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ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158408
04/10/2015 01:19 PM
04/10/2015 01:19 PM
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ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports


April 10, 2015

http://www.examiner.com/article/atf...ne-sporting-use-ban-certain-ammo-imports


Sources say a deal in the works includes a push to expand definitions to allow for further importation bans on certain types of presently legal ammunition.


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ classification of pistol grip only firearms with 14” barrels that fire shotgun shells and are over 26” in overall length as neither “shotguns” nor National Firearms Act “Destructive Devices” or “Any Other Weapons” has created a situation wherein the agency must either quietly save face or have it exposed that untold numbers of good faith gun owners currently legally possess firearms problematic for the government to allow. In order for that status quo to continue, ATF, in conjunction with certain members of Congress and lobbying interests, is working at “tweaking” its definition of the arbitrary “sporting use” term, insider sources tell Gun Rights Examiner. And with that will come a push to expand definitions to allow for further importation bans on certain types of presently legal ammunition.

While many of the details of the deal being worked on are sketchy, informed sources are of the opinion that the “tradeoff” is a backroom effort that includes undisclosed “bipartisan” members of Congress, ATF acting on behalf of itself, the Department of Justice and the administration, and firearms lobbyists who have traditionally been part of the behind-the-scenes development, if not outright “ghostwriting” of classifications and rules affecting the industry and gun owners.

This is hardly the first time ATF has found itself needing to reverse prior decisions. The entire Heller Foundation-supported machine gun case currently making its way through the courts was set up by the Bureau first ruling that NFA trusts are not “persons” as defined by law, and were therefore eligible to manufacture and possess post-1986 machine guns typically reserved for military, law enforcement and properly licensed members of the firearms industry. They changed their minds and demanded their tax stamp back despite no statutory provision for doing that. And with the current state of disorganization and unknown numbers of contradictory decisions, further disconnects where band aid “solutions” are applied will be practically guaranteed, as a recent ATF industry circular demonstrates.

“Any individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked,” ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch declared in its “Open letter on the redesign of ‘stabilizing braces.’” This is tacit admission that conflicting classifications and rulings force firearms makers and owners to face decisions that could land them in life-altering trouble. This reaffirms that ATF only gets around to addressing those conflicts on a haphazard and sporadic basis when individual circumstances bring them to the fore. The scope of that problem is unknown, but quite possibly massive and severe, as a 2005 Congressional Research Services report concedes.

“It is significant to note that ATF regulations, rulings and classifications are based upon the agency’s best interpretation of current law and reported case law,” the report observes. “As such, ATF determinations are subject to the Administrative Procedures Act and can be challenged in federal court, after all other administrative remedies have been exhausted.”

“According to ATF, the agency has over 300 cubic feet of classification letters stored in file cabinets,” the report elaborates. As noted in my latest GUNS Magazine “Rights Watch” column, none of these have been scanned into a searchable database so that consistency of interpretations can be assured and conflicts identified and resolved. As that report was published 10 years ago, the thought of what it must look like today evokes nothing so much as the government warehouse at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

As an aside, the APA requirement was directly contradicted by ATF in its aborted (for now) attempt to seek a ban on “green tip” ammo using a “sporting purposes” rationale. As first reported in this column, the Bureau’s Enforcement Programs and Services spokesperson maintained its proposal was merely a “framework” and would “not actually be a [regulatory] change, more of a policy along those lines.”

This morning, citizen journalist and blogger Mike Vanderboegh, who first reported on allegations at the CleanUpATF whistleblower website that Operation Fast and Furious weapons were involved in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, will be attending various seminars at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville. He’ll be asking questions to include if NRA knows anything about a “sporting use” tweak and a potential specialized ammo import ban. His findings will be posted on the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog when he makes his report from the convention press room.

With this level of uncertainty, it’s always a judgment call on whether or not it’s too early to issue a report. Admittedly, there’s always a risk involved in doing so, especially with issues capable of generating a lot of passion, and particularly to the credibility of anyone who stirs people up for no good reason. The decision to file this one was made after consultation with knowledgeable insider sources who have a track record of professional accomplishments and of providing reliable information that has borne out in the past.

