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This past Monday, April 11th, the regime of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr, dropped the final executive order concerning firearm receivers and expanded the definition of the term “firearm” in terms of US law to restrict so-called ghost guns.
Stymied by a rickety-thin majority in Congress and flagging poll numbers due to record-high inflation, supply chain shortages, and internal issues, the regime needed a “win”, even if it only really appeased the base. It’s the midterms after all. And what better target for the progressive wing of the regime than the Second Amendment? Long opposed to individual rights, especially the right to keep and bear arms, the regime once again twisted the definition of things to fit an agenda.
Was it a (hopefully temporary) loss for us Second Amendment Radicals? Yes, but of course the devil is in the details…
As we said, the Biden regime has been stumped to pass actual gun control legislation, leaving a big campaign promise unmet and unfulfilled. With the midterms creeping up in November of this year, they needed to deliver something to appease the base, especially with other policy failures, failures egregious enough that even the normally-compliant mainstream media is having trouble running interference.
So, of course, the regime hurried things up and finally dropped the final draft of ATF Rule 2021R-O5F, the “Frame Or Receiver” rule which was proposed this time last year. Surrounded on the dais by regime stooges such as David Hogg, Biden announced the rule to the Outer Party and moments later, AG Garland signed it, starting the 120-day clock for compliance.
Utilizing the same tactics the so-called “no better friend” of the Second Amendment Donald Trump, Biden dropped a 364-page document to redefine the term “firearm” in American legal parlance. The real target was merely the “buy-build-shoot” kits where incomplete frame and lower manufacturers would ship everything in one order to make a firearm, except for the tools. Based on spurious claims by former ATF Special Agent In Charge Carlos A Canino, the so-called “ghost gun” bugaboo reared it’s head in 2020 when anti-2A harridans asked the SAIC for data on how many crimes had homemade firearms involved, and Canino claimed without merit that almost half the cases his division encountered used such things.
Later on, statements by a whistleblower revealed that no such figures could accurately be discerned, and that Anino was basically full of it. But, the horse was already out of the barn and the ATF had it’s excuse to clamor to regulate yet another thing.
The BATFE has always been the redheaded stepchild of the alphabet boys in government. With no storied history and pop culture vibes like the FBI had, the BATFE has always been desperate for something to prove themselves over. They thought they had it in Waco, but that whole debacle nearly got the agency defunded. Since then, the ATF has had a chip on it’s shoulder and lashes out whenever they can, especially when a Democrat is in the Presidential hot seat.
And now, they have a willing accomplice in the big chair, President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
With Biden being but a conduit for behind-the-scenes malingering, the ATF figures they have a grand opportunity to strike, and they launched their biggest salvo yet with the Frame or Receiver rule.
Yes, it’s bad – but it could have been a lot worse.
Any sort of regulatory change by the government where voting isn’t utilized is subject to a comment period where the general population can add their comments and thoughts to the proposal. In rare instances, comemntary has shut down the rulemaking process. In this case, the bulk of comments were against the proposed rules, but didn’t make the rules go away.
Instead, the rulemaking was toned down a bit. The original proposal was broad-based and vague enough to classify just about anything from a block of aluminum on up as a “firearm”. Meaning all manner of components sold at retail would require a NICS inquiry or state POC background check. Imagine, you want to build an AR-15 from scratch. Outside of milling your own, or (for now) purchasing an 80 percent lower, building an AR-15 required one background check inquiry, for the lower receiver. Under the broad interpretation by the proposed rule, components like the upper receiver, barrel, and maybe even the bolt carrier group would have required background checks.
Now, buying multiple firearms at retail in one go only requires background check. Buying a GLOCK 17 and an AR in the same transaction just gets both guns listed on the 4473 kept at the FFL. Buying them separate across multiple days means multiple background checks, of course.
One of the reasons people build an AR or similar firearm is cost. You can spread out the hurt, as it were. $60 for the lower receiver this month, $60 for the upper next month, $40 for the lower parts kit a few weeks later, and so on. Imagine having to undergo a NICS inquiry each time. Plus most FFLs charge for the pleasure so you’d be paying extra each time as well.
