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ATF Guidebook Destruction of Machine Gun


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#1 Robert Henley

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 03:49 PM

There was an issue on the Thompson Board regarding the requirements for destruction of a machine gun.

 

See the following ATF Guidebook for current requirements:

 

https://www.atf.gov/...ts-war/download

 

My assumption is that whatever the requirements were at the time of the destruction of the receiver would determine the legality of the destroyed receiver at this time??  Feel free to build onto this post to clarify the legality of a receiver that may have been cut up many years ago as it relates to buying parts guns today.

 

Thanks


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#2 JimB

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:23 PM

There was an issue on the Thompson Board regarding the requirements for destruction of a machine gun.

 

See the following ATF Guidebook for current requirements:

 

https://www.atf.gov/...ts-war/download

 

My assumption is that whatever the requirements were at the time of the destruction of the receiver would determine the legality of the destroyed receiver at this time??  Feel free to build onto this post to clarify the legality of a receiver that may have been cut up many years ago as it relates to buying parts guns today.

 

Thanks

 

This again

 

Understand that website only applies to currently IMPORTED​ firearms and ATFE regularly grants variances

 

further some of it is factually incorrect

For example the writer makes the claim that antique arms must be in a non production round

nope, a Winchester model 1894 manufactured in 1897 in .30-30 is an unregulated Antique under the GCA

 

some SOTs still saw cut post samples

so do some LE agencies


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#3 The Lone Ranger

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 01:38 PM

some SOTs still saw cut post samples

 

so do some LE agencies

 

It's been my experience that LEAs and SOTs sometimes do things and based on not getting caught say they are lawful, so I rarely use that as a guide. Can you supply any government authored publications or letters that indicate this is deemed acceptable by big brother? I'd be interested in modern day back to 1934.  The destruct diagrams I have seen looked older than me and none indicate domestic vs imported destruction.  


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#4 The Lone Ranger

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Posted 25 March 2019 - 04:40 PM

Here's an example..... can only carbon date this one roughly 13 years.  Looks much older than that, but I can only personally account for it that long.

 

EDIT:  PS if anyone has something different.... I'm officially begging for scraps.  Old, new, whatever.  

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Edited by The Lone Ranger, 25 March 2019 - 04:44 PM.

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#5 JimB

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 11:26 AM

Ranger:

 

Did you note the title in the link Robert provided ?

 

"ATF Guidebook -   Importation & Verification of Firearms, Ammunition, and Implements of War"

 

then further down under Machinegun Destruction it states:

 

"NOTICE
Except as provided in Title 26, United States Code (U.S.C.), Chapter 53, Section 5844, it is generally unlawful to IMPORT a machinegun into the United States for unrestricted sale. However, machineguns that are PROPERLY DESTROYED may be IMPORTED.. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) routinely receives inquiries regarding the acceptable method of destroying machineguns."

 

please also note ATFE came up with a bunch of screwy crap after GWs election.  In the link they mention regulations created in 2003.

 

So to help enlighten some folks a bit on this let's look 1st at the situation with PPSh kits

Early on in the 80s some Chinese Type 50s came in, single chop saw cut either right behind or through the ejection port and all was good

By the 90s Hungarian kits were coming in as well as Soviet and other Warsaw Pact nations.  As the years rolled by the standard became to just saw cut out a chunk behind the ejection port that wasn't included

By around 2002 ? we ended up with an interim director of Technology Branch who went wacko crazy

that where these comic book diagrams date from

Bartlett decided "trunnions" were a Machingun for the purposes of importation

That's the era the bureau was raiding InterOrdinance, Naitron, a slew of other companies as well

 

So you want some direct evidence these diagrams ONLY apply to imports ?

consider this telling fact

So after the trunnion madness ATFE was forward tracing a bunch of crap over, yeah trunnions being "NFA" regulated

Now here's where it gets funny, American made replacement trunnions were and remain just a normal component

again, the PPSh trunnion ban ONLY applies to imported parts kits

 