On the “to do” list at this writing will be efforts to determine the exact scope, nature and language of the proposed changes alleged to be in development, and to identify all parties involved, including members of Congress who reportedly have commissioned a research and feasibility study, as well as any lobbyists who may be helping steer the process. Whether that can be accomplished is unknown, as cooperation on the part of people being asked questions is not a given.

Perhaps inferences will need to be made based on “No comment” replies, or outright denials. Regardless, three clear points remain valid and ought to be priorities for advocates of the right to keep and bear arms no matter how this story shakes out.

First and foremost, the entire concept of “sporting purposes” is not only arbitrary, in addition to having documented 1938 German law origins, it is offensive to the core purpose behind the Second Amendment. It is past time members of Congress who have enjoyed gun owner endorsements and contributions acknowledged that and worked to eliminate it as a criterion -- and that’s something those GOP presidential candidates vying for NRA member support at this weekend’s annual meeting leadership forum could make a point of pledging to sign if elected.

Second, it must be made more than clear that no “tradeoffs” or “compromises” on any kind of ammunition are acceptable. Marginalizing hobbyists and enthusiasts like those who fire off tracers at Knob Creek and throwing them under the bus is unacceptable, and part of a “divide and conquer” strategy that all gun owners must stand fast against and refuse to cede ground to. As seen every time the gun-grabbers advance, far from being satisfied, they always use their new position of advantage from which to launch their next deeper incursion.

Third, and this is something well within the powers of Congress to require, this business of 300 cubic feet of files, or whatever it is 10 years after that report was made, is unacceptable, and lends itself to further disastrous reversals with gun owners paying the price for ATF’s disorganized laziness. It’s like something we would expect from a police station in a Third World country, not from the government of the United States. Those files need to be scanned and placed in a searchable data base accessible to all, and then audited for consistency, with contradictory classifications and rulings identified and openly resolved with public input and Congressional oversight.

This column and Sipsey Street Irregulars will continue to monitor and report on developments.

UPDATE: I have been advised to emphasize that per statute, this will apply to all “pistol grip shotgun-like firearms” ever made with a bore diameter greater than one-half inch. See ATF’s 2009 FFL newsletter.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158409
04/11/2015 06:31 AM
04/11/2015 06:31 AM
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14" shotgun? What model are they talking about?


Life liberty, and the pursuit of those who threaten them.

Trump: not the president America needs, but the president America deserves.
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158410
04/12/2015 03:20 AM
04/12/2015 03:20 AM
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Here ya go, been looking at doing this for about two years now, just never had the extra coin to drop.

http://shockwavetechnologies.com/site/?page_id=88%2F


My Daddy is like duct tape, he can fix almost anything.

A quote from my youngest daughter at 4yrs old, many years ago.
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158411
04/12/2015 05:18 AM
04/12/2015 05:18 AM
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You know, that's kind of like the SIG brace, the sort of thing they could change their mind on again and say "oh waitaminute, no, it's different now, you get to be a felon".


Life liberty, and the pursuit of those who threaten them.

Trump: not the president America needs, but the president America deserves.
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158412
04/12/2015 08:34 AM
04/12/2015 08:34 AM
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Quote
Sunday, April 12, 2015
SSI Exclusive: Negotiating Rights Away. Cynical Secret "Deal With The Devil" Confirmed. NRA, ATF& bi-partisan group of politicians agree to save ATF from itself and widen the definition of "sporting purposes." "A hole big enough to drive Diane Feinstein's limousine through."

From the press room of the NRA National Meeting, Nashville, TN: Sipsey Street Irregulars can now confirm the broad outlines of a story first disclosed two days ago by National Gun Rights Examiner columnist David Codrea. Last week, a secret deal involving the National Rifle Association lobbying arm and brokered by politicians of both national political parties was struck in Washington DC that would save the ATF from the political and legal consequences of its own regulatory errors. In the process, this deal would broaden the language of the 1968 Gun Control Act regarding "sporting purposes" and allow ATF to extract itself from the potentially catastrophic political damage of enforcing its arbitrary ruling that makes every owner of a pistol grip 12 Gauge shotgun like the Mossberg Cruiser a felon in possession of a "destructive device" subject to the penalties of the National Firearms Act of 1934 -- currently up to 10 years in federal prison and a quarter million dollar fine.

