EP Armory 80% poly lower update


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bds
April 6, 2014, 02:53 PM
Here's the long awaited response from EP (Eighty Percent) Armory. If you want to show your support, you can donate to the legal fund or make purchases from them - http://www.eparmory.com/Current-News-s/1845.htm

Stay updated on their facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory

4/1/2014

Our Loyal EP Armory Customers,

We have been going through some tough times here at EP Armory lately as the result of an ATF investigation into our polymer precursor receiver product (aka polymer “80% lower”). The investigation has hurt our sales, and we’ve been swamped with emails and phone calls asking about the situation and the legal status of our product. There has been lots of speculation, and rumors are going around. A lot of the information out there is wrong.

We want to set the record straight, but as hard as we have tried, we simply haven’t been able to respond to each inquiry individually. We hope this message, and information that has been published or will soon be published by our attorneys at Michel & Associates, P.C. will help answer some of these questions. You can access the available information about this investigation, related investigations, and a bunch of other helpful information, HERE.

ATF offices throughout the state of California and across the country have also gotten lots of calls from concerned citizens seeking direction relating not only to the legality of the sales of EP Armory’s product, but to “80% lowers” in general. And they aren’t happy with the vague “answers” they’re (not) getting from ATF.

Although EP Armory has been largely silent so far about the actions of ATF regulators in mischaracterizing our polymer precursor lower receiver product as a “firearm,” we have been taking concrete actions to protect both our interests, and the privacy rights of our customers. Our lawyers have been and are working hard on our, and our customers’, behalf. They are in discussions with representatives from the highest levels of the ATF to resolve the outstanding legal issues regarding our polymer precursor receiver product, and to get our property and records returned to us as soon as possible. Through these ongoing discussions with ATF officials, ATF lawyers, and lawyers with the United States Attorney’s Office our lawyers at Michel & Associates, P.C. hope to convince the ATF investigators that these polymer precursor receivers are not “firearms” under the law, should not be regulated as such, that these investigations should be concluded, and the seized records and property returned.

We need your support to win this fight! To help us fund and win this legal battle, we will set up an “EP Armory Legal Defense Fund.” We ask. . . Once we win our fight to resume sales of our EP80 polymer lower non-firearm, we will promptly ship EP80's! You can be among the first to receive a Polymer 80% Receiver once the legal issues are resolved. And we are confident that they will be back! Of course, if you would prefer to support us by purchasing another of our products, we still have the entire remainder of our product line available, including our aluminum 80% lower receivers, which the ATF has not mischaracterized as “firearms” under the law, and which were not seized. You can order our products HERE. We appreciate your support!

From the front lines in the fight for the right to keep and bear arms,

Sincerely,

EP ARMORY

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bds
April 6, 2014, 03:11 PM
Court Filings and Reference Materials Relating to ATF Investigations on Polymer Pre-cursor Receivers (aka 80% Lowers) - http://michellawyers.com/2014/lycurgan-inc-v-jones/

Romeo 33 Delta
April 6, 2014, 03:28 PM
I might be missing something here, but it seems that the problem is BATFE claims (without proof) that the receiver is moulded and then filled (making it a firearm) while EP claims that the receiver is moulded around the existing block (making it NOT a firearm).

If those ARE the facts, this could have been put to rest in about as much time as it took me to post this by: OBSERVATION OF THE ACTUAL OPERATION.

What is the matter with BATFE? Are the too smart to figure this out?

JRH6856
April 6, 2014, 04:03 PM
I might be missing something here, but it seems that the problem is BATFE claims (without proof) that the receiver is moulded and then filled (making it a firearm) while EP claims that the receiver is moulded around the existing block (making it NOT a firearm).

If those ARE the facts, this could have been put to rest in about as much time as it took me to post this by: OBSERVATION OF THE ACTUAL OPERATION.

What is the matter with BATFE? Are the too smart to figure this out?
This was pretty much discussed to death in another thread, but the only thing that determines whether something close to being a firearm is in fact a firearm or not, is BATFE. There is no legal description of a 80% lower or 80% anything. BATFE makes the determination on a case by case basis. Most manufacturers submit a sample and get a determination from BATFE before they start production. It is still not clear to me whether of not EP did this.

bds
April 6, 2014, 04:06 PM
Romeo, I think reviewing the actual Court Filings and Reference Materials Relating to ATF Investigations on Polymer Pre-cursor Receivers (aka 80% Lowers) in the link I posted will probably give you more factual information than any speculative discussion we could pursue.

What is the matter with BATFE?
No comment. But do look at recent "misbehavior" of ATF and form your own conclusion. To me, action speaks louder than words. ;)

I have actually talked to EP Armory owner and staff the past several weeks and remained silent in support so as to not add to the speculation/false information until an official announcement came from EP Armory.

In my opinion, EP Armory never intended to break any law but whether ATF acted properly or not, I won't comment as courts will rule in time whether ATF did the right thing or not. At this point in time, arguing about speculations/false information won't help us. Instead, we should focus on facts and come together to support any fight to defend the Second Amendment and work to expand what "right to keep and bear arms" means.

bds
April 6, 2014, 04:20 PM
Representative Thomas Massie in response to Mr. Jone's argument: "That will be up to a court to decide whether Ares Armor was manufacturing firearms, not congress or not ATF ... Ultimately ... the jury gets to decide in the end ..." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYDAuaI8mCw

Mr. Jones: "Yes, they do."

docsleepy
April 6, 2014, 05:09 PM
Okay, I read the letter from the manufacture to the ATF, I read the letter from the ATF to the manufacture, and I read the letter from the new lawyer to the ATF.

The ATF said that when XYZ happened, the device became a firearm. The lawyer asserted to the ATF that they had misunderstood and mischaracterized, and the XYZ actually never happen.

Since XYZ never happened, BATF's letter does not apply to the manufacturer. Saying that thing happened does not mean that it did.

If I say that you killed someone and therefore you are guilty of murder, but in fact you never did it, it does not make it true that you were guilty of murder, when they supposedly dead person is standing there in front of us.

Letters that refer and give conclusions on things that never happened, are rather useless, wouldn't you say?

docsleepy
April 6, 2014, 05:11 PM
When the ancient Greeks first constructed a nuclear weapon, they became a nuclear power. This sentence has just about as much applicability to the real world as does the ATF's letter, wouldn't you say?

docsleepy
April 6, 2014, 05:15 PM
I am not a lawyer, however I hope there is some legal theory or precedent says when you have it done XYZ, you aren't guilty of doing XYZ, even if the prosecutor says you did XYZ.

Now we have an attorney risking perjury or something similar to that, stating that XYZ never occurred. We have the ATF, never having been there, deducing that XYZ did occur. Incorrect conclusions don't make reality.

Some judge somewhere is probably going to ask ATF to present their proof that XYZ occurred, and ask the lawyer back up his claim that XYZ never occurred, and then he's going to make a simple ruling.

bds
April 6, 2014, 05:15 PM
In support of EP Armory/Ares Armor, I won't engage in any speculative discussion. I will try to post facts only and hope that discussion on this thread centers around those facts.

I hope you can honor my request.

Thank you.

AlexanderA
April 6, 2014, 05:17 PM
The key factor is how easy the product is to complete into a working firearm, NOT the exact process by which the product ("precursor" or "80%" lower receiver) is made. There are no published guidelines on this, and the ATF makes the determinations on a case-by-case basis. Regarding these EP lowers, I think what raised red flags at the ATF was the fact that the material filling the FCG pocket was a different color, and thus the material to be removed could be easily identified. In addition, the material (polymer) was soft enough to be removed without sophisticated tooling (a simple Dremel tool would suffice).

Did the ATF overstep its authority? A court will have to decide that.

docsleepy
April 6, 2014, 05:21 PM
The only problem is, that's not what the ATF letter said, EHF letter gave a statement, and a Sequitur. If the statement is incorrect, then the conclusion will not follow. They can then make a separate statement based on a different argument as you propose, however they have not done thAt


Just as Pres. Obama has proclaimed, words must mean something.

Zoogster
April 6, 2014, 05:40 PM
AlexanderA said:
The key factor is how easy the product is to complete into a working firearm, NOT the exact process by which the product ("precursor" or "80%" lower receiver) is made. There are no published guidelines on this, and the ATF makes the determinations on a case-by-case basis. Regarding these EP lowers, I think what raised red flags at the ATF was the fact that the material filling the FCG pocket was a different color, and thus the material to be removed could be easily identified. In addition, the material (polymer) was soft enough to be removed without sophisticated tooling (a simple Dremel tool would suffice).

My understanding of the issue is that how it is made is precisely the legal excuse they are using. In reality if they are not an FFL the ATF is not entitled to have the manufacturing process explained to them if the item is not a firearm, because if it is not a firearm they have no regulatory jurisdiction. However by saying it was made into a firearm initially the ATF are giving themselves authority to investigate a crime.

How they claim it is a firearm is by saying the outside receiver was first made, which would be a completed receiver, but was then filled. They claim that step produces a firearm, which is then merely filled, but having been made into a firearm remains a firearm. Thus a firearm was initially made without a license under that theory, and according to them having been a firearm remains a firearm.
While if the inside was made first and then the outside which would later be turned into a receiver molded around it then no complete receiver ever existed. Thus no firearm was made.
However the existence of the end product is not solid proof, and one can claim it was made either way.
One can strongly speculate though as filling a harder material with a softer one would be much easier manufacturing. It is also a gray area as milled traditional 80% receivers are of the same density and material throughout. While these are clearly something with portions made of different materials.

If the ATF simply raids places a lawyer can argue whether the raids were valid, whether evidence or items found were valid or admissible, and has many angles of attack. If the ATF is simply allowed to inspect and do not like what they see the individual has given up many of their rights regarding search and seizure by giving the ATF permission to inspect.
If the company is not an FFL they are not required to let the ATF inspect aspects of their business, and so the ATF can only be doing so from a criminal investigation angle, which requires warrants etc.

JRH6856
April 6, 2014, 06:28 PM
The only problem is, that's not what the ATF letter said, EHF letter gave a statement, and a Sequitur. If the statement is incorrect, then the conclusion will not follow. They can then make a separate statement based on a different argument as you propose, however they have not done thAt

Which ATF letter are you referring to? Is there an opinion letter regarding the polymer castings?

docsleepy
April 6, 2014, 07:03 PM
http://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ATF-letter-to-Jason-Davis-February-2014.pdf

The letter above is one of the items found when you click on post number two's link.

If you read page 2 of the ATF letter, you will see their primary complaint is XYZ, and it is the statement of the EP armory lawyer in a Nother letter, that XYZ never happened. XYZ, in this case is the completion of the outer portion of the part, prior to the inner portion.

I would completely buy the ATF argument that if that had occurred, the manufacture would have created a firearm. However, you have a lawyer putting his signature on a statement that this never occurred.

No one here is arguing that the ATF does not have the authority to make a determination. However no one here is arguing that the ATF can't write foolishness. And in this case they appear to have of done that. Foolishness, incorrect statements, wishful thinking, are not likely to pass muster with a judge.

Since the ATF does have the authority to evaluate products, hey judge is likely to ask them to reevaluate it, based on truthful claims and statements. Or, if the lawyer is found to have lied, there will be a different outcome.

jerkface11
April 6, 2014, 09:32 PM
Most manufacturers submit a sample and get a determination from BATFE before they start production. It is still not clear to me whether of not EP did this.

The ATF can change their determination at will. Ask cavalry arms they were shut down after producing their guns for a decade. By the time the ATF decided they had done no wrong they were nearly out of business.

smalls
April 7, 2014, 12:45 AM
Since the ATF does have the authority to evaluate products, hey judge is likely to ask them to reevaluate it, based on truthful claims and statements. Or, if the lawyer is found to have lied, there will be a different outcome.

Is it a possibility that the judge can force the ATF to actually define what an 80% lower is, and give guidelines they have to follow to come up with their determinations?

bds
April 7, 2014, 01:38 AM
This is from the reference listed in the link from post #2 - http://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Building-Your-Own-Firearm.pdf
VIII. BUILDING YOUR OWN FIREARM

Another way to obtain a firearm is by making one or assembling one from parts. This practice can be lawful under both California and federal law. Federal law prohibits “manufacturing” firearms without a license but only considers those who are “engaged in the business” of making firearms (i.e., those who devote time, attention, and labor to doing so as a regular course of business) to be “manufacturers” who need a license. This means that making a firearm for personal use does not require a license under federal or California law as long as you do not build an item that is prohibited to possess or make under California law.

Generally four different processes exist for building a personal firearm, and each has distinct legal implications, as outlined below.
229 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(10), (21); 923(a)(1).


A. Creating a Firearm From a Prefabricated Frame or Receiver

First, you can purchase a finished “frame” or “receiver” and then assemble it with additional parts to complete the firearm. Laws generally do not prohibit acquiring firearm parts, but because federal law considers a “frame” or a “receiver” to be a “firearm,” as does California law governing firearm acquisition, you have to get the frame or receiver through an FFL just like any other firearm (discussed in Section VI) or meet one of the exceptions. As mentioned above, you also must be at least age 21 to purchase a receiver.

B. Creating a Firearm From an 80% Receiver

The second way is to machine a firearm either from completely raw materi- als or partially finished materials. Making a firearm from partially finished materials is more popular as it takes less skill. Generally, you start with an incomplete receiver commonly referred to as an “80% receiver” or “80% side plate.”

The “80%” denotes how close the receiver is to being a complete firearm – though this is more of an estimate since it is impossible to say what percentage of work remains for a given firearm, which can vary based on experience, available tools, etc. An “80% receiver” is not considered a “firearm” under either federal or state law for the purposes of transfers. You must machine the remaining “20%” to complete the receiver, at which point it is considered a “firearm.” Thereafter, you can either purchase the remaining parts (e.g., barrel, stock, etc.) or machine them from raw materials and then attach them to the receiver.

The firearm you build cannot be an item that is generally unlawful to possess or manufacture under either California or federal law

JRH6856
April 7, 2014, 02:44 AM
docsleepy: Thanks. That letter reflects a "post-production" determination, which appears to be the initial determination.

jerkface11: Yes, they can change their minds, but since the Feb 7 letter appears to be the initial determination, and unless EP has an earlier opinion letter showing a different determination, it does not appear that they have done so.

wildbilll
April 7, 2014, 02:58 AM
I've read the documents. Thanks to bds for posting the link.

What's clear to me is the fact that EP did not ever have a letter of determination that the "80%" lower is not a firearm. In fact, the determination is the opposite - it was determined to be a firearm.
However, the BATFE made that determination of a firearm based on an assumption that is factually flawed.

What EP has done is paint the BATFE into a corner.
They have managed to get BATFE to be specific as to the reason why it is a firearm.

Now, with the involvement of the US court system, BATFE has to back down on that rationale due to the fact that they have misunderstood the manufacturing process.

The next problem for BATFE is that if they now come forward and change the criteria on how they judge a incomplete lower it will simply dig them further into the "arbitrary and capricious" hole they have been digging for a long time. (reference the recent silencer court ruling against them)
Add to that the fact that any changes they make to the way they make determinations will have an effect on previous determinations, and if they decide that the previous determinations are "grandfathered", they just dig that a&c hole even deeper.

I think they should have just left things alone.

jerkface11
April 7, 2014, 10:32 AM
These cases lead me to believe the ATF has something against polymer ar15s.

JRH6856
April 7, 2014, 01:43 PM
wildbill, I think that assessment is on target. Also, it is a very neat trap that EP and Ares have sprung here. Makes me wonder if it was planned.

So where do you think this might go? Might we wind up with a ruling that parts must be assembled to a certain point of functionality before the assembly (and not any individual part) is considered a firearm?

Frank Ettin
April 7, 2014, 01:55 PM
...Might we wind up with a ruling that parts must be assembled to a certain point of functionality before the assembly (and not any individual part) is considered a firearm? No, it won't go that far. By statute (18 USC 921(a)(3)(B)) the frame or receiver is a firearm. But we might get some greater clarity on what "may readily be converted" means as used at 18 USC 921(a)(3)(A):...may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive....

