Executive Actions, Gun Control Extremists and the ATF

Last Thursday, the Harris-Biden [sic] administration announced six gun control Executive Actions. The first five were simple requests that quite honestly could have been handled by a phone call or email. But then that wouldn’t have been as flashy as a televised Rose Garden event with the gun control crowd. The final one however, is of the most concern. The nomination of a gun control extremist / spokesperson and oath breaker to lead the federal agency responsible for the regulation of the firearm industry foreshadows what we can expect from this administration on gun control. 

The photo is of ATF Director Nominee David Chipman proudly posing for a picture in front of the still smoldering ashes of the Branch Davidian compound and the bodies of 76 American citizens, including 20 children burned alive in Waco, TX, the end result of the botched ATF raid on the compound. 

The announcement ceremony of the Executive Actions was exactly what you would expect from this administration. It included the now all-to-common unintelligible Presidential speaking gaffs as well as outright lies about the Constitution, the Second Amendment, American history, firearms laws and the impact of gun control. Yes, I said lies. Not misspeaks or things that could be interpreted in multiple ways, lies. These were statements that are factually wrong. 

All of the Executive Actions announced on Thursday are of concern for the Second Amendment community and are already attracting broad opposition across the country. However, it is the last one, the nomination of Chipman for Director of the ATF that is the most troublesome. 

Chipman is a 25-year veteran of the ATF, notably being the case agent for the Branch Davidian raid. Upon retiring from the ATF, he went on to be a senior policy advisor for Mayors Against Illegal Guns and provided training and support for gun control groups such as The Joyce Foundation, Americans for Responsible Solutions, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Center for American Progress. He later became the senior policy advisor for the Giffords gun control group.  

Chipman, who describes himself as “proud and responsible gun owner” says “I am also permitted to carry a concealed handgun.” Please note his use of the word “permitted” here vs. ‘I have a right to carry a firearm.’ Allowing only a select, chosen few to carry a firearm outside their homes is a common goal of gun control extremists like Chipman. It is also important to realize that as a retired law enforcement officer, Chipman has a 50-state concealed carry permit granted to him through the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA). Yet national concealed carry permit reciprocity is denied the average American citizen. 

Then there are the lies. Chipman lied when he said “At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. Point, it is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often.” The record is clear on this. No helicopters were shot down. 

Chipman lied when he testified before Congress and claimed that the American gun market was “flooded” with “foreign made ARs.” Nearly all AR pattern rifles are American made, something a seasoned ATF veteran would know.

Chipman falsely testified that the reason why NFA (National Firearm Act) weapons are seldom used in crimes is because there is a background check with photos and fingerprints taken, along with a $200 tax. The real reason NFA firearms and accessories are not used in crimes is they range from rather to extraordinarily expensive and are owned by law-abiding citizens. Criminals, who possess and use the EXACT SAME type of firearms and accessories in crimes DO NOT register them with the NFA. 

While referring to so-called “assault weapons”, Chipman testified “I believe we should ban the future production and sale to civilians and afford current owners of these firearms the ability to license these particular guns with ATF under the National Firearms Act.” He is quoted as saying “What I support is treating them just like machine guns.” 

Now consider the current push for universal background checks which is touted as being the ONLY way to keep guns out of the hand of criminals. Keep in mind all commercially made firearms must be initially purchased through a federally licensed firearms dealer WITH a background check. But if that background check is insufficient to prevent them from being used in crimes like NFA firearms, then how long will it be before ALL firearm ownership and purchases will be subjected to NFA requirements including the registration, transfer and transport restrictions and tax? 

Chipman has falsely described firearm suppressors as “The gun does not sound gun-like. It takes the edge out of the tone . . . This is how I would describe it: It makes a gun sort of sound like a nail gun.”  In reality, the 30-35 dBA difference between a nail gun and a suppressed pistol will be perceived as at least eight times louder to the human ear. 

David Chipman is a prime example of the type of “proud and responsible gun owner” gun control organizations love. He is willing to turn his back on his oath and use his reputation to restrict and eliminate the very same type of firearms he owns, uses and surrounds himself with for his protection, all in the finest tradition of the gun control elite. 

Finally, handing over the reins of a government agency to a paid gun control extremist who has not only endorsed but participated in the heavy-handed enforcement efforts the ATF has regrettably become infamous for should be a signal for all law-abiding firearm owners of what we can expect from the Harris-Biden administration beyond these “initial” gun control measures. 

Bob

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UPDATE: BATFE is the new CA DOJ BOF

On December 23, 2020, the ATF withdrew the “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces”. The document and call for comments originally published on December 18th gathered more that 60K comments, and according to antidotal evidence, the VAST majority of the responses opposed the proposed regulation. The link to the notice is below. 

While many in the firearms / Second Amendment community are considering this a victory, we all know this will return. Instead of a victory triggered by our comments, it is very likely the posting, comments and withdrawal were part of the original plan to get input on where the proposed regulation would be attacked to help make it stronger. 

Think of it as beta software released into the user community to assess and locate its vulnerabilities. Improvements can then be made based on the feedback to make it better, stronger and more bulletproof. 

If we have learned anything about the gun control zealots prior work at the CA DOJ BOF, it’s that they are persistent. Rejection, be it by governmental regulators, the courts, the firearm industry or the public mean nothing to them. They will be back with a bigger, badder version of the exact same thing, and with a plan to push it through no matter what. 

The fight is not over yet. 

