ATF Confiscating Drop In Auto Sears

By Jeff Knox

Registered Drop In Auto Sears, RDIAS
Registered Drop-In Auto-Sears, RDIAS ; ATF says this is a machinegun because it can be used to convert a gun into a machinegun – but it only works in guns that ATF says are already machineguns,,, So this device is illegal because it can convert a machinegun into a machinegun. IMG :

Manassas, VA –-( Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or ATF, have begun confiscating gun parts known as drop-in auto sears, or DIAS.

A DIAS is a simple toggle device which, when installed in an AR-type rifle, along with several other critical fire-control parts, can convert a semi-auto AR into a full-auto assault rifle. 

The devices were originally unregulated, but in 1981 ATF declared them to be machineguns if possessed in conjunction with the other parts needed to make a conversion, but the agency made their new determination apply only to DIAS’s manufactured after November 1, 1981.  Now ATF is apparently using the records of a man who openly sold the devices for decades to track down purchasers and take their property as contraband – with the real possibility of then prosecuting those people.

One of the reasons gun owners tend to be completely opposed to the passage of any new gun laws – no matter how innocuous or reasonable seeming – is the erratic history of interpretation and enforcement of the current gun laws.  This is also why I cringe every time I hear someone who supposedly supports gun rights – from politicians to the head of the NRA – calling for the feds to “enforce the laws already on the books.” The fact is, the gun laws that are already on the books are a labyrinth of confusion and booby-traps full of open-ended mandates, ambiguous definitions, and unbridled bureaucratic discretion.  Many innocent people have had their lives and livelihoods completely destroyed when federal agencies have decided to “enforce the laws already on the books.”

The law that was on the books up until 1981 said that a DIAS was just a chunk of metal unless it, along with at least 3 other “full-auto” parts, was actually installed in a gun without prior ATF approval.  Then in 1981, ATF bureaucrats, at their own discretion and under their own authority, redefined them as machineguns, but in their decree, they included the following exception:

“With respect to the machinegun classification of the auto sear under the National Firearms Act, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 7805(b), this ruling will not be applied to auto sears manufactured before November 1, 1981.  Accordingly, auto sears manufactured on or after November 1, 1981, will be subject to all the provisions of the National Firearms Act, and 27 C.F.R. Part 179.”

For the following 30+ years, it was widely understood that any DIAS manufactured prior to November 1, 1981, was “grandfathered”  and not subject to the rules regulating machineguns, and that it could be legally possessed so long as the possessor did not also possess either an AR15 rifle into which the auto sear could be installed, or the other necessary M16 conversion parts.  The belief in the legality of DIAS possession was so prevalent that a variety of sources continued publicly selling drop-in auto sears that they claimed were manufactured before ATF’s arbitrary cutoff date.  Such DIAS’s were widely known as “Pre-81 Drop-In Auto Sears” and were routinely advertised in various firearms publications and on-line auction sites.

In 1986, the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act was passed with an amendment forbidding the future civilian transfer of any machinegun manufactured after May 19, 1986.  There was also a provision strengthening the definition of machinegun to include any part designed or intended exclusively for the purpose of converting a gun into a machinegun.  These two provisions meant that possession of a DIAS – even without a gun to put it in or the other needed parts – was a felony, and that a DIAS could only be legally registered by someone specially licensed to manufacture machineguns for the military and law enforcement – and then could only be possessed by a military or law enforcement agency.

The belief that pre-81 DIAS’s were exempt continued in spite of a ruling in 1998 from the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit which declared that the ATF did not have the authority to “grandfather” or exempt pre-81 DIAS’s.  That determination was not widely reported, nor was there any apparent effort on the part of ATF to enforce the ruling.  In May of this year, the determination of the 7th Circuit was echoed, and expanded upon by judges in the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.  I wrote a column at the time warning that not only DIAS’s, but a variety of other firearms and devices that have long been understood to be fully legal, are actually completely illegal (at least in those Circuits) and that the owners of these devices everywhere are in jeopardy.

