The ATF seeks retribution against a manufacturer for testifying in court


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PvtPyle
April 26, 2006, 01:21 PM
For those that have not followed this, Len Savage has been one of the harshest critics of the ATF lack of standardized testing methods, and has been a key expert witness in several trials where the ATF attempted to railroad a citizen for various gun charges (see the JPFO's web site for more details and other incidents involving Mr. Savage).

But where this came from is an RPD upper that bolts onto the MAC lowers was developed by another gent. He made some and sold some, without getting ATF approval first. That landed him in all kinds of trouble, and IIRC, eventually after the testimony of several credible witnesses from the NFA community, he was convicted of mail fraud. It is hard to repay people who order your products when the ATF has frozen most of your assets and you had to spend the rest fighting them for your freedom in court.

Well Mr. Savage took the design and made a few changes and submitted it. And got it approved. But after he testified against the ATF in court, they have come back for some payback.

http://www.autochart.com/savageBM3000.htm

In a nut sheel, the reason this affects normal gun owners is that this ruling can be used to hang just about anyone with an M4 type rifle, semi MAC pistol or rifle, or any other rifle that has an new and different upper receiver for being in possession of an illegal machinegun. The new Shrike uppers, the Tactical Innovations .22cal M4 upper, a MAC upper that changes the pistols into a rifle, it can get all kinds of crazy.

The thing I find most interesting about this whole thing is, so far none of the big NFA groups have come forward speaking out against this new "ruling".

Anyway, something for everyone to think about.

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Thefabulousfink
April 26, 2006, 02:03 PM
Ok, could some one who is fluent in legalese and understands this type of firearms please explain what the ATF is claiming makes this a machine gun?

Correia
April 26, 2006, 02:14 PM
That is confusing. By the way that the definition of firearm is given, why wouldn't an AR upper be a firearm?

rbernie
April 26, 2006, 02:41 PM
In a nut sheel, the reason this affects normal gun owners is that this ruling can be used to hang just about anyone with an M4 type rifle, semi MAC pistol or rifle, or any other rifle that has an new and different upper receiver for being in possession of an illegal machinegun. It took me a minute to see this, but I got there.

To synopsize what I read - the ATFE examined the physical characteristics of the replacement MAC upper. In doing so, they determined that the supplied upper would fire more than one bullet per trigger pull based upon the ability to mate the supplied upper to a FA lower. Given this single fact, the ATFE is ruling that the upper can be considered to be a machine gun of and by itself.

If I'm reading this correctly, the implication is that any AR-15 upper, for example, than can be mated with a FA lower is now considered by the ATFE lads to be a machine gun.

That would suck.

K-Romulus
April 26, 2006, 02:59 PM
maybe the determination was made because the upper contained "the bolt, breechblock, and firing mechanism" ?? :confused: :uhoh:

Henry Bowman
April 26, 2006, 03:23 PM
Translating the legalese, it means: "We changed our mind."

I don't know, but I think that BATFE is suspect of any open bolt design. I'll read it again and see if there's more to it.

Smurfslayer
April 26, 2006, 03:37 PM
not an act of retribution at all, but one within the scope & duties of the agency in question, within applicable law and regulation....

I didn't see anything in the letter; what evidence do we have that this is retribution? :confused:

The rifle caliber Mac upper was always a longshot, and BCR's, as well as subguns lurkers know that they knew this approval was "on thin ice" at best.

Len has done a lot of good work for the NFA community, no question. The re-ruling is suspicious, but not entirely unexpected... Like the Stewart decision.

We need actual proof of retribution.

RavenVT100
April 26, 2006, 04:49 PM
If I'm reading this correctly, the implication is that any AR-15 upper, for example, than can be mated with a FA lower is now considered by the ATFE lads to be a machine gun.

The bolt carrier assy on the AR-15 is not the same as the M-16, and won't work with an M-16 lower. While it's true that some people use M-16 bolt carriers in an AR-15, it's not recommended.

