May 8th, 2021
by: Oliver Drabington
Above you'll find buttons to take you to the the summary/intro from the ATF on Proposed Rule 2021R-05, the full text of the proposed rule, and the link to the official comment entry portal. We NEED literally EVERYONE to comment PROPERLY, including attaching our name and address to our personal comment or it "doesn't count". Below are my comments for the government on this proposed rule, feel free to copy anything you like. I believe it is important that we are articulate, direct, and specific. While my comment opens with high-level objection to the agency usurping both legislative and judicial type powers, I address the specific constitutional and practical impacts of the proposals.
I'd like to begin by addressing the general overreach and abuse of authority not assigned to the ATF by law that we've watched manifest over the last decade or more, before presenting argument on the feasibility and cost of proposed rule 2021R-05.
The Legislative branch of our government is tasked with the create of law. Laws are what enumerate crimes and possible consequences, drawing clear lines for Americans to observe and understand. The Judicial branch is charged with interpretation of those laws.
The ATF, in contrast, is an enforcement agency. Their function is to arrange the meeting between alleged criminals and the judicial branch. EVERY time the bureau is permitted to give an "opinion", make a "determination", or create a "rule", they are exercising authority reserved for the legislative and judicial branches. Each rule, determination, or opinion changes what constitutes a CRIME that Americans could be arrested and punished for, simply for owning the same objects before the ATF changed their collective mind. They are LITERALLY being allowed to create new law, by definition. Each opinion/determination/rule also usurps power specifically granted the judicial branch, since they are autonomously also INTERPRETING law.
Now I'd like to address just a couple of the specific areas broached in Proposed Rule 2021R-05 from the perspective of their ambiguity and subjectivity. While my objection to unelected non-legislative entities creating "rules" Americans must abide by (because "rules" in America can legally only be created by passing LAWS), creation of such rules must provide CLEAR and specific parameters, allowing American businesses and individuals to conduct their lives and business as efficiently and effectively as possible. The most egregiously ambiguous components relating to the "definition of a frame or receiver" as well as PMFs:
A firearm MUST have ONE specific component that is the frame or receiver, period. Defining more than one component of a single firearm as a "frame or receiver" would levy a crippling burden on Americans and further restrict access to their constitutional rights. The agency would like to decide, based on non-objective criteria, how MANY components of each SPECIFIC firearm they want to call a receiver or frame. The list of components they say the frame or receiver MIGHT house include, literally, every internal component, AND they say that the list doesn't even include all of the parts. An American citizen might literally be in possession of, or build, a single firearm containing multiple "receivers". This subjective and confusing arbitrary defining process could quite easily make a criminal out of a law-abiding citizen when they loan or sell a singular component that the ATF one day wakes up and decides is a "receiver". On a national economic scale, this could (and maybe has been intentionally designed to) destroy and bankrupt the entire firearms industry. There are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in parts and accessories flowing through the American economy each year. If even a second part/component had to go through serialization, record-keeping, and engraving, the time and cost of production would grind businesses to a near halt. Not to mention the increased cost of producing the components, such as a pistol slide, will increase the price consumers pay, which will make it financially prohibitive for many Americans to exercise their rights. By the way, this additional cost will also increase the price of complete firearms already subject to background checks. Is the point of this rule to simply disarm poor Americans and ensure only the wealthy have access to their rights?
Now allow me to explain how the "new definition" of "readily convertible" isn't a definition at all, and how it unfairly deprives financially-challenged Americans of their right to build their own defensive weapons.
