ATF Correspondence

  • View
    766

  • Download
    2

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

Tape, Ties and Chains

Text of ATF Correspondence

LEN SAVAGE, PRESIDENT

tlistor

706-675-0287 Home 706-675-0818 Shop

June 16,2008 Mr. John R. Spencer Chief, Firearms Technology Branch 244 Needy Rd. Martinsburg, WV 25405 Dear Mr. Spencer, I received the Firearms Technology Branch's (FTB) guidance document [903050:MMK 3311/2008-472] referring to the latest submission by my company. Historic Arms, LLC, for a proposed product, a firearm of original design. This firearm has been designed as a short-barreled rifle, because its barrel is less than 16 inches in length, and thus falls under purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA), and must be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). I am concerned about the apparent lack of a written standard used to examine and test our submitted firearm. It appears that our submitted firearm was initially tested according to one set of criteria, and that FTB determined and verified that it is a firearm because it fired a projectile, {see page 6}. Since it fires a projectile, has a barrel less than 16 inches in length, and according to FTB {see page 7} is intended to use the shoulder stock and pistol grip of MAC-type registered machinegun in which it is installed, it is a short-barreled rifle according to ATF regulations and United States Code. TTie submitted firearm was registered in the NFRTR by my company as a short-barreled rifle via an ATF Form 2 prior to submission to FTB. Our concern is that FTB was apparently dissatisfied with the results of the first live fire test, because FTB changed the testing criteria and live fire tested the submitted firearm again. The new criteria for this second live fire test [see page 7, second paragraph] cannot be foimd in any of our company's engineering books or manuals, and does not appear to be a valid scientific testing procedure, for the following reasons: Using a foreign object to cause a firearm to fire fiilly automatic has historically been viewed by ATF to be a "conversion device," under the reasoning that the foreign object converts the fu-earm to a machinegun. One example of the use of such a foreign object is the use of a shoestring, memorialized by ATF/FTB in three different Letter Rulings. There is no valid and reliable evidence that the new criteria FTB has been universally applied to all MAC-type uppers. In fact, several MAC-type uppers incorporate an ammimition feed

device on the "upper", as does thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC. If the criteria FTB applied to the testing of our latest submission was applied to testing the many caliber conversion uppers that are sold at retail with no restrictions, such as the .22 longrifleMAC upper made by "Flemming," (1) all of them would fire infiillyautomatic mode until the ammunition supply was exhausted, (2) there would be no way for the shooter to stop firing. Suchfiillyautomaticfiringunder these conditions ~ termed "sputter fire" because it is imcontrolled firing is dangerous. On page 4, a sample MAC-10 upper is shown. ATF does not consider this sample MAC-10 upper to be afirearm;consequently, no Form 4473 or NICS check during over the counter sales is required; and there is no requirement for this MAC-10 upper to be serial numbered. If FTB tested this sample MAC-10 upper using the same criteria FTB used to test the firearm submitted by Historic Arms, LLC, the sample MAC-10 upper would fire a projectile. According to ATF regulations and United States Code, the sample MAC-10 upper is, therefore, a firearm. Since ATF does not consider a MAC-10 upper to be afirearm,the materials that FTB added during the second test of thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC (aluminum plate, chain and tensioning bolts) must be afirearm,firearmreceiver, or a device intended to convert afirearmto a machinegun. Also, importantly, if FTB applied the the first test it applied to thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC to the sample MAC-10 upper pictured in FTB's guidance, FTB would classify the MAC-10 upper as afirearmbecause it fires a projectile. In fact, as noted, ATF does not regard the sample MAC-10 upper as afirearmat this time, which contradicts FTB's current classification of thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC in that regard. The materials FTB added converted thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC into a machinegun; therefore, the materials constitute a machinegun receiver, a machinegim, or a conversion device. FTB's manipulation of test criteria in order to achieve a specific result is clear and reliable proof of "Outcome Based Testing." Taken at face value, it appears that the purpose of the second test was to produce the outcome offindinga way to convert the Historic Arms, LLC submittedfirearminto a machinegim. Since FTB has not applied the first or second test criteria to other MAC-10 uppers, and doing so would result in a FTB determining that all other MAC-10 uppers are machine guns or at leastfirearms,it appears that FTB has singled out thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC to preclude its manufacture and sale. [Please refer to the enclosed table.]