Let's talk on STENs

1st kits getting imported years ago back in the 70s were single saw cut under the mag housing

those were new old stock Canadian Longbranch guns.  Treasury eventually had a snit about those and demilling methods gradually evolved

thing to note though, look at the 2003 comic book diagram, just a mess of angled torch cuts.  Frankly I have NEVER seen one kit cut up in that manner

Look at the current APEX kits

You need to remember that the bureau has not hard and fast rules on any of this, importers apply for and receive variances all the time

 

Now on LMGs & HMGs they currently want the torched up angled cuts and generally destroying the trunnion area

that said Bowman got a variance on his BREN kits and those have intact trunnion surfaces

mind you in the 90s a couple vertical saw or narrow plasma kits were good enough.

 

So why all the changes and evolutions ?

You can blame it largely on all the ButtClowns who picked up SOTs back in the late 90s and were hacking together posties

all that made the bureau aware these things could be rebuilt

Same deal with the MG barrel ban.  That wasn't about AKs, FALs and G3s

it was all about subguns and LMGs

 

Internet was a huge contributor to all this as well

 

Somewhere I have a link to a bureau white paper, in it some clown attempts to rewrite history.  His position is that ATFE has always used DoD demill standards going back into the 60s

Well, the author was an idiot as DoD chop sawed and sheared tons of crap like M14 receivers that the bureau decided were a problem around 2002...I think the paper came out maybe 2004 ?  I'll look for it but it's all straight retard generated BS

 

Thing is the bureau isn't close to being consistent.

For example they went crazy over PPSh trunnions as well as Steyr MP front and rear chunks but didn't bother with UZI or STEN trunnions

 

Honestly, I have never seen much in government import demill docs pre 2000

At best they would photocopy a pic from Janes and place red lines through areas they suggested should be cut at

Of course, you could request a variance and would likely obtain it

 

Now some other things:

the bureau don't like things you can make go bang with little work

Some of the early PPSh saw cuts could be duct taped together and run, same with MP40 single saw cuts that are cut behind the take down

on the other hand you can tape up a bare Flemming .22 MAC conversion over the rear and it will dump a mag

are they rounding up Flemming kits ?


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#6 APEXgunparts

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 12:45 PM

A couple of things I would like to add to the comments.
Somewhere I have the 2 volume set of DoD material destruction documents.
It literally covers bayonets to B-52's!
No importer would want to use those instructions as they do NOT take anything apart.
Recently some M3 and M3A1 smg's were offered to APEX that came from a DoD auction.

They were torched right thru the bolt, stock, barrel, trigger parts, everything.
Only a few small parts were not ruined.

 

PPSh-41 kits, the ATF at an import conference presented to the attendee's the evidence that during a DEA raid in Philadelphia a rigged up PPSh-41 kit had been used to shoot the officers involved in that raid.  7.62X25 is know to pass thru some handgun rated body armor.
Prior to that those kits were demilled by cutting off the stamped receiver to the rear of the trunnion and the customer just got the rear sight and the top locking piece.
Because of the barrel & trunnion being intact and attached to the lower it wasn't too hard to make those run as an illegal SMG.
After that the import manager at Century directed all kits have a section of the receiver scrapped due to liability concerns.

ATF shortly after required trunnions be destroyed and barrel jackets cut.
Another bit of old history, the 2 brothers that ran "Interordnance" went to jail over imported Russian PPSh-41 kits (multiple irregularities on the import paperwork and failure to follow the demil drawing)

 

I have noted that these changes to demil guidance always seemed to be preceded by a "hard lesson"
Another point that causes friction is the ATF creates and provides the destruction drawing, but it is US Customs that does the inspection of the kits and clears them to "enter commerce"

That is one way that things get missed and kits get recalled.

