course, It covers more than just people making
firearms in their homes. The ATF decided firearm parts now need to be
classified as firearms. Therefore, those parts need to have their
background check done at the time of purchase. Their reason is that
the gun control act of 1968 hasn't been updated. At the time of
writing, the GCA didn't account for all the different parts that
citizens could purchase separately. It's estimated that if you took
the average AR15 and applied this rule, the AR15 would have 12 or more
regulated parts that would require a background check. Meaning that if
you buy an AR15, under this new rule, you'd be buying 12 different
legal firearms built into one legal firearm. Make sense? I don't think
If you know anything about the history of the 1968 GCA, you know this
is a total fabrication. A law prior called the Federal Firearms Act,
which DID regulate parts, was replaced by the 1968 GCA. Congress found
regulating firearm parts to be an "unworkable solution" and decided to
regulate firearms by "frame or receiver," not multiple parts.
The ATF is also looking to classify items that they feel are "readily
assembled" into firearms themselves. The definition of this is
extremely unclear. My guess is that they are targeting 80% kits. 80%
Kits are uncompleted firearm receivers in an 80% done state, meaning
that legally they aren't considered firearms. The purchaser can
complete these firearms themselves at home with some significant work,
depending upon the kit and type of receiver. These kits are typically
popular with hobbyists, not so much with criminals.
Lastly, this little lost detail that may be the most important of all:
4473 forms must be held INDEFINITELY by FFL holders, which means that
FFLs can no longer destroy 4473 forms after 20 years.
Now here we are at the latest announcement, the ATF's proposed rule on
On June 7th, 2021, the ATF announced its proposed rule change for
"factoring criteria for firearms with attached stabilizing braces."
What they've done is create an overly complicated worksheet to ban all
firearms with braces attached to them.
The proposed rule change goes like this: If your handgun has a brace
on it, the ATF has a worksheet that determines if that brace, in its
configuration on your pistol, creates a "short barrel rifle." (Defined
as a firearm with a stock and a barrel length of under 16 inches.)
Essentially, the ATF thinks that people are using braces to skirt the
NFA and create short barrel rifles without paying the tax and
registering their guns on the NFA registry. So, they've made the most
complicated worksheet imaginable, named Worksheet 4999, to figure this
out. The worksheet takes things into account like weight, length of
pull, optic or scope on your pistol, and use two hands to fire the gun
(which all people do even when shooting non-braced firearms) many more
criteria if you score too high, oops! You have an illegal firearm.
Probably the most egregious thing about Worksheet 4999 and the
proposed rule change is that at the top of the sheet, there's a
disclaimer that essentially allows the ATF agent to deem your firearm
as an illegal SBR regardless of if you pass the worksheet criteria and
they feel that you are trying to circumvent the NFA. So even if you
pass the worksheet, your agent may decide they feel like you've
violated the law, and unfortunately, this rule change gives them the
power to do so.
So, where does this all come together?
It's obvious when you look at what's happened and what's been proposed
where the Biden admin is headed for gun control. They are testing the
waters right now with these two proposed rule changes, but I guarantee
this is not the end. These current ideas have been taken right from
the David Chipman "Legal and Lethal" playbook. There's a part where
Chipman writes this about semi-automatic rifles:
"The danger posed by firearms that enable shooters to continue
firing in this manner is the same reason Congress chose to include
machine guns in the NFA when it was originally enacted: these weapons
enable a shooter to fire many bullets very quickly. Semi-automatic
firearms equipped with large-capacity magazines do not, however, fall
under the NFA. The NFA refers to machine guns as those firearms that
discharge more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single
function of the trigger. Firearms developed since the NFA and equipped
with large capacity magazines rarely require manual reloading, but
they can expel a lot of ammunition in a brief period. They do so by
allowing a trigger to be pulled many times very easy and ensuring that
there is almost always another bullet ready to go. Despite this,
large-capacity magazines and semi-automatic firearms equipped with
them (sometimes called "assault weapons") are not regulated under the
NFA, even though they pose an incredible danger to our communities."
Take note here of Chipman's idea that any semi-automatic rifle that
can accept a "high-capacity magazine," which I would assume is a
magazine above ten rounds, is essentially a machine gun because they
don't need to be reloaded as often.
We should look to this article as essentially the playbook that the
ATF will take in the future. They are words right from the potential
Director's own thoughts.
What potentially makes this situation more sinister is that they have
the legal precedence to do so because of the bump stock ban. On top of
that, the ATF's next move of indefinite holds on 4473s, and the
eventual argument for moving to a digital system means that you can
bet that there will at some point be a push for a registry of who owns
As I said, it sounds like a conspiracy. The puzzle pieces are all laid
out in front of you. It's our duty as gun owners to fight back and
secure our rights. We all need to leave comments on both proposed rule
changes. Even if you're a defeatist that doesn't think that the
comments will dissuade the ATF from stomping on your rights, keep in
mind that groups will use your comments like Firearms Policy Coalition
and Gun Owners of America to sue the ATF immediately should these
changes take place.
This article has been a longer piece than usual, but I hope it's
helped you understand where we are today with gun rights. In the time
it took you to read this article, you could have commented on both
proposed rule changes, so please make your way to regulations.gov and
make your voice heard!
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