JRH6856
April 7, 2014, 02:34 PM
Clarity on readily converted would be good. As a kid, I used to use firecrackers to shoot BBs from the steel pipe arms of my grandmother's lawn chairs. Made an "interesting" shotgun that I would not want to be on the wrong end of. There are a lot of things that can be readily converted that most people don't think of, and lawn chairs are just one of them. :uhoh:

tepin
April 7, 2014, 04:20 PM
Unfortunately, "readily converted" means whatever the ATF wants it to.

ngnrd
April 7, 2014, 05:08 PM
Unfortunately, "readily converted" means whatever the ATF wants it to.
And therein lies the problem.

wildbilll
April 7, 2014, 05:58 PM
wildbill, I think that assessment is on target. Also, it is a very neat trap that EP and Ares have sprung here. Makes me wonder if it was planned.

So where do you think this might go? Might we wind up with a ruling that parts must be assembled to a certain point of functionality before the assembly (and not any individual part) is considered a firearm?
I don't think it was meant to be a trap, it's just turning out that way. And the "readily convertible" ambiguity is something the BATFE may wish to keep out of the courts now that the "arbitrary and capricious" rulings seem to be coming.

JSH1
April 7, 2014, 10:50 PM
These cases lead me to believe the ATF has something against polymer ar15s.

I don't know about all polymer lowers but they do have an issue with polymer lowers that have a the fire control cavity injected in a secondary operation. I think the key concern is that the white core can be pried away from the receiver body leaving the injected shape for the fire control cavity.

As seen on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDmFUz-ceVM&list=WL1KoDNOW5uIBfV3z0uhlLPPOJ1WXxt7HI
Minute 5 is where he starts prying out the white material.

I really don't see anything new in EP Armory's statement. Basically they said what we already know. The key is if they submitted their design for prior approval. I think it is quite obvious by now that EP didn't. If they had an approval letter from the ATF it would have come out by now. Also, I've seen them duck the question when asked by people in build threads on other forums. Someone will ask if they have an approval letter from the ATF for their lower and the EP rep won't say yes or no but instead says something to imply the design in legal.

wildbilll
April 7, 2014, 11:16 PM
At this point, it doesn't matter if someone can pry out some of the remnants of the cavity "biscuit".
Even after the "biscuit" is pried out, the milling operation is not yet complete. The ridges are still left to be filled or milled out.
It's obvious from the records posted on the law firm website that they did submit a sample. The BATFE decided that it was a firearm, it's just that they used a flawed analysis of whether the chicken or the egg came first as to the fire control cavity.
The response from EP contained detail, including the part about how the "biscuits" are left to cure for a few days before the receiver is formed around it using a similar composition material.
Bottom line, EP did not have a letter of determination that the lower was not a firearm. The proof of this is the fact that they have not posted any such document on the law firm website. There is no reason to hold back such a document.
What EP did was proceed forward without the non-firearm determination, likely on the advice of counsel.
They have stood up to the BATFE and the BATFE doesn't like it when they are challenged, they don't like it when someone decides they don't want to follow the established procedures, even if there is no lawful basis for the BATFE to require a letter of determination before selling a product.
Now it is going to be quietly settled or it is going to be "United States of America v EP Armory, et al"

JRH6856
April 8, 2014, 12:07 AM
It's obvious from the records posted on the law firm website that they did submit a sample. The BATFE decided that it was a firearm, it's just that they used a flawed analysis of whether the chicken or the egg came first as to the fire control cavity.

But it is not obvious that they submitted the sample prior to going into production and sale. If they did, it doesn't look like they waited for the determination before starting production, and if they went into production after receiving the determination, they do have a problem.

wildbilll
April 8, 2014, 02:21 AM
Actually, it is obvious from the dates on the letters to and from EP and BATFE that they did not wait for a determination. The letter from EP is from July 2013 and the BATFE letter that says "it's a firearm" is dated February 2014.
What is not so obvious is there was likely some off record communication that led to the submission of the sample that was found to be a firearm. The recent date of the BATFE rejection of a non-firearm status is timely to the current removal of the products from sale.
What is obvious is the BATFE is hanging their hat on the premise the "biscuit" came after the lower was formed.
Once it is proven in a court of law that this was not the way the part came to be, the BATFE will have to back down or move the goalposts and start ranting about some other criteria heretofore not cited such as the fact the plastics are two different colors.
And that is what takes it to the arbitrary and capricious stage.

JSH1
April 8, 2014, 08:56 AM
At this point, it doesn't matter if someone can pry out some of the remnants of the cavity "biscuit".
Even after the "biscuit" is pried out, the milling operation is not yet complete. The ridges are still left to be filled or milled out.

Once the insert is pried out all one has to do is file small ridges down to a flat service. The profile, corners, depth, and bottom radii of the cavity is set by injection process. That is completely different that having to machine a cavity from scratch in a block of continuous material. THAT is the issue at hand.

Actually, it is obvious from the dates on the letters to and from EP and BATFE that they did not wait for a determination. The letter from EP is from July 2013 and the BATFE letter that says "it's a firearm" is dated February 2014.

Yes, it is obvious they didn't wait for a determination to start selling they product. This is EP Lowers introduction of their product to Calguns on July 1st, 2013:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=786883

The first question is: Do you have a determination letter from the ATF? EP Lowers dodges the question and then when asked directly for a yes or no answer doesn't respond.

JRH6856
April 8, 2014, 09:19 AM
Maybe they thought 'tis better to seek forgiveness than permission. Or, as someone else said, "Hope" is not a good business plan.

I don't think BATF is necessarily "hanging its hat" on the manufacturing process. They are building this case on it, but the case is that a firearm was manufactured and then plugged. They may be hanging their hat on the readily convertible criteria that does not require a firearm be made, just that what is made be readily convertible to a firearm.

IOW, the evaluated what they received as a deactivated firearm which had been manufactured without a license.

What's this?

Looks like a plugged lower receiver

Well, that means they made a firearm and tried to deactivate it. Bust 'em.

Perhaps with that determination, they stopped evaluating.

If that is an incorrect evaluation, they can evaluate further to determine whether or not the plugged non-firearm is readily convertible. As JSH1 suggests, that is a good question and may or may not be arbitrary and capricious. I guess we'll see.

Ryanxia
April 8, 2014, 09:40 AM
I see what you did sir, you made a receiver then filled the rest in to make it into this square hunk of metal/plastic. OBVIOUSLY you are manufacturing firearms. I don't care if you are calling a toaster.

Honestly how much of our country's money is being hemorrhaged over this stuff and being used against us? If they'd just legalize the Constitution we might actually be able to start paying some of this national debt off. I know, crazy talk.

Also, see signature.

JRH6856
April 8, 2014, 10:56 AM
BATF just does what its told. WE need to stop electing the idiots that tell them to do these things.

See this thread on the latest idiocy (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=749103).

jerkface11
April 8, 2014, 10:57 AM
I don't know about all polymer lowers but they do have an issue with polymer lowers that have a the fire control cavity injected in a secondary operation. I think the key concern is that the white core can be pried away from the receiver body leaving the injected shape for the fire control cavity.

They shut cav arms down for months nearly putting them out of business. They were selling actual firearms not 80% lowers and the ATF decided after 10 years that their process might be illegal so they shut them down and seized their equipment. Then the ATF decided nothing illegal was going on. So yeah I'm going to go with they have something against poly lowers.

bds
April 8, 2014, 11:06 AM
Obviously I can't speak for ATF but tried to approach this from their perspective to perhaps rationalize what they did (whether proper or not). According to ATF, there is an active criminal investigation (Sacramento/Placerville/Fresno/Ione/etc. since 2013) of illegal firearms manufacture and sales by individuals without FFL (except for one subject who has FFL but his firearms were not serialized and sold without following established process of DROS etc.) based on metal AR-15 blanks/80% lowers and issue over EP Armory/Ares Armor poly 80% lower is an expansion of that criminal investigation.

What I gather from reading the Affidavit of ATF Special Agent Jerry Donn is that ATF needed to gather all the evidence for the criminal investigation but the manufacture of AR-15 blank/80% lower is not the focus of the investigation. They needed the customer list to possibly further identify criminal wrongdoing by purchasers of the AR-15 blanks/80% lowers. Since ATF got the customer list (which they wanted all along and I think was the motive behind the search warrant/raid on Ares Armor) once the investigation is finished, I have a feeling (my opinion only) ATF may claim they misunderstood the manufacturing process of poly 80% lowers and allow EP Armory/Ares Armor to sell them - http://www.justice.gov/usao/cae/news/docs/2014/2014_02/02-27-2014Cortez%20SW%20Package.pdf
14. To manufacture an AR-15 lower receiver, a manufacturer may start with an AR-15 blank ... An AR-15 blank is not considered a “firearm” by ATF ...

a. An AR-15 blank is also colloquially referred to as a “blank,” “an 80%,” “an 80% blank,” “an 80% lower,” or “an AR-15 80%.” These terms developed based on the perception that the piece of metal was 80% of a firearm, and therefore unregulated by ATF. The term “80%” and variations of it are not used by ATF and are not officially recognized by ATF. ATF regulates “firearms.” An item that is not a “firearm” is not regulated by ATF and not assigned an official terminology ...

In summary, the subjects (no mention of EP Armory/Ares Armor) of this investigation are devoting time and effort in the repetitive sale of firearms for the explicit purpose of making a profit ...

wildbilll
April 8, 2014, 11:34 AM
The totality of these actions by BATFE is that they believe the whole "80%" lower thing, combined with the 3D printing coming online; the whole unserialized thing is about to go mainstream, they are trying to quash it before it gets too prevalent.
I recently saw an article about someone making the lower from plywood.

bds
April 8, 2014, 12:06 PM
Before this thread. goes way off topic, I ask again to reaffirm my OP request to consider facts only and keep the discussion specific to facts related to EP Armory 80% poly lowers.

Speculations and ranting about unrelated topics won't help us or the Second Amendment's meaning of "right to keep and bear arms" which AR/1911 "blanks" allow us to do "legally".

Thank you for your consideration.

bds
April 9, 2014, 01:59 AM
Latest update from EP Armory's facebook page
First and foremost this is not over.....

The BATFE has responded to the explanation of the manufacturing process, the bonding techniques and even the past approvals they have given to other manufacturers. It seems the ATF has begun to circle the wagons and dig its heels in. E P Armory is replying again to this most recent dance around determination letter. I for one have never seen a 6 page long determination letter ever.

From here the strong group of attorneys we have gathered to help us in this fight are going over this document and picking it apart. They simply have just expressed that they refuse to have the public see another group of the ATF with mud on the face. They have had no good public media attention lately and certainly this would be another if this was to be deemed a non-firearm AS IT SHOULD.

Here is a link to the new letter provided by the BATFE.....

http://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ATF-FTB-letter-to-previous-EP-Armory-attorney.pdf

bds
April 9, 2014, 02:14 AM
So if an 80% "poly AR blank" has the fire control area the same material without the excess material protruding out, ATF would consider it an AR-15 blank and not a firearm?

Then I guess the same jig used to complete a metal AR-15 blank could be used to finish the "poly AR blank" in the same fashion as finishing a "metal AR blank"?

wildbilll
April 9, 2014, 12:23 PM
Yes, they are being kind enough to spell out the areas they deem as having gone too far.
The only solution at this point is for EP to make the thing homogenous, eliminate the nubs that locate the holes and start supplying a jig made out of the same material to keep the cost down. This could be molded over the outside of the lower. This would be acceptable since the in the original flawed analysis they decided that you can't "back fill" the fire control cavity; therefore once the lower is cast, it is a "non-firearm" if it has a homogenous filled cavity. The fact that later on an additional layer is added that has all of the points located that can be peeled away afterwards would have nothing to do with the fact that it is still a "non-firearm".
But the amount of labor and skill involved is going to have to increase and the cost will likely go up a little more.
What is left in the legal case is how to resolve the arbitrary nature of how these determinations are made, not so much as to give guidance to EP, but to make sure this doesn't happen to the next person/entity.
One issue that appears to be a non-issue now is the fact that it isn't metal.
The BATFE letter is careful not to make any statements that cause problems for other manufacturers who purchase these types of lowers (metal).
I do see an issue in the letter. They are now saying that the reason they classified it as a firearm in the last letter due to the supposed steps in manufacture (which was the wrong supposition), doesn't matter anyway. Thusly, the letter was meaningless as they are saying they can hold back any other reasons for rejections for a later date. That is capricious. I think EP is owed money damages due to the defective analysis of the sample they submitted.
One last thing: There is no date on this BATFE letter.

docsleepy
April 9, 2014, 01:34 PM
Much better analysis by the ATF

JRH6856
April 9, 2014, 01:45 PM
The fact that later on an additional layer is added that has all of the points located that can be peeled away afterwards would have nothing to do with the fact that it is still a "non-firearm".

Unless this was determined to be another form of "indexing". ISTR in another case, it was determined that the jig/template had to be completely separate, but I could easily be wrong on this.

wildbilll
April 9, 2014, 02:56 PM
I see it as the same thing as a decal wrapped around a sten tube

JRH6856
April 9, 2014, 02:59 PM
Now if only BATF sees it that way.

wildbilll
April 9, 2014, 03:08 PM
Which brings us back to the a&c argument. They should have to publish the guidelines instead of having to play cat and mouse. The "clarification" letter we are now discussing is proof of the guessing games.

JRH6856
April 9, 2014, 04:14 PM
I guess I just don't see any guessing games going on by BATF. They seem to be using a consistent criteria, even if it is unpublished. The guessing seems to be coming from folks trying to get as close to the unknown line as possible without crossing it.

Based on what I have seen so far (which is not exhaustive) I suspect BATF may be able to demonstrate sufficient consistency in criteria to avoid a&c, but they may not be able to avoid publishing the criteria they use to avoid it.

And I suspect they would rather not publish the criteria so that manufturers will have to contact them for a determination giving them some record of who is making what. Whait a published criteria, BATF will actually have to get out and work harder to know who is making partially complete receiver blanks. :what:

Sam1911
April 9, 2014, 05:12 PM
Something fundamental to consider here is the difference between a LAW and regulatory power given an agency under that law.

It is pretty unusual to see a law written so specifically as our National Firearms Act's rules on barrel length for rifles or shotguns. There they wrote two specific numbers and said "this is the law." For lots of other things -- such as silencers as a great example -- the law outlaws, limits, or regulates something but then leaves to a regulatory agency the duty to define, decide, and enforce what is or isn't covered by that law.

So, the law says that a shoulder fired, rifled-barrel firearm is a rifle, and if it has a barrel ANY AMOUNT less than 16" then it is an NFA-regulated firearm. Period. No leeway. And that's ok, in so far as the items in question are pretty clearly a binary "IS/ISN'T" thing. (More or less...but if you add a muzzle break...?)

Silencers are regulated too. But what is a silencer? Any tube on the front of a gun? Anything at all that makes a gun quieter? How much quieter? Etc. The ATF has to interpret that law and decide that yes it's any amount of reduction, but no just a bare tube doesn't meet the spirit of the restriction, and, well...no even if you make the barrel 40" long JUST so it will be quieter, we aren't going to call that a silencer, etc., etc., and other details like that.

This is an inherent function of trying to write laws that place concrete limits on all the possible permutations of human ingenuity and design. As we see so often with the NFA (again), Congress writes a concrete law that says X is regulated and years later someone invents something that is not quite just like X but works just like X and without an agency with some ability to make determinations and regulations, the law wouldn't be flexible enough to deal with that. (I'm talking to YOU, Mr. Sig arm brace and Mr. 3MR trigger! :))

So, no, the BATFE probably doesn't at all want to publish what will be seen as an eternally binding document defining EXACTLY what ISN'T a firearm, because it will have to be either so restrictive as to cause great disruption of the status quo or tomorrow someone will have found a work-around that meets the last exacting letter of that determination document but is obviously and completely at odds with the whole concept being enforced.

Now...I don't know that I really have a problem with the BATFE being backed into a corner that way and forced to write a technical code that can be pointed to as carte blanche to do anything that comes right up to the knife-edged line of the rule.

wildbilll
April 9, 2014, 07:05 PM
I say that sunshine is the best disinfectant. Let's cut the guessing games. Any other regulatory agency publishes a NPRM and follows the administrative procedures act along with several other regulatory acts; they define specifically what they are trying to regulate; how they are trying to regulate it and finally why they are trying to regulate it.
They it goes out for a public comment period where people that care can put in their 2 cents. Once that period has passed, they publish a rule, the rule includes all of the discussion which shows the original intent. This is so that later the intent can't change. This is what need to take place in this instance.