The fact that the same conclusion has been reached in two different Circuits means that it is very likely that the other Circuit Courts will follow the same line of reasoning and reject any claims of exemptions based on prior ATF determinations.

Now it appears that ATF might be endeavoring to expedite that process as I am aware of attempts by the agency to locate and confiscate pre-81 DIAS devices in the jurisdictions of both the 1st Circuit and the 3rd Circuit.

Thousands of people are now at extreme risk for possessing Drop in Auto sears that ATF has explicitly told them it is legal for them to have.

Confiscations of drop-in auto sears could be just the tip of the iceberg, as ATF could start going after other “grandfathered” items such as open-bolt MAC and KG type pistols, Browning “G Series” Light Rifles, and certain other guns and devices.  Anyone who owns one of these devices should seek qualified legal counsel immediately.  Anyone who is contacted by ATF inquiring about such devices should refer them to counsel and also contact The Firearms Coalition to let us know about it.

As I have said before, while the rhetoric surrounding gun control always talks about targeting criminals and public safety, the reality is that enforcement of these laws is always aimed at regular gun owners whose only crime is believing that they are committing no crime.

The target of gun control isn’t criminals, it’s us.  The objective of these laws is to make us criminals and make lawful gun ownership too difficult and dangerous to attempt.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit:

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I noticed everyone read it but noone is bringing up the fact that this is part of the NRA’s fault. Most gun owners are tricked or berated into believing they are fighting for your rights….. They are fighting for nothing expect to get richer. It sickens me to see gun shop owners and friends throw tons of money at the so called NRA only to see countless more gun laws passed. State after state falls to government gun grabs while more and more law abiding owners join and throw money at the NRA in a long lost hope that there… Read more »

Michael Z. Williamson

Yup. The NRA ASKED for bumpfire stocks to be banned, and then thousands of idiots “joined the NRA to protect our 2nd Amendment rights” which the NRA only cares about as a fundraising mechanism. They supported every major gun control push since and including 1934.


While I agree that the left’s position on gun control is completely out of control, the righr’s position is IMHO just as bad. Ant reasonable gun control action proposal is automatically trashed verbally as a violation of our 2nd Amendment rights. Do here is the question guys……… Can we as 2nd Amendment advocates come up with a list of changes that will meet the following criteria: 1. Create beneficial control over firearms used by “bad guys” to commit crimes while leaving law abiding gun owners alone. 2. Create a cohesive and comprehensive list of laws that do not contradict, subvert… Read more »


The 2nd nor the Constitution give us rights, rights are inherent and pre-existed government. The Constitution is the governments rule book to follow not mine, the Bill of Rights tells the government hands off! 1st …..make no law…. means exactly that . 2nd … shall not infringe… means just that, the 9th very clearly states rights are not all enumerated in the Bill of Rights. This government was instituted to protect rights not determine them or regulate them. This canard of “reasonable” or compromise is what has gotten us to the point that these people think they have the power… Read more »


do any of you boyes remember 2014 post-sandy hook? the fight in the senate over gun control, semi auto rifles and 30 rd magazines? has your memory gone THAT LAME?
if not for the nra and their intense pressure on legislatures, that bill would have passed and likely same same in the house and we would all be dreaming of the good ol days. the nra may not be perfect but it is our strongest allie in this never ending battle for freedom and preservation of our second amendment. fact.


I bought an AR 15 – steel body – autosear in 1980. It has no serial numbers – never been put together. Still in package. I just found it after all these years.

I bought then because I knew it couldn’t be confiscated once bought – “grandfathered” (I was hoping to eventually buy an AR 15 but could never afford). Now I would like to sell. Is my autoseat not only worthless but also a potential legal liability?

