If Past Practice is Indicator, ATF Correspondence in Rare Breed Case Will Show Much

ATF has shown its determination in the past to get things to fail no matter what they had to add to them to make their case. (Screenshot: ATF “Test” Results Letter)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Discovery in the above case rendered these gems of ATF groupthink … Imagine what the discovery is going be like in the trigger case????” Historic Arms LLC firearms designer Len Savage posted on an AR15.com thread talking about the Rare Breed Trigger case. “It will not be pleasant for ATF as I suspect their own internal emails will damn them.”

For those who have not been following that story, ATF issued a cease-and-desist order to Rare Breed Triggers over its FRT-15 Trigger, claiming it is a machinegun. The company says it will not comply with the order and has filed a lawsuit.

The previous case Savage was referring to was when ATF classified one of his submitted designs as a machinegun but had to make some major “modifications” to do it:

“ATF has a long history of using zip ties to make machine guns…See for yourself,” he wrote elsewhere in the thread, providing links to an ATF response letter revealing how they arrived at that conclusion, with the “help” of zip ties, duct tape, and chain.

This was a revelation of ATF “testing” procedures I first covered on my The War on Guns blog in 2008, presenting correspondence with ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch, and noting:

In addition to going through contortions to declare his property a machine gun and then refusing to return it, they’ve assigned his design submissions to an agent whose testimony Savage challenged.

Further detail was presented in my 2009 report after ATF arrested Savage’s submission. As I noted at the time:

With that criteria, given enough added parts that are not part of the submitted design, I know a lot of people who could turn a banana into a machine gun.

Because Savage chose to fight back – and to not hold back on how ridiculous he found ATF’s methods to be – and because that had been the way he had dealt with in-your-face ATF absurdities in other cases, it’s clear that retaliation and “getting” him back was the Bureau priority.

But don’t take my word for it. Take what’s been documented in ATF internal correspondence.

“FTB has received a response from Historic Arms,” John R. Spencer of the FTB informed his colleagues. “Mr. Savage has declined our offer to register his machinegun.”

“Let the fun begin,” Gary N. Schaible replied. As an aside, but for context, he’s the ATFer who had to provide testimonial cleanup in 1996 for the head of the National Firearms Act Branch after he was caught on videotape essentially admitting to institutional perjury:

“Let me say that when we testify in court, we testify that the database is 100 percent accurate. That’s what we testify to, and we will always testify to that. As you probably well know, that may not be 100 percent true.”

“I almost feel bad for that dude sometimes,” Violent Crime Analysis Branch’s Daniel L. Pinckney wrote about Savage in an email to NFA Branch Specialist Ernest A. Lintner. “Almost.”

As an aside, it’s clear from multiple emails that Pinckney bore a personal animosity to Savage, and from the tone of this and subsequent statements, it’s not unreasonable to infer an unfulfilled “You will respect my authoritah!” undercurrent going on.

“He is setting up a good case for a retaliation case though,” Pinkney had to admit. “The more he testifies as an ‘expert’ against ATF, and the more he gets hammered by FTB for anything he submits, the better his case gets for a civil suit at some point.”

“I wonder sometimes if we don’t ‘manufacture’ a firearm in the process of getting it to work,” Lintner acknowledged. “That is if someone in the public were to be caught with that rig, would we want them charged with manufacturing? I bet yes.”

“I remember seeing the pictures once before. I do think Len is an ass, and he deserves everything he has brought on himself, but if we/they have to stoop to that level to reject one of his projects, does it make us any better than him?” Pinckney responded, again showing personal hostility toward a citizen standing up for his rights against what the analyst knew, legally and morally, to be wrong. “If anything the zip ties, chain, and metal plate should be the illegal conversion device. 😊 ” [He actually ended his email with a smiley face icon.]

“I agree – if we alter course one way or the other based on who submits it, then the tail is wagging the dog – and in a case like this one manufacturer could use the agency to damage or wreck marketplace competitors,” Lintner replied.

“The emails shown are an internal commentary of what was going down,” Savage tells me.  “Pickney and Lintner were equivalent to baseball commentators in that they were not playing the game or calling the shots, but they were reporting on the ball in play with color commentary.

“It shows the cold, callous math of folks who depend on the Department of Just-Us for a paycheck,” Savage notes. “They were just calling it as they saw it.”

It also shows how the “us vs. them” worldview results in a “team player” mentality and hostility toward “the other side,” even among functionaries not directly involved. It’s not hard to imagine those whose “professional judgments” are being publicly challenged, and whose careers can be affected by “losses,” are even more vested in winning at all costs (and resentful of vocal challengers).