JSH1
April 10, 2014, 12:00 AM
I guess I just don't see any guessing games going on by BATF. They seem to be using a consistent criteria, even if it is unpublished.

I don't see anything out of the ordinary either. I seems pretty clear to me: The same rules apply regardless of whether the receiver is forged, cast, machined, or injected plastic. We did learn a couple of new things:

The fire control cavity cannot be a separate injection regardless of the order of operations.
The manufacture can't use holes to locate drill locations regardless of whether they are on a raised boss or not.

It is also pretty clear that EP was manufacturing and selling firearms without a license for about 9 months.

barnbwt
April 10, 2014, 01:16 AM
Can't even scribe an outline of the FCG cavity, either; no indexing features. But somehow a jig for holding and positioning forgings isn't considered to use "indexing features" built into the forging itself.

TCB

AlexanderA
April 10, 2014, 01:33 AM
wildbill wrote:

I say that sunshine is the best disinfectant. Let's cut the guessing games. Any other regulatory agency publishes a NPRM and follows the administrative procedures act along with several other regulatory acts; they define specifically what they are trying to regulate; how they are trying to regulate it and finally why they are trying to regulate it.
Then it goes out for a public comment period where people that care can put in their 2 cents. Once that period has passed, they publish a rule, the rule includes all of the discussion which shows the original intent. This is so that later the intent can't change. This is what need to take place in this instance.

This sort of factual situation (in this case, as to what exactly constitutes an AR-15 "receiver") is normally the proper subject for a "ruling," not a "regulation." Unlike "regulations," "rulings" don't come under the Administrative Procedures Act and don't require a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, a comment period, etc. And furthermore, "rulings" are of two types -- "private rulings" (which apply only to a particular individual or entity, and have no value as precedent), and "published rulings" (which can be cited). The correspondence between EP and the ATF has the characteristics of a "private ruling." Just because EP made it public doesn't convert it into a "published ruling." Only the ATF can designate it as a "published ruling."

wildbilll
April 10, 2014, 02:01 AM
They obviously have an internal document or documents they are using to make determinations. They are regulating. They should be forced to disclose, that way it's there for all to see. Is there something they are afraid to let us see? Or is it just sloppy, arbitrary and capricious the way they operate?

bds
April 10, 2014, 11:34 AM
10/8/14 update from EP Armory's facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory?ref=stream
Fellow Patriots,

Over the last few weeks we have shared, as well as main stream media, the legal battle E P Armory has in front of us. We have now reached a point where both parties are obviously not willing to turn around and or give up. We are certain what has happened was the direct cause of miscommunication which was led by insinuation. At no time was the manufacturing process completed like the original BATFE determination letter was stated. The FTB rather than opening a line of communication between us and sorting the misunderstanding decided to go full force and jump to a conclusion that has a "no turning back" outcome. To be crystal clear. The core "biscuit" is manufactured first in a small molding process. Next the small biscuit after a cure period is put in a larger mold and the EP80 is manufactured around it therefore never having a void or FCG area. The FTB now knows this.

Since the BATFE has now responded to our most recent reply explaining the process in detail they have decided to make another part of the EP80 illegal since the original determination ruling will not stick. Kind of like a dancing game, but certainly this is no game at all. E P Armory has much to lose, in fact all parties have a lot to lose.

We have had a lot of inquiries into what customers have to lose. At this point in time we have had no communication or demand for purchasers to return or destroy the EP80's at all. Though nothing should be ruled out as an outcome you can be assured that as soon as we get informed we will be forwarding the info to the public. We do ask that you remain patient and wait to return, destroy or complete if not already.

To help us in this battle as some of you have already done we are asking that you help by making a purchase online, in the store or simply make a donation to the E P Amory Legal fund. All donations will have different support items to be shipped out including when the legal battle ends the shipping of the EP80's. http://www.eparmory.com/product-p/legalfund50.htm

I think it's interesting to note that ATF demanded Ares Armor's 5000 customer list (ultimately getting a search warrant to get it) but DID NOT ask for EP Armory's customer list (and they are the manufacturer). Perhaps ATF's concern lies somewhere else than EP Armory's poly EP80 product?
No "customer list" was asked for so no customer list was provided.

JRH6856
April 10, 2014, 12:11 PM
Almost sounds like they are on the trail of someone buying from ARES and building for resale (if not ARES themselves), but the only way they could find to go fishing for ARES customer list was via an adverse determination of the EP lower. :scrutiny:

wildbilll
April 12, 2014, 02:04 AM
Ares tries to talk sense to the BATFE:

http://soldiersystems.net/blog1/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Letter-to-Todd-Jones.pdf

barnbwt
April 12, 2014, 02:55 AM
"Almost sounds like they are on the trail of someone buying from ARES and building for resale (if not ARES themselves), but the only way they could find to go fishing for ARES customer list was via an adverse determination of the EP lower."
I'm pretty sure this is exactly it (heck, tons of people talked about buying lowers after Newtown and flipping them for profit; pretty much the same thing as finishing blanks and selling those, as far as the ATF is concerned)

Problem is, the ATF approached the problem wrong, and is attempting to remedy the situation even wronger. Instead of stinging these supposed unlicensed manufacturers selling the finished goods and chilling that activity, they decided instead to 'take down the whole racket' as they saw it and target suppliers on down. Unfortunately, that tactic only works when the suppliers are engaging in unlawful activity, and if the best the ATF can come up with is to ex post facto declare illegality on someone, it opens them up to court challenges to that ruling (you know, since our justice system isn't actually supposed to work that way ;) ), which is why the ATF tries to avoid it most of the time. It's definitely one of their fall backs, though (armed siege appears to be another :D)

For instance; there have been a lot more people on Gunbroker lately selling PPSH shrouds with complete trunnions in parts kits. Problem is, the ATF ex post facto declared those kits readily convertible years ago. So why are more of them popping up? Because the ATF is not stopping the sales. But I'll bet they'll use the proliferation as an excuse to try and crack down on people making receiver repair sections and reproduction (legal) trunnions, even though they were not the problem in the first place, but instead lax law enforcement.

TCB

Sam1911
April 12, 2014, 05:47 AM
On e more: that's not what ex post facto means.

EPF only applies if someone is being prosecuted for something they did or had sometime in the past, when it was LAWFUL, but now isn't doing (or doesn't have) any more, now that it is unlawful.

If you sold a gun to your friend in another state without a dealer, back in 1965, and the BATFE tried to come after you for that now, because it is against a law written in 1968, that would be ex post facto.

Making something illegal, that once was legal, is unfortunately, perfectly legal.

They can certainly say that this receiver is NOW illegal, even if it WAS legal before.
Or they can say this receiver was NEVER legal, but we didn't notice it until now.

bds
April 12, 2014, 10:23 AM
April 9th article from Bearing Arms - http://bearingarms.com/ep-armory-and-the-atfs-pornography-addiction/
As most Bearing Arms readers are probably aware by now, EP Armory—and later Ares Armor—were both raided on the pretense that an injection-molded plastic part created by EP Armory and sold by both companies constitutes a firearm in the eyes of the ATF that has been illegally sold.

The Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) sent a letter to EP Armory letter (PDF (http://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ATF-FTB-letter-to-previous-EP-Armory-attorney.pdf)) which argues that the EP Armory part is a firearm receiver, and therefore, their sale by EP Armory and Ares Armor constitutes illegal sales of firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968.

....

barnbwt
April 12, 2014, 07:13 PM
Good point, Sam, I suppose you are right. But the ability to declare contraband is the ability to mete punishment (confiscation without compensation directed toward an individual sure smacks of punishment) in the present for lawful activity in the past (acquiring/manufacturing said contraband). The consequences part is what I take issue with, but you are right, the actual legality isn't the issue since the person (probably) won't be charged.

Except for the guy who purchased original 'demil' PPSH kits in the 80's, who was never contacted by the ATF when they were trying to recover them, who then goes to sell one now could fall in hot water if the ATF decided to stick it to him. He did a legal act years ago buying the kits, did nothing since (unless you consider illegal possession without illegal acquisition an "active" decision), and is now unknowingly vulnerable to very serious legal liability. It's the same conundrum felt whenever stuff gets banned anywhere, and yes, it's very legal, but it also does not seem in keeping with the basis of our justice system. It ain't right, but it ain't illegal. We should work to rectify the discrepancy of the two when we can.

BTW, it sounds like there was something of a nation-wide crackdown on 80%'ers in March; EP is the 3rd or 4th raid that was conducted on 80% manufacturers that week, it seems. Maybe that's an average week, but I hadn't heard about any of these type of businesses getting raided with regularity prior to now (must by them new marchin' orders from Mr. Jones :scrutiny:)

TCB

bds
April 22, 2014, 08:04 PM
4/22/14 Update from EP Armory - http://www.gofundme.com/8jd5k4
Due to recent events E P Armory has been forced back on its heels by the BATFE. We have also been forced into a very expensive legal battle that will determine not only our freedoms but the future freedoms of generations to come. We are at the forefront of a battle for your second amendment rights.

We are asking for assistance in this as certainly the BATFE main goal is to bury us in debt to gain the outcome they want which is to determine the EP80 as a firearm. If we go under then the fight is lost. E P Armory has and will always be the innovator for the 80% world. We had just started R&D for some new styles of builds as well as opening a new storefront to be more personal with our customers. Though it was a good move to step in these directions it was an extremely expensive one. This is why we are asking for assistance.

We hope we have your support in this as we will support your rights now as well as in the future.

JTHunter
April 23, 2014, 02:11 AM
barnbwt said:But the ability to declare contraband is the ability to mete punishment (confiscation without compensation directed toward an individual sure smacks of punishment) - - -

- - which is exactly what the government did when they declared "private ownership" of gold illegal and forced people to surrender any gold, whether it was coins or bullion, to the government.

Frank Ettin
April 23, 2014, 02:33 AM
barnbwt said:But the ability to declare contraband is the ability to mete punishment (confiscation without compensation directed toward an individual sure smacks of punishment) - - -

- - which is exactly what the government did when they declared "private ownership" of gold illegal and forced people to surrender any gold, whether it was coins or bullion, to the government.Please provide documentation to support that claim. Exactly when and how was this done and on what terms?

Analogkid
April 23, 2014, 08:27 AM
I think he is referring to E O 6102...

Frank Ettin
April 23, 2014, 10:43 AM
I think he is referring to E O 6102... If that is the case, JTHunter is incorrect about the gold being confiscated without compensation. EO6102 (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=14611) specifically provided:....Section 4. Upon receipt of gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates delivered to it in accordance with Sections 2 or 3, the Federal Reserve Bank or member bank will pay therefor an equivalent amount of any other form of coin or currency coined or issued under the laws of the United States....

Frank Ettin
April 23, 2014, 01:16 PM
We're starting to drift off topic. This will not become a discussion of EO 6102.

We're discussing EP Armory's problem with the ATF.

bds
April 26, 2014, 09:11 PM
4/24/14 update from EP Armory facebook page - http://www.gofundme.com/8jd5k4
Thank you all that have donated to the EP Armory Legal Fund. Your help is more than you could understand appreciated. We have a case that is more than capable of being won it is just going to cost a large amount of money to complete. As you all I am sure understand the goal of the opposing side is to crush us financially. With your donations it helps keep us afloat, pay extremely expensive legal defense and continue future products for ensuring we have a second amendment to fight for. If you do not wish to donate please look through our inventory online and make a purchase which will definitely help us gather the needed funds.

Regards


4/25/14 update from EP Armory facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory/posts/624434620973808?reply_comment_id=624773620939908&total_comments=1
Any updates on court case? Waiting on a date?
There is no court case currently. We currently have received all of our computers and such back which was a couple of weeks back. We have received a forfeiture notice for the EP80's which we are filing an appeal. Next step is to get before a judge and make our case of what is and what is not a firearm. It will all come out we hope in the next few weeks. Thanks

barnbwt
April 26, 2014, 10:48 PM
I'm just an ignorant 'ol country bystander, so excuse my ignorance. What specifically runs up the legal costs so fast in these obnoxious bureaucratic tug-of-war games? Is it just EP keeping a legal team on retainer that's eating them alive, the interruption of the poly-lower business (I assume there is nothing preventing sale of their other products), or are court fees really that ridiculous? Not doubting they're hurting or exaggerating, just curious how the Kafkaesque machine grinds its sausage ;)

Seems like the take-away the ATF is trying to establish is that marking, indicating, starting, or otherwise suggesting the locations of the "no-no" features they won't put down in writing is intent to manufacture. Makes sense from that perspective, except the law doesn't actually prohibit intent to manufacture, nor does it prohibit making a living on gun-paraphernalia. If scribing an outline of the FCG pocket on an aluminum lower is considered a firearm, how can a drill/mill jig+forging possibly not be considered one? It isn't, because intent itself is not what the law regulates, but instead finished articles. The ATF would stretch this logic all the way back to billet and beyond if we let them.

TCB

JTHunter
April 27, 2014, 01:27 AM
Frank & Analogkid - thanks for the clarification. I was going by what my grandfather told me many years ago when his jewelry business was hindered by this E.O.

bds
April 27, 2014, 04:27 AM
4/26/14 update from EP Armory facebook page -
The NRA should bankroll this case
Getting as many calls as possible to the offices of the NRA would make it something they would definitely look into and assist financially for. Please make the call.
National Rifle Association of America - https://contact.nra.org/contact-us.aspx
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
800-672-3888

NRA AREA 37: CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
Paul Rodarmel
PRodarmel@nrahq.org

NRA AREA 35: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Daniel Wilhelm
Senior Field Representative
DWilhelm@nrahq.org

NRA AREA 36: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Mike Davis
MDavis@nrahq.org

California Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. - http://www.crpa.org/contact-us/
271 Imperial Highway, Suite 620
Fullerton, CA 92835
714-992-CRPA (2772)
Fax: 714-992-2996

bds
April 27, 2014, 04:50 AM
U.S. Attorney may have misled a federal judge regarding EP Armory's 80% AR blanks - http://bearingarms.com/did-u-s-attorney-daniel-butcher-mislead-a-federal-judge-to-justify-the-ares-armor-raid-on-ak-15-lower-receivers/
Daniel Butcher ... Assistant U.S. Attorney ... filed a response to temporary restraining order (TRO) obtained by Ares Armor against the ATF ... with federal magistrate judge Bernard G. Skomal ...

Butcher conveniently “forgets” that the 80% lower receivers ... are not generally considered firearms, according to the ATF’s own determination letters sent to numerous manufacturers over the years. As 80% receivers are not firearms, they are therefore not subject to the ATF’s jurisdiction ... Nor does he mention that the ATF’s claim that EP Armory’s 80% receivers are manufactured differently hasn’t been proven even once by the agency.

... until the ATF proves that the EP Armory 80% lower receivers are not manufactured as the company claims, then they are not, by the ATF’s long-standing determination, firearms ...

JRH6856
April 27, 2014, 11:43 AM
With your donations it helps keep us afloat, pay extremely expensive legal defense and continue future products for ensuring we have a second amendment to fight for.

Looks to me like they are seeking donated operating capital, not just a legal defense fund. From a business standpoint, They might get a better response if they could offer something substantial in return. They can't offer a tax deduction for donations so perhaps it is time to sell shares in the operation.

bds
April 27, 2014, 02:48 PM
They might get a better response if they could offer something substantial in return.
EP Armory originally started their legal fund drive around a $50 donation (which is still active) where the donor would receive an EP80 only when the ATF deemed the EP80 a non-firearm - http://www.eparmory.com/product-p/legalfund50.htm
$50 donation - 1 EP80 ONLY when the ATF deems it a (non-firearm) and 1 gas man sticker. In the case that the ATF deems this a "firearm" we are not able to ship the EP80's and the donation WILL stay to the E P Armory legal fund to help the fight.
I have a feeling that greater number of customers may have elected to make purchases than donations.