 

ALSO, at one time I worked for Wise Lite Arms.
When we started building semi-auto PPSh-41's new trunnions were being made.
ATF gave us instructions that once the barrel hole was drilled the part needed to be permanently riveted into the stamped receiver.
A loose part in the shop was OK, but put it in your pocket and take it outside of the WLA work shop and you had an unlicensed MG.
Because of that WLA could never sell that milled part with ANY holes drilled in it.

I shared that letter over on the "Weapons Guild" BECAUSE Greg Clark of the former "GUNBUILDS.COM" was wrangling with the ATF and eventually got that guidance dropped so that those parts could be made and sold commercially.

WLA had a vault containing individual binders and physical sample parts (that ATF returned after approving) related to every bit of guidance, instruction and approval that ATF Tech Div ever provided.
 

I have been around this "import process" long enough to know it is quite convoluted, and now the US Dos is moving away and the US Commerce dep't is getting into that game.

Richard


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#7 The Lone Ranger

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 07:13 PM

Thanks guys - documents hold the most entertainment value as they are much more difficult to deny the existence of but for sake of interesting discussion - yes, I remember the trunions - beyond stupid.  Same for how you can build a carbine, stamp M2 on it, no problem but if the military stamped the "2" it's a machinegun. I don't have enough brain cells to deal with all the outliers as they cannot be predicted or explained (well yes, they can usually be explained but not always by the masked man). I have never seen anything about ATF relying on DOD standards; my tenure of paying attention has only seen the opposite - DOD standards being insufficient.  If you (JimB) can dredge that up, it would be some neat reading.

 

As for the destruct diagrams, Robert's post was not the first time perusing that manual.  You guys might be placing emphasis on a different word than ATF or maybe I need to ditch the crack pipe.  Your eyes focus on "import" while an ATF employee would likely be more concerned about "destruction".  If you read the full text of the rulings that are published regarding "import for unrestricted commercial sale" nowhere is there any reference to this standard being applied only to firearms outside the country or not pertaining to those same models domestically manufactured and never having left the US.  I have *a few* other examples like the one posted here, all sourced directly from ATF.  None are duplicated with an "import" or "domestic" designation and that dual designation would be required for most US origin firearms due to them being sold and/or left in so many locations outside the country and also for anything that could have reasonably been a home build like a tube gun.  If said firearm is "destroyed" that is the only way for unrestricted commercial sale to be achieved regardless of whether the now unregulated scrap was built here, in another country, or built here, exported, and brought back.  If my feeble mind can remember, I'll post the 1919 (ruling 2003-1), STEN (2003-4), G3 (2003-3) or FAL (2003-2) diagrams - you will note an uncanny resemblance to the "import only" version in the regulation and import books and like the Thompson page above, they are clean of any import or domestic designation.  In my limited experience with alternate methods to preserve specific regions of a receiver, they have been easy so long as the end goal of no resurrection via gorilla glue and duct tape is met.  It's been a few years though and things change, so that may no longer be the case.

 

If either of you could sprout any documents from 1934-90s or whenever that were different that would be golden.  Would love to see one (especially with a known date) that said slice it with a saw once, twice, or _____.  Not that it would change modern day reality but for historical perspective it would spice life up a bit.

 

Here is an SAR article from 2004 which mentions saw cuts being disallowed, but no actual details.

 

http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=2021 

 

Anyone interested in the IO case - the Information and plea agreements are here.  The corp took a felony and Ulrich got misdemeanor record keeping counts.  No idea on Oliver.