Bob

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/general-notice/sb-criteria-withdrawal-notice-12-23-20pdf/download

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BATFE is the new CA DOJ BOF

Let’s face it, there aren’t a whole lot of people who love the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or simply ATF). In the world of federal enforcement agencies, they’ve never been high on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ scale. Then along comes their recent moves against companies who make 80% firearms and suppressor kits, and now pistol braces. Let’s not forget their previous administrative actions to ban bump stocks and you have an agency most would now put into the ‘hated’ category. For those of you who think it can’t get any worse, just ask any firearm owner in California how their own DOJ BOF (Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms) evolved. The same thing, using the same tactics, is now occurring at the ATF. A coincidence? Hardly… 

We all know the incident that caused bump stocks to become illegal in this country. A horrible tragedy with no known motive or individual to take responsibility, so bump stocks were blamed and banned. Not an unprecedented move in the gun control world, but it highlighted the ability of the ATF to reverse previous determinations based on political pressure. What we are seeing now is the same thing. 

The ATF recently served warrants, or raided, depending on how you look at it, an 80% firearms manufacturer. The target was a packaged kit of supplies to manufacture your own firearm, as well as the people who had purchased them. Note that all these individual parts are available from this and numerous other manufacturers and can be purchased separately or even purchased at the same time, but it was the “kit” that caused the ATF to act. The logic is the “kit” can be used to put together a firearm in minutes (which is absolutely not true unless you count your hours in minutes) and as such, should be considered a firearm. Somewhere in the noise it appears a “kit” had been purchased by a prohibited person to build a firearm, which would be illegal for them to possess. 

Among the no surprise things going on here are that a prohibited person is going to acquire a firearm, something ILLEGAL for them to do, or that the ATF might consider a “kit” a firearm. As little as two years ago another manufacturer received a ruling from the ATF that while the 80% frame was not a firearm, “This classification does not apply if the polymer frame-blank is marketed, sold, or distributed as part of a kit.” We can debate the lack of logic behind this, but it is there in black and white. It seems the 80% industry isn’t very good about sharing knowledge.  

Not only was the 80% firearm manufacturer subject to an ATF search and seizure, but also an 80% suppressor manufacturer, and apparently for similar reasons. It also appears the ATF is now visiting customers of these products demanding “voluntary” forfeiture to avoid them securing a search warrant to seize the property. That last part is a whole different argument for another time. 

And now, we have the ATF putting out a notice and request for comment entitled “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces””. The link to the notice and where you can make a comment is listed below. It’s only five pages long and I highly recommend you read it for yourself. 

In short, the document fails at the first word, objective. Instead, it is highly subjective and lacks the critical details that would allow a manufacturer or consumer to make an informed decision about the legality of a product they produce or possess. Instead, a firearm is “subject to the NFA (National Firearms Act), on a case-by-case basis.”

It highlights considerations like type and caliber, weight and length, length of pull, aim point and sights and scopes as items to be evaluated, but provides absolutely no details on what is and isn’t acceptable under the proposed rules. The very subjectivity of it could lead the same firearm owned by one person to be considered legal but subject to NFA rules if owned by another person. 

If you’re wondering where this is heading, the document outlines the options you’ll have for a stabilizing brace firearm. They are “registering the firearm in compliance with the NFA” “permanently removing the stabilizing brace from the firearm and disposing of it, replacing the barrel of the firearm (16’’ or greater for a rifle, or 18’’ or greater for a shotgun), surrendering the firearm to ATF, or destroying the firearm.” Note the carrot for registering your firearm under the NFA is a waiver of the $200 / firearm fee. 

So why are Californians having a case of déjà vu? Because the CA DOJ BOF has used very similar tactics in their war on so-called “assault weapons”. This includes the use of “emergency” regulations that dramatically reduce the amount of time comments are taken. In this case, instead of the usual, regulatory mandated 30 days, the ATF has limited the amount of time to just 17 days, over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, another one of CA DOJ BOF’s tactics. 

Some are saying this is a blessing since it will allow people to register their firearms as a SBR (short barreled rifle) without having to pay the $200 tax stamp. This of course ignores the obvious issue of having to register in the first place, as well as having to register a pistol as a SBR. There are also a host of other restrictions that come with NFA firearms. And if you’re going to have to register your stabilizing brace firearm as an SBR, why not put on an actual firearm stock instead of something that doesn’t work well as a stock?

The CA DOJ BOF may provide us with some insight here. During the last round of “assault weapon” laws, Californians could register their so-called “bullet button assault weapons” but were not allowed to remove the bullet buttons to be like the other “registered assault weapons”. Registration also meant they could not sell or pass on their firearm to heirs. 

Looking into the Odd Stuffing crystal ball, I’m seeing many changes coming to the NFA, including a separate category for stabilizing brace firearms that will preclude their ability to be altered, transferred or inherited in the future. I’m also seeing a lot of so-called “semi-automatic assault weapons” being added to the NFA as well. Although that’s not really a crystal ball thing since the probable incoming administration has vowed to place “assault weapons” under the jurisdiction of the NFA. 

What we are seeing is the first steps towards making the ATF like the CA DOJ BOF. This strategy to get more and more firearms registered though through the NFA will only make their eventual outlaw, confiscation and destruction on a nationwide basis easier in the future. Can you guess where this idea came from?

This is just another step to administratively diminish the protections of the Second Amendment into nonexistence, just like they’ve already done in California. 

Bob

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/12/18/2020-27857/objective-factors-for-classifying-weapons-with-stabilizing-braces

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