The BATF Is Getting Heavy-handed … Again

Time To Rein In The BATFE
— Please ask George Bush to take the agency to the woodshed

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been on a tear under the administration of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Manufacturers of various products have been told in writing that their products are not a firearm and that they can be marketed outside the federal paperwork system for selling firearms. Then, months or years later, BATFE sends another letter reversing the first determination.

The Congressional Research Service found in 2005 (ATF Firearms Procedures) that BATFE has no written procedures for determining what is a firearm. The “process” is arbitrary, and the string of reversals in recent months shows how capricious a BATFE determination is.

Historic Arms received a letter of determination in 1995 that its BM-3000 was not a firearm. Indeed, Historic Arms had designed the product as an accessory for a machine gun to fire different kinds of ammunition than the gun had originally been designed to fire. For 11 years, the company manufactured their product without incident. But in 1996, Historic Arms received a second letter determining that the product was actually a machine gun!

As in other cases, BATFE wanted all the company’s products sent to Washington along with all the names of the customers who had purchased the item.

In 2004, the BATFE determined that the Akins Accelerator was a “non firearm” accessory that allowed a shooter to bump fire a semi-auto and considerably increase the rate of fire. This year, BATFE has determined that the trigger finger which is bumping the trigger is itself a machine gun! Again, send in all the product and customer names.

For years, Centerfire Systems had a parts kit that it sold for machine guns. Now, six years later, BATFE has reversed itself on this company. And, the Bureau has put Centerfire Systems through the same drill — send in their products and their customer lists.

In a related matter involving the definition of what makes a gun a “gun,” KT Ordnance was raided by BATFE last year and its products were confiscated. What were the dangerous items? A parts kit for customers to legally make their own (unregistered) firearm. Again, BATFE wanted the customer list.

The capricious activities by the BATFE wreck economic chaos on these companies, in addition to violating both theirs and their customers’ rights protected by the Second Amendment.

It is time for the BATFE to put their procedures for determining what is a firearm, and what is a machine gun, in writing.

This latest bait and switch is but another backdoor effort on the part of the federal government to attack gun ownership. This time the attack is on manufacturers.

ACTION: Please contact Pres. Bush. If we do not restrain BATFE now, they will do immeasurable damage to the firearms industry in the United States.

You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send the President the pre-written message below. You can also contact the President via telephone:

Comments:   202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX:             202-456-2461

—- Pre-written letter —-

Dear President Bush,

I am outraged that BATFE still has no written procedures for determining what is a firearm, and what is a machine gun. It has now been two years since the publication of ATF Firearms Procedures by the Congressional Research Service when they revealed that Firearms Technology Branch has no written procedures.

The Bureau has been in existence for over 30 years. How many prosecutions have put gun owners and manufacturers in jail based on shifting, arbitrary and capricious “expert” testimony in court which is not based on written procedures?

When is the BATFE going to publish proposed written procedures for the public to comment on them? When is the Justice Department going to review the conviction of every gun owner and manufacturer where a BATFE “expert” testified against him?

Please have the BATFE take action on these problems right away.



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