WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has visited multiple people demanding that the individuals turn over their Rare Breed FRT-15 triggers. The gun owners acquired their triggers from Gun Broker or the Rare Breed Triggers website. It is unknown how the ATF acquired the customers’ information. It is possible the ATF received the customers’ information from credit card processors or shipping companies. The ATF previously received customer information from Authorize.net and Stamps.com surrounding Polymer80’s “Buy, Build, Shoot” kits.
Most force reset triggers are drop-in triggers for the popular AR-15 rifle. The trigger speeds up the rate of fire by forcing the trigger to reset after each pull of the trigger. Force reset triggers have two distinct functions. Only one bullet is expelled from the rifle with each pull. The ATF has ruled that force reset triggers are machine guns, even though the triggers do not meet the government’s definition of a machine gun.
The National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. 5845(b) defines “machine gun” to include any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
The ATF acquired several Rare Breed FRT-15 triggers in early 2021. During a criminal examination at the ATF’s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD), an ATF examiner used a zip tie to fix the trigger to the rear. The ATF employee stated that the rifle equipped with the FRT-15 fired five shots automatically. He ruled that the FRT-15 was a machine gun. What most likely happened with that trigger was that it was pushed forward and reset. The elasticity of the plastic zip tie caused the trigger to be pulled again. This theory points to multiple functions of the trigger.
After the ATF completed its examination, it issued a cease-and-desist to Rare Breed Triggers in July 2021. Rare Breed ignored the cease-and-desist order and kept selling the triggers to gun owners. The company believed that it was breaking no laws. The Florida-based company filed a lawsuit against the ATF in the Middle District of Florida Federal Court. The case was dismissed without prejudice for missing a filing date.
Around the same time, Big Daddy Unlimited (BDU) started selling the Wide Open Trigger (WOT). The WOT operated in a similar way to the FRT-15. This similarity put the WOT in the ATF’s crosshairs. The similarity also led to a lawsuit for patent infringement. Last February, The ATF served BDU with a cease-and-desist order and seized the company’s WOT and FRT-15 inventory. Shortly after, the ATF sent a law enforcement notice to police departments around the country stating that some forced reset triggers were machine guns. The notice had a picture of a Rare Breed FRT-15 and a WOT.
Rare Breed Triggers formed another company in North Dakota and once again sued the ATF in Federal District Court. Shortly after, the ATF raided a manufacturer of the FRT-15. After the raid, the ATF notified all Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) that “some” FRTs are considered machine guns. This notice scared many FFLs, who stopped selling the triggers. The ATF then responded to the new Rare Breed lawsuit accusing the company of court shopping and asked the District Judge to dismiss the case for lack of standing. The judge has not issued his ruling as of this writing.
Earlier this month, a man was arrested for illegally possessing machine guns. Among the items were Rare Breed FRT-15 triggers. The Department of Justice put out a press release calling force reset triggers machine guns. Now it looks like the ATF is expanding its net to end users.
AmmoLand News reached out to Gun Broker and Rare Breed Triggers for comment, but our request went unanswered. If you currently own a Force Reset Trigger, you should contact an attorney for advice on what to do if the ATF shows up at your door.
About John Crump
John is a 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.