BATFE

Faux Automatic: Rapid Fire Without a Machine Gun

Before heading to SHOT Show this year, I consulted with a few other female shooters that I know to ask what they were hoping to see new this year.  In general, I was surprised to find that they were actually in the same KISS school of thought that I am: something that works well, works consistently, and is not difficult to understand how it works.  One thing that did surprise me was more interest in fully automatic firearms than I had expected.  I have been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity, on more than one occasion, to shoot automatic weapons.  If you have not experienced full-auto mag dumps yourself, to be completely honest, it is even more fun than it looks.

Fully-automatic weapons, or machine guns, are regulated  under the National Firearms Act (NFA).  The law basically says that the only legal machine guns for civilians are the ones that were lawfully possessed prior to May 19, 1986 and those require payment of a $200 transfer tax, lengthy approval process, and federal registration in the NFRTR.  This makes for a very limited supply of weapons that are in circulation, which – as we learned about supply and demand in Economics 101 – drives the price sky high – often into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Unless you either join the military or have some pretty cool friends, you may not get the opportunity to shoot a machine gun.

However, a shooter and their ammo (ergo, their money) are easily parted and the firearms industry has come up with some innovative ways to turn a pocket full of money into a hot, smoking pile of spent brass.  Thanks to that innovation, there are some legal ways to simulate full-auto firing power.   Continue reading

Firearms Industry Group Backs Sessions for AG

jeff_sessions_official_portraitFirearms industry group National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has released a statement backing President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General.

The trade association for the firearms, ammunition and related industries, today expressed its strong support for the nomination of the U.S. Senator from Alabama as the 84th Attorney General of the United States.

During the last eight years, through numerous attacks on our Second Amendment liberties, Senator Sessions has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens, including through his staunch support of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “We are confident that with Senator Sessions as the top law enforcement officer in the nation that our public will be safer, that criminals will be taken off the streets, that justice will be served, law enforcement priorities will take precedence over politics and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans will be respected.

Frankly, we here at GunLink are just excited to see someone other than anti-gun Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch filling the roll, whose duties as the head of the United States Department of justice include being at the helm of the BATFE.

U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF Announce $500,000 Project Safe Neighborhoods Federal Grant

John Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and William Temple, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Dallas Field Division, joined Ken Shetter, President of One Safe Place, and Joel Fitzgerald, Fort Worth Chief of Police, at a press conference this morning to announce a $500,000 federal grant that has been awarded to One Safe Place to implement the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative in two Fort Worth neighborhoods.

PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gang and gun crime in the U.S. by networking existing local programs that target gun and gang crime and providing these programs with additional tools for success. PSN’s strategic approach brings more “science” into criminal justice operations by leveraging innovative applications of analysis, technology and evidence-based practices to improve performance and effectiveness while containing costs.

The grant is one of only seven half-million dollar grants awarded by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Assistance and funded under the 2016 Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction/Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. This grant also addresses domestic violence, which, according to many statistics, is a major contributing factor for the increase in gun and violent crimes.   Continue reading

ATF Releases U.S. Firearm Trace Data for 2015

BATFE LogoThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released today firearm trace data for all individual U.S. states and territories for calendar year 2015. Trace information provides investigative leads to law enforcement and can link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation. Firearm traces also help identify potential firearm traffickers, and detect in-state, interstate and international firearm trafficking patterns, including the sources and types of crime guns.

ATF’s Violent Crime Analysis Branch produces this annual report using trace information compiled at ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC), the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. The NTC provides critical information that assists domestic and international law enforcement agencies to solve firearm crimes, detect firearm trafficking patterns, and identify trends with respect to intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns.

In 2015, there were 190,538 firearms recovered and traced back to a purchaser in the United States, an increase of more than 20,000 firearms recovered and traced in the previous year. The majority of the traces involved 9 mm (more than 55,000) and .22 caliber (more than 35,000) firearms. The top three types of firearms traced last year were pistols (more than 150,000 traces), revolvers (more than 44,000 traces) and rifles (more than 41,000 traces).

The released firearm trace data offers a description of firearms recovered and traced in each state along with the source states of the firearms recovered.

In addition to the number of recovered and traced firearms per state, the report includes recovery location information, the average time it took from when a firearm was purchased to when it was recovered in a crime, and the criminal offense associated with the firearm.

To access the complete 2015 firearms trace report, visit ATF’s online statistics page at https://www.atf.gov/about/firearms-trace-data-2015.