 

https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4304884/united-states-v-wiegand/ 


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#8 JimB

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 11:19 PM

Ranger:

 

Well no, you can't just machine up a carbine receiver and stamp M2 on it

You can mark your build up semi M1A or ARs as M14s or M16 but you mark a carbine receiver M2 it's NFA

been that way since the mid or late 60s

it's just not something that's really been challenged hard

 

As far as the comic books, again when you track the source of these diagrams back they always seem to resolve back to import instructions

sure some field agent might try to push the ball further, that's what they do.  Same with USDAs

 

To get at the root of it all Ranger you may want to dig up the mess involved in the initial application for the bureau's raid on Bob Stewart's Maadi Griffen business

Bob had been hemmed up well before that by Nevada BATF 

story was an undercover brought an AR in his shop that was doubling for repair.  He booked it in to fix it and they nailed him for possession of an unregistered MG

Him and the wife later moved to the greater Phoenix area where they ran a split shop

Her side built finished .50 rifles under her licence and his side sold unfinishied "kits"

 

Anyways the bureau ordered a kit from Stewart and sent it on to Technology branche's machine shop

Understand how this works.  If they can take your pile of bits and make it even fire a primer in so many hours it's a Constructive Firearm

I forget the time frame related in the warrant application however it was a number of hours, maybe 8 or more ?

remember that's with a government level shop and multiple hands

in Bob's case they slip fitted the barrel into the receiver blank and did very light bolt work.  Had they fired an actual live .50BMG round it would have grenaded

but non of that matters.

Same applies to parts kits

if they can get your pile to run more than one round it's NFA

 

Now understand the bureau don't often get this far out there

with current jigs a relative dummy can manufacture a M16 lower in well under two hours

How long does it take to slap up a STEN ?

 

The bureau HAS sent people to prison over a kit with a tube blank based on all this

again it's Constructive Possession doctrine which was established during the War on Drugs

same deal as having a few hundred Ephedrine HCL pills, some lithium batteries and a small propane tank of anhydrous

Okay, no dope yet but they charge it out the same based upon presumed intent.

btw...a great share of the "labs" are nothing of the sort.  Just some dummy making a small amount of that evil trash for his own habit

 

I'll try to dig up the Dumbya era ATFE paper on some of this

it's straight up nonsense though.

 


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#9 JimB

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 11:52 PM

A couple of things I would like to add to the comments.
Somewhere I have the 2 volume set of DoD material destruction documents.
It literally covers bayonets to B-52's!
No importer would want to use those instructions as they do NOT take anything apart.
Recently some M3 and M3A1 smg's were offered to APEX that came from a DoD auction.

They were torched right thru the bolt, stock, barrel, trigger parts, everything.
Only a few small parts were not ruined.

 

PPSh-41 kits, the ATF at an import conference presented to the attendee's the evidence that during a DEA raid in Philadelphia a rigged up PPSh-41 kit had been used to shoot the officers involved in that raid.  7.62X25 is know to pass thru some handgun rated body armor.
Prior to that those kits were demilled by cutting off the stamped receiver to the rear of the trunnion and the customer just got the rear sight and the top locking piece.
Because of the barrel & trunnion being intact and attached to the lower it wasn't too hard to make those run as an illegal SMG.
After that the import manager at Century directed all kits have a section of the receiver scrapped due to liability concerns.

ATF shortly after required trunnions be destroyed and barrel jackets cut.
Another bit of old history, the 2 brothers that ran "Interordnance" went to jail over imported Russian PPSh-41 kits (multiple irregularities on the import paperwork and failure to follow the demil drawing)

 

I have noted that these changes to demil guidance always seemed to be preceded by a "hard lesson"
Another point that causes friction is the ATF creates and provides the destruction drawing, but it is US Customs that does the inspection of the kits and clears them to "enter commerce"

That is one way that things get missed and kits get recalled.

 

ALSO, at one time I worked for Wise Lite Arms.
When we started building semi-auto PPSh-41's new trunnions were being made.
ATF gave us instructions that once the barrel hole was drilled the part needed to be permanently riveted into the stamped receiver.
A loose part in the shop was OK, but put it in your pocket and take it outside of the WLA work shop and you had an unlicensed MG.
Because of that WLA could never sell that milled part with ANY holes drilled in it.

I shared that letter over on the "Weapons Guild" BECAUSE Greg Clark of the former "GUNBUILDS.COM" was wrangling with the ATF and eventually got that guidance dropped so that those parts could be made and sold commercially.