For those who preferred to help by making purchases, EP Armory has been running various sales of their firearms (pistols/rifles), AR uppers, pistol/rifle kits and other shooting/reloading related items (in-store/online) like various AR pistol/rifle kits in .223/5.56-.223 Wylde/7.62x39/.300 BLK starting at $525/$550 including "blem" uppers/rifle kits at lower prices - http://www.eparmory.com/EP-Armory-Online-Store-s/1832.htm

Regardless whether supporters make donations or purchases, they should all help EP Armory pay for their legal team to prepare the court case.

FYI, in addition to EP Armory continuing to sell aluminum 80% AR15 blanks (http://www.eparmory.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=AR15+lowers&Submit=), they have started to sell 80% AR10 blanks - http://www.eparmory.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=AR10&Submit=

RECREM
April 27, 2014, 03:54 PM
We bought twelve (12) E P Armory lower receivers and none of them fit.:what: Yes,none of them fit American made upper receivers. Problem: front pivot holes and rear take down holes do not line up correctly. These are factory (E P Armory)drilled items. Owner,Chris Cook told me via phone call. "Blemished" units includes problem with front pivot holes and rear take down holes.:what: You agreed to this by clicking the button to purchase product. Hearing that was a BIG surprise to me. These guys were kicked off www.calguns.net and received numerous complaints about product quality. Buyer Beware !!! I think Owner,Chris Cook is a Crook. We paid over $660 :what:for their product,that's what I get for supporting a particular American business (Not all American businesses behave this way). Best part,I did not drill any of them yet. Test fit them first and discovered alignment and gap issues. Thanks.

bds
April 27, 2014, 05:54 PM
RECREM, sorry to hear about your situation and my sentiment is poor quality product/poor customer service for a new company won't allow them to grow, especially in a very competitive shooting/reloading industry. I do not work for EP Armory but hope they recognize the importance of product quality/customer service as key to the company's future.

But the focus of this thread is about the legality of 80% AR or other firearm platforms like 1911 blanks regardless whether they are made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum or other materials like polymer. Firearms over the decades have progressed from metal to polymer frames and why should the AR/1911 blanks be any different?

For decades, gunsmith students/gunsmiths and hobbyists have used AR/1911 blanks to learn their hobby/trade of gunsmithing and some eventually became successful gunsmiths who ended up starting companies. To me, polymer blanks are reflective of progression made by the firearms industry.

alsaqr
April 27, 2014, 06:20 PM
RECREM, i'm sorry you got ripped off.

The NRA shoud not "bankroll" EP or any other company. That is not the purpose of the NRA.

EP sold sold those receivers after the BATFE declared them to be "firearms".

http://www.scribd.com/doc/217153992/ATF-Letter-to-EP-Armory

Cooldill
April 27, 2014, 06:38 PM
Looks like a sick setup!

bds
April 27, 2014, 07:14 PM
So would you agree that if EP Armory's 80% polymer AR blank did not have the different color/material "biscuit" and lacked the excess materials protruding out, it would be the same as the aluminum 80% AR blank?

RECREM
April 27, 2014, 08:01 PM
10/8/14 update from EP Armory's facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory?ref=stream


I think it's interesting to note that ATF demanded Ares Armor's 5000 customer list (ultimately getting a search warrant to get it) but DID NOT ask for EP Armory's customer list (and they are the manufacturer). Perhaps ATF's concern lies somewhere else than EP Armory's poly EP80 product?
To my understanding,E P Armory/E P lowers freely gave them (BATF) their records without a fight. We bought E P Armory/E P lowers polymer receivers in July 2013,October 2013 and January 2014. In 2013 they sold for $100 each and the "Blemished" sold for $35 each. If E P Armory/E P lowers made an honest good faith effort to work with their customers,this would have had a different outcome.

bds
April 27, 2014, 08:31 PM
To my understanding,E P Armory/E P lowers freely gave them (BATF) there records without a fight.
From post #55 - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=9430457#post9430457
No "customer list" was asked for so no customer list was provided.

bds
April 27, 2014, 08:48 PM
ATF searched EP Armory and home of Chris Cook on Friday, 3/7/14 - http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/federal-officers-searching-bakersfield-business-and-home-030714

"... ATF declined to comment on why the store was targeted or exactly what agents were looking for ... Cook said agents told him they were looking for illegal firearms ... The ATF did not prohibit EP Armory from reopening and they did so around 5:30 p.m. Friday."

RECREM
April 28, 2014, 12:31 AM
Letter on E P Armory's website mentions this....",that these investigations should be concluded,and the seized records and property returned." www.eparmory.com/Current-News-s/1845.htm.

bds
April 28, 2014, 12:47 AM
This was posted on 4/26/14 - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory/posts/624434620973808?reply_comment_id=624773620939908&total_comments=1
We currently have received all of our computers and such back which was a couple of weeks back.

RECREM
April 28, 2014, 02:54 AM
Problem: E P Armory drilled out the trigger pocket and filled it back in with product. Drilling out that trigger is a "No Can Do" with BATF.

RECREM
April 28, 2014, 03:04 AM
RECREM, i'm sorry you got ripped off.

The NRA shoud not "bankroll" EP or any other company. That is not the purpose of the NRA.

EP sold sold those receivers after the BATFE declared them to be "firearms".

http://www.scribd.com/doc/217153992/ATF-Letter-to-EP-Armory
True.

RECREM
April 28, 2014, 03:08 AM
I like this forum,you guys encouraging words lift me up. Thank you very much.:D:):)

bds
April 28, 2014, 04:14 AM
Welcome to THR.
E P Armory drilled out the trigger pocket and filled it back in with product. Drilling out that trigger is a "No Can Do" with BATF.
The manufacturing process has already been discussed at length in another thread. Since there may be a disagreement/confusion as to how they are manufactured, I think EP Armory and lawyers at Michel & Associates are electing for the judge to decide.
Next step is to get before a judge and make our case of what is and what is not a firearm. It will all come out we hope in the next few weeks

We bought twelve (12) E P Armory lower receivers ... We bought ... E P Armory/E P lowers polymer receivers in July 2013,October 2013 and January 2014 ... Best part,I did not drill any of them yet.
Hmmmm, who are "We"? And why did you keep buying more even though you found out they did not fit the uppers you had? You posted that you did not drill any one of 12 lowers you bought yet you post a definitive statement that EP Armory drilled out the trigger pocket and filled it back in. Your new THR account only shows 6 posts all for this thread. Who knows, you could be an ATF agent posting as a new THR member. Who knows, I could be wrong.

At this point, speculative discussions not based on facts won't change anything. I may not post back until the judge hears the case as it looks like that's what's going to happen next. If you want to discuss product quality/customer service issues, you can start a new thread as this thread is focused on the legalities of polymer AR blanks.

bds
May 8, 2014, 10:32 PM
From EP Armory's Facebook page 5/6/14 - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory/posts/630538383696765
... As soon as we have another information release that is going to have some more positive information you will find it here as well as on the main E P Armory website ...

As stated before the ATF have not asked for customers to destroy or return the EP80. If that is ever the case we will will notify publicly. All that is going on currently is the litigation via attorneys of why these have been confiscated since they follow every prior approved determination.

barnbwt
May 9, 2014, 12:48 AM
"As stated before the ATF have not asked for customers to destroy or return the EP80"

They've effectively shut down two businesses, had owners in hand cuffs, executed raids/warrants, seized customer records, and generally scared the crap out of everyone in on the 80%/gun-building racket...and they aren't serious enough to gather the 'illicit' items causing all the ruckus? What was the trouble with EP producing them if they aren't worth the trouble to confiscate or register? Only two possible explanations; fishing expedition meant to illegally rifle through otherwise proprietary private records and chill the gun building industry, or the ATF bit off more than they could chew on this one and are stalling in the hopes EP will relent and they won't have to go back on their word.

TCB

JRH6856
May 9, 2014, 04:35 AM
^^^ or both.

bds
May 9, 2014, 10:30 AM
The NRA shoud not "bankroll" EP or any other company. That is not the purpose of the NRA.
NRA will support the fight for the defense of the Second Amendment even for individuals as they have in the past like the recent landmark Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case where NRA supported the case of Peruta v. San Diego County, brought on behalf of the CRPA (California Rifle and Pistol Association) Foundation and five individuals who were denied carry licenses by the San Diego Sheriff. - http://www.nraila.org/legal/articles/2014/victory-in-peruta-v-san-diego-ninth-circuit-confirms-right-to-carry-arms-in-public.aspx


ATF ... hopes EP will relent ...
EP Armory is represented by Michel & Associates who represents the NRA and the CRPA and I don't think EP Armory will relent - http://www.calgunlaws.com/about-michel-associates/

Michel & Associates ... clients include the National Rifle Association of America, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, FFLGuard, gun manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and individual gun owners ... represented thousands of individuals and companies ... trial counsel in scores of jury trials, many of which were high-profile cases and attracted state and national media attention ... has litigated hundreds of firearms cases involving constitutional issues, including Second Amendment challenges, in both state and federal trial and appellate courts.

... the lawyers at Michel & Associates won the NRA sponsored lawsuit that struck down Proposition H, the San Francisco law that would have banned the civilian possession of handguns in the City. He also led the successful CRPA Foundation lawsuit that struck down Assembly Bill 962, an anti-gun politician’s attempt to severely restrict and require registration of all ammunition purchases. Mr. Michel also filed prestigious, influential, and unprecedented amicus briefs on behalf of dozens of California District Attorneys in both the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller and the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court Second Amendment cases.
BTW, here are some Michel & Associates links:

Website - http://www.calgunlaws.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MichelLawyers
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MichelLawyers

bds
May 14, 2014, 11:26 PM
5/14/14 Update from EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory/posts/634408316643105
So what's the verdict on the 80% lowers? Is the customer data base safe or did they take it?
The EP80's is still in limbo currently. The owner along with the group of attorneys are working on getting this all taken care as quickly as possible. We understand a lot of folks are worried about the outcome of the final hearing once this is brought before a court. As far as we are concerned as well as the attorneys we feel...once this is brought to a court we should be back in business. The owner has made a statement that if the EP80 is deemed illegal (which in a court of law it has not) and a recall must be issued he will notify publicly. Currently the ATF has not issued a recall or asked directly for a customer list. As far the ATF having possession of a customer list we can only make a comment to the effect that they did not ask for one so we did not hand over one. It is possible for them to have gone through the database we had in place to get one though.

bds
May 15, 2014, 12:11 AM
Well, this is interesting.
So if an 80% "poly AR blank" has the fire control area the same material without the excess material protruding out, ATF would consider it an AR-15 blank and not a firearm?

Then I guess the same jig used to complete a metal AR-15 blank could be used to finish the "poly AR blank" in the same fashion as finishing a "metal AR blank"?
Polymer80 Inc. (different company from EP Armory) did just that. They are accepting pre-orders for new poly AR blank with solid fire control cavity and includes a jig - http://www.polymer80.com/Polymer80-G150-and-Jig-Kit_p_377.html
Expected delivery begins on June 1st.
The Polymer80 80% Lower and Jig kit is available on back order now!

Be the first to receive the upcoming version of the G150 and Jig System together by prepaying now. You get a special 10% discount per unit already worked into the price above....once we start production shipping, discounts are ended!!

Features a solid core design, stiffened magwell and beefier buffer tube housing. The pistol grip area features a unique no-thread design specific to Polymer80 lowers.

The jig is included in this system and requires special tools, drill press and cross slide vice or milling machine to finish. The kit comes with drill bits and the end mill bit required. Instructions are online HERE.

Here's the link to step-by-step pdf - https://polymer80-com.3dcartstores.com/assets/images/Documents/Instructions/Polymer80%20Lower%20AR15-G150%20Build%20Instructions1.pdf

http://www.polymer80.com/assets/images/Polymer80%20Images/TheNewG150%20(22%20of%2022).jpghttp://www.polymer80.com/assets/images/Polymer80%20Images/TheNewG150%20(3%20of%2022).jpg

bds
May 15, 2014, 12:52 AM
Here's another 80% poly AR lower by James Madison Tactical - http://www.jamesmadisontactical.com/polymer-80percent-ar15-lower-receiver/

http://www.jamesmadisontactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/JMT-80p-RT-Quartering-black2.png

docsleepy
May 15, 2014, 11:15 PM
Do those other polymer lower manufacturers have ATF determination letters that their products are not Firearms?

dogmush
May 16, 2014, 04:35 AM
They do not, however both companies have submitted for one.

Neither design has the features that got EP denied, and neither company has advertised that you can complete one without a jig. We shall see if that ends up being enough.

I have one of each of the above lowers (JMT and Polymer80) on my workbench waiting for me to have the time to finish them.

bds
May 16, 2014, 08:13 AM
Do those other polymer lower manufacturers have ATF determination letters that their products are not Firearms?
This is from JMT website - http://www.jamesmadisontactical.com/
Dear JMT Customer,

With the additional scrutiny placed on the 80% marketplace due to current events JMT wants you to know we designed from the beginning our lower receiver blank to conform with the FTB (Firearms Technology Branch) and ATF guidelines. JMT is being proactive and has submitted to the FTB our blank for the determination letter.

Scott Hanchette
James Madison Tactical, llc

bds
May 16, 2014, 08:50 AM
focus of this thread is about the legality of 80% AR or other firearm platforms like 1911 blanks regardless whether they are made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum or other materials like polymer.
For many decades, ATF has determined various AR and 1911 blanks to be not firearms.

Both JMT and Polymer80 (G150) reflect the same features found on "metal" AR blanks already determined by ATF to be not firearms.

barnbwt
May 16, 2014, 09:40 AM
"They do not, however both companies have submitted for one."
And what do you know, companies that are indisputably not making firearms are now subjecting themselves to ATF scrutiny out of fear of unjustified raids --mission accomplished ;)

TCB

bds
May 16, 2014, 09:54 AM
As to EP Armory, in the case of United States v. Judah Prince, the Tenth Circuit Court ruled AK-47 flat with holes and laser perforations was not a firearm.

http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/09/09-3208.pdf
In January 2008 ... agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were conducting an investigation into the illegal manufacture and sale of firearms ... AK-47 flats i.e., pieces of flat metal containing holes and laser perforations ...

... Adam Galbraith, a firearms enforcement officer employed by the ATF ... noted that federal law defines “[a] firearm ... as a weapon that will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,” and “includes the frame or receiver of such a weapon.” ... “[t]he frame or receiver is, in essence, the heart of the firearm,” and “is most often the component to which all other parts of the firearm are attached,” including “the barrel, the trigger and hammer components, [and] the slide in the case of a pistol.”

... Galbraith conceded that the flats at issue “[c]learly” would not expel a projectile by the action of an explosive ... However ... “two large features” of the flats “enable[d] them to be used as the frame or receiver of a firearm.” ... features included “the presence of holes that allow[ed] the attachment ... of a barrel through the use of a trunnion and the installation of a hammer and trigger,” and “the presence of laser cuts” that “allow[ed] th[e] flat[s] to be folded by hand without the use of special tools.” ... the laser cuts “would allow” the flat “to be placed in to a commonly available bench vice, and then bent, either using, literally, bare hands, or by using common tools such as pliers.” ...


... The court finds that the metal flat shipped to Prince is not a firearm.  

The court carefully considered the expert testimony of Agent Adam Galbraith, and reviewed the material submitted by the government concerning ATF opinions. However, the court simply does not believe that a flat piece of metal with laser perforations and holes constitutes a “receiver,” i.e., a “firearm.”   Rather, the flat piece of metal is somewhat akin to a piece of paper with lines drawn on it as a guide to make a paper airplane. Although making the paper airplane might be the intended use, it is not an airplane until it is properly folded.  Until that time, it is a patterned piece of paper.  

Simply put, this court has no evidentiary or legal basis for holding that a flat piece of metal with laser perforations and some holes constitutes, ultimately, a “firearm.”   It may become part of a firearm at some point, but not until further work has been accomplished to allow it to secure the stock, chamber, barrel and other parts.   Until that time, it is not even a true component of a firearm, only a potential component of a firearm.  The statute, as written, does not extend that far.   Because this court finds that the flats are not “firearms,” selling flats is not illegal conduct ...  

