In short, the proposed regulations would define as a “firearm” the upper receiver or slide of a firearm, as well as the barrel of a firearm, and possibly other parts, all at ATF’s discretion. As firearms, those parts would require serialization, maker information, and all of the other controls and restrictions currently applied only to lower receivers. The regulation also redefines “Gunsmith” and the word “readily,” as it applies to phrases currently in the regulations about guns that may be “readily restored” to fire in fully automatic mode, or “readily converted” to expel a projectile.
The objective is to control and regulate the lawful sale of major firearm components and restrict what gun owners can legally do to modify their personal guns, or to build their own firearms.
The comment period closes on August 19, 2021, so it’s important that you get your comment in before that deadline.
Comments should be businesslike, factual, and to the point, and should never include vulgarities or threats. Additionally, declaring “shall not be infringed,” has not proven to be a successful argument. Copying and pasting the arguments of others, or pieces of them, is not a good strategy, as the agency is looking for original thoughts, not ditto marks. Comments don’t need to be long and detailed, but a valid argument does help, and can seem to make an impact.
Below is a sample comment I am submitting. You are welcome to steal ideas, but please couch them in your own words, not mine. It’s best to read the proposed regulation, to have a clear understanding of what is being proposed, then write your comment.
You will find the draft regulation here. Follow the links to the Comments section.
You may submit comments on or before August 19, 2021, by mail, fax, or the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov.
“I am writing in strong opposition to the proposed regulatory changes in the Definition of Frame or Receiver and Identification of Firearms.
The ATF is overstepping their authority with this proposal. Such a major change to firearm definitions is the purview of Congress, not the ATF.
The US has operated under the existing definitions since at least 1968, with much of it dating back to 1934 or before, with only minor adjustments during all of that time. Very little has changed regarding firearm design or function since those definitions were developed, and certainly nothing so drastic as to warrant these major changes. While manufacturing technology has advanced, and some would argue that it is more available today, the reality is that our fathers and grandfathers, most of whom worked with their hands and had a wide variety of tools at their disposal, along with the skills to use them, we’re much more capable of home manufacture of firearms than the vast majority of Americans today, even with the expensive new tools.
Americans have always had the ability – and the right – to make and modify guns.
What has really changed is a false alarm raised by those who don’t like civilian ownership of any sort of firearm. They are constantly looking for angles to encroach on the right to arms. Whenever they find some particular gun, feature, or practice that can alarm their base and the uninformed public, they ride it for all it’s worth. That is what is going on in this case and what has instigated the current proposed regulation.
The documents supporting this proposal include a number of false assumptions, chief among them being the idea that marking and regulating more parts of a firearm, will reduce firearms-related crime, or assist in the solving of crimes. There is no valid evidence to support this claim, and there is plenty of evidence that it is a pipe-dream.
The estimated costs of the proposal are also distorted. The regulatory burden alone will cost gun manufacturers, distributors, retailers, gun owners, and police and sheriffs offices, untold millions of dollars in man-hours, not to mention new tools and equipment. In the case of law enforcement, this represents money and man-hours that would otherwise be spent on actually preventing and investigating crimes. These are funds and resources that law enforcement agencies – and the public – simply can’t afford to be wasting on bureaucratic busywork that has little impact on crime or the activities of criminals.
And that’s the crux of the issue: These proposed regulations, if implemented, would have little effect on criminals, but would have major impacts on regular gun owners and the industry that serves us.
Riding herd on the public as our “Gun Nannies,” is not supposed to be the ATF’s mission. Stopping and catching violent criminals who use firearms to harm and intimidate others is what you’re supposed to be doing, and this proposal does not advance that mission at all.
The proposal should be scrapped in its entirety.”
…but wait there is more.
There is another ATF proposal regarding the classification of firearms with arm braces attached, that you should also leave a comment on. That comment window closes on September 8, 2021, and can be accessed by clicking here. I hope to have more about that in another column soon.