BATFE

DOJ Moves to Classify Bump Stocks as Machine Guns

Ruling would make tens of thousands of overnight felons, despite previous ruling that there is no legal means of regulating the firearm accessories.

Yesterday, AG Jeff Sessions issued the first step toward a new round of gun control through a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would classify bumpstock-equipped firearms as NFA-regulated machine guns.

Although it has not yet been published in the Federal Register for the required public comment period (which will, inevitably, be disregarded by the administration), the text of the NPRM is available online.  Those interested can discuss the existing and proposed bumpstock legislation on the GunLink forums.

Sessions said, “today the Department of Justice is publishing for public comment a proposed rulemaking that would define ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock-type devices under federal law—effectively banning them. After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress.”

The text of the relevant portions of the NPRM are shown below, from pages 53-55, along with images of those pages.

This NPRM shows a blatant disregard for Second Amendment protections, as well as a fundamental ignorance of how the devices work. Shortly after the NFA rules went into effect, attorneys for the United States argued before the Supreme Court that “The Second Amendment protects only the ownership of military-type weapons appropriate for use in an organized militia,” while (incorrectly) stating that a short-barreled shotgun does not meet that definition.

Further, the mechanism of how bumpstocks work DOES require one manipulation of the the trigger per shot fired. A user cannot simply pull the trigger and achieve continuous fire, as they would with a machine gun. Subsequent shots are achieved by manipulating the trigger with the support hand by pulling the trigger forward into the trigger finger instead of the traditional method of pulling the trigger rearward with the trigger finger.

Once this NPRM is published for public comment, it is important to file your comments to oppose this disturbing piece of legislation.

Relevant portions of the NPRM:    Continue reading

ATF, Rock County Sheriff Host Educational Seminar in Response to FFL Burglary Uptick

Our town has experienced a number of smash-and-grab, vehicle-through-the-front-of-the-store firearm burglaries over the past year or two, so it was interesting to see this being addressed in at least some places.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, hosted an educational seminar for federal firearms licensees on February 15, at the Rock County Courthouse in Janesville, WI. The seminar was set up in response to the rash of gun store burglaries that recently occurred in southwest Wisconsin.

Despite gun shop counter-talk, there are no federal laws requiring FFLs to secure their firearms, ATF’s industry operations investigators recommend a variety of measures to reduce the number of gun store burglaries. Licensees received information on ideal methods for securing their inventories including installation of alarm systems and other physical security measures, as well as best practices in record keeping to ensure a good record of inventory is in place.

“Partnering with firearms dealers is critical in order to prevent thefts and keep our communities safe,” said Director of Industry Operations Hans Hummel, who is responsible for regulatory operations of ATF’s Saint Paul Field Division. “We want licensees to be aware that there are low-cost solutions that can be implemented. Many burglaries can be prevented with just a few safeguards in place.”   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.

ATF Seeking Public Comments on Bump Stock Regulations

Consumers, Retailers, and Manufacturers Asked to Weigh in on Machine Gun Classification

ATF-BumpStock-RFCPresumably prompted almost exclusively by (or, at least, jumping at the “convenient” excuse of) their use in the October 1, 2017 attack on Route 91 Harvest Festival concert in Las Vegas, the BATFE is now seeking comments from the public regarding new regulations, potentially including reclassification as machine guns, on firearm accessories known as bump stocks.

Share your Comments with the ATF Now

In the wake of the attack, which has since spawned no shortage of conspiracy theories thanks to the dearth of officially released details, there was a brief initial outcry calling for increased regulation before quickly fading from the news. Some of those calls even came from unexpected sources, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and businesses who make their money by renting fully automatic firearms to tourists.

Now, the Department of Justice is contemplating a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would interpret the statutory definition of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) to clarify whether bump stocks, fall within that definition. Before issuing such an NPRM, the Department and ATF are soliciting comments from the public and industry regarding the nature and scope of the market for these devices, giving citizens the opportunity to weigh in on the topic.

The request for comments was published in the Federal Register, and can be seen here (excerpts are below).  Comments can be left via the regulation’s page on the Regulations.gov website or left directly here. Gun Owners of America have produced a summary of their two main points: that 1) Bump Sstocks do not fall within the definition of “machine gun” under the NFA and 2) ATF has no Constitutional or legal authority to ban or regulate bump stocks.

Share your Comments with the ATF Now

 Below are excerpts from the Request for Comments in the Federal Register:   Continue reading

U.S. Attorney Announces New Grant to Expand Efforts to Combat Gun Violence

Additional Resources to Share Gun Intelligence and get Trigger Pullers Off the Streets

BATFEU.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes announced today the expansion of the Project Safe Neighborhood program in the Puget Sound region, with additional focus on crime gun intelligence in South King and Pierce Counties. The U.S. Department of Justice awarded $500,000 to the program which will enhance intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies so that guns used in crimes can be linked, helping law enforcement build cases for prosecution.

“Forensic tools from ATF, and intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies have been key to identifying felons with guns who need to be off the street,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “In three of the cases we are highlighting today, the guns recovered have been tied to multiple shootings – in one case as many as 9 shots fired incidents in a short period of time. Combating gun violence is a top priority of the Justice Department and my office.”

The Project Safe Neighborhood grant provides funding for a Special Assistant United States Attorney to review every firearms case in King County to see if it is appropriate for federal prosecution. Grant money in 2017-2018 will provide for additional personnel to leverage the Gun Crime Intelligence Center to make connections between shooting incidents in south King and Pierce Counties. This information helps law enforcement identify, arrest and prosecute high-impact offenders.

“ATF is proud to partner with local law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring the most advanced forensic science to the battle against gun crime,” said Darek Pleasants, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Seattle. “The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. Since the program’s inception in 1999 through 2016, NIBIN partners have captured approximately 2.8 million images of ballistic evidence and confirmed more than 74,000 NIBIN hits.”

Unveiled in May 2001, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a comprehensive and strategic approach to gun law enforcement. PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking both new and existing local programs that target gun crime and then providing them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. Implementation at the local level has fostered close partnerships between federal, state and local prosecutors and law enforcement.

Giving a Firearm as a Gift? Some Reminders From NSSF

GunLink_GiftThe holidays are just around the corner. As hunters, shooters, collectors or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend or relative?

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that . . . it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

The first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place; for example, juveniles (under age 18), generally speaking, are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.   Continue reading

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