ATF Publishes Open Letter Law Enforcement on 41F Policies

ATF_41F_CLEO_LetterThe BATFE recently published an open letter to Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) regarding the January 41F ruling (fmr 41P) which makes changes to the way in which NFA applications are handled for legal entities and individuals.

In part, the letter specifies “that a copy of all applications to make or transfer a firearm, and the responsible person questionnaire, if applicable, be forwarded to the [CLEO] of the locality in which the applicant, transferee or responsible person is located (“CLEO notification”)” and that the ruling “eliminates the requirement that an applicant obtain a certification signed by the CLEO before the transfer or making of an NFA firearm may be approved.

The letter goes on to explain that there is no action required by the CLEO upon receipt (or lack thereof) of the paperwork – to include even confirming receipt of the documents.  Further, the letter says that it is up to each CLEO to determine how they dispose of or retain (and whether or not they do either).

Of immediate concern are several potential issues regarding this lackadaisical hands-off approach to record keeping and privacy mandates.  One concern would be with how an applicant would prove that they met the new CLEO notification requirement if there is no acknowledgment of receipt by the CLEO, and what future repercussions might be.  Application denials?  Revocation of approved applications with forced surrender of the firearms?  The ATF has already proven that they are not above such tactics in the recent Form 1 Machine Gun debacles, which are still in litigation.  Or worse?

The second concern would be how the CLEOs are protecting applicants sensitive information that is contained in the notification paperwork.  As the $200 cost associated with making or transferring NFA firearms ($5 for transferring AOWs) is not a fee or a price for goods or services sold but, rather, the tax paid for making or transferring the item, the application could well be considered a tax document.  This document details the what firearms are being made or transferred, at which physical address, and – for many applicants – their home address, photograph, fingerprints, signature, and other sensitive information.  This information could potentially be problematic if it fell into the wrong hands, which is not outside the realm of possibilities when the CLEO is able to simply toss your notification paperwork into the trash bin for dumpster divers to find or leave it laying around on a desk at the PD for petty crooks to have a look at as they are brought through.

As if identity theft wasn’t enough of an issue, without any mandated safeguards on how this information is to be protected, consider the possibility of a motivated criminal coming to Joe Gunguy’s house at 123 Anystreet Lane to steal the expensive 7.5″ Noveske 5.56 AR-15 pattern rifle to use on the streets.  If this firearm is so much more dangerous than an off-the-shelf firearm that it requires owners to to register them and pay an extra $200 tax on them and notify the government when we travel with them, does it make sense for the CLEOs to treat the information about those weapons so recklessly?  Or is this just another spotlight on the absurdity of the NFA in general?

The full text of the letter is here.  Further discussion of the open letter to CLEOs is available on Joshua Prince’s law blog.

Gang Members Who Shot Up Mother’s Day Parade Get Life

ATF Success Story: Brothers Sentenced Three Years After 2013 Parade Violence

nola-nibinShootings, drugs, gang violence. It’s in the news a lot these days…most every day, in some fashion. What isn’t seen every day, what doesn’t usually make breaking news is when justice is delivered and the shooters are taken off the streets.

Three years ago, on a sunny afternoon in New Orleans, a Mother’s Day celebration turned violent when shots rang out leaving 20 people injured. A parade was underway in the 7th Ward in New Orleans. The gun play? It was all about control over turf, drugs, and the Frenchmen/Derbigny, also known as the FnD gang.

Last month, Travis Scott, aka “Trap,” aka “Slim,” Shawn Scott, aka “Shizzle,” Stanley Scott, aka “Stizzle,” and Akein Scott, aka “Keemy,” were sentenced in United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana for charges related to racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, firearms conspiracy, and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The Scott brothers had previously pleaded guilty to these charges.

According to court documents, the FnD gang was an enterprise engaged in racketeering under federal law. The Scott brothers, as members of this gang, conspired to commit numerous overt acts in furtherance of the gang’s activities. Gang members sold illegal drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine, and they committed acts of violence, including shootings. FnD members often sold drugs in the Frenchmen Meat Market, a convenience store located at the corner of Frenchmen and North Derbigny Streets. FnD members used intimidation, violence, and threats of violence to maintain the gang’s control over turf that extended from Elysian Fields Avenue, North Johnson Street, the I-10 Interstate Highway, St. Anthony Street, and North Claiborne Avenue.   Continue reading

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