Bubbles
April 26, 2006, 04:56 PM
The initial ruling was made by BATF nine months ago. How common is it for them to "revisit" these types of rulings? Also, has Mr. Savage done anything to tick off the BATF since the initial ruling?

rbernie
April 26, 2006, 05:03 PM
The bolt carrier assy on the AR-15 is not the same as the M-16, and won't work with an M-16 lower. While it's true that some people use M-16 bolt carriers in an AR-15, it's not recommended.But since they're interchangable, by the stretch of logic that I saw being used by the ATFE in this case, all semi-auto top ends suddenly become FA-capable unless there are physical mechanisms in place to preclude the top end from ever being mated to a FA bottom end.

Maybe I just read it wrong.

Henry Bowman
April 26, 2006, 05:03 PM
Also, has Mr. Savage done anything to tick off the BATF since the initial ruling?Please see post No. 1.:
For those that have not followed this, Len Savage has been one of the harshest critics of the ATF lack of standardized testing methods, and has been a key expert witness in several trials where the ATF attempted to railroad a citizen for various gun charges (see the JPFO's web site for more details and other incidents involving Mr. Savage).

rmgill
April 26, 2006, 05:25 PM
More of the letters and issues here:

http://www.jpfo.org/batfearticles.htm

Dmack_901
April 26, 2006, 05:38 PM
They basically say that any reciever that "facilitates" the firearm to be fired as a MG, is a MG. Scary, but interpretation is the Judiciary's power. And they will not agree with the ATF on this. It will get thrown out.

But more importantly, and unintentionally, they note a very important idea, namely that a reviever is "That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechlock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to recieve the barrel."(my emphasis)

For example, no part of an AR-15 houses all three of those, those duties are split between the two housings: Lower houses the firing mechanism and hammer. The upper houses the bolt. This would mean that only when both the upper and lower are combined, does it become a reciever. VERY interesting.

Henry Bowman
April 26, 2006, 06:02 PM
This would mean that only when both the upper and lower are combined, does it become a reciever. VERY interesting.By ordinary logic.

But but BATFE bizarro logic, both are considered receivers.:banghead:

Dmack_901
April 26, 2006, 06:13 PM
But the point is, the ATF doesn't have the power to interpret that.

All it takes is one one gutsy guy to set a precident.

Of course, with just one bill, it can be redefined in congress.

c_yeager
April 26, 2006, 06:18 PM
While I dont agree with the ATF interpretation here I think it is a dangerous idea that anyone who testifies against an agency should forever be immune from prosecution by that agency due simply to the potential appearance of impropriety. Smoke does not always come with fire.

PvtPyle
April 26, 2006, 06:34 PM
The bolt carrier assy on the AR-15 is not the same as the M-16, and won't work with an M-16 lower. While it's true that some people use M-16 bolt carriers in an AR-15, it's not recommended.

The BCG's are the same in every aspect except the length of the bottom section in the back. An AR bolt will work in an M16, just like the M16 bolt will work in an AR. What the AR bolt will not do is engage the auto sear in an M16, but that is all. In every other aspect, they do work in either gun.

There are no safety issues of any sort in exchanging the BCG between rifles as long as the GO/NO-GO gage says that head space is a go.

While I dont agree with the ATF interpretation here I think it is a dangerous idea that anyone who testifies against an agency should forever be immune from prosecution by that agency due simply to the potential appearance of impropriety. Smoke does not always come with fire.

Neither do I, and I don't think that is what anyone is saying. Since Len is an SOT holder, he can possess post 86 machineguns without restriction. So he is in no danger of being prosecuted for this.

But I don't think because someone testifies against the federal government that they should be an easy target for arbitrary rulings that serve no other purpose than to be petty retailitory in nature. Which this appears to be.

And if you want to see a long list of retalitory actions by the ATF for preceived wrongs or things they dont agree with, do a search. Of particular interest is what they tried to do to John Ross for "Unintended Consequences". It is on James Bardwell's page, amongst other things.

Standing Wolf
April 26, 2006, 07:04 PM
Pardon me, please, if this seems awfully na´ve, but I believe the obvious solution would be to disband the B.A.T.F.E., or at the very least, remove firearms from its purview.

