The year is not even two months old, but the Obama administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has already issued three executive branch rules curtailing Americans’ gun rights.
The rules, issued without coverage from mainstream media, apparently do not need Congressional approval.
BATFE Suppressing AR-15s?
The latest move pertains to the way the BATFE enforces two laws — the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 and the Gun Control Act of 1968
The National Rifle Association said the movie clearly was “intended by the Obama Administration to suppress the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223 caliber general purpose rifles.”
“The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress,” the NRA said.
BATFE is misinterpreting the law, the NRA added. M855 ammo, according to the NRA, does not have “a core made of the metals listed in the law” as being prohibited.
“Rather, it has a traditional lead core with a steel tip, and therefore should never have been considered ‘armor piercing,’” the NRA said.
BATFE Changes Tune On Pistol Braces
Meanwhile, in mid-January, BATFE reversed its previous position on pistol stabilizing braces, ruling in a letter that “[a]ny person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol (having a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a smooth bore firearm with a barrel under 18 inches in length) must first file an ATF Form 1 and pay the applicable tax because the resulting firearm will be subject to all provisions of the NFA.”
For months, individual gunowners had asked for BATFE’s official position on gun braces and were told, in private letters, that they were legal.
“[A]ny individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked,” BATFE said.
New Rules Could Put Gunsmiths Out of Business
In its first ruling of the year, BATFE re-wrote a rule that will significantly add to the paperwork some gun shop owners who perform gunsmith activities must perform if they are to stay within the law.
The ruling states that “when a person performs machining or other manufacturing process on a blank to make a firearm ‘frame or receiver,’ or on an existing frame or receiver to make it suitable for use as part of a ‘weapon … which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,’ that person has performed a manufacturing operation other than what is contemplated by the [Gun Control Act] of dealer-gunsmiths ….”
It may sound wordy, but it could end up treating gunsmiths as gun manufacturers – and place onerous licensing and regulations on them, the NRA said.
“If merely working on a firearm means that a new firearm is manufactured, the GCA would prohibit return of the ‘new’ firearm to the owner without a background check, and, in the case of an owner who lives in another state, the ‘new’ firearm must first be transferred to a licensed dealer in the owner’s state of residence. On top of the GCA requirements, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations require anyone who manufacturers firearms to complete a costly annual registration. With all of these additional costs, some dealer-gunsmiths could be forced to abandon their current gunsmithing work.”
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