WLA had a vault containing individual binders and physical sample parts (that ATF returned after approving) related to every bit of guidance, instruction and approval that ATF Tech Div ever provided.
 

I have been around this "import process" long enough to know it is quite convoluted, and now the US Dos is moving away and the US Commerce dep't is getting into that game.

Richard

 

Some interesting things here:

 

I can assure you when the first PPSh kits came in they were straight single chop jobs

 

Not in any way calling you a liar but if domestic trunnions were being so rigidly restricted they would be serialized items Rich, end of story

I fear you guys were getting your tree shaken by some tard who really didn't have any authority back then

in any event foreign PPSh trunnions remain verboten and domestics are just a chunk of steel

 

On InterOrdinance you are only parroting Bartlett's position

What happened was that POS completely changed rulings on a bunch of things

Look, the Naitron Hungarian kits came in back in the early 90s

Curt raided that old timer, seized all he had left around 2002 claiming they were in ex post facto violation of his new rulings

 

I brought up Stewart's .50 kits.  Well Richard he had a letter from the prior Tech director Ed Owens that they were cash and carry non regulated parts.  Bartlett wrote a new regulation.

So what happened ?

Know two guys who had kits Dumbya's ATFE tracked down.  While they were not seized they were assigned bureau serial numbers for the receiver blanks

 

How about the raids on Nesard over DoD shear cut M14 recievers ?

brother I can go on and on

During that era we received a multitude of forfeiture demands

Well heck, we were gun show vendors and sold this junk left and right

 

Yeah they bent IO over the bar table badly

did you know that ATFE was eventually forced to return pallets of seized goods ?

That's why IO later was selling Styer MPs as before but absent the front and rear receiver chunks

 

btw, I'm not buying this ATFE crap that some drug gang taped together a cut PPSh and shot up DEA guys

again I have no doubts they claimed that but it's straight fantasy land garbage even with a single cut example


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#10 The Lone Ranger

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 06:36 PM

So I talked to the now a now retired FTB employee who was a witness when the M2 marking = MG was dismissed by a judge when he heard that two identical receivers were classed differently based on markings (Stephen Halbrook was working for the defense). I ask what about a new built carbine and got a non-book and book answer @ the same time - nope M2 makes it a MG.... but a manufacturer can apply any marking to any firearm. Halbrook also inserted "once a MG, always a MG" in an uncomfortable place and ATF had to pay him about 29k in legal fees - went to appeal, not about the classification decision but about the amount of payment (Vollmer vs Magaw) but that's another topic all in itself.

 

Anyway, to add to the consistency, HK imported some semi auto 416s roughly 2011-2012ish, marked identical to the MGs but that didn't make them MGs they were still short rifles.

 

Hey Robert - how liking all this clear, concise info?  Want more fun?  Start a thread asking "What's the definition of manufacturing?".  I'll stay out of that one to avoid blood pressure meds.

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#11 JimB

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 08:29 PM

One huge problem and this comes up all the time Ranger is that just because somebody wins or loses in one Federal District Court room that in no way means new law has been created via judical interpetation.

It has to go through Appeals 1st and even after that it only applies within that District

Has to hit SCOTUS before it goes nationwide & 98% of the time the Supremes dodge these cases

 

Yes some Judges will look at the situation with M2s and be like What the Hell ?

Most though will sadly roll with the system which is whatever DOJ claims

It 's just what it is.


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#12 The Lone Ranger

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 05:47 PM

Exactly - hence no appeals where a loss of control is at stake.  Attached is another one - circuit judge said 922o was unconstitutionally vague.  Good for Vest, but that's where it ends.  A cynical person might get the impression that government employees prefer to lose a case than lose control.

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#13 Robert Henley

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:08 AM

Hey Robert - how liking all this clear, concise info?  Want more fun?  Start a thread asking "What's the definition of manufacturing?".  I'll stay out of that one to avoid blood pressure meds.

