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.
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 www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. 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 www.crumpy.com.