... ATF’s investigation ... was initially prompted by ... belief that the flats constituted “firearms” under federal law. As noted, the district court ... rejected the ATF’s view and concluded that the flats did not constitute “firearms” for purposes of federal law.

bds
May 17, 2014, 02:24 AM
This 31 page letter from Michel & Associates shows court filing date of 5/15/14 on their link - http://michellawyers.com/2014/lycurgan-inc-v-jones/'


http://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/80-Percent-Receiver-Analysis-for-Forfeiture.pdf
This letter addresses ATF’s finding that the “precursor receivers” at issue are “firearms.” That finding is at odds with the plain meaning of the applicable statute, federal case law, and the ATF’s own prior determinations. The precursor receivers, also known as “receiver blanks,” are “only a potential component of a firearm,” a potential receiver. They do not fit the legal definition of “firearm.” ...

... ATF’s own rulings confirm that products that require milling out of the fire-control cavity, drilling of the selector-level hole, cutting of the trigger slot, drilling of the trigger pin hole, and drilling of the hammer pin hole are not “firearms.” The EP precursor receivers require all of these actions and so cannot be considered “firearms” under law ...

... The creation of the EP precursor receiver is a two part process ... the lighter colored portion is formed. This material is identical to the material used to make the full precursor receiver, except its color ... After the core-piece is cured for two days ... the additional darker colored material is then poured into the mold around and through the core-piece ...

... ATF attempted (on more than one occasion) to classify the precursor receivers in question as a “firearm” ... ATF’s multiple classifications are inconsistent with each other, with past ATF opinions, and with federal law ... These ATF opinions appear to be based solely on unknown or non-existent precedent. They are unfounded conclusory, arbitrary, and capricious.

... ATF’s distinctions between the EP precursor and other AR-type precursors are nonsensical. The material within the fire-control cavity is “the same material as the receiver itself.” No different material is used to make the core-piece than is used to make the rest of the precursor. Second, as discussed above, the core-piece is integral to the precursor ... No fire-control cavity is created.

... ATF reiterates its opinion that an “AR-15 receiver blank” is not classified by ATF as a firearm, but attempts to distinguish the receiver blank from EP’s precursor receiver ... ATF’s analysis ends with that conclusion. But ATF doesn’t explain why. It makes no attempt to justify its conclusion with any citation to authority. There is no statute, regulation, or published ruling that supports ATF’s position. Moreover, as outlined below, standard statutory interpretation, ATF’s past letters, case law, and common sense contradict ATF’s finding.

... ATF is bound to the definition of “firearm” provided in the United States Code and the Federal Regulations. ATF’s position ignores standard rules of statutory construction ...

... The Seventh Circuit Court confirms this interpretation of the statute in U.S. v. McMurty ... upheld a jury instruction that read, “[A] firearm means: any weapon which will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; or any weapon which is designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; or any weapon which may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; or the frame or receiver of such weapon.”

... Precursor receivers and jigs have been on the market with ATF’s blessing for years ... Over the years, jigs have evolved and in some cases become integral to the precursor receiver. They attach to the precursor allowing the consumer to complete the receiver more easily.

... Regardless of whether or not a jig is used the process remains the same: the three holes need to be drilled on each side of the precursor receiver, the fire-control cavity must be hollowed out, and the hole for the trigger must be completed. The EP precursor - like all of the other precursor receivers ATF deemed “non-firearms” - still requires this work to be completed. The fact that the EP precursor shows the purchaser where to drill does not create a “firearm.”

... The identical work to the EP precursor must be done to the other precursors. This same type of situation was examined in-depth in U.S. v. Prince ... The Court of Appeals ... repeatedly referred to ATF’s position as a “mistake of law.” Similarly, in this case, the EP precursor receiver is “only a potential component of a firearms,” not a firearm, and selling it is not illegal conduct.

... the precursor receivers ... even after an hour of modification, the product is still not capable of expelling a projectile with the action of an explosive. The product produced after machining is merely a receiver, which is in need of much more work to operate as a fully functioning “firearm.”

bds
May 20, 2014, 12:02 PM
5/19/14 - From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
... that's a lot of lawyer speak. What does that mean for us common folk?
In attorney lingo it is stating that in the course of all prior approved BATFE applications this follows the exact standards as all of the others to a tee. The letter explains this in a lingo that an attorney would understand. It also gives the FTB the opportunity to remove the improper determination letters and us the standpoint of we only wish to return to standard operations within our legal rights. Our main goal is to regain our product, put this behind us and hopefully in the future become the next FFL7 manufacturer of quality products in the US.

tyeo098
May 20, 2014, 01:17 PM
Anyone else gonna order like, 10 once they are available from EP?

Analogkid
May 20, 2014, 04:13 PM
It wouldn't matter if they had a Letter or not. They can and do change their mind on something after the fact. Even years down the road.

dogmush
May 20, 2014, 08:20 PM
It wouldn't matter if they had a Letter or not. They can and do change their mind on something after the fact. Even years down the road.

I hear this a lot, and yet I have never managed to find a product that received an approval letter that got it rescinded without a design change in the product.

Akins added a return spring to his product between approval and the sale and subsequent kerfluffle.

Can anyone come up with an example of the ATF deciding years later that a product was illegal without a change in that product? I'd really like to know if this happens, or is it more of a gun board bogeyman.

barnbwt
May 20, 2014, 08:56 PM
"I hear this a lot, and yet I have never managed to find a product that received an approval letter that got it rescinded without a design change in the product."

Read up on the early PPSH41 demills, and how the ATF retroactively decided that PPSH trunnions were illegal machine guns.

Or on their mind-changing regarding open-bolt semi autos.

Or their mind changing about letting certain unfinished STEN tubes and Uzi flats in the registry (or not) when it was about to close

Or their ruling about Mauser C96 stocks being SBRs, then not, then SBRs, then not, then SBRs, then...

Or their ruling that Thompson Contender pistol/carbine kits were SBRs, then when SCOTUS slapped sense into them, that the high court ruling applied only to T/Cs, and not Uzis, then changed their mind on that

Or...

There's a bunch of these examples, just not very well documented since they each are legally anecdotal and often contain sensitive design details of manufacturer's products. That there is no repository of these letters open to the public or consulted by the ATF tech branch agents* is about 90% of the problem, rather than nefarious intent by the agency itself. Talk to a gun building FFL that deals in semi auto conversions; they'll tell you all sorts of things

TCB

*because they aren't legally binding, and therefore carry no precedent

bds
June 4, 2014, 02:22 AM
From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
As some of you have seen on the site we have a new edition of the EP80. We have been in talks with the ATF, FTB as well as the US state attorneys office over the legalities, current ownership and the future of the polymer 80% lower home build. We are glad to say we have came up with a new even better idea that will solidify our footing in the 80% market. We will in the next couple of days be issuing a new model with the BATFE for acceptance on the determination of our current model EP80. We feel that making these small changes to the current design are minimal but better serves you patriots. Keep in mind we have not and will not give up on the EP80 original design.

This new design should hit market within the next couple of months if not sooner along with a new AR10. <------YUP

As for current customers in possession of the original model. We have received direct assurance from the ATF that current customers in possession of the original have nothing to fear. They have given our legal team this assurance in the motion that as long as the person or persons in possession of the current model is of legal status of owning or possessing a firearm to the original GCA statement you will not be visited by a group of badges. Our legal team will be making a direct statement concerning the ATF standpoint this next week.
So what's gunna happen with all the original 80% lowers that some off the dealers still have stored up in the closets?
All dealers in good standing can contact the your representative and prepare orders or get RMA's if wanting to return for new product.

New 80% polymer AR lower - http://www.eparmory.com/product-p/ep80-2.htm
http://cdn3.volusion.com/rhqso.ycmfs/v/vspfiles/photos/EP80-2-2.jpghttp://cdn3.volusion.com/rhqso.ycmfs/v/vspfiles/photos/EP80-2-3.jpg

- Recessed biscuit core
- Strengthened rear buffer tower
- Unmarked pin guides
- Precision drilled Pivot and take down pins
- FREE jig sticker system
- New colors available

• Extremely durable kevlar reinforced polymer
• Limited lifetime warranty
• Made in the U.S.A.

bds
June 4, 2014, 03:37 AM
I think this is referring to 80% 1911 blank - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory?fref=nf
Any word on the 1911?
We will be releasing it this year as well. We have been still working on all projects. These projects are funded with revenue from purchases though and lately they have been much smaller than normal. Help us fund the release of the 1911 by making a small purchase. Everything helps. Thanks

bds
June 5, 2014, 10:26 AM
From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
... if you allow them to make a deal and say "welllll you can make these new ones, but let us get away with calling your old ones firearms."
Who said they are getting away with anything? In no way did any employee of ours state a deal was being made. We are still in meetings with all agencies to free up this wrongful determination of the EP80. Don't just toss your white flag in that easy.

jerkface11
June 5, 2014, 10:20 PM
Can anyone come up with an example of the ATF deciding years later that a product was illegal without a change in that product? I'd really like to know if this happens, or is it more of a gun board bogeyman

They did it to cav arms. Then after they'd bankrupted the company the ATF decided it was legal after all.

MAKster
June 7, 2014, 09:34 AM
The owner of Cavalry Arms was caught illegally selling firearms to an out of state (California) resident and falsifying records to cover it up. The polymer lowers were not his downfall.

barnbwt
June 7, 2014, 10:24 AM
They had the receiver halves molded off site. Then they friction welded the halves together on-site.

They had a letter from the ATF allowing this, which was rescinded without bothering to inform them, other than raiding their factory.


The lowers were coming in two halves which were then welded at CavArms. Technical Branch changed their mind about their original opinion after securing two halves together with a LRPK inside (reports vary as to whether glue or rubber bands were used) and successfully getting a couple shots off.


Yes, it’s BS, but anybody contemplating getting a Type 07 should realize that this is the type of BS you will have to put up with. If your business model requires an opinion letter from the ATF to stay open, it’s on pretty shaky ground from the jump-off.
Very true, this. It's also why I don't blame any 80% manufacturer for not going out of their way to get 'approval' for a product that isn't even subject to ATF oversight, legally. Doing so only encourages the agency to make it subject to their scrutiny by ruling it a firearm.

From what I can tell, the approval-change initiated the whole investigation, which then revealed Cav Arms to be a very sloppy FFL (not excusable in the least, but if out of state sales were the best they could pin on him and the loss of his FFL was the most important result of the investigation, it seems unlikely he was "running guns" with criminal intent.) As I read it, the 'falsifying records' was simply CA not keeping proper records, which the ATF asserts was to cover up gun running. The types of violations sound more like a sloppy FFL that doesn't keep proper records and lets sales slip through the cracks. The suggestions of gun-running to Mexico (smack in the middle of F&F in 2010, btw ;)) and conspiracy by the ATF in several of their statements on the matter I found smacked strongly of exaggeration (which don't even matter because that's not what Cav Arms was charged with). In retrospect, they also smack of the ATF protesting too much.

In short, ATF doubled-back on their ruling without cause, and set about finding a way to revoke Cav Arms' license, which turned out to be really easy for them. It's worth noting a large portion of their case was dismissed, including the portion that initiated this whole mess, apparently. To be honest, perhaps the biggest failing in the whole story may have been the ATF who obviously was not auditing their FFLs properly, and for years, allowing the problems to grow (makes me wonder if they were also intentionally giving FFLs lax oversight in addition to funneling guns to Mexico during this time to get more illegal guns at crime scenes. Then using the ensuing mess to push for additional tracking measures and authority as they did)

Following a search of Cavalry's offices and Nealon's Mesa home in 2008, agents said Nealon had illegally sold more than 40 weapons to a California resident who often stored those weapons at Nealon's home.
Doesn't quite sound like gun-running, to me. Sounds more like a guy helping a buddy in an AWB out, and violating federal sales laws in the process.

TCB

bds
June 7, 2014, 03:12 PM
Thanks for all of your comments.

While I sympathize with circumstances surrounding Calvary Arms, they manufactured AR lower receivers classified as "firearms" by ATF. GWACS Armory now sells Calvary Arms polymer lowers as CAV-15 and purchases require going through a FFL - http://www.gwacsarmory.com/faq/'

As I indicated in past posts, the focus of this thread is about the legalities of 80% AR blanks (and other 80% blanks like 1911) that are not classified as "firearms" by the ATF and thus purchases do not require going through a FFL.

I think keeping the discussions focused will help us stay on course in support of 80% blanks.

bds
June 8, 2014, 11:30 PM
6/3/14 From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
Will you guys be taking advanced orders?
Yes when we get a 100% release date in place along with the determination.

bds
June 12, 2014, 01:09 AM
From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
Final decision!!

We will not be pre-selling the EP80-2. We agree and will not be selling until the product is in stock and the proper paperwork/determination has been received.

E P Armory staff have the upmost respect for all of you in supporting us in this decision. Even though we are 100% in stating our original design was 100% legal in the first place we are going to move forward in the completion stages of the EP80-2. The product should be available within we are speculating 6-8 weeks.

In the mean time your continued support is greatly appreciated and we will continue working on all of our future ideas to ensure their release.

bds
June 12, 2014, 10:27 PM
From EP Armory's website (announcement is pertinent to the "old" EP80 80% poly lower with distinct biscuit above the fire control area/protruding index points and not the "new" EP80-2 80% poly lower with flat fire control area without protruding index points) - http://www.eparmory.com/Current-News-s/1845.htm
6-12-2014

TO PURCHASERS OF EP80 POLYMER PRECURSOR RECEIVERS

After months of effort and bureaucratic shuffling, our attorneys at Michel & Associates were recently able to confirm with ATF attorneys that individual purchasers/owners of EP80 precursor polymer receivers do not need to worry about ATF taking legal action against them for their purchase or completion of EP80 receivers, nor their continued possession of these products.

ATF attorneys have finally confirmed, although not yet in writing, that the ATF’s interest in individual purchasers of EP80 receivers extends only to those individuals who are legally prohibited from possessing any firearms. ATF will be cross-checking the list of purchasers of the EP80 product with the list of prohibited persons, and police will likely visit anyone on both lists. So if you possess an EP80 receiver and are prohibited from possessing firearms, you should consider consulting with an attorney immediately.

Otherwise, according to the ATF attorneys, purchasers of an EP80 who purchased or finished the precursor receiver but who are not prohibited from possessing firearms should have nothing to worry about--so long as they do not use the EP80 to build a type of firearm that would be illegal for them to possess under state or federal law (such as an “assault weapon” or “short barreled” rifle) or use a completed firearm in an illegal way.

The ATF investigation into EP Armory and other sellers of the EP80 product remains open. But EP Armory and other sellers of the EP80 product are vehemently disputing ATF’s position that the unfinished EP80 polymer receivers are “firearms” as that term is defined under federal law.

barnbwt
June 13, 2014, 02:24 PM
So,
-EP broke no law by making the lowers
-Nor by selling them to prohibited persons (since these were not firearms)
-ATF wanted to crack down on prohibited persons making guns
-Limited investigations was too hard for an agency that prefers drag nets
-ATF had no authority over EP's business (non firearm/FFL)
-ATF 'invented' a justification for getting the records they'd wanted all along by the 80% ruling
-ATF uses newfound self-granted jurisdiction to conduct a search/seizure they had no justification for previously
-ATF drops threat of criminal investigations against those whose rights were violated to keep it all out of the courts, even though manufacture w/o license and sales to PP's are serious crimes they are specifically charged with pursuing.

Just so the buyers of these lowers know; your sales records of non-firearm items were seized for examination by an agency restricted to firearms issues (in this case), whether or not you are a 'prohibited person' and will be retained in perpetuity.

TCB

Romeo 33 Delta
June 13, 2014, 02:47 PM
barnbwt ... thanks for staying on top of this and for your EXCELLENT recap of BATFE's behavior.

While I doubt anything will come of this, I hold out hope that someone will take BATFE apart and seriously punish all who had anything to do with this travesty (prison, loss of benefits and pensions). Were it up to me ... there wouldn't be too much left of the agency. (This episode being just one of too many violations of trust and outright criminal behavior:fire:

bds
June 19, 2014, 02:28 AM
6/18/14 From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
Update Patriots

Tomorrow I am meeting in Fresno Ca along with members of our legal staff. We have been invited up north to ATF regional headquarters to go over some of our paperwork that was seized as well as meet with the US State attorney handling this case. We also will be meeting with ATF legal team as to what possible outcome we can expect. I am hoping for this to be a good mediation that can help bring all misunderstandings proper clarification. I am also hoping for this to be beneficial to both parties. The ATF still has the ball in there court and has the ultimate chance to find a proper and fair ruling on what the EP80 is to be determined. We of course feel it is not a firearm as do many others and I feel ATF does not because of the misunderstanding in the beginning. I know that both parties can benefit from a proper clarification.