A lot of commenters to the rule stated this, and also addressed the legal angle that it would be an undue burden on the Second Amendment, especially considering the objects in question was just chunks of steel really. So, in this regard, the ATF backed off. Existing firearms designs won’t be subject (for now) to legal reclassification. An AR-15 upper won’t require a background check, for example.
However, the rule bit hard on two key items:
80 percent lowers. Utilizing spurious claims that “anyone” can assemble a working firearm in 30 minutes using “buy build shoot” kits, i.e. a kit that contains an 80 percent receiver and all the other components to make a working firearm, the regime now considers those kits to constitute a “firearm”, which means a NICS inquiry to purchase one at retail. However, there’s a grey area where just the 80 percent receiver alone, without a jig or other components, may not constitute a firearm. This could be the trap though, where regime agents just decide on the spot to declare the piece of plastic to be a firearm, and place the burden on you to prove otherwise.
Future firearms designs. The ATF reserves the right to classify future firearms designs as they see fit. For example, a new rifle type could debut on the market, and the ATF could demand that both the upper and lower receivers of said design constitute a firearm and require a background check at retail.
Both these elements are bad news. Not just because they reclassify items which work as a great introduction to the centuries-old art of home gunsmithing, but again because of the precedent they set. Twice now in recent history, the government has used convoluted word salads to reclassify an item they didn’t like. And if we don’t stop them, it’ll happen again. Certainly right now the easy and legal way around this nonsense is to fire up that 3D printer and just start cranking out receivers and components for your stash. But at some point they’ll circle back for that – they always do.
It’s Not Altruism On The Part Of The Government
Yes, we pushed back and got some results. The commenting procedure isn’t entirely useless. However, it certainly wasn’t a case of the ATF finding that it had a soul, it was simply an evaluation of the legal landscape facing the rule.
Rulemaking is already an oft-abused aspect of our government. Regimes beholden to their base and donors, stymied by the traditional and lawful aspects of lawmaking, have weaponized executive orders and pushed their utility beyond the limit. The rulemaking process and executive orders process are already on shaky legal ground, and reclassifying chunks of plastic and steel to be treated the same as actual working firearms makes it even shakier.
So, what the government did was they dialed it back a bit, to lessen the likelihood of a successful legal challenge. This process is standard for the government nowadays. Whether it’s a rule by decree or a law passed by Congress and signed by the executive, the government promulgates policy as harshly as it can, and hopes it’ll survive a Constitutional challenge. They don’t even try to work within the Constitution, they flout it, and hope no one notices.
The rulemaking process in general as it is used today is fraught with Constitutional issues. The government is at the point now where they will write entire novels to make people believe blue is red just because they cannot get the votes to ban the color blue, but a long time ago they were able to restrict the color red.
What ATF Rule 2021R-05F aka the Frame and Receiver rule represents is nothing other than lawmaking by decree, and simping for the base during a midterm election year. With these facts in mind, a successful legal challenge can be mounted.
The response should be multifaceted. From where us Second Amendment Radicals sit, we can support our friendly gun rights organizations such as the Firearms Policy Coalition, the National Rifle Association, and the Gun Owners Of America. Yes, I know the NRA is in a bit of a jam now, but it’s sheer mass scares politicians and that’s a good thing.
Also, as of right now, Senator Ted Cruz is forming up a legislative opposition to cancel out this and future anti-2A rulemaking by the regime. Certainly because it’s an election year and pushing a pro-2A agenda will strengthen Cruz’s conservative bona fides, but we have to take what we can get in terms of Congressional support.
And most importantly, keep promoting this thing of ours, this Second Amendment Radical lifestyle. We made some massive inroads in 2020 and 2021, despite regime opposition, so let’s keep up the momentum. Get everyone in on this, and whatever rulings and decrees the opposition comes up with just won’t matter. When hundreds of millions of people are armed with whatever weapons they feel they want or need, the whims of the bureaucracy become irrelevant.
Which is how it should be. Make Government Irrelevant Again.
Don’t Forget The Pistol Brace Ruling
Oh, and as an aside, don’t forget the next bit of rule-by-decree nonsense. Within the next month or so, the Biden regime will drop it’s braced pistol final rulemaking document, which promises to be even more vague and convoluted. Find out more at firearmspolicy.org for the dirty details.
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