According to sources well-familiar with the legislative rationale and ever-changing and even contradictory regulatory history of the ATF, this crisis for the agency was self-inflicted and precipitated by two legal cases wending their way through the federal courts in Texas and Pennsylvania. Said one, "The ATF doesn't dare reverse itself unilaterally once again on what does and does not constitute a shotgun 'destructive device.' They are frightened to death that either case may go to discovery and reveal their whole sorry rule-making mess." Said another, "There are people currently rotting in federal prison on NFA violations and others walking around scot-free. At some point, unless the Congress gives them the cover by changing the law, they are going to have to explain that in open court."

As explained by sources here and in the nation's capitol, the outlines of what one called "this cynical deal with the Devil" are as follows:

1. The ATF will be let off the hook by broadening the "sporting purposes" language and legislatively negating their own determination that millions of heretofore legal pistol-grip shotguns produced over the past decades by companies like Mossberg are "destructive devices."

2. The NRA will get to claim credit for, as one source said, "riding in out of the storm on a white horse and claiming to have saved millions of firearm owners from federal prison, even though," he added, "everybody in the room with an IQ above room temperature understands that politically and legally there is no (expletive deleted) way that ATF can enforce this ruling on anybody. They can't and they won't . . so" he concluded, "the NRA will claim to have saved their members from a boogeyman that never really existed."

3. In return for allowing NRA to claim the credit, the Democrats demanded another ammunition import ban on "specialty ammunition," to include tracers. Some sources agreed that this last "gimme" was a "throwaway," in the words of one. "Look, their M.O. is to always demand more than they know they can get in to get the thing they really value. They'd like to get it but what they really covet is knocking a bigger hole in the Constitution by (widening the 'sporting purposes' language) . . . this deal will give them one big enough to drive Diane Feinstein's limousine through."

This reporter could get no one from NRA national leadership to go on or off the record to confirm this deal, but other sources familiar with the internal fallout of these revelations say that David Codrea's original story was "spot on," adding "they can't believe they were found out." Other sources in the nation's capitol indicate that the deal was intended to be kept secret until it could be attached as a innocuous rider at the last moment to a "must-pass" appropriations bill. Said one: "The plan was to pass it, claim victory on all sides, and pray that no one noticed the 'sporting purposes tweak.'"

He added: "What they're really frightened about is how you guys found out about this so soon. That's got them rattled." Added another, "they're looking for your sources and looking at each other and wondering who the snitch is." There is much behind-the-scenes speculation here as to how members of the NRA will react, what answers they will demand, and how these revelations will play into the Wayne LaPierre-Chris Cox rivalry for power. It is no secret to the insiders I talked to that there is little love lost between the two and much mutual suspicion of motives. Said one: "The key thing is, was this Cox's baby alone or did he get Wayne's signoff?" And, he added, "who's going to be manuevered into taking the blame for it?" Other sources tell this reporter that some very hard questions are going to be asked of Cox and LaPierre by board members in the coming days.

If so, that will be more reaction than that shown by the so-called "mainstream gun rights press" in evidence in the NRA pressroom. Since David Codrea's story broke two days ago, they have been, as near as this reporter could tell, studiously, deliberately incurious about the implications of these revelations. Copies of David's story have been distributed to them since it broke and most seem to have ignored it and few asked me any questions about it.

What reaction NRA leadership had to Codrea's original story could only be gleaned by second-hand sources, but one said that "what they're telling anybody who asks is that you're both crazy sonsabitches who are making this up. . . You two are not their favorite people right now." I asked another source, "Are they mad because the story is right, or mad because it's wrong." "They're mad," he said with a grin, "because it's right."

So, in the midst of non-denial denials and ad hominem attacks, we will continue to try to drill down to the truth as we can, this last day of the NRA national meeting of 2015.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158413
04/13/2015 12:53 AM
04/13/2015 12:53 AM
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Update from Mike...

Quote
Chris Cox: "I categorically deny everything that you wrote with regards to that. It's complete bullshit." WE STAND BY OUR STORY.

