TN Man Convicted of Smuggling Suppressors into US Thanks to Lighter Regulation in… England(!?)
Well, this is embarrassing, as far as firearm freedoms go. It’s like having to admit that your Bugatti Veyron got beat around the track by the neighbor kid’s 1989 Honda CRX. Isn’t America supposed to be the bastion of gun rights (or, as anti-gun groups would have you believe, a violent wild west frontier straight from the bloodiest shoot-em-up flick you can find)?
Most proponents of an originalist (or any other common sense) interpretation of the United States Constitution and Bill of rights probably already feel that firearms are too heavily regulated in the US, and none are more highly regulated than Title II weapons that fall under the purview of the National Firearms Act, such as machine guns, silencers, short barreled firearms, and destructive devices. Such items are flat out illegal in a number of states and, where they are legal, ownership involves a number of hurdles, including high prices, payment of a $200 transfer tax, being finger-printed, wait times lasting the better part of a year, and federal registration of the item. “But hey, at least we don’t have European-style gun control, right?”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) recently released details of the conviction of a Tennessee man who traveled to England, where some may be surprised to find less restrictive laws, to purchase firearm silencers and smuggle them back into the US, presumably because the draconian laws in place here made them too difficult to obtain. Continue reading
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
With Silencers About to be Available Over the Counter (Fingers Crossed), Let’s Take a Closer Look at How They Work.
The American people spoke loud and clear last Tuesday when they elected the Republican candidate to the highest political office in the United States in addition as well as holding Republican majorities in both the US House and Senate. The same sentiment echoed across the country, such as in Kentucky, where voters not only flipped the state’s House of Representatives to a Republican majority for the first time in nearly 100 years, but they did it by a landslide 64-35 margin.
Regardless of how many might feel about various positions held by various candidates, it appears that American gun owners are in for what we hope is a good (at least) four year stretch. A major part of President-Elect Trump’s platform was his strong support for Second Amendment Rights. Given the list of pro-RKBA politicians and industry insiders that he has already named to his Second Amendment Coalition, chances are good that we may see some positive movement in the arena of existing and future firearms legislation.
One example of such positive movement is the renewed possibility for passage of the Hearing Protection Act – NRA-backed legislation which would remove silencers (a/k/a suppressors) from the purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA). This was even the ostensible goal of the American Suppressor Association‘s foundation and one that they are still working hard toward. Until the Hearing Protection Act is passed, silencers are still available and legal to own in most states, albeit with the additional hurdles imposed by the recently adopted (and, hopefully, soon to be abolished) ATF Rule 41F.
With dreams of over-the-counter suppressor availability via just a 4473 and NICS background check (and no $200 tax stamp or year-long wait) just on the horizon, let’s take a look at how suppressors work Continue reading
The 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?
NRAAM Starts Off With a pffffttt.
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) hosted their third annual media day in tandem with the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits in Louisville, Kentucky, today – one day ahead of the exhibit floor opening to attendees – and the GunLink team was there to take part in the invitation-only event. The Media Day event, held at Knob Creek Gun Range, was an excellent opportunity to get hands on experience with some of the newest gun mufflers on the market. Now is a great time to buy and own NFA items like suppressors, despite some of the new hurdles placed in front of some owners by the 41F ruling.
The ASA touts itself as the unified voice of the suppressor industry with a mission “to unite and advocate for the common interests of suppressor manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and consumers” by lobbying at the state and federal levels, educating the public, and providing industry research. ASA’s main objectives include raising public awareness, relaxing ownership laws in the 9 remaining states which do not allow private ownership, relaxing hunting regulations that prohibit the use of such hearing protection equipment, and fixing issues with the NFA – including the bottlenecks that result in lengthy wait times.
Among the industry participants at the event – which featured live fire demos – were Advanced Armament Corp. (Booth 3947), Daniel Defense (2401), Gemtec (2819), Liberty (4561), Sig Sauer (5333), SilencerCo (2430) and sister company SWR, Silencer Shop (5835), Thunder Beast Arms (2941, and Yankee Hill Machine (5940).