As for tomorrow, I have met with my staff as well as my loved ones on the possibility that things do not work out in my favor. I ask that all patriots have the outcome in your thoughts and hope for the proper clarification. I also want to thank all of you for the support we have received in these past months whether it be by purchase or by contribution. Without all of your support and good thoughts we would not have been able to stay in business. Our outcome is ultimately up to our consumers. WE THANK YOU!!

Chris Cook

rdhood
June 19, 2014, 04:05 PM
Taking posts #101 and #102 together, it would seem that until you have created something (or created something that is readily convertable to something) that will "expel a projectile by the action of an explosive", then you don't have a receiver.

A flat is not a receiver. A chunk of aluminum in the shape of an ar lower... with holes drilled, but fire control NOT cavity NOT removed (and cannot "readily" be removed), would also fit this description.


If just a few defendants would fight it out as in United States v. Judah Prince, the BATFE would be forced to abandon their arbitrary and capricious rules regarding what is a receiver. You can already see how they are squirming out of this one. They got their customer list. They hurt EP's business. Now they will "settle" so as to never put this in front of a judge or jury. As long as they never go before a judge/jury (who might reign them in, as in the USvJohnaPrince case), they are free to harass and intimidate at will.

bds
June 19, 2014, 11:29 PM
6/19/14 From EP Armory's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eparmory
Update

We met at the ATF regional office and had only two agents meet us. No US state attorney or ATF legal to explain the details of what exactly they were informed of as wrongdoing. We were able to reclaim some personal information that had nothing to do with the "case". The complete details of the meeting I think would be best left quiet at the moment but I do believe I see bright lights at the end of this roller coaster tunnel.

Pertaining to the EP80-2. We have almost completed our new tooling and should be ready for the market extremely soon. We will be at the same time releasing a few new and possibly old <-products along with it.
Thank you all for your supportive words in the last message and we look forward to supplying you all with home builds!!!!

Chris Cook

rdhood
June 20, 2014, 10:33 AM
The complete details of the meeting I think would be best left quiet at the moment but I do believe I see bright lights at the end of this roller coaster tunnel.

Of course they do. This is not going to be prosecuted. This was never going to be prosecuted. This is simple/pure extortion by the BATFE: "Give us what we want or we will bankrupt you in court, and we won't even let it get to a decision by judge or jury. We'll just stay in the game until you run out of money".

Xfire68
June 20, 2014, 11:16 AM
Representative Thomas Massie in response to Mr. Jone's argument:

Mr Jones's attempt's at Jedi mind tricks did not work!

LIGHTINGKAY
June 25, 2014, 02:19 AM
Upon an EP Arms re-request, for a non firearm classification for their EP80 AR-15 variant blank, as requested, as correction(s) to the original ATF firearm classification, this EP80 AR-15 variant blank is considered a firearm.

That stands!

SEE DETAILS BELOW

EP Arms initial classification request and re-request from the ATF, by Attorney Jason Davis, on behalf of EP Arms and their manufacturing of this prototype, EP80 AR-15 variant blank, was answered in great detail by the ATF on each of the requests and points of contention.

ATF explained on the original first point of analysis, of EP Arms EP80 AR-15 prototype variant blank. Is it is considered a firearm under applicable laws, and could be classified as such, if not only because the excess material indexing the location(s) for the selector, hammer and trigger pin hole(s) to be drilled out, is on its own merit, sufficient to classify EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank (sample) as a firearm receiver.

This excess material which is indexing the location for the holes to be drilled is, by itself, sufficient to classify EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank, as a firearm receiver. Defined by the 1968 Gun Control Act-Firearms Control Act, 18 U.S.C § 921(a)(3). GCA implementing regulation 27 CFR § 478.11, defining "firearm or receiver.....!"

Details not initially provided to the ATF, concerning EP Arms manufacturing process, where additionally provided to the ATF, by Attorney Jason Davis, which where not included originally, in the initial request by EP Arms, for a non firearm classification determination from the ATF for this EP80 AR-15 variant blank.

Where the “biscuit” is not meant to fill in the fire control cavity, thereby destroying the firearm. The ATF conceded this point based on additional manufacturing information provided by Jason Davis on behalf of EP Arms.

Rather the “biscuit” is formed around a nylon core, that is referred to by EP Arms, the “biscuit” in EP Arms re-request for a non firearm classification.

Contending there is no point, in EP Arms manufacturing process, where the EP80 AR-15 variant blanks, fire-control cavity is “back filled” with polymer of a different color than the remaining color of the EP80 AR-15 variant blank.

This “biscuit” outlines in it's entirety, the exact size in three dimensions, the entire fire-control cavity. Accurately differentiating, while allowing the easy and readily identifiable plastic to be removed, creating a functional firearm.

The entire fire-control cavity is created using the “biscuit” and therefore is properly classified as a firearm under the 1968 Gun Control Act-Firearms Control Act, 18 U.S.C § 921(a)(3). BATFE-FTB "we disagree" there is not a fire-control cavity created.

ATF has been consistent and has long maintained, it is at this point in any manufacturing process, where indexing or the machining of the fire-control cavity, such as this EP80 AR-15 variant blank, is indexed, in this case, by the “biscuit." Is where an AR-15 variant blank becomes classified as a firearm.

ATF has upheld the original determination point(s) on the firearm classification, for this EP80 AR-15 variant blank. The EP80 AR-15 Variant blank has been determined as a "firearm" on the second point of analysis from the ATF, with the initial firearm classification determination. As it is when at what point(s) and why EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank or any other AR-15 variant blank that has been indexed or machined for the fire-control cavity recess area, is when it will be classified as a firearm.

EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank is using the “biscuit” to index all of the fire-control cavity. This is where and why and at what point(s) EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank becomes classified as a “firearm” on the second point of the ATF analysis.

The indexing using excess material, on the first point of analysis by Technology Branch at the ATF, was and is sufficient alone to make the classification by the ATF, that EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank, as a firearm a defined by GCA 1968.

Sincerely Bart Kay

Ryanxia
June 25, 2014, 09:41 AM
LIGHTINGKAY - Source on this recent development?

Arizona_Mike
June 25, 2014, 08:42 PM
LIGHTINGKAY - Source on this recent development?
This "development" seems to be the ATF summarizing what they have said in other ways, namely that they were wrong about the cavity making it a "firearm" but the raised index marks make it a "firearm" anyway.

It's not entirelly clear what Bart is quoting and what are his own words but the sentance:
Upon an EP Arms re-request, for a non firearm classification for their EP80 AR-15 variant blank, as requested, as correction(s) to the original ATF firearm classification, this EP80 AR-15 variant blank is considered a firearm.
Makes me think this was just an ATF letter in response to a redetermination request and not a court ruling of any kind.

Mike

LIGHTINGKAY
August 16, 2014, 04:56 AM
Among the misinformation on the BATFE, is that there was never a determination made by the BATFE that their determination of this EP80 variant was a "firearm" in that the BATFE did not make it determination based upon the scenario the "Biscuit" was back filled the Fire Control Cavity.

What did occur was the BATFE included in the first response for clarity, that if that where the case the Fire Control Cavity was "backfilled" that would be their position on the matter. It was a firearm with a biscuit meant to destroy the "firearm."

BATFE included this to cover this possible scenario, since the BATFE was not given the manufacturing info in the first request to the BATFE.

BOTTOM LINE

The entire fire-control cavity is created using the “biscuit” and therefore is properly classified as a firearm under the 1968 Gun Control Act-Firearms Control Act, 18 U.S.C § 921(a)(3). ATF disagrees there is not a fire-control cavity created and EP Arms contend at no point is the fire-control cavity created. ATF-FTB states in writing states BATFE-"we disagree."

barnbwt
August 16, 2014, 10:34 AM
they were wrong about the cavity making it a "firearm" but the raised index marks make it a "firearm" anyway.
Herein lies the rub, though, since the ATF has historically played very fast and loose with whether 'marking' locations of the transformational features constitutes their construction in all manner of other firearms, leading to numerous lawsuits, typically finding the ATF at fault. Because the fact is, whatever the ATF wants to argue;
-The actual EP product cannot be argued to be 'practically' a firearm by any rational measure
-The NFA/GCA do not regulate intent, but actual product
-Markings are not holes or FCG pockets

So, EP could theoretically sell these with a disclaimer "only intended for the manufacture of AR15 receivers," but that doesn't mean the items magically become finished receivers. Just as an M16-compatible airsoft receiver "not intended for use in a real firearm" magically isn't a machinegun in the ATF's eyes.* It's just the ATF abusing that little "readily convertible" chestnut our forbears so thoughtfully en-vague-ened the NFA with back in the day. To often our side falls into the trap of letting the ATF dictate (not define, as is their legal prerogative) what constitutes a firearm with impunity, even when it stretches the imagination. They are regulators, not legislators, and we should not tolerate them making up new rules from whole cloth. Straw purchase, constructive intent, and intention to sell without a license are the three means by which ATF have so exceeded their authority. Nowhere in the NFA/GCA or elsewhere do these terms appear, nowhere are there official/binding guidelines delineating them, and yet people are brought up on charges under the auspices of the law through these arguments, every day. I forget if the NFA even explicitly states the receiver is the firearm (and in any case is still so antiquated it cannot logically cope with a modular dual-receiver system like the AR15)

TCB

*I think it could be argued that a bare receiver itself is not a machinegun by the legal definition, but rather just a firearm. In the case of an AR, tools and time are both required to fully assemble it into a firing weapon, and it could easily be assembled as a weapon that does not meet the strict legal definition of firing multiple rounds with a single trigger action. So how can the ATF argue the receiver itself is a machinegun prior to assembly? Because "guns," that's why, and because the law is so badly inadequate at categorizing gun anatomy that the ATF has been given broad authority to illegally expand the original law into something remotely satisfactory, but almost entirely arbitrary at this point

LIGHTINGKAY
August 17, 2014, 03:21 AM
FYI

As it relates to the AR-15 variant blanks, only. BATFE has been consistent and has long maintained, it is at this point in any manufacturing process, where indexing or the machining of the fire-control cavity, such as this EP80 AR-15 variant blank, is indexed, in this case, by the “biscuit." Is where any AR-15 variant blank becomes classified as a firearm.

BATFE has upheld the original determination point(s) on the firearm classification, for this EP80 AR-15 variant blank. The EP80 AR-15 variant blank has been determined to be a "firearm" on the second point of analysis, the "(biscuit)" aspect from the BATFE, in the initial firearm classification determination.

As it is when and at what point(s) and therefore why, EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank or any other AR-15 variant blank that has been indexed or machined for the fire-control cavity recess area, is when it will be classified as a firearm.

EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank is using the “biscuit” to index all of the fire-control cavity. This is where and why and at what point(s) EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank becomes classified as a “firearm” on the second point of the BATFE analysis.

Post#129s quote "they were wrong about the cavity making it a "firearm" but the raised index marks make it a "firearm" anyway" Is not correct could be very misleading.

The indexing using excess material, on the first point of analysis by Technology Branch at the ATF, (excess material) aspect was and is sufficient alone to make the classification by the ATF, that EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank, as a firearm a defined by GCA 1968. The firearm was not determined to be a firearm based on this BATFE point made to Jason Davis, Representing EP Arms by the BATFE.

RE: "I forget if the NFA even explicitly states the receiver is the firearm (and in any case is still so antiquated it cannot logically cope with a modular dual-receiver system like the AR15)"

Answer
Implementing regulations GCA-FCA, implementing regulation, 27 CFR § 478.11, defining "firearm or receiver."

Paraphrased
Firearm frame or receiver. That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.

Very clear and the AR-15 has been in service since 1958, In 1968 the Gun Control Act-Firearms Control Act was implemented as law. How the conclusion the 1968 GCA is antiquated, in relation to a dual receiver system like the AR-15 makes little or no sense to me.

Sincerely Bart

barnbwt
August 17, 2014, 10:20 AM
Maybe "inept" instead of "antiquated?" I used the word because it is clear the marking requirements and many other aspects seem to have been crafted with guns like the single receiver M1 Garand in mind. Just like how 922r was written almost explicitly for the FAL and G3. Because the upper receiver of an FAL, G3, STGW57, and many, many other guns is considered the reciever, that's why I find the marking/designating scheme wanting. I understand the need to make a determination, but that doesn't mean it is not arbitrary.

My previous argument about the 80% determination was to remind people, since many have lost sight due to the ATF's creeping incrementalism, that firearms are the ATF's actual mandate, and this ever expanding field of "precursors" is drifting further and further from that purpose. They may have been 'consistent' with regard to ARs, but they do not generate legal precedent, nor are bound by it. The qualifications they look for in ARS do not match the criteria in other guns, even those with similar layout and function (AR70, for example), strongly indicating the AR15 rules are completely arbitrary. The fact is, being readily convertible is a function of an item's physical state of completion, and not a bureau ruling. I do think it is high time that some of the ATF rulings are argued in open court instead of the Tech Branch, and I am glad EP seems set on pursuing this. A block of plastic requiring hours of finish machining before it requires another hour or so of assembly is neither readily capable of firing fixed ammunition, nor meeting other criteria that make it fall within the actual text of the NFA (the GA is bigger, I'm still reading it :o). Let's not forget the ATF tried to get flat sheet metal that was "indexed" classified, and was smacked down by courts. Logically, they could be deemed to be overreaching by courts here, as well.

TCB

coloradokevin
August 17, 2014, 08:15 PM
Ugh. I'm so confused on this subject right now. Reading the last page or two of posts made it even worse.

Obviously this is a very important topic for the BATFE to consider, since we don't want felon gangsters going out and buying these parts, only to mill them into guns on the street corners! If we save only one life it will be worth it! Talk about over regulation of a non-issue in terms of gun control… the people with the time and skills, who are willing to put forth the effort to convert 80% lowers into firearms, are not the people we need to worry about having firearms in the first place (unless we accept the idea that the government just doesn't want us to have guns — hmmm).

bds
August 17, 2014, 10:29 PM
We can speculate all we want but we have been down this road before and when disagreement arise as to what is a firearm or not, it is ultimately up to the courts to determine that.

Just a few years ago, BATFE "viewed" that AK-47 flats with laser perforations and holes were firearms and acted accordingly but the court disagreed and ruled they were not firearms. Now we are disagreeing whether polymer AR 80% blanks are firearms or not. What's next? 1911 blanks to be "viewed" by BATFE technical branch to be firearms? What if 1911/AK-47 blanks are made from polymer with laser perforations and holes and BATFE "views" them to be firearms? I believe it will be up to the courts to determine whether they are firearms or not.

BTW, here's the link to 2010 court ruling - http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/09/09-3208.pdf
In January 2008 ... agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were conducting an investigation into the illegal manufacture and sale of firearms ... AK-47 flats i.e., pieces of flat metal containing holes and laser perforations ...

... Adam Galbraith, a firearms enforcement officer employed by the ATF ... noted that federal law defines “[a] firearm ... as a weapon that will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive,” and “includes the frame or receiver of such a weapon.” ... “[t]he frame or receiver is, in essence, the heart of the firearm,” and “is most often the component to which all other parts of the firearm are attached,” including “the barrel, the trigger and hammer components, [and] the slide in the case of a pistol.”

... Galbraith conceded that the flats at issue “[c]learly” would not expel a projectile by the action of an explosive ... However ... “two large features” of the flats “enable[d] them to be used as the frame or receiver of a firearm.” ... features included “the presence of holes that allow[ed] the attachment ... of a barrel through the use of a trunnion and the installation of a hammer and trigger,” and “the presence of laser cuts” that “allow[ed] th[e] flat[s] to be folded by hand without the use of special tools.” ... the laser cuts “would allow” the flat “to be placed in to a commonly available bench vice, and then bent, either using, literally, bare hands, or by using common tools such as pliers.” ...