After days of seeking comment from NRA representatives on David Codrea's breaking story and my follow-up, I had given up getting any official reaction. However, yesterday afternoon on the way out of the NRA national meeting display floor on my way to the car, Dean Weingarten (who blogs at Gun Watch) and I ran into Chris Cox and his entourage.

I approached him, shook his hand, introduced myself, and asked him for comment on my story. He ceased smiling when he realized who I was, dropped my hand like a hot rock, flushed red in the face, and said: "I categorically deny everything that you wrote with regards to that. It's complete bullshit." I replied, "We stand by our story, and if you feel we have libeled you, you are welcome to sue me." He then turned and stalked off. He was extremely angry.

The whole thing happened totally unexpectedly, like a meeting engagement in deep jungle, and unfortunately as I leaped in and gave him no warning to begin filming, Dean had some trouble getting the camera into play. Thus we missed getting a video record of the preamble and then the camera cuts off just as I said "We stand by our story." However, the operative words of Mr. Cox were captured on this snippet below.

(Video courtesy of Dean Weingarten.)

Thus, we now have an official response from NRA. However, I repeat here what I told him then: WE STAND BY OUR STORY.

Although there was no need, I ran his reaction past some of the sources we used for the story. All of them who I was able to contact were solid in their conviction of the truth of their part of the story. In turn, I have absolute confidence in their veracity. I wouldn't have written the story if I didn't. Yet Chris Cox's categorical denial of "everything" that I wrote must be noted. It IS the official reaction we were seeking.

Of course David and I have heard such categorical denials and ad hominem attacks before to stories of ours, most notably in the wake of our first work on Fast and Furious. One friend commented to me, "Well, that tells us one thing. Whatever the deal was, it's blown up now. Cox wouldn't deny it otherwise."

We have been plain that there is much that is not yet known about the deal. Perhaps it came as a surprise to Cox personally. Perhaps Cox wasn't in the loop. It seems unlikely to me, but is within the realm of possibility. Of course, for a leader and public persona in a very responsible position such as Cox that would hardly help. If he knew and agreed to the deal, he's incompetent and stupid for having done it. If he didn't know, he's incompetent and ignorant about affairs in his own legislative shop.

We will continue to work to develop this breaking story and we invite other journalists to use their own sources to try to run down the whole truth on this. (And some of you will be amused to know that that includes Dave Workman, who I ran into working the SAF table just before the Cox encounter, shook his hand and made the same request of him. Like Fast and Furious, I told him, there's plenty of room in the pool on this one.)

In particular, I am interested to know who the GOP representatives were on this "deal with the Devil." We have some Democrat names from single sources already and these must be confirmed. We have some guesses about the GOP. We will keep digging. Cox may deny "everything" I wrote, but there are some things that are incontrovertible statements of fact:

The ATF HAS gotten its bureaucratic ass in the crack and can't get out of it without congressional help, for which they must have the cooperation of both the GOP and the NRA. Mossberg, the unwitting victim in all this, DID cease shipping parts to shotgun builders as early as the 26th of last month -- prior to the "deal." And most importantly, THERE ARE MILLIONS OF LAW-ABIDING OWNERS OF PISTOL GRIP SHOTGUNS WHO HAVE BEEN MADE INSTANT FELONS AND ARE IN POSSESSION OF WHAT THE ATF HAS RULED ARE "DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES," SUBJECTING THEM TO POSSIBLE ARREST AND PUNISHMENT TO THE TUNE OF UP TO TEN YEARS AND A QUARTER MILLION DOLLAR FINE -- ON EACH COUNT.

If there is no deal, even if our stories about the deal are completely wrong -- and they're not -- both these millions of firearm owners AND the ATF are left twisting in the wind. Congressional scrutiny of this scandal of the ATF's own making is surely going to come as even the Elmer Fudds begin to realize their legal exposure and demand it of their congresscritters. But don't expect a quick tactical retreat like the M855 debacle. The ATF is stuck between the law, their inconsistent rule making and the machine gun cases like Hollis working their way through the courts. We may in fact finally be able to get REAL ATF oversight hearings in both House and Senate over this. Who knows? Perhaps we can even get Ramsey A. Bear called as a witness.

