Second Amendment Foundation Explains the Dangers Behind a Proposed ATF Rule Change

Posted: Feb 04, 2021 6:10 AM
Second Amendment Foundation Explains the Dangers Behind a Proposed ATF Rule Change

Source: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) on Tuesday filed an amicus curiae brief in the City of Syracuse, New York et al v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives et al. A handful of cities are asking the courts to redefine what a firearm is and include 80-percent lowers in the definition. 

According to SAF, this would force the ATF to go to extremes to redefine what makes a firearm, which would trample on Americans' Second Amendment rights.

“Forcing ATF to adopt the new approach to classification of certain gun components that the plaintiffs in this case are demanding would greatly expand ATF authority beyond the 1968 Gun Control Act,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “If their effort succeeds, it would violate rights protected by the Second Amendment by imposing restrictions on otherwise lawful Second Amendment activity excluded from the GCA.”

The move is effectively targeting AR-15s, the most commonly owned modern sporting rifle in America. Lower receivers are only 80-percent completed because it is only the frame. Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, the ATF determined a blank receiver without any type of machine work or indexing disqualifies it from being regarded as a firearm. Since the receivers aren't deemed "firearms," they don't fall under the same regulations as the GCA lay out.

"In determining what specific frame or receiver blanks constitute receivers under the GCA, ATF conducts a case-by-case physical examination of respective blank supplies, looking at any machine work or indexing," the lawsuit states. "Despite Plaintiffs' claim to the contrary, there are no recent change to the classification approach. Rather, since at least the 1970s, ATF has issued letters classifying blanks without any machine work or indexing as not subject to GCA control. Similarly, ATF has issued letters classifying blanks with machine work or indexing of the fire-control cavity as subject to GCA control."

The full brief can be read here.

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