John Rowe

Greetings; If when America was under the charter of the Netherlands for the West Indies company 1789, and a charter with a constitution and not a country was operating as if was a country, you where legal to buy and own one. Now that the left and last the screwed up Masons with Mason supporting President(s) (CEO) by unlawful Presidential Policy is forcing you people under Socialism, then because the IMF and UN and Pope is usurping America, the Private government has changed you by conversion into a Security purse string and you go into the Private jails to sit… Read more »


john rowe… i suggest you see your doc a.s.a.p.
those meds you’re on, they aint workin’.

David Scott Hernandez Jr

RED contact me [email protected]


pre 81s do have a legal purpose.
the owner a regisistered lower can pull the GI sear and install the drop-in to prevent wear and tear on the sear pin hole and their expensive investment. it will need to be timed though as dodson made the trip oversized for a reason.


I buy it off you I have a license to own let me know how much and I will give you my Stamp card and documents of the Bull shit tax stamp I paid a bit embarrassed about how much I pay yearly but if it has no serial number I think you mite not be able do unless you have receipts and documents you mite just keep it as a paper weight but let me know

Joshua Bressel

I’d definitely buy from you, and assume the risk.


Reference the picture of the golden looking DIAS. A registered DIAS is a registered machine gun. It can legally be installed in any number of AR-15 host type guns because no modification to the serial numbered receiver is required. There’s nothing all that special about it. The same is true for lightning links, FNC sears and other devices made and registered before ’86 that can be used to make certain specified guns fire full-auto. The device is not illegal because it doesn’t convert anything – by definition, the RDIAS IS THE MACHINEGUN!


Here’s where you’re wrong. . . What you say actually makes sense, and that’s wrong, because Government. Boom I just burned your petunias!


I work for the Government myself and so does my brother. right before I started the job he told me “one thing you got to know about the government is that if it makes sense you’re doing it wrong” which confused me at first but I now understand what he was saying and what you said reminded me of that


Don’t forget about the UZI slotted bolts that IMI used to make. These slotted uzi bolts were just drop in type of conversion items that transformed any semi-auto UZI into a full auto UZI SMG model. Functioned in theory similar to the DIAS for AR rifles. Nowadays though the last time I saw a registered slotted UZI bolt for sale on it was selling at over $11,000 bucks and had over 40 bids on it. I don’t own an UZI but if I did I’d try to get one of those FA bolts. I have only seem a handful… Read more »

David Ackley

I can’t begin to tell you how sick this makes me, all gun bans are a complete infringement of of rights. I’m a law abiding citizen with a full time job and a productive member of our once great society. I feel these gun bans are just obscene. If I want to buy an assault rifle or parts like drop in auto sears I should be allowed. A guns a gun!!! Regardless if it has full-auto capability. I feel I need to step up and be heard. The only way to be able to even be within throwing distance of… Read more »

Scott R

I totally agree with you David. Tired of even having to see this kind of crap in the news, on the web, et al. Some day everything will be made right.

Dan R

That day may be coming sooner than you thought. These bureaucrats should start looking behind them because the swamp they work in is starting to drain out. I would hate to see them loose their high paying jobs and huge pensions but worse things have happened to those of us who are not government employees. The people rule in America. These g-men are about to re-learn that. I really hope it does not hurt them too much. Well, maybe just a little. Stay tuned folks. Plenty will be happening very soon.

Wild Bill

R, The people don’t rule in America. That is the struggle, right now! Bureaucracies have been given power to make “rules with the force and effect of law. So Congress is not necessary. Bureaucracies levy their own fines, have arms like the military, and lots of people that don’t recognize the Constitution. So the judiciary is not necessary. And they ignore the chief executive and plan his overthrow. So he is just an annoyance. If we can not fire them, then we are no longer in charge.