... The court finds that the metal flat shipped to Prince is not a firearm.  

The court carefully considered the expert testimony of Agent Adam Galbraith, and reviewed the material submitted by the government concerning ATF opinions. However, the court simply does not believe that a flat piece of metal with laser perforations and holes constitutes a “receiver,” i.e., a “firearm.”   Rather, the flat piece of metal is somewhat akin to a piece of paper with lines drawn on it as a guide to make a paper airplane. Although making the paper airplane might be the intended use, it is not an airplane until it is properly folded.  Until that time, it is a patterned piece of paper.  

Simply put, this court has no evidentiary or legal basis for holding that a flat piece of metal with laser perforations and some holes constitutes, ultimately, a “firearm.”   It may become part of a firearm at some point, but not until further work has been accomplished to allow it to secure the stock, chamber, barrel and other parts.   Until that time, it is not even a true component of a firearm, only a potential component of a firearm.  The statute, as written, does not extend that far.   Because this court finds that the flats are not “firearms,” selling flats is not illegal conduct ...  

... ATF’s investigation ... was initially prompted by ... belief that the flats constituted “firearms” under federal law. As noted, the district court ... rejected the ATF’s view and concluded that the flats did not constitute “firearms” for purposes of federal law.

LIGHTINGKAY
August 18, 2014, 01:55 AM
The fact you seem to accept the idea this is a very important topic for the BATFE to consider since we don't want felon gangsters going out and buying these parts, only to mill them into guns on the street corners! Shows you very much understand the core essence of the matter.

And I agree very skepticaly, your point in which I believe your very skeptical as well that perhaps the government (we the people) just doesn't want us to have guns.

BATFE needs to be scrutinized and understood. I think that is one point many should accept as a concept.

Rest assured, we can be sure, without ATF regulation, it is only "law abiding citizens" who buy the illegal EP-80 AR-15 variant blanks and would be the only responders "law abiding citizens" as advertised using Ares rooftop mounted sign, since it is legal to purchase, according to the sign, buying one or perhaps more than one illegal EP80 AR-15 variant blank legally. No serial number or registration needed!

The anonymity of a 80% percent receiver that is converted with only basic machine work, that is then converted into a firearm thereby allows individuals to obtain, use and sell weapons they would be otherwise be prohibited from possessing.

I do understand your likely confused on the technical aspects we like to
discuss.

Sincerely Bart

bds
August 18, 2014, 03:10 AM
Bart, the premise of this thread was not the illegal manufacture and sale of firearms by criminals, which law enforcement agencies are duty bound to carry out under their jurisdiction to investigate and bring charges against which I wholeheartedly support. If you are part of such agencies, I respect your hard work and diligence in bringing justice to criminals who break federal and state laws.

But that's not the focus of this thread. Our concern is "law abiding citizens" buying what was considered to be not firearms (as "80%" 1911/AR metal blanks existed for decades) but now being told they are firearms. Most of us just want the satisfaction of building firearms with our hands that we can enjoy and be proud of which I think is part of shooting sports that many often do when customizing and accessorizing their favorite firearms.

The way I see it, just because the evolution of firearms progressed from steel to aluminum to polymer, the similar progression of 1911/AR blank material transitioning from metal to polymer should not take away from our desire to pursue the "legal" activity of building firearms for ourselves. I think many feel that the government is trying to limit their desire to pursue their favored hobby activity (can you blame us based on what we have experienced the past several decades, especially in California?) when polymer allows easier option for us to do so.

Many of us cannot afford the expensive CNC machine but can afford to buy drill presses. So is it fair that those with money can enjoy their hobby by working on metal 1911/AR blanks but those without money cannot? Us "law abiding citizens" cannot stop criminals from manufacturing and selling illegal firearms like we cannot stop drunk drivers from endangering motorists on highways but somehow being penalized for wanting to pursue our hobby.

I think on an unofficial level, BATFE has quietly won this battle as various polymer blank manufacturers have decided to modify the designs and submitted to BATFE technical branch for determination letters. So at this point in time, whether EP80 80% AR blanks were "viewed" as firearms by BATFE is moot as EP Armory will likely only be selling the newer version along with other polymer blank manufacturer when and if they receive the determination letter. However, the actions of the manufacturers does not mean the courts will rule the same.

Personally, my life is short and I cannot wait for this issue to be dragging on forever for me to pursue my favored hobby. So I have moved on and assembling my ARs on "legal" serialized metal AR stripped lowers that are comparably priced around $50. I noticed that EP Armory has primarily expanded to selling firearms and other shooting/reloading accessories/components and may not have to rely on the income from selling polymer blanks.

So Bart, looks like BATFE won and you are correct in BATFE holding the upper hand over the polymer blank manufacturers and can dictate to them how the 80% blanks need to be made. No further discussion on this forum will change BATFE's decision unless ruled by a court (if that ever happens). What a great country we live in. I guess at least I can look forward to the next elections and "hope" we can elect lawmakers more supportive of our hobbies.

You have a nice one.

LIGHTINGKAY
August 18, 2014, 03:56 AM
Post 131 and 133.

I believe we should go back to the basics. The reason there is the great debate, is EP Arms, designed a product that clearly, Was at minimum quite close to a “firearm”.

If EP Arms was competent this requires EP Arms to clearly have known this may be, in high likely hood considered a “firearm” by the BATFE and not just another generic legal AR-15 variant blank receiver.

Since, you seemed to concede that with the AR-15 variant blank. The ATF has been consistent and has long maintained, it is at this point in any manufacturing process, where indexing and/or machining of the fire-control cavity, such as this EP80 AR-15 variant blank, is indexed, in this case, by the “biscuit." Is where an AR-15 variant blank becomes classified as a firearm.

This EP80 “biscuit” outlines in its entirety, the exact size and in three dimensions the entire fire-control cavity.

Accurately differentiating, while allowing the easy and readily identifiable plastic to be removed, creating a functional firearm. The entire fire-control cavity is created using the “biscuit” and therefore is properly classified as a firearm under the 1968 Gun Control Act-Firearms Control Act, 18 U.S.C § 921(a)(3)

If EP Arms obtained the BATFE determination before manufacturing, distributing for sale to non FFL distributor(s). And EP Arms and their distributor(s), did all of this as well, even after being apprized by the BATFE. The EP Arms EP80 AR-15 variant blank receiver, is defined as a “firearm”.

We would not be “speculating” about the BATFE and all the allegations that have come out of EP Arms and Ares Armory and others, claiming EP Arms and Ares Armory are victims of the BATFE. Nonsense!

The points you make and remade I read and thought about them. I don't address too many, because I am trying to keep the post on the EP80 and developments etc.

As well on the receiver being the firearm question. And this may apply to the other firearms you mentioned as as being problematic in defining them.

18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)(B), a firearm is “any combination of parts either designed or intended” from which a firearm can be “readily assembled”.

18 U.S.C. §921(a)(4)(C) includes a “lower receiver”.


Finally on the PRINCE v. UNITIED STATES, the court ruled the Special Agent in the field made a mistake of law and Prince prevailed ultimately. This situation does not follow the same fact pattern, among an important one is this. The Firearms Technology Branch made the determination twice, the EP80 is a firearm and not a ATF Special Agent(s).

BATFE Fire Arms Technology Branch provides expert technical support to ATF, other Federal agencies, Congress and the general public.

In closing I would agree it would be "speculation" to guess as to whether the Court will find the BATFE made an error in the law on the EP80.

But point is here, build your prototype, submit prototype to the ATF-FTB for a non firearm determination, before manufacturing them for sale.

If you believe the ATF has made a mistake of law, litigate the question, as to avoid litigating them in the context of criminal charges.

You just have to ask yourself, why EP Arms and Ares Armory proceeded to conduct business before a firearm determination was made.

Sincerely Bart

bds
August 18, 2014, 10:22 AM
So, are you saying polymer 80% AR blanks without the index protrusions and flush fire control cavity top such as James Madison Tactical are not firearms as they have the same features as other metal 80% AR blanks that received BATFE determination letters but are just made from polymer?

http://www.jamesmadisontactical.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/JMT-80p-RT-Quartering-black2.png

LIGHTINGKAY
August 18, 2014, 11:29 AM
Hi, the premise of the EP80 issue is it is illegal or not. Once more I'm just keeping this to the AR-15 variant blank receiver. BATFE has not made any changes to their policy that any persons that are not covered under the GCA as a manufacturer or otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm. Is still fully allowed to purchase a legal AR15 variant blank, finish and assemble one AR15 without any serial number or manufacturers mark. Though you should mark your weapon should you lose possession of it. You cannot, sell, give away, transfer, or leave the weapon to others when you die. Considering today’s Gun Laws, I think that's a pretty fair deal.

So while this is a good deal, people are taking advantage of this good deal as a loop hole. That is within the law just outlined, however people and are abusing this aspect using the strategy as a Scam trying to get around the laws. CNC Machine Shops are in on the action as well.

Ares Armory was mentioned in the LUIS CORTEZ, EMILIANO CORTEZ case somewhat recently. Where a known felon, bought from a FFL a firearm, machined from a legal blank, without form 4473.

Affidavit excerpt from the LUIS CORTEZ, EMILIANO CORTEZ affidavit from Special Agent Jerry Donn will give you an idea there is another world out there. Separate from our harmless legal hobby as a law abiding person.


The Affidavit excerpts below of ATF Special Agent Jerry Donn, is describing the details of five suspects among them one actual FFL holder using a "machine" to finish machining the AR-15 variant into a "firearm" with no serial number or manufacture marking as required, nor was the transfer or sale recorded, and the undercover person left with a completed (firearm) as defined under the 1968 Gun Control Act, a illegal AR-15 (firearm) from a AR-15 legal variant, from a FFL. In possession of a convicted felon, a paid ATF informant (UC#4.

72. UC#4 then met with KASPERSON. KASPERSON told UC#4 that he had one (i.e. an AR-15 lower receiver) ready to go (referring to the lower receiver already being milled out), and he could swap UC#4’ s AR-15 blank (just purchased) for a milled out one (i.e. an AR-15 lower receiver). UC#4 asked KASPERSON if he had to actually complete some of the milling and KASPERSON said, “It’s kind of a myth that you have to do it.” KASPERSON told UC#4 that he didn’t use a CNC machine and that he had his own FFL. KASPERSON said his business, GCGW, was a separate business and he just rented a spot from RPA.

73. UC#4 asked KASPERSON if KASPERSON could manufacture a firearm. KASPERSON replied, “Yeah I can manufacture,” but if he did, he would have to serialize the firearm. KASPERSON told UC#4 when ATF was at the business, he showed them his machine, and told ATF what he intended to use the machine for. KASPERSON stated to UC#4 that he had asked ATF if they had a problem with what he was doing. KASPERSON continued to say that ATF said no, since KASPERSON was a separate entity from RPA.






I need you to read more carefully, while the material of the blank needs to be integral to the blank. The issue is really not much if anything to do with using a polymer. The EP80 problem is the two step injection molding process, with plastic being injected at different times therefore it is not integral to the blank, but could be made that way. As a aluminum billet would be.

As I have said, it is the indexing and or machining of the Fire-Control Cavity is wherein the rub lays, as you like to describe it. This apply to all AR-15 variant blanks, and other solid billet blanks have previously been determined by the FTB. To have been indexed in the fire control cavity area. Example: indexing the location(s) for the selector, hammer and trigger pin hole(s) to be drilled out. Where the sample was subsequently classified as a “firearm” this AR-15 solid billet variant receiver blank (sample) as a firearm receiver.

It not a question of money, it is a question of law.

Really, I know you have been feed a lot of misinformation, it is standard for any AR-15 variant blank manufacturer to request a letter of determination, FTB is there to serve. Polymer AR-15 variant blank receivers are legal, it is not the Polymer that is the issue. And we have covered the issue is, indexing and machining of the fire control cavity.

It may be frustrating to you and that's not my intent, but I am doing my best to be objective, your free to build your AR-15. I do not see this affecting you, and my opinion is your far better off than you would be using a EP80, you can squeeze the magazine walls inwards.

BATFE is not against Polymer, okay!

Sincerely Bart

LIGHTINGKAY
August 18, 2014, 12:08 PM
James Madision Tactical is awaiting a FTB Letter of Determination. Therefore my advice is to buy it, if you like it, after they give you a copy of the LOD-FTB non firearm determination.

From your picture it appears to be okay. Can not tell if there is writing on the sides, might be an issue. As long as the polymer is integral where the Fire Control Cavity is, it looks good.

MY issue is this:

If you bought an AR-15 variant receiver from Ares Armory and the manufacturer, EP Armory and Ares Armory knew this receiver you bought was formally classified as illegal to manufacture, distribute or posses. AS FORMALLY NOTIFIED BY THE ATF in writing.

And you where irresponsibly ignorant about the legalities. Even if you believe you're not responsible as an individual, to insure what you purchased was indeed legal and not illegal as officaly determined by the ATF.

And along with Ares Armory advertising and any additional statements to you, it is legal for you buy and posses this particular AR-15 variant, that has been officaly classified by the ATF, as illegal to manufacture, distribute, sale, possess this particular, AK-15 variant lower receiver, all of which are considered firearms under the Firearms Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3).

Which means a a matter of Law, EP Armory and Ares Armory cannot legally engage in the business of dealing in this firearm, this particular (AK-15 variant) without an letter of determination from the ATF, the AK-15 variant in question is not a firearm.

Which would have you possibly unknowingly in possession, illegally of a firearm in violation of the 1968 Gun Control Act, Firearms Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3).

Would you have an excuse or rational reason, hopefully as a matter of law explanation from you as to why EP Armory, Ares Armory or yourself is not accountable, to insure their is strict compliance with the law.

Given a choice to buy a legal AR-15 variant as declared in writing from the ATF as legal, versus buying AR-15 variant that is illegal, as declared in writing by the ATF.

Which AR-15 variant would you purchase, if you where to purchase an AR-15 variant. A legal AR-15 variant or an illegal AR-15 variant?????????????????

bds
August 19, 2014, 10:27 AM
BATFE is not against Polymer, okay!
You seem to post with a certain level of certainty and authority. Do you work for BATFE to be making such statements?

And when will BATFE issue determination letters to the newest generation of polymer 80% AR blanks? I believe James Madison Tactical, Poly80 and EP Armory all submitted their newest products for determination letters.

bds
August 19, 2014, 11:11 AM
affidavit from Special Agent Jerry Donn will give you an idea there is another world out there. Separate from our harmless legal hobby as a law abiding person.
I have family members in law enforcement (PD/SD) and is painfully aware of the harsh realities of life. Furthermore, living in a metropolitan city where gang related crime is a daily occurrence, pursuing shooting and reloading as a hobby not only provides much needed diversion from realities of life but also greater comfort in knowing my family is prepared when 911 will not help if a home invasion robbery occurs. Sadly, criminals will never stop committing crimes.

But I hope BATFE realizes (at least here on THR) WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS - just a bunch of law abiding citizens who enjoy and pursue the shooting sports as hobbies. I absolutely support BATFE bringing down living hell on those criminals who break the law but feel the collateral burn as an innocent bystander who is just trying to stay on the right side of the law.

So while this is a good deal, people are taking advantage of this good deal as a loop hole. That is within the law just outlined, however people and are abusing this aspect using the strategy as a Scam trying to get around the laws. CNC Machine Shops are in on the action as well.
Well, at least the polymer 80% blanks will remove the CNC machine shops from the picture as we can use our own drill presses to do our own work.

And yes, it is a good deal and one that is within the law as you posted. And some people will always abuse any aspect of laws or regulations that are imposed now and will be imposed in the future. That is simply a fact of life and us law abiding citizens pay taxes so agencies such as BATFE can enforce the law.

Just don't treat us the same as the ones breaking the law.

Willie Sutton
August 19, 2014, 01:21 PM
Is still fully allowed to purchase a legal AR15 variant blank, finish and assemble one AR15 without any serial number or manufacturers mark. Though you should mark your weapon should you lose possession of it. You cannot, sell, give away, transfer, or leave the weapon to others when you die.


Nonsense. These can be sold without restriction after manufacture, as long as the maker isn't engaged in the business of making them. This has been gone over time and time again.

