Semi-automatic AA-12 Shotgun Reclassified As A Machine Gun Due To Markings?

Update: Read the statement from Sol Invictus Arms about the ATF’s letters to seize the Semi-Auto AA-12 Shotgun’s produced by BC Engineering.

Famed AA-12 Shotgun is Now Available for Civilian Consumption
Famed AA-12 Shotgun

Washington, D.C.The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have started seizing semi-automatic versions of the AA-12 shotguns for being a “machinegun.”

Owners of these shotguns started receiving letters from the ATF demanding they turn in their firearm immediately. The ATF told the owners that they are violating the National Firearms Act by having these “unregistered machine guns” in their possession.

The civilian version of the AA-12 is a magazine-fed semi-automatic shotgun much like other semi-automatics on the market. The firearm fires one shot when the user pulls the trigger. The user can not convert the gun into its military only cousin.

According to the ATF letter given to owners of the firearms, the manufacture’s markings on the semi-automatic version of the AA-12 were not accurate. Somehow this makes a semi-automatic gun a fully automatic machine gun.

The letter read: “ATF has determined that the markings on the AA-12 are not accurate, and the manner which the markings were placed is not in compliance with federal law. It is the ATF’s responsibility to retrieve this AA-12 machine gun. ATF seeks your cooperation in immediately surrendering to the ATF the AA-12 in your possession. Additional information regarding your opportunity to file a civil claim for this firearm will be provided.”

The letter left owners scratching their heads. Many wondered how a mismarking could lead to a reclassification of the shotgun to a machine gun. Some on the internet theorized that the receiver as the problem. They thought the receivers of the semi-automatic version and the automatic version were too similar.

AmmoLand News reached out to our contacts in the media division of the ATF to get answers. To our surprise, they did not have a reason on file as to why the ATF reclassified the semi-automatic AA-12 as a machine gun. Our contact didn’t think it had to do with the receiver. He points out if that were the case, the ATF would classify every AR-15 as a machine gun.

He did report that the position of the marking on the AA-12 made them easily removable and it seemed to be the reason, but he thought this shouldn’t have made the designation of the semi-automatic shotgun into a machine gun.

AmmoLand News contacted Division Counsel-Nashville Jennifer Crim through email. She didn’t answer us directly, but she did pass on our information to public information officer Michael Knight.

Knight confirmed that it is due to the markings on the AA-12 but did not have any further information than what was in the letter.

Our ATF source confirms in the Tech Branch told AmmoLand News that an ATF lawyer decided to reclassify the semi-automatic AA-12 as a machine gun based on the markings. It seems that the Tech Branch had very little to no input into the decision.

Gun rights advocates worry that if the ATF can reclassify a semi-auto shotgun as a machine gun, then it opens the door to the ATF randomly reclassifying other guns.

With the bump stock ban, it seems like the ATF is changing long-accepted definitions to enact new pseudo laws.

UPDATED ******* ATF updated me today again just after publishing. They stated that their lawyers looked at the receiver and it was identical to the automatic in semi-automatic version, but the decision did not come from the tech branch.

AmmoLand reached out to Sol Invictus Arms for comment, but the company has temporarily disconnected their numbers and have not returned our emails.

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at John has written extensively on the patriot movement, including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rock R

If the manufacturer did something wrong in the construction process then they should have to fix it… The BATFE should be contacting them not the owners and not demanding anything…. Write your Senator, Congressman, President, 2A Associations and get this kind of abuse by the BATFE stopped …. If they don’t get someone to stop them, there will be a lot more of it… Or you can be a “test case” and try to shoot it out with the Government …. Be a great way to “TEST” the waters…. For all you who don’t vote in elections, you are the… Read more »


Much my lament also. America has LOST the culture war over the past fifty-odd years. The fault can be seen in every reflection from those bathroom mirrors in every American’s home. As you say, our path to destruction has been ‘voted’ for by less than 50% of the voting age public! You can bet ALL of the LOUDEST voices for craziness are not missing the opportunity to vote, and even vote for the dead!


I’m old and don’t remember if I ever owned one of them AA-whatevers. And if by some chance I did I have no idea where it might be.