Some of these comments are sounding a bit like threats, and that can draw you into a world you don’t want to be in, if you really want to fully understand the constitution or an individual amendment you have to research the word meaning at the time of the writing of that amendment , because language and word meaning does evolve , in order to to roll back the laws someone has to be willing to go to jail, have a competent attorney and a complete understanding of the constitution and the potential consequences of the endeavor they are under… Read more »


Aren’t we all, f*** our laws and f*** the morons that support these laws. Criminals still get to play with the toys while we law abiding citizens are stuck paying for their actions.

Wild Bill

A, I agree with everything that you wrote, except the word “allowed”. You already have that Civil Right that is recognized, enumerated, and espoused by the highest law in the U.S.
That every branch and level of government would be ignoring that law was a thought that never occurred to the founders. First we have to help drain our part of the swamp by sending a whole new Congress, of non-party-hacks to DC.


Not to mention the fact that per the constitutional law, our gun rights are endowed on us by “GOD” we as the people then give up some of those rights for protection by the state and federal systems in theory, but in practice the federal and state institutions act like they give us our 2nd am rights as a privilege, when in fact they are a right. The whole of the US is a**backwards, it’s not the same country as it was 30 years ago, everyone thinks the government is there to help, when in fact you can read about… Read more »


Remind me, how many times does “God” appear in the Constitution?

Joshua Bressel

I have a RDIAS, and thanks to a broken trigger pin, the sear hinge got notched. It isn’t working well, anymore. Does anyone know where I could go, to get the part repaired/replaced? I’d rather just send the hinge, pin, and spring, than have to deal with nightmare transfers of the body.

MADD Madd Maxx

Try Brownells for parts


A.T.F.& E. changed their own rules on the DIAS & then busted a guy in Detroit who sold them at Gun Shows & in SHOTGUN NEWS . I bought from the Detroit guy & had the agents tracking me down in upper Michigan who threatened me with the old Federal Warrant – Federal Prison Time & a whopper fine,because I had a machine gun part-really I dont have a machine gun. Just AR rifles in different caliber’s!!


I didn’t know that about pre 81 DIAS.. hers what I ponder though… what would be the point if wining an auto seat that you couldn’t own a gun that it could be used in. Is there any way around that or paperwork/taxes that could allow you to use the pre 81 sear in something?


Nope its basically worthless as you cannot legally use it for what it was made for. Just a legally questionably paper weight is about all the redeaming quality it has.

Walt Reinheardt

Good grief, Vito Vitale. I’m not sure what it was about, but THAT was some rant. =)

privateer 1776

Study the history of the English colonies on the North American continent that happened on April 19th, 1775. The day soon cometh that this “history” shall repeat itself. As the good book says, “Let those who have been warned warn their neighbors”. Keep yer powder dry folks……


I ordered one of the auto sears, 3 weeks ago, haven’t got it yet. Maybe I should send it back when it comes in, and not open the package . I do not want to go to jail for a hobby. Looks like if it was a federal crime to own them. how can a person make and sell them and not get arrested ? Maybe we are getting the Chicken Little complex.

thomas schubert

hi jeff, thank you and everyone who gave me help with my dias problem i did speak with the lawyer you sugesteted but i found one close to me and very inexpensive, when i talk with him this week i will ask if its ok to give out his info on the site he has amost simple solution , thanks again tom


If you’re really worried about having your DIAS then simply stop telling everyone about it, and throw it out in the trash. Problem is solved. It really is that simple.

Alan Winquist

A couple years back I pulled into my pad(3 mi out of town) & a black suburban with govt. tag’s zoomed in behind me. Two ATF & E agents jump out just like in a movie and they have paperwork on everything Ive done for years. Then its we know you bought an DIASS from guy in Detroit through Shot Gun NEWS.then if I dont cooperate theyre getting s Federal Search Warrant & Im looking at arrest-whopper fine & like 5-10 yr. vacation. So not wanting my pad searched I have my moment of clarity & surrender my DIASS-which they… Read more »

Baboo Bot

That happened

Woody W Woodward

“Reasonable” regulations stand as the most serious threats to our liberties. Free speech zones … carry permits … Firearm owner identification cards … ATF regulations … ad nauseum.