In summary, the second test FTB used was not valid. The reasons are that the second test's criteria and application (1) has not been consistent or uniformly applied to all MAC-10 uppers, (2) apparently singles out thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC to preclude its manufacture and sale, and (3) ignores the fact that applying the second test to other MAC-10 uppers would convert them into machineguns, as was the case with thefirearmsubmitted by Historic Arms, LLC. Also, importantly, if the test FTB applied to thefirearmsubmitted by

Historic Arms, LLC was applied to the sample MAC-10 upper pictured in FTB's guidance, the MAC-10 upper would be classified as afirearmbecause it fires a projectile. In fact, as noted, ATF does not regard the sample MAC-10 upper as afirearmat this time. It is difficult to understand how FTB would single out afirearmthat is not a machine gun, convert it into a machinegun and thus preclude its manufacture and sale, while ignoring the fact that FTB could convert millions of MAC-10 uppers that ATF currently does not define as firearms, intofirearmsor machinegims. I believe a human error occurred; that we are all human and make errors; and that this error can be addressed with a correction letterfi-omFTB; and the return of my submitted short barrel rifle. If this is not the case please notify me immediately Respectfiilly, Len Savage

DEVICES FOR MAC-TYPE REGISTERED MACHINEGUNS THAT FIRE FROM AN OPEN BOLT CONFIGURATION Name of firearm or device, Sample MAC-10 upper shown* Calico upper* Flemming type .22 upper* Anthony Smith Soumi upper* Stoney Creek Soumi upper* 54RCCU 7.62x54R Caliber Conversion Unit Classification under the GCA Classification under the NFA Results of FTB Test #1 [ducttape,metal plate^plastic ties] Firearm Machinegun Machinegun Machinegun Machinegun Firearm Results of FTB Test #2 [chain,metal plate,tension bolts] Firearm Machinegun Machinegun Machinegun Machinegun Machinegun

Not a firearm Not a firearm Not a firearm Not a firearm Not a firearm

Not a firearm Not a firearm Not a firearm Not a fiream Not a firearm Firearm: Short Barreled Rifle

Firearm**

* All of the these have been classified by ATF/FTB to be NON-firearms. **Historic Arms LLC intentions are to keep "prohibited persons"fi"ompossessing a 54R Caliber Conversion Device to address a stated ATF concern. ATF considers "uppers" for a MAC-Type firearm to not be afirearmor thefiiameor receiver of a firearm. A convicted felon could in theory own [or in Mr. Flemming's case] manufacture these "uppers" openly for distribution to general public.

U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

SEP 3 0 2004www..f..ov 903050:RDC 3311/2004-379

Mr. Brian A. Blakely

Dear Mr. Blakely: This refers to your letter of February 6,2004, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Firearms Technology Branch (FTB), in which you inquired about the legality of a small section of string intended for use as a means for increasing the cycling rate of a semiautomatic rifle. As you may be aware, the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. 5845(b), defines "machinegun" to include the following: .. .any weapon that shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. This term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person [holding added]. In 1996, FTB examined and classified a 14-inch long shoestring with a loop at each end. The string was attached to the cocking handle of a semiautomatic rifle and was looped around the trigger and attached to the shooter's finger. The device caused the weapon to fire repeatedly until finger pressure was released from the string. Because this item was designed and intended to convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machinegim, FTB determined that it was a machinegun as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b). We thank you for your inquiry, regret the delay in response, and trust the foregoing has been responsive. Sincerely yours,

Sterling Nixon Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

t

U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Martinsburg, WV www.atf.gov

25401

903050:MMK 3311/2008-472

JUN 10 2008Mr. Len Savage Historic Arms, LLC 1486 Cherry Road Franklin, Georgia 30217 Dear Mr. Savage: This refers to your letter of April 21, 2008, to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB), Bureau of Alcohol