The existing barometer for whether a partially complete receiver is already somewhat subjective, in that the agency gets to determine if it has reached a "certain point in the manufacturing process". The "new definition" of "readily convertible" is specifically designed to allow the ATF to remove home-built firearms from existence. Among the properties they want to consider are the time involved, equipment required, skills necessary, and costs to complete ((a) time, i.e., how long it takes to finish the process; (b) ease, i.e., how difficult it is to do so; (c) expertise, i.e., what knowledge and skills are required; (d) equipment, i.e., what tools are required; (e) availability, i.e., whether additional parts are required, and how easily they can be obtained; (f) expense, i.e., how much it costs; (g) scope, i.e., the extent to which the subject of the process must be changed to finish it;). Equipment costs money, as does time, and acquiring "skills" can also be expensive. Therefore, the ATF wants to ensure that poor Americans, which are the most in-need of the ability to build their own cost-effective defensive weapon, are not able to afford to. The bureau has also stated they will consider the availability of instructions and guides on the finishing process when determining the "ease of completion". They, therefore, intend to leverage our First Amendment Right to free speech AGAINST our Second Amendment rights as Americans. It is VERY simple to define whether an object is or isn't a firearm: if you can assemble it by hand and fire a projectile by means of an explosion, without the removal of materials to make assembly to the point possible, it is a firearm. If material must be removed, it is not.
This part of the proposed rule also appears to be an attempt to circumvent court rulings affirming that the digital code to 3D print firearms is protected as Free Speech. The ATF could, if it feels like it, apply the time/equipment/skills evaluation and determine that the availability and affordability of 3D printers and the available information (free speech) make it "too easy" to build a printed firearm with too few "skills", and make criminals out of law-abiding Americans who print a "frame or receiver" because it falls under their new "readily convertible" um, "definition". Once again, overriding the judicial branch that has clearly interpreted to the contrary, albeit in separate context.
The section of the proposed rule outlining how PMFs should or must be marked if an FFL takes them into inventory is COMPLETELY unnecessary, and looks and smells like a setup to mandate registration of all PMFs. An FFL already cannot accept a firearm without a serial number for trade, sale, transfer, or collateral. The industry, as well as the public, are ALREADY aware of marking requirements, and licensees that wish to take PMFs into inventory already require such markings.
Lastly, my most strenuous objection to this entire farce is the gross misuse of my dollars as an American taxpayer. Not only have we paid multiple employees to craft this "proposed rule", but the administration and the bureau are fully aware that this unconstitutional abuse of power will result in multiple extended court battles. EVERYONE, including Joe Biden's administration, know that altering the law requires a LAW BE PASSED, but they are willing to spend hundreds of millions of American's hard-earned dollars to make it "look like they tried". Do it correctly or don't, America doesn't have the time, resources, or patience to spare on what amounts to pandering to a specific subset of voters.
April 19, 2021
by: Oliver Drabington
On this day in 1993, 76 Americans lost their lives at Mount Carmel at the hands of the federal government. The total death toll counted by the Branch Davidians was 82, during a 51 day standoff predicated on allegedly illegally modifying weapons. Perhaps it's fitting that pausing to remember that pure expression of murderous tyranny compelled me to pen this long overdue call to action.
First, the Legislator Lookup button above of letter links straight to their legislator lookup so you can find ALL of the elected officials that are supposed to represent YOU. Bookmark it now, or just add it to the 92 browser tabs you have open perpetually like me haha. It offers one-click access to your legislators contact pages, so we can all take action QUICKLY when new threats are introduced in government.
I've found myself feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of anit-2nd legislation and executive actions that have been raining down in the first few months of 2021. Depending on where you look, voices in the freedom community seem to be telling us different things, some say a certain bill "ain't gonna pass", while another person says the same bill is gonna get rammed through the senate. As of this writing, all of the house bills under the gun control umbrella seem to have spent a month or more in committee, which should mean a vote is NOT imminent (HR127, HR1207, etc). We MUST remain vigilant, and I'd encourage you to follow us on social media, as well as subscribe to alerts at Gun Owners of America (on the legislator lookup page) or Firearms Policy Coalition.
ACTION: below I'm going to list subjects or bills we should ALL contact our legislators about immediately. I'm also going to drop a sample message, just a few sentences or less, similar to what I've used. If you must, feel free to copy and paste, but it is much more effective if you can use your own words. NOTE: the sample messages may seem "soft", but just writing "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" isn't likely to get as much attention. Not to mention that the more articulate and "thoughtful" the email reads, the more likely politicians are to view it as the opinion of someone who other voters will listen to.