Every instance of a government’s abusive act directed toward a citizen or group of citizens of that government has been deemed justified and has been accomplished by “due process” through the implementation of “reasonable” regulations.

Every dang one of us has got to learn to say, “I’ve had Enough! I refuse to comply!” The feds do not have enough jail cells or thugs to force compliance.


dude I sold that weapon years ago……..!


from the trunk of my car, for cash, in the mall parking lot, to people that I don’t know

Wild Bill

I lost it in a poker game to some guy that said he worked for some government agency.

Michael Z. Williamson

Mine sank in the lake when my boat overturned.


paine,I agree !


“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…”


ALL gun laws are anti-constitutional and should be repealed. Anti-2nd amendment creep! ATF, DHS, should be defunded and inactivated. I agree with B.Woodman!

Thom Paine

Shame on the man who sold these for not having his “records” spontaneously combust in a wastebasket!


lmmfao agree complety.


that sear 12.777 oakson,legal pre- 19-05-86

Vito Vitale

I only have one thing to say. The Fed’s can’t control their own activities. They handed millions in Machine Guns over to the gun Cartel that’s to the sliminess of Eric Holder. Read about his past and Obama’s and you’ll see why we have a statue of MLK being patronized even to the point of being a Deity. Here we have a ma that ran with a Black Panther Type group. He was responsible for holding up a section of the Columbia U area for over a week carrrying of all things in NYC but a pistol and he gets… Read more »


Id like to hear more


Man your a retard . You remind me of drug dealers on meth that won’t shut up . Your not that interesting and nobody cares about your life story skank!


You spell bad.. You used “your” instead of you’re, two times.. And you called him a retard

Shay brocato

Yeah “your” right and “your” a libtard! Hahahahha


Spoken like a true piece of broccoli.


So you’ve been close enough to a meth dealer to know how they sound? Man, you need a different set of associates…..


holder handed over Millions of weapons? good gawd, man. leave the derp behind. you know nothing but drivel.
fast and furious allowed a few hundred to slip through…. maybe a thousand…. before being shut down.

B Woodman

From looking at the picture above, the drop in auto sear looks fairly simple. Maybe something that can be produced with the new 3D printer technology, or easily turned out as an “80%” part on a CNC machine.
Flood the market. Render the BATFEces artitrary decision useless. Scare the Big Gubbment gun grabbers out of their panties.

Michael Z. Williamson

Or made with a rifle and drill….

Michael Z. Williamson

File. Made with a file. I have no idea how that changed in typing.


Like the author, it makes me cringe to here, ” enforce the laws already on the books.” The best thing is to catch the criminals and not the good guys. A good guy is always a good guy, no matter what he owns. As former military & law enforcement, someone hunting with 5 shells in a shot gun was no big deal to me. He can feed in a shell after each time he fires anyway and that is a dumb law. Now some criminal killing people with 5 in the chamber is a big deal. There is a fine… Read more »


I couldnt agree more.prohibition only tends to increase the profitability of putting weapons into the hands of the people it is supposed to prevent possessing them.


HUGE POINT! Even the threat of banning something instantly drives the prices of even the lowest quality rifles up 1,000% in some cases nearly overnight. Banning creates the largest black market with profit margins trumping illegal drugs I believe. I remember shooting just about every weekend in my teens and early 20’s in a very popular place in the desert by a large wash. Never really saw anyone with AK’s or SKS etc. But if I did I knew they paid for say the SKS maybe $89 (Norinco’s were back then). The laws (at least in AZ and probably the… Read more »

haydar al-assadi

Hi how are you I would like to order the following item;
Product Drop-In Auto-Sears ,I am a member of NCRRA in Ottawa,Canada
how much is it cast $ To canada.please don’t hesitate to contact me
thank you

Haydar Al-assadi