Duck hunting on the lake, one year, I lost that thing overboard in a very deep section. Thought about going back and diving for it, but have since forgotten what lake or state the lake was in??


This would be a good time for every AA12 owner to have lost their gun in an unfortunate boating accident.


But that would be a lie…. and prosecutable. Simply stash the thing somewhere on your land or some other trusted person’s, not knowing WHAT you are stashing there….. then when they come round to seize it, advise them “it is no longer in my possession”, which it is not. When/if they demand proof, tell them “you will have to develop that information on your own”. Cite the fifth, protection from being forced to provide evidence against yourself….. =you are NOT required to tell them a thing. Stand your ground. Let THEM fire the shots, and unless they KNOW in whose… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Tio, I would not stash it on my property because that would constitute constructive possession. Then your words would also be a chargeable, intentional deception. The agencies use drone borne LIDAR, now, so that even big properties are not beyond their search capability.
Yeah, I would not converse with them beyond “Do you have a warrant? I have a right to see it. My lawyer tells me not to talk to you”

Ryben Flynn

Just like the bump stock thing. Administratively and Illegally rewrote the 85 year old Law’s definition of a machine gun. If they wanted them banned, then it is up to Congress to do so by Legislation passed by both the House and Senate and signed into Law by the President.
Declaring a piece of plastic a machine gun now makes any rifle that could use a bump stock “readily converted” to a machine gun, the precurser to banning ARs and AKs.


Hmmm. I thought all 4473 forms were retained at the place of purchase by the FFL? Only upon the permanent shut down of the business did the FFL have to turn in all his 4473’s and other inventory records to the ATF. So that begs the question, how does the ATF know who has an AA-12?

Just another alphabet agency, making regulations with the force of law, that needs to be DISSOLVED.


I have been saying this will happen since the “bump-stock ban”. It’s a machine and it’s a gun, therefore it’s a machine gun. Where is the NRA?


Have any of these been used in nefarious activity?
Not to my knowledge. And how does the ATF even know who owns one? Isn’t keeping a gun registration list in violation of Federal law?


“Where is the NRA?”



That’s my point.


Wow now they teach firearms design in LAW SCHOOL. Who would have thought that?


The ONLY reason for the BATF is to limit American’s access to firearms, deny Rights and push the communist agenda. That is, YOU are a slave and should be glad you are alive, not worrying about owning arms. REMEMBER, it is unconstitutional and illegal for ANY list or registration of gun owners. Yet, BATF knows exactly who owns these shotguns. Our Rights are denied and Americans fight over the scraps the government “allows” us to have. In a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, the PEOPLE are the rulers, not any government. The PEOPLE created the governments as servants, NOT masters. More than 115… Read more »


The Dick Act was the beginning of the end of this country being run by the people. The Federal Reserve act was the sealing of the coffin. Voting has become a total joke and I have no idea why ANYONE votes anymore. We will soon be voting with the bullet box. We WILL revitalize the militias one way or another. We WILL Show them who are the rulers. We out number them thousands to one. I have no idea why we put up with any of their crap down to the local level with “property taxes” on our own paid… Read more »

Wild Bill

@CL, What you suggest would take organization, secure comms, and logistics. We have none of those.


Mild Bill, you have already surrendered. Kneel, slave, kneel.


I want you to look at all the DOWN VOTES from the COWARDS that litter this site with whining and complaining. If ANYONE talks about Freedom, the knives come out along with the down votes. Because in reality, the COWARDS on this site love their beer, Cheetos and tapping on their phones MORE than their Freedom.
Cowardice is why we are at this juncture in history.

Wild Bill

@Muneco, The BATFE was created by a memo written by a past Sec. Treas., unlike most federal agencies, which were created by an act of Congress. Therefore, BATFE can be eliminated completely by another memo from the current Sec.Treas.


Indeed, I too have questioned how the government can pass laws and and do a great many other questionable things that are completely Unconstitutional with no uprising by the people to protect their rights. Ever since I was a kid and I could only come to one conclusion in my mind even before I became an adult. I believe there’s a good explanation for my questioning this, my father. Every generation since sometime after WWII has become more and more pussified and has become way too comfortable with loosing our rights. I’ve seen so many laws passed in my lifetime… Read more »


Wyoming loves American Patriots. No state income tax, either.