TOPICS TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTAIVES ABOUT:
FILIBUSTER: contact both your senators AND WV Joe Manchin: "I'm writing to you to urge you to object to any modification of senate rules that would reduce our legislative process to "mob rule" by a simple majority, including alteration or removal of the filibuster as it exists. Laws, once passed, are very difficult to change and often regulate Americans for forever. Is it not simple logic, or common sense, that at least 60% of represented Americans should consent to a law that will alter life in this country well beyond our own lifetimes?".
ATF Nominee Chipman: "I was shocked to discover that it apparently ISN'T illegal to appoint a paid, very partisan, lobbyist to lead what is a non-partisan agency in the ATF. It would be at the very least irresponsible to place someone with so much bias, and obvious financial conflict-of-interest, at the head of an agency that is already at the bottom of many Americans trust list. At least half of the country is feeling some kind of way already, is it wise to further disenfranchise so many Americans, placing someone who can easily be identified as "against them" in charge of regulating their constitutional rights? and c'mon, would we put someone in charge of the Department of Energy who hates energy? Department of Education, led by a high-school dropout? How about old Dr Kevorkian for Surgeon General?".
Definition of a Firearm: The DOJ/ATF proposal for defining a "firearm" in response to president Biden's demands, would be perhaps the finest example of tyrannical bypassing of our laws and system of elected representation that I've seen in my lifetime. Split receiver firearms existed well before a firearm was defined by legislation in 1968. As a matter of fact, one of the most popular and polarizing split-receiver firearms in America today was already in production at that time. I believe it is not just illegal for a non-elected agency to subjectively choose which part, or multiple parts, of each individual arm are the "firearm", it must be viewed as an outright defiance of the American people and our legislative process.
Executive Action on "Ghost Guns": As a hard-working honest American, I object to even the idea that a non-legislative agency of un-elected public servants would be allowed to decide what materials I use to fashion my own arms. Perhaps the most offensive of the criteria they propose using to decide what property i may own, is how much MONEY it would cost an American citizen to complete their own firearm. Once it's established that the government intends to disarm the poorest and most vulnerable Americans who can't AFFORD to build their own protection, the intentional vagueness and subjectivity of the remainder of the ATF/DOJ proposed criteria for deciding what "is" and "isn't" a firearm come into focus for what they are, an scheme to remove my constitutional rights illegally.
I'm offended and appalled that with so many opportunities to positively impact Americans lives by taking on real challenges, we're allowing our highest levels of government to waste time and resources throwing around scary sounding terms to vilify an American hobby as old as the nation itself. A few over-zealous AGs and county sheriff's and their ilk are at least ignorant, at worst have falsified data, to create a scapegoat for their ineffectiveness at prosecuting actual criminals. To put it simply, whether it be ineptitude or dishonesty, they lump stolen firearms in with home-built firearms to inflate the perceived threat. And honestly, regardless of that, myself and a growing number of Americans have grown quite weary of watching/hearing/reading about our government representatives casting US as criminals because of the actions of a few actual criminals. In every jurisdiction where an AG or politician claims that homemade firearms are a "significant threat", you'll find terrifyingly low prosecution and conviction numbers. ACTUAL VIOLENT CRIMINALS are being ignored, but my elected representatives are on TV telling me that the hobby and tradition that I love means I'm probably a criminal, and all of the murder in their city is the fault of the object i enjoy building?
Expanded Background Checks: "How many acts of terror and mass murders must Americans suffer before our elected officials put in REAL WORK and update and improve the NICS system we've been promised for the last decade or so? It is the very definition of "feel good legislation", proposing laws to increase the kinds of transactions that require LAW ABIDING citizens to pay for a background check...when we already know the vast majority of mass murderers wouldn't have been stopped by doing so. I believe it was around $218 million that was pledged years ago as a "first step" to modernizing the data entry process so that fewer deranged maniacs slip through the proverbial cracks? We also should have MORE than enough psychological and behavioral data on the minds of these killers to improve early identification in our schools and communities. Speaking of psychological and behavioral, where is the renewed national awareness and support effort surrounding the NUMBER ONE firearm death, suicide?"
Stay ready, stay safe, and stay FREE, family. - Bob