 

I thought I had a simple question, which shows you what I know.  :o   I had not seen a previous post on the ATF Guidebook, so I guess I missed it.  I appreciate all the details, which I am studying just for my own education and understanding.  Thanks guys.  Robert


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#14 The Lone Ranger

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 07:43 AM

I don't think there was another post on the board so you likely did a public service putting it here - just that it's been around for a while and some people may have seen it elsewhere.  Some of us need to live in that junk for another 10-12 years.  :blink:


Edited by The Lone Ranger, 30 March 2019 - 07:43 AM.

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#15 JimB

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 12:37 AM

Exactly - hence no appeals where a loss of control is at stake.  Attached is another one - circuit judge said 922o was unconstitutionally vague.  Good for Vest, but that's where it ends.  A cynical person might get the impression that government employees prefer to lose a case than lose control.

 

I'll throw a somewhat recent example of this at you Ranger

 

Back in the 70s there was a character selling English Parker Hale air gun moderators in the back pages of Guns, Guns & Ammo and Shooting Times magazines

These were pretty fair suppressors threaded at 1/2x20 TPI, thing was they were actually rated for Air Guns AND on up to .22LR

Well the bureau of course eventually had a small snit over them after which they ruled ANY device that might be capable of being installed on a firearm to diminish the report was NFA regulated.

 

Some years later they ruled that 2 liter pop bottle adapters were a regulated suppressor part and in the 90s they issued letters against paint ball "silencers"

 

so move it on up into the early 2000s

A convicted felon gets popped on the east coast with a .45 Sam Yang pneumatic air rifle with a matching moderator

Guy goes to Federal Prison

He appeals on the basis that his Korean AG had a very unique thread pitch and that an Air Gun was not a regulated Firearm

Well the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals cam back around 2008 ? and reversed his conviction !!!

 

I frankly expected DOJ to take it to SCOTUS but the thing was there was a fair chance the High Court would have affirmed the lower Court's reversal thus DOJ let it stand within the 1st Circuit.

 

Now move the hands of time forward slightly then suddenly a whole bunch of folks are manufacturing pretty high grade "Air Gun" suppressors

 

Here's the 1st Circuit rendering:

 

https://caselaw.find...it/1527670.html


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#16 johnsonlmg41

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 08:43 AM

On a fight like that it's more likely they realize they are on shaky ground to begin with in that suppressors are NOT firearms, period.  Their regulation and oversight treads slimly on the NFA which is also a very shaky act that for all practical purposes overrides the second amendment by somehow regulating  interstate commerce via a tax, but only discriminates against some firearms and not others?  The further you reach from the nexus the more likely you are to lose a decision which can topple the entire house of cards if the arguments are run back the other direction.   You go from metal tubes designed with precision baffles, to oil filters, to 2 liter bottles, to shooting out the window (large end cap) of a padded room (baffles)  the line blurs quickly.   Attach a suppressor (not a firearm)  to an airgun (also not a firearm)  that's going to be a tough case to win? 

 

Sort of like attaching a stock with a sliding gap in it.  Does ATF actually have the authority and oversight to regulate a molded plastic part?  Apparently they do not, since they will no longer accept accessories to firearms for testing only complete firearms.....because by law, actual firearms are all they have oversight of?  It has taken many years and losing many lawsuits to find out engraving M2 on a firearm does not make it a machine gun, nor do they have regulatory authority over superfluous engraving. 

 

At the end of the day what constitutes destruction is a matter of personal opinion and often intent, as it pertains to personal firearms.  Whatever method you chose you may need to legally defend your actions.  If you are importing firearms  that you believe to be parts, you are first asking permission to import an item that government believes they have oversight of, a totally different set of circumstances.    If you make 50 gallons of wine in your basement it's a whole different process than asking government permission to import 50 gallons from France even though the wine can be chemically identical.   It's not all that easy to import a grape!


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