It's a rogue agency. It serves no useful purpose. It's an enormous waste of the nation's hard-earned tax dollars.

Autolycus
April 26, 2006, 07:49 PM
Originally Posted by Standing Wolf:
Pardon me, please, if this seems awfully na´ve, but I believe the obvious solution would be to disband the B.A.T.F.E., or at the very least, remove firearms from its purview.

It's a rogue agency. It serves no useful purpose. It's an enormous waste of the nation's hard-earned tax dollars.


I agree. They should just disband the entire thing. They serve no useful purpose and only infringe on the rights of Americans. The facts are though that many Americans do not seem to see it that way.

Originally Posted by PvtPyle:
And if you want to see a long list of retalitory actions by the ATF for preceived wrongs or things they dont agree with, do a search. Of particular interest is what they tried to do to John Ross for "Unintended Consequences". It is on James Bardwell's page, amongst other things.

Can you post a link to the page? I was unable to find it.

Cosmoline
April 26, 2006, 08:06 PM
So by their reading, any part of a firearm which can be illegally used to create a machine gun *IS ITSELF* a machine gun.

Like I've said before, the BATFE are our blood enemies. Never trust them. Never help them. Never talk to them.

Smoke does not always come with fire.

And I used to think automatic weapons fire could only come from automatic weapons. But obviously I'm not as intelligent as the fine folks at BATFE.

Chipperman
April 26, 2006, 08:11 PM
So I use machine guns to keep my shoes tied?

Cosmoline
April 26, 2006, 08:20 PM
:D Yes, you do. There's a letter to that effect floating around.

For all those who try to defend BATFE as "just doing their jobs," I have seen no evidence to support that claim. Rather, I see a ton of evidence that they try to expand NFA and related statutes as far as possible and then some, right up to the line of being arbitrary and capricious. Their goal is not to ensure a common-sense enforcement of the machine gun rules but rather to outlaw as many firearms as possible, to trick as many gun owners and manufacturers as possible, and to raise the costs and risks enough to discourage anyone from either becoming a gun dealer or gun maker. They are an organization of ANTIS.

boofus
April 26, 2006, 08:22 PM
I think it might have more to do with the scummy Attorney General of the US more than any desire for revenge.

The ATF also rescinded an earlier decision that made all Thompson SMGs curio and relics. They seem to be backtracking on all good NFA rulings lately and I'll bet Mr I'm-for-the-AWB Gonzales is behind it.

Cosmoline
April 26, 2006, 08:28 PM
I suspect it's more a question of a LACK of interest from the AG's office. The current AG has less interest in these matters than the former. And the folks who actually run the BATFE are almost all anti-gun at heart. Given their druthers they prefer to take a hard line. The only way to fix the problem is to abolish the agency or severely curtail its powers, but that's unlikely to happen in this lifetime. Like the Gipper said the closest thing to immortality on Earth is a federal agency. The only thing we can do for now is to lawyer up when dealing with them and make a point of never helping them in their investigations. Certainly any gun owner who reports a possible crime to them needs to be skinned alive. They are the ENEMY.

Waitone
April 26, 2006, 09:11 PM
Let us not get bogged down in details. JPFO and Len has done an outstanding job of highlighting the little known fact the bATFE does not have standardized test procedures (and by implication) definitions used in classifying firearms. Isn essence bATFE makes up the rules as it goes along and since it is in charge of technical determinations what they say in court goes. An analogy would be the FBI labs not have standardize procedures and calibrated test equipment related to DNA identification. DNA matching would be up the the lab tech assigned to the sample. Since no other lab would be allowed to conduct tests there would be no back check on the the FBI lab did. Worse yet there would be no published procedures which independent labs could use to validate the FBI's processes or duplicate its results. The insanity I just described is exactly what we have with bATFE. It does whatever it thinks appropriate for the circumstances. The system is corrupt and open to abuse of staggering proportions.

JPFO website is chocked full of information.

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