Rgr that! That 2018 election(?) abomination is prime proof of the LIE that Americans are NOT stupid! Those making up that esteemed, evolved, educated, intelligent American Electorate, to which ‘none’ of those descriptives apply, are completely STUPID. More ignorant and stupid are those Americans(?) sitting on their hands and NOT participating in what is supposed to be a Republic! Please explain how SMART it was to return responsibility for anything more complicated than “Toilet Overflow Watch” to the likes of Pelosick or Scrumer? “We The Serfs” have ‘allowed’ the dumbing down of our children, over the decades, that it is… Read more »


I want you to look at all the DOWN VOTES from the COWARDS that litter this site with whining and complaining. If ANYONE talks about Freedom, the knives come out along with the down votes. Because in reality, the COWARDS on this site love their beer, Cheetos and tapping on their phones MORE than their Freedom.
Cowardice is why we are at this juncture in history.


This is the first salvo in Illegal Weapons Confiscation and y’all are just turning inyour weapons like lil’ sissy Suzie RottenCrotches.

It’s a violation of the 2nd Amendment. Folks y’all know the BATF is a rogue agency is unconcerned with your rights and freedoms.

Pretty soon all your guns’ll be gone and they’ll be installing cameras in your homes. Watching your family do everything. They’ll be arresting you and sending you to prison on nonsense charges when they feel like it cuz y’all gave up ya guns like sheep. No worries, y’all a bunch a pansies anyhow.


George Orwell wrote “1984” as a warning.
Anti-American communist democrats use it as a ‘How To’ book.

Xaun Loc

If “identical receiver” is the standard, then all AR’s are the next to go.


AR receivers are terrifically different than their full-auto cousins.
Only with a specially made jig, a host of special parts, and enough knowledge is conversion even remotely possible.


Xaun loc,
I believe that if they acted on something as foolish as that it would be the breaking point for many firearm owners, the reason is not many people own the AA-12 but Every Gun owner owns at least one AR15…


BATFE makes laws? You betcha! Congress is the only body authorized by the Constitution to make laws. Administrative law, which is what BATFE and all other Federal agencies use, is unconstitutional. This latest “ruling” by BATFE is the latest abuse of the Constitution by the Federal government. A Federal agency (usually some high level do-nothing bureaucrat with a Federal job) decides that a new law or regulation is needed and writes it up and has it published in the Federal Register. After a limited amount of time, public comments are collected (which are routinely ignored) and the new law or… Read more »

Wild Bill

@JPM, yes you are talking about the Administrative Procedures Act, ( APA) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs), which are “not law, but have the force and effect of law.” FDR double talk.


Just a question. How was the ATF obtaining the information for who owned these shotguns? Unless they have some ‘special’ access, this is the law as I know it: Records of successful transactions are kept for 24 hours. In other words, if you submit the paperwork to buy a firearm and the background check is submitted to their database, it’s only retained for 24 hours before being deleted. NOTE that “deleted” in 24 hours part! IF you weren’t denied. However, the number of transactions and the date(s) are kept on file for 90 days. Again, background checks are accomplished through… Read more »


During the Obama regime ATF agents were routinely photocopying 4473s during periodic visits to FFLs.


Your question was answered below, I have copied and pasted for your convenience.

Simple process. The ATF contacts manufacture, who supplies list of distributors these firearms were ordered by and shipped to. They then send audit agents out to the distributors to see which dealers ordered, and from there, the agents view the dealers transfer book, at this point gaining info as to who the firearm was sold to, along with address.


It’s very simple. Manufacturers supply list of distributors that purchased firearms. Distributors supply lists of shops that purchased firearms. Gunships have all the yellow forms stored going back 20yrs, by law. Pull those forms, call the owners. With the AA12, there aren’t that many owners, it’s not a high volume item, so easier to do.


“He points out if that were the case, the ATF would classify every AR-15 as a machine gun.” ???? Really? Guess what. That is exactly what they will do if the bureaucrats at ATF have their way. Just you watch and see.


