NFA

Acting AG Signs New Bump Stock Ban

Devices Must Be Destroyed Within 90 Days of Rule Being Published

After months of speculation on whether such a measure could be taken under an ostensibly pro-RKBA administration, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker signed a new rule today that classifies “bump stocks” as machine guns and bans their possession. The rule, set to take effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register – which is expected to happen this Friday – would require current owners of the devices to destroy them.

The BATFE had previously concluded that such devices were unable to be federally regulated as such because they are simply an accessory part. Following the Mandalay Bay attack in October 2017 in which the attacker allegedly used weapons equipped with such devices, President Trump prompted the DOJ to revisit the matter. AG Jeff Sessions introduced the proposed legislation in March 2018.

The new rule inaccurately concludes that these devices allow a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” making it a machine gun. Generally, under current regulations, possession or transfer of a machine gun manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 – the date on which the Firearms Owners Protection Act (and the Hughes Amendment thereof) went into effect.

The complete Final Rule can be read here. The summary of the rule reads as follows (emphasis added):

The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify that bump-stock-type devices […] are “machineguns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger. With limited exceptions, the Gun Control Act, as amended, makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute. The bumpstock-type devices covered by this final rule were not in existence prior to the effective date of the statute, and therefore will be prohibited when this rule becomes effective. Consequently, under the final rule, current possessors of these devices will be required to destroy the devices or abandon them at an ATF office prior to the effective date of the rule.

The BATFE sought public comment on the proposal, receiving upward of 100,000 comments, although passage of such a rule seems to have been a foregone conclusion with direction straight from the White House. Given the Second and Fifth Amendment concerns surrounding the issue and the time frame for it to go into effect, we expect to see a number of legal challenges to the rule.

Department of Justice Announces Bump-Stock-Type Devices Final Rule

BATFEToday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced that the Department of Justice has amended the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), clarifying that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law, as such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.

Acting Attorney General Whitaker made the following statement:

“President Donald Trump is a law and order president, who has signed into law millions of dollars in funding for law enforcement officers in our schools, and under his strong leadership, the Department of Justice has prosecuted more gun criminals than ever before as we target violent criminals. We are faithfully following President Trump’s leadership by making clear that bump stocks, which turn semiautomatics into machine guns, are illegal, and we will continue to take illegal guns off of our streets.”

On February 20, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum instructing the Attorney General “to dedicate all available resources to… propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.” In response to that direction the Department reviewed more than 186,000 public comments and made the decision to make clear that the term “machinegun” as used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), as amended, and Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended, includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic firearm after a single pull of the trigger.   Continue reading

Border Patrol Supervisor Found Guilty of Multiple Firearm Offenses

BATFE LogoYet, somehow, it appears that Katie Couric and her anti-gun crew are still walking free for apparently committing similar crimes in the same state. Federal agents, film crews, Fast & Furious gun runners, and who-knows-who-else is going to Arizona to break existing laws and illegally buy firearms and we need more gun laws?

Martin Rene Duran, a former supervisory United States Border Patrol Agent, was convicted by a federal jury today of seven counts of illegal transportation of firearms and one count of possession of a short-barreled rifle following a three-day trial.

According to evidence presented at trial, Duran purchased seven firearms in Arizona in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Duran made these purchases using an Arizona driver’s license with an address where he never lived and claimed Arizona residency even though he resided in California. At the time of the execution of a federal search warrant in October 2015, Duran was in possession of multiple firearms that were illegal in California and one short-barreled rifle.

Duran is scheduled to appear before Senior U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff on April 30, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. for sentencing.

“Federal law enforcement officers are not above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman. “All citizens are required to abide by the laws of the United States.”

“This decision affirms the efforts the Department of Homeland Security makes to hold its personnel to the highest standard and shows it will not tolerate malfeasance which tarnishes the hard work performed by employees on a daily basis,” said Jeffrey Gilgallon, Special Agent in Charge, ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.

“Bringing a case against another federal agent is never pleasant, but we hold public safety and a commitment to justice above all,” said Bill McMullan, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division. “It is ATF’s mission to quell firearm trafficking and when we see those engaged in illegal firearms activity we act on it.”

The charges include violations of 18 USC 922(a)(3) – Illegal Transportation of Firearms – which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 with three years of supervised release and 26 USC 5861 and 5871 – Possession of Unregistered Firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release.

NRA Applauds Introduction of Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauds the introduction of H.R. 3668, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. Introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), the bill will reduce burdensome regulations on America’s sportsmen, enhance access to public lands and simplify the purchasing process for firearm suppressors.

“The SHARE Act is critical legislation that will protect America’s hunters and recreational shooters and help preserve our outdoor heritage,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “This bill contains many important reforms to federal law that will remove unnecessary restrictions on our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.”

A key aspect of the bill is the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), which would eliminate burdensome and expensive regulations on suppressors. In addition, the bill would ensure greater protections for carrying lawfully-possessed firearms on land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers; require public lands management plans to facilitate hunting, fishing and recreational shooting; reform the outdated “sporting purposes test” that currently muddies federal gun control law regarding the importation of rifles and shotguns; and make critical reforms to the interstate transportation provisions of the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act (FOPA).

“On behalf of America’s gun owners and sportsmen, I would like to thank Rep. Duncan for introducing this important legislation. All Americans deserve access to our rich outdoor heritage and the tools that help making hunting and shooting safer,” concluded Cox.

ATF Releases 2017 Report on Firearms Commerce in the U.S.

California Ranks No. 2 in the Most NFA Registered Weapons

BATFE LogoThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recently released the Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2017. The report provides comparative data from as far back as 1986 for context, analyses of firearms manufacturing trends over the years, and a broad picture of the state of firearms commerce in the United States today.

The data in the 2017 report shows an estimated 43 percent increase in firearms manufacturing in the U.S. within the last five years. In 2015, the number of firearms manufactured grew to more than 9.3 million, up from the approximate 6.5 million firearms manufactured in 2011. The most recent available firearm manufacturing statistics are through calendar year 2015.

Rifles made up the bulk of the firearms manufactured at 3.6 million in 2015. Pistols were a close second at 3.5 million. The number of rifles manufactured increased 9 percent from the previous year and the number of pistols decreased slightly by approximately 2 percent.

Updated firearms import and export data is included in the report. Import data is updated through 2016 and export data through 2015. In 2016, more than 5.1 million firearms were imported into the United States showing a 30 percent increase since 2015.

The most recent export statistics show more than 343,000 firearms (an 18 percent decrease from the previous year) were exported worldwide.

The commerce report includes a state-by-state breakdown of the National Firearm Act (NFA) tax revenue information. NFA is also referred to as Title II of the federal firearms laws and was first enacted in 1934.    Continue reading

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