Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

Rogue elements of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are continuing their assault on certain varieties of commonly-owned semi-computerized pistols. According to the regulation firm Wiley, ATF has produced a new interpretation of “handgun” that threatens to curtail the offer of international-made pistols and could set a lot of regulation-abiding gun entrepreneurs in authorized jeopardy.

In early October, NRA-ILA alerted gun proprietors to an ATF choice relating to firearm maker Q LLC’s Honey Badger pistol. Again in August, ATF despatched a cease and desist letter to Q LLC notifying the firm that the agency had determined the Honey Badger, which will come geared up with a pistol stabilizing brace – to be subject matter to the Countrywide Firearms Act as a shorter-barreled rifle.

The resolve was quite relating to for a lot of in the firearms industry and group, as pistol stabilizing braces have develop into a well-known accent to numerous frequently-owned semi-computerized pistols. Due to the fact 2012, ATF had regularly discovered that firearms with pistol stabilizing braces, like the one outfitted on Q LLC’s Honey Badger pistol, were not “designed, designed, and supposed to be fired from the shoulder,” and have been hence not topic to regulation underneath the NFA. With no discover or opportunity for community enter, ATF appeared to be reversing course.

Many thanks to the endeavours of anxious NRA members and other gun legal rights supporters, in mid-Oct ATF notified Q LLC that it would suspend its unique perseverance for 60 days pending the final result of overview by the Department of Justice.

Now, ATF seems to be making an attempt to limit the importation of specified significant body pistols.

Beneath federal legislation (18 U.S.C. 922(I)) it is unlawful “for any human being, other than a certified importer, certified manufacturer, certified supplier, or licensed collector, who does not reside in any State to acquire any firearms unless of course such receipt is for lawful sporting needs.” Even more, 18 U.S.C. 925(d)(3) presents that “The Legal professional Basic shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm… is generally acknowledged as specifically appropriate for or quickly adaptable to sporting reasons.” For that reason, in most conditions, in purchase to import a firearm into the U.S. the firearm need to be “readily adaptable to sporting needs.”

This is what is identified as the “sporting uses check.” Beneath this routine, ATF has established a straight-ahead position-centered factoring standards to identify what handguns may be imported. Federal legislation (18 U.S.C. 921(A)(29)) defines a handgun as “a firearm which has a limited inventory and is intended to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” Handguns generate different amounts of points for person qualities and a least stage threshold is necessary to go the “sporting uses examination.” The “sporting reason test” and ATF criteria had been designed with the purpose of prohibiting the importation of smaller low-cost handguns – so-called Saturday Night time Specials. Consequently, the conditions favor larger sized and heavier handguns.

It is significant to notice that the “sporting applications test” predates the U.S. Supreme Court’s selection in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller determination created clear Individuals have an particular person proper to retain and bear arms for “lawful needs, these kinds of as self-defense.” Offered the Court’s emphasis on Americans’ correct to accessibility arms for a wide range of lawful uses, which includes self-defense, the ongoing validity of the “sporting reasons test” is doubtful. 

In accordance to Wiley, in the previous couple of months ATF has altered its interpretation of the statutory definition of a “handgun” and seems to be moving absent from just utilizing its level-primarily based factoring criteria for pistol imports. Wiley noted, “In company-unique letters, [ATF] will take the placement that if a submitted firearm is far too prolonged or too weighty, it fails to satisfy the definition of ‘handgun’ beneath the Gun Manage Act, as it is not ‘designed to be held and fired by the use of a solitary hand.’”

According to the files delivered to Wiley, ATF will now get into thought the subsequent “objective structure features” when analyzing if a firearm meets the definition of a “handgun.”

  •        Incorporation of rifle sights
  •        Utilization of “rifle caliber ammunition” (both equally 5.56mm and 7.62mm have been viewed as as this sort of)
  •        Incorporation of “rifle-duration barrel”1
  •        The “weapon’s weighty body weight”
  •        Ability to accept magazines that assortment in capacity from 20 rounds to 100 rounds, “which will add to the over-all body weight of the firearm” and
  •        All round duration of the weapon which “creates a front-hefty imbalance when held in one particular hand.”

 

Having said that, Wiley also pointed out that ATF has built obvious that the “objective style features” are “neither binding on potential classifications nor is any issue separately determinative[.]

Therefore, much like with the Honey Badger pistol, ATF is applying subjective standards to figure out how a given firearm is controlled – in this scenario in purchase to prohibit particular styles of frequent semi-automated pistols from staying imported. This makes an untenable problem for firearms brands and importers who are unable to forecast ATF’s perform, and hence how to comport their habits to the regulation.

Even a lot more hazardous Is how ATF’s latest reinterpretation of the “handgun” definition may influence thousands and thousands of law-abiding gun owners. In modern decades, the AR-15 and other intermediate cartridge semi-automated pistols have turn out to be increasingly well-known. If ATF were to utilize a version of their new subjective interpretation of the “handgun” definition to these firearms the agency could locate that these common pistols are not “handguns.” 

This sort of an interpretation could location these frequent pistols less than NFA regulation as “Any Other Weapon[s]” (AOW). AOWs are essential to be registered in the Nationwide Firearms Registration and Transfer History. Possessing an unregistered AOW is punishable by up to 10 yrs imprisonment in federal jail.

In reaction to the Honey Badger classification and pistol import changes, Congressmen Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Greg Murphy (R-N.C.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) recently despatched a letter to Legal professional Typical William Barr and ATF Acting Director Regina Lombardo inquiring them to swiftly deal with the inconsistent and unlawful steps of the company. Congressman Hudson pointed out “ATF’s selection will transform legislation-abiding citizens into criminals right away. As just one of the strongest defenders of our Second Amendment legal rights in Congress, I recognize my colleagues joining me in this effort and hard work to urge Attorney Normal Barr to secure the Constitution, close this injustice, and reduce it from going any even further.”

A essential part of a free society is the rule of law. This incorporates the proper of the citizenry to be placed on detect as to how they need to perform themselves in get to comply with the legislation. ATF’s modern haphazard and unpredictable interpretations of federal gun law imperil regulation-abiding gun homeowners and the businesses who serve them.