Rare Breed Triggers’ Lawrence DeMonico has not been shy about standing up for himself in no uncertain terms, and in doing so has exposed the Bureau’s decision-making as political and worse.  You can bet those he won’t just roll over for are taking that personally.

Savage is right. Discovery should produce some revealing examples of that.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

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I fully support DeMonico and Rare Breed!!! The ATF is out of control and this stuff needs to reach the public eye. I am contributing to his defense fund and encourage everyone else to chip in as well. Maybe this will finally be what tips things back towards freedom for the 2A.


Link? thanks


yea, i wish they would grow up.


You’re against asking for a link to the defense fund?


I defy you to name even one government agency that is NOT out of control!


the US Mint? All they do is MAKE the money. Others figure out how to mess things up once it leaves their factory.

I know, I’m trying to float an LED screw in light bulb….. almost have it off the ground, maybe.


Buster . . . Well, you have a point there.


D_D ‘ ‘ ‘ You gotta’ link on that defense fund?

Ansel Hazen

I goggled whatever I could think of and turned up nothing.
Certainly a good idea though, I mean think of the ROI vs all the cash squandered by the NRA.


The trigger isn’t a machine gun, the zip tie maybe! Lol


Damnit. I’ll have to throw away 5000 machine guns today. 🙁


rubber bands have already been declared “machine guns”. They work kinda like the lmythical bumpstock


Good God, BUB!


This makes me remember that film “Flight of the Phoenix, the WW ll aicraft downed somewhere in Africa, and the crew managed to salvge enough of it to make it fly again. After being given up for lost they appeared in that conraption as if back from the dead. SUre, Hollywood had to mush it up and get a bit crazy for the film, but the reality is those guys took what was left, modified, repurposed, etc, to make something that resembled the plane that crashed, and functioined well enough to limp outta there. But BATF are more like a… Read more »




seems like this is going to be an interesting case. on one side you have a lying government agency, manufacturing a semi-automatic firearm into a machinegun and demonstrating bias and attempted bullying because a citizen stands up for their rights. and on the other side you have a law-abiding citizen designing something without government permission.
discovery is going to be a itchy b.


How is it that the criminality of these supposed agents of the Executive branch doesn’t activate a prosecution hammer that crushes all their individual lives, as well as crippling their corrupt and unconstitutional agency?


Cause dey’s the da’ govment!


Glad that Rare Breed is taking a stand and not packing up and running like Slide Fire….


JLS . . . ” . . . in which the governments authority lies in the consent of the governed.” Someone needs to impress that statement on our United States government. They really have not gotten the message.


So how do we get the next honestly elected president to send ATFE back to the Stone Age?


How do we get an honestly elected president with the Democrat fraud machine in place? Plus the millions of new Democrat voters they are going to make with instant citizenship for the illegals that are here and more they are inviting in. A citizen must have a negative Covid test to return to this country, but they are scattering 100,000’s of illegals with Covid across the country, insuring another major outbreak and lock down.


Your vision is 20/20. Three birds with one rock.
Millions of new voters
destabilise our economic and social fabric
more excuses to ban guns




So far, none of them including Ronald Reagan, had cojones big enough to go up against the BATFE! So., I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any commander-in-chief to do anything about the ATF!


Dumbschart post. POTUS is CEO of the USA. Halting ATF’s unconstitutional, illegal acts is not ‘being a dictator’. Just the opposite, and it’s his duty.


Well how about we go back to the Constitutional Republic we had before instead of the Oligarchy we now live under in this country!


Better get a face shield ready for Schart’s reply. He hates republics.

Ansel Hazen

The next honestly INSTALLED President is going to have a lot more to do than just make the ATF go away.


I hope Mr. DeMonico prevails in his lawsuit against the ATFE. They deserve to have the door SLAMMED in their face! They are a rogue agency who will do ANYTHING to make the rules read like they want them at the time. DEFUND THE ATF!!!

Henry Bowman

ATF needs abolished. Full stop.

Last edited 1 year ago by Henry Bowman

Where’s NSSF? Back the big guy, let their ATF ‘pards’ F the small guy?

Shoot! I’m a machinegun if I take enough viagra!

Last edited 1 year ago by Russn8r

The BATFE needs to be completely desolved, because it serves no other purpose then to persecute the American citizen. There is no difference between them, and LEO’s that use the charge of (Drunk, and disorderly) when they have nothing substantial they can charge. It’s kind of like a catch all, and like a petulant child that can’t get their own way.


David, how sad it is that you even needed to write this.

I think we all know who the Domestic Enemy are, don’t we?

And isn’t the Duty of American Patriots to fight all enemies, foreign AND domestic?





Henry Bowman


Last edited 1 year ago by Henry Bowman