One friend of mine with long experience on Capitol Hill estimates that there is an eighty percent chance at this point that ATF will be abolished over this, an eventuality that I am on record as opposing. If they aren't going to repeal the laws as written, then I prefer the devil I know (the ATF) rather than the bigger, more secretive and dangerous devil I don't know (the FBI or DHS) to enforce them. Time will tell.

Again, we stand by our sources and by our story. We will continue to develop it as new information comes in. Don't touch that dial. ;-)

I will have a longer post detailing my varied and wonderful experiences at the annual meeting not related to the story later today.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158414
04/13/2015 07:35 AM
04/13/2015 07:35 AM
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TPTB are working on taxing us for breathing and farting ,carbon and methane taxes, THEY are always changing THEIR minds and screwing us in the process. Look at so many other weapons that were LEGALLY sold under one classification and then changed it later on, like the STRIKER 12, STREET SWEEPER SHOTGUN, SPAS-12, etc. All shotguns, all reclassified.
So long as it's still legal, like with so many other weapons that most of us on this board may or may not currently own I say buy the parts legally, build it legally and SHUT UP about it legally, 5th Amendment and Miranda rights apply here.


My Daddy is like duct tape, he can fix almost anything.

A quote from my youngest daughter at 4yrs old, many years ago.
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158415
04/13/2015 10:02 AM
04/13/2015 10:02 AM
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ConSigCor Offline OP
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More...

Quote
Monday, April 13, 2015
"It's Complete Bull****"
Mike reports on NRA's Chris Cox "categorical denial," caught on video. [More]

As an aside, in the further corroboration department, I pulled a reference to the "pistol grip shotgun-like firearms" before my last GUNS piece went to publication because another credible industry source -- completely unrelated to the other sources and unaware of these developments before I raised them -- was told by the major manufacturer that their attorney had advised no sales without ATF paperwork. That was corroborated by yet another industry source who told us his calls for supplies have not been returned since late March.

Sorry to be so intentionally obscure with identifying details, but the way this works is you don't go outing confidential sources and expect to have any kind of future relationship. Those who have insights into this piece of the puzzle will see that it fits and have a pretty good idea of who some of the players I am referring to are -- and those who do not, well, stay tuned, we're working on it.

The bottom line is, you don't just take some anonymous stranger's word for things and run with it. And you put all kinds of considerations into the front end -- especially over motives and credibility of multiple sources -- before you post word one.

That's why Mike put "WE STAND BY OUR STORY" in all caps.
Posted by David Codrea at 4/13/2015 08:37:00 AM


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: ATF classification compromise to redefine sporting use, ban certain ammo imports #158416
04/14/2015 12:51 AM
04/14/2015 12:51 AM
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ConSigCor Offline OP
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An excellent explanation of the fix that ATF has gotten itself (and millions of pistol-grip shotgun owners) in.

Mossberg 500 Cruiser. Got one of these? Well, you're now a potential felon in possession of a destructive device.

From ARFcom.

I looked to see if someone had posted an explanation of the ATF screw-up and didn't see it clearly explained anywhere. Sorry if this is a repeat, but here is what the situation appears to be.

First key point: "Pistol gripped shotguns" are not shotguns under the NFA due to not being designed to fire from the shoulder.

26 U.S.C. § 5845(d): The term “shotgun” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell.

Second key point: All weapons with barrels greater than one-half inch in diameter are destructive devices unless otherwise exempted.

26 U.S.C. § 5845(f): The term “destructive device” means .. any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes;

Do you see the ATF screw-up yet?

The problem is that pistol-gripped shotguns have been sold for many years, but the ATF has just realized that NFA defines them as destructive devices. Why is this?

1: They have a barrel of more than one-half inch in diameter.

2: They cannot qualify for the sporting purpose exception in 5845(f)(2) since they are not "shotguns" (no shoulder stock).

It appears that back when ATF declared pistol gripped shotguns to not be "shotguns" nobody realized that would eliminate the destructive device exception. Apparently someone has now looked at this more closely and realized that all those Mossberg Cruisers and Pistol Gripped 870s are actually destructive devices and the ATF has no good way out of the situation. Hence, they are quietly looking for some legislative changes to the NFA to make the problem go away.



"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

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