There is a reason that the BATFE is considered the employer of those who couldn’t get on with any other DOJ Bureau or Agency.


Latest ATF application question. What is your IQ? If the answer is above 80 please let the examiner know so you can be disqualified by you score.


Simple process. The ATF contacts manufacture, who supplies list of distributors these firearms were ordered by and shipped to. They then send audit agents out to the distributors to see which dealers ordered, and from there, the agents view the dealers transfer book, at this point gaining info as to who the firearm was sold to, along with address. This matter may be resolved once and for all with Guedes, et al vs ATF, assuming the Supremes grant Certiorari relative to the bump stock matter. The main question the Court is asked to rule upon, does the rule of lenity… Read more »

Wild Bill

@John Dunlap, One of the members of my church falls short of her hay needs every winter. I provide hay for her rescues. If I asked her to store a pistol, shotgun, or 155 mm SP, she’d do it. Nothing would ever lead a law enforcement agency to her door.
I am sure that we all have neighbors, relatives, or friends in Texas that would do the same for each of us.


Well said!


“Go to the gun store, obtain form 4473…” But the feds just check the instant check records.


I’ve heard my FFL on the phone. He will say, pistol, rifle, shotgun, receiver, but never any other description. It has to be the 4473 forms.


We have had Firearms registration for many years..the truth is finally coming out..the federal government is now proving it can unconstitutionally steel your firearms..without just compensation… the next Target will be all shoulder brace pistol weapons.. by The strokes of a pen they will be reclassified as short barreled rifles in the near future..

Old Ch.E.

Reckon ol’ Sheila JL has one of these too?


Layers? Often a very untrustworthy group.

I Thought it was illegal to remove markings. Wrong markings on coins make them MORE VALUABLE collectors items.

Law is just words, even the Constitution and SCOTUS is just words. Far too many people don’t honor meanings, intent or history.


We have to get more Red Robes on the Supreme court!! A literate normal American who has received a high school diploma is the only qualification required to sit on the SC! Too many lawyers in government now. The only thing that needs to be done by the SC Judges is to compare the cases brought before them are those that violate the Constitution and disputes between the states!!! This crap of making case law is BS. Congress should be held accountable for ceding their law making to departments of the executive branch. If they won’t do the job we… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Colie, One need not even be a High School grad. Article III is silent regarding qualifications. Or we could go the other way and reduce the S. Ct. to one person and no staff. Then not fill the seat. Or we could reduce the entire federal judiciary to zero. Or we could dismiss judges for not living up to the “Term of Good Behavior” requirement.


Let’s face it. Some people at ATF cannot be accused of being smart. A lawyer made this decision? That proves my prior statement. Another point about ATF not being the brightest pixel on the screen is the bump stock ban. In this case, bump stocks should never have been approved becasue they do in fact convert a semi into full. All the hubbub would never have happened and 98% of the pissed off public would have never known about a bump stock or cared. All the gnashing of teeth is due to the ATF passing this add on accessory in… Read more »


Hey Frank, morning! Yes sir, I respectfully disagree with your analogy that bump stock converts a semi to full auto. My question to you please, have you fired a semi with a bump stock attached? The ATF correctly found for a decade that the current version of bump stocks do not convert a semi to full auto. Prior to that they was a version they did find allowed one trigger pull for continuous fire and of course gave a thumbs down. Consideration given with the current version was that the use of a bump stock required two hand operation (many… Read more »


I’m sorry you have that opinion but from what I know, you have based your opinion on falsities. First of all I have the original acceptance letter from the ATF giving approval for the manufacture, sale and installation of bump stocks. It states that some shooters with disabilities could find it useful and they didn’t see any reason that it should be prohibited. I’m paraphrasing here but that’s the gist of what it said. I have found no documents pertaining to a “prior version” that allowed only one finger control movement and a later one that required a movement for… Read more »


Frank, you are a dumbass who doesn’t know what he is talking about. It is time for you to go sit in the corner with your dunce hat on and suck your thumb.

Roland T. Gunner

I will disrespectfully say, you are a fucking idiot. Bump stocks in no wsy change a semi automatic rifle into a machinegun.