WASHINGTON D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)-The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has halted all issuances of new opinion letters to any company submitting samples for “non-firearms” items.
JSD Supply sent an email to the ATF inquiring about its request for an opinion letter from The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) about its new unfinished Smith and Wesson M&P, CZ Scorpion Evo, and Sig Sauer p365 products. The ATF informed the company that FATD will not be issuing any new letters on unfinished receivers and frames until the final decision to implement or not to implement the new proposed ATF rules that the agency submitted to the Federal Registry.
The Biden administration has tasked the ATF with writing and implementing new regulations on unfinished frames and receivers, which the administration refers to as “ghost guns.” The administration also has given the same order to the ATF regarding pistol stabilizing braces. Most gun rights advocates claim that these moves are to get around Congress and make de facto new gun control laws. They view the ATF as an out-of-control government agency.
Unfinished receivers and pistol stabilizing brace have never been illegal in the Country. Even before the founding of the Nation, colonists have been making their own homemade firearms. The ATF has consistently pushed back against groups and States that demanded that the ATF require serialization of these unfinished frames and receivers. California and other states have sued the ATF over the definition of a firearm which these items do not fall into under current rules. The States believes that these items that are often referred to as “80%s” should be serialized.
Anti-gun groups also pushed to have unfinished frames and receivers serialized. Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords have demanded the ATF to change the regulations regarding unfinished frames and receivers. Both groups have employed Biden’s ATF Director nominee, David Chipman. Chipman has been a vocal opponent of 80% receivers and pistol stabilizing devices.
Even some so-called “pro-gun advocates” have fed into the anti-gun propaganda against unfinished frames and receivers. As reported in AmmoLand, Eagle Arms banned JDS Supply from all the Eagle Arms gun shows in Pennsylvania. Kim Stolfer, President of Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC), even demanded that unfinished receivers not be sold “in certain neighborhoods” and that cash sales be banned so there would be a paper trail. He also had a run-in with JSD Supply at a gun show, telling the employee that they “did not have a soul” and worked behind the scenes with anti-gun state representative Amen Brown which the organization gives a B+ on gun rights.
Rep Brown worked with Eagle Arms to ban the sale of unfinished frames at their shows. He has taken a hard line against the items. He has also co-sponsored a bill that would require firearms training classes before Pennsylvania allows a person to buy a gun. Kim Stolfer told me that the organization gave a B+ to Amen Brown to see if we would report it. As of this writing, he still has a B+ with FOAC.
The final opinion letter FATD issued was for an unfinished SCAR-17 receiver. AmmoLand News does not have any information on what company submitted the unfinished SCAR-17 receiver. The rest of the companies now awaiting letters from the ATF are currently sitting in limbo. Some companies submitted their items for examination over a year ago and have not gotten a response.
Realistically the delay will add at least six months for FATD to issue an opinion letter. Still, the wait time will increase dramatically if whatever version of the new rule goes into effect. The ATF asks all companies that currently hold FATD opinion letters for unfinished frames and receivers to resubmit their items for examination. The ATF is also requesting any company that sells a firearm with a pistol brace to resubmit its sample. That would mean 100s if not 1000s of samples that FATD would have to work through.
Some in the gun community see these ATF moves as a way of stifling the firearms market by creating an artificial bottleneck. Others believe that this is FATD trying to prevent duplication of work. No matter what one thinks, the reason for the stoppage is the comment period is open, and readers can submit their thoughts about the new rules to the Federal Registry.
The ATF did not respond to a request for comment.
About John Crump
John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. 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 can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.