So for all of the spouting of "the facts", you don't understand the basics of the legalities regarding these. You've got a little more reading to do. Just sayin'...



Willie

.

Sam1911
August 19, 2014, 03:01 PM
You've got a little more reading to do. Just sayin'...

Agreed. When speaking authoritatively about what the law IS and what the BATFE's rulings and intents ARE, it is best not to be mistaken about other, closely related, technical legal points like whether you can sell or bequeath an unserialized, home-made firearm.

It sort of ruins the veneer of credibility, you know? :)

Frosty Dave
August 19, 2014, 07:15 PM
As it relates to the AR-15 variant blanks, only. BATFE has been consistent and has long maintained, it is at this point in any manufacturing process, where indexing or the machining of the fire-control cavity, such as this EP80 AR-15 variant blank, is indexed, in this case, by the “biscuit." Is where any AR-15 variant blank becomes classified as a firearm.

“...has been consistent...” No.
“...and has long maintained...” Depends on your definition of 'long.'

In this photo is an example of an 80% lower from the period of ~2000 and later. The cavity is completely machined, and ready for the home builder to drill the required holes for springs and pins and thread as needed. Every 80% vendor sold unfinished lowers similar to this one and each vendor had its own determination letter posted on its website.

Then in 2008 or 2009, ATF decided to “clarify” its rulings and washed these pieces out of existence, to be replaced by today's “clarified” untouched FC cavity. They never admitted that they changed the rules. They "clarified" one ruling into another.

The fact is, ATF has not been consistent in their interpretation of when a blank becomes an AR-15 firearm. They change when the wind suits them, and they last changed their mind about 6 years ago.

http://i624.photobucket.com/albums/tt323/lifeinashoebox/oldstyle80-1.jpg

LIGHTINGKAY
August 19, 2014, 08:22 PM
Hey,

I'd like the opportunity to write more later, but in short. I am frustrated as you get, because you revert back to Auto Pilot. The misinformation about the BATFE in general. I'd like you to explain what has you perceiving ATF looks at THR as their concern.

So I could see if I can understand your perspective better.
I am not conveying anything, least not meaning to convey, you or anyone here on THR is of concern in the least to the ATF.

My perspective the, ATF cares less about your activities than you might think. Is not a threat to you, or is the ATF after placing hardships upon you.

As you did post, the ATF is in the regulation business, don't make the laws, and what is of great concern to the ATF, is your potential safety being compromised by people who are the ones that would cause you too want to be armed.

Since I like you and I think we both gained in our back and forth discussion, in so far as you can see the ATF did not just wake one morning and decide polymer is illegal. And you really seem to understand the technical points now of the indexing and machining of the fire control cavity. ATF views these aspects as if the AR15 variant blanks where same as fully completed.

So on your post 137, yes what you said is exactly what I am saying being more direct.

We need to realize for popular marketing, James Madison and others play off the we love to hate that pain in the ass ATF, so we are asking now with hardship, asking for determinations letters.

As I said, don't forget it is standard, has been to ask for them. Does every one probably not, those would be the ones that have the basic basic hunk of metal, but when changing designs, you will always ask for a LOD in advance, unless there is something else going on.

Now if you wanted, I could tell you, EP Arms has some points going for them, I do not think this is a slam dunk, per say.

As I pointed out, EP Arms needed only to ask. Litigate their contentions in civil court if denied, before breaking the law, now trying to make their case with criminal charges pending.

But if you reread my post, you should start to see, that EP Arms, Ares Armory where not acting in your best interest or mine. Just theirs as they saw it.

And I may talk about how this fiasco may hurt you in regards to this matter causing laws being taking away on your rights as of now to build your AR-15 sooner than you may think. You should be pissed at EP Arms and Ares Armory more so.

I'm excited for you in building a rocking kick ass AR-15. My approach is to keep it light as possible.

Enjoy, I can see, I have some post challenges online here, more misinformation restated.

I really want to see people not get into trouble with misinformation and that includes me.

As needed, we will both keep learning here on THR, least have some fun talking about this! I do!

I've made an error or two over the last 5 months!

The CNC issue is only about this scope, that many are machining blanks into firearms, for profit to the people such as convicted felons. In a scope, that is far larger than you might realize. Using a CNC is legal if you follow the GCA. Think about that.
Sincerely Bart

barnbwt
August 19, 2014, 08:45 PM
If you bought an AR-15 variant receiver from Ares Armory and the manufacturer, EP Armory and Ares Armory knew this receiver you bought was formally classified as illegal to manufacture, distribute or posses. AS FORMALLY NOTIFIED BY THE ATF in writing.
Here's the funny thing(s) about this whole 'ATF approval' conceit;
-The ATF rulings aren't actually legally binding; they're a gentleman's agreement regarding prosecution targets
-The ATF rulings carry no precedent, and are frequently conflicting
-The ATF has changed and reversed itself countless times
-The ATF has no authority over anything it deems not a 'firearm', which a self-defeating logical differentiation if you think about it
-You are not required to seek an approval letter in the first place, nor is it a good idea to do so 'just to be safe'

By advocating that people who reasonably expect their goods cannot be readily made into working firearms submit their products for regulatory review, you expand the scope of the ATF's authority. Once the scope spreads, items that were once clearly beyond its purview are now closer to the periphery of its domain. Saw cut receivers are insufficiently destroyed, now they must be torch cut with 1/4" missing --no wait, now they must be missing entirely. Welding of select-fire triggers into the semi-position was once sufficient, now open-bolt guns must be painstakingly converted to closed bolt. Pins were once acceptable denial features, but blocker-bars are increasingly becoming the norm, and must be both welded in place and hardened so as to skate a file.

As shown above, the ATF has gradually expanded it's scope regarding AR15 completion; I fully expect them to eventually prohibit magwell completion as they did FCG pocket milling, and for the same incrementalist reasons. 0% forgings will become the new "80%." The ATF routinely changes its mind, and almost unanimously in the direction of greater restriction; they are a ratchet, which is why people who've paid attention to their history greatly resent every new expansion.

We know this is such a technical field, we know that no one with legal authority knows anything of the topic at hand, we know that the ATF will get the benefit of the doubt every time, and that every question asked of them is settled on their terms, with little to no outside accountability (the occasional successful lawsuit and its accompanying short-lived humiliation is pretty much it). Any student of history or civics understands that such a ratcheting authority mechanism as this is deeply flawed and lacking a check or balance.

And you where irresponsibly ignorant about the legalities. Even if you believe you're not responsible as an individual, to insure what you purchased was indeed legal and not illegal as officaly determined by the ATF.
Tell that to the people who bought 'officially' legally demilled PPSH parts kits years back, no wait, make that STEN kits just recently, no wait, make that PM63 kits very recently. All had to suffer a significant loss in value, hassle, and arguably emotional stress (in light of the ATF's notorious heavy hand and draconian penalties associated with gun stuff) when the kits were tracked down one by one, and returned for further demilling without compensation. A kit that could have been painstakingly welded back together with dozens of hours of focused effort, but which retained several features (like markings, etc.) that made total completion slightly more faithful to the original, and required no fabrication from scratch of receiver sections, is now a much more expensive and logistically expensive undertaking.

Rather than precluding 'readily convertible' situations, it is obvious that making things so difficult as to approach impossibility was the goal all along. Again, this goes along with the whole "Always Think Forfeiture" thing... But the fact is, no matter how much the ATF dislikes it, it is perfectly legal for private citizens to build their own firearms, so long as the tools and materials cannot readily be completed into a functional arm at the outset.

Which means a a matter of Law, EP Armory and Ares Armory cannot legally engage in the business of dealing in this firearm, this particular (AK-15 variant) without an letter of determination from the ATF, the AK-15 variant in question is not a firearm.
Aren't you presupposing a bit, here? If EP had good reason to expect their product was not readily convertible to a firearm (and if you put aside knee-jerk agreement with whatever the ATF claims, there are a few points of contention with their argument, here) they were under no obligation to submit a letter requesting determination. They could have as a CYA measure, and did when they went to update their design as I understand, but were not obligated to. I think some folks are seeing EP's refusal to needlessly courtesy the ATF as some sort of shady business practice; I personally don't think they were dancing nearly close enough to the line to warrant such a defensive posture (semi-auto conversions of demilled full-auto parts kits is such a borderland, which is why most commercial products for that hobby are sent in for review; private builds usually are not sent in without very good reason)

Given a choice to buy a legal AR-15 variant as declared in writing from the ATF as legal, versus buying AR-15 variant that is illegal, as declared in writing by the ATF.

Which AR-15 variant would you purchase, if you where to purchase an AR-15 variant. A legal AR-15 variant or an illegal AR-15 variant?????????????????
Again, framing the situation in the ATF's exceedingly sketchy, and historically ever-expanding, terms. Should a shovel manufacturer submit samples to the ATF, just to make sure their spade won't be construed as an illegal AK receiver (today, at least)? What about a company making box tubing of the same dimensions as an AK receiver? What about a company making an blank AK receiver, that does some of the precision/specialty work for the builder, but not the bulk tasks like ejection ports, pivot holes, and the like?

I'd suggest folks interested in these topics hang out on an actual weapons building forum some time, and get the straight dope from people who work around and with ATF regs for a living, and as a hobby. There's a recurring phrase; "Don't poke the bear" that comes up frequently. Because the ATF consistently rules in its own favor (fancy that?), builders with new ideas are actually quite reluctant to ask anything but extremely narrow questions pertaining to their particular issue, so as to limit the impact of an unfavorable ruling. For instance, if you asked submitted a copy of someone's Suomi conversion you did, and the agent on duty that day happened to rule against it (since they may not be aware of the previous approving ruling, and ATF letters carry no precedent), you could very well get the originator in trouble or forced to undertake expensive alterations to their erstwhile legal design.

BATFE has not made any changes to their policy that any persons that are not covered under the GCA as a manufacturer or otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Of course not. But the terms "person," "manufacturer," "possession," and "firearm" have changed considerably, are still changing, and will continue to. So it's still 'the same,' but only in the Orwellian sense of the word.

So while this is a good deal, people are taking advantage of this good deal as a loop hole. That is within the law just outlined, however people and are abusing this aspect using the strategy as a Scam trying to get around the laws. CNC Machine Shops are in on the action as well.
The 'loop hole,' is called civilian manufacture for personal use. Get over it, the Feds have no authority there. Is a "0%" forging good enough for you? It still looks like an AR receiver, and has no other legitimate use but for firearms manufacture (note; nowhere is 'legitimate use for anything but firearms' mentioned in any laws). What about billet? What about billet knowingly sold to a felon with intent to manufacture a firearm? The only loop hole is the one we keep letting get draped around our necks by kow-towing to the ATF's amoeba-like jurisdictional expansion.

A non-firing configuration readily convertible to a non-firing configuration that's readily assemble-able into a configuration that actually constitutes a firearm capable of firing fixed ammunition. This train of logic goes all the way back to ore, doesn't it?

Ares Armory was mentioned in the LUIS CORTEZ, EMILIANO CORTEZ case somewhat recently. Where a known felon, bought from a FFL a firearm, machined from a legal blank, without form 4473.
It's been a while since I read through the affidavit, but I recall Ares was only briefly mentioned, as an example, or something, and the investigation actually centered on a flat-out criminal enterprise run out of garage making everything from SBRs to machine guns, with no regard whatsoever to who was running the machines, and it was being run by felons. If nothing else sticks, guilt by association, right? ;) Hey, isn't that how the current 80%'s ended up reclassified? They were too close to being a previously reclassified configuration? ;)

The ATF's beef with Ares was originally stemming from its hosting build parties, on site, using materials sold to paying customers, which involved too much assistance from employees to not be considered manufacture. While largely a circumstantial argument ("the sum of these facts indicates...") an average rational person would agree that having a blank set up for you to push the 'go' button on, probably constitutes manufacture on the part of the premises. Doesn't change one iota about the state of the blank sitting in the CNC, though ;)

TCB

barnbwt
August 19, 2014, 09:20 PM
I'd like the opportunity to write more later, but in short. I am frustrated as you get, because you revert back to Auto Pilot. The misinformation about the BATFE in general. I'd like you to explain what has you perceiving ATF looks at THR as their concern.
I actually do hope you are somehow affiliated with the ATF, since I would actually feel quite a bit better about their enforcement activities if they really were concerned about how their operations were perceived by and placed upon the public.

My perspective the, ATF cares less about your activities than you might think. Is not a threat to you, or is the ATF after placing hardships upon you.
To the contrary; the ATF is THE threat to my building a firearm in my basement. No local PD is gonna know or care that I built my gun unless they are trying to run the blank receiver's serial number (which would imply some other bad stuff has gone down, at which point I'd have adequate legal counsel with me to keep them on the straight and narrow gun-law wise). No local PD even has the authority to bring up on charges for the activities regulated by the ATF; those are a federal matter. Local police are also not determining if the blocking bar setup and fire control group conversion in my Uzi reweld are up to snuff, or to their liking (this week).

I do not fear the ATF's intentions; I'm sure they are benevolent(ish). I fear their authority, and it's continued expansion with neither check nor balance.

As you did post, the ATF is in the regulation business, don't make the laws, and what is of great concern to the ATF, is your potential safety being compromised by people who are the ones that would cause you too want to be armed.
Since when is it the ATF's mandate to keep me safe? Show me where. They are a tax. enforcement. agency. They are not security guards. They are not even peace officers. It also doesn't help that they are closer to gun runners, con-men, and drug dealers by virtue of their sting operations than I'll ever be.

Given some of their rulings, and some of their court losses (Thompson Center, for starters), they most certainly do attempt to make the laws at times.

the ATF did not just wake one morning and decide polymer is illegal.
Of course not. I suspect the ATF was seeking to get out in front of a very shady criminal operation making SBRs and M16s for known felons and gangs, and noticed that their feed stock came from a common company. Since cutting off the roots is easier than lopping a rotten branch, they focused the investigation on shutting down EP's 80% polymer lowers. Thus the determination letter to 'clarify' the ATFs position, once again, in their favor during an ongoing investigation. I would say the insistence upon getting access to EP's and Ares' customer lists, as well as the chain of events in the affadavit is the best evidence of this scenario. Total speculation on my part, though

As I said, don't forget it is standard, has been to ask for them. Does every one probably not, those would be the ones that have the basic basic hunk of metal, but when changing designs, you will always ask for a LOD in advance, unless there is something else going on.
Presupposition of guilt based upon a reluctance to offer information (often proprietary technical data with competition-sensitive details) to Officer Friendly? Business proprietors have 5th amendment rights, too, and if they reasonably believe their product should not be construed as a firearm, that lack of DL itself should not be held against them. It is, after all, not legally binding in the first place.

Litigate their contentions in civil court if denied, before breaking the law, now trying to make their case with criminal charges pending.
This is the problem; were they breaking the law before the ATF clarified themselves and declared they were? A lot of this comes down to prosecutorial discretion, which is why manufactures of firearms or firearm precursors/accessories tend to get nailed; they are the most visible and lucrative targets. It's also slightly harder to pin manufacture charges on someone who only sells one or two guns to friends after making them (for example). In any case, how would the ATF's charges constitute an argument against EP's innocence? They wouldn't be litigating in the first place if the ATF hadn't pressed charges or raided the premises.

But if you reread my post, you should start to see, that EP Arms, Ares Armory where not acting in your best interest or mine. Just theirs as they saw it.

And I may talk about how this fiasco may hurt you in regards to this matter causing laws being taking away on your rights as of now to build your AR-15 sooner than you may think. You should be pissed at EP Arms and Ares Armory more so.
The ATF isn't acting in my best interest, either. They act in their own best interests (which our system of government is supposed to have set up in such a way as to be compatible with I/the public's best interests). Director's declare war on 'ghost guns' to curry favor with funding politicians, politicians decry 'ghost guns' to look like they are doing something for voters, officers carry out their directives diligently as best they are able in order to keep and advance in their careers. The world goes round.

What the ATF or some fool legislator decides to do in opposition to my personal right to construct firearms is their fault alone. EP has hurt neither me nor mine, but if enforcement agencies exploit the misunderstanding (or miscarriage, as may be the case) to sieze more authority and restrict my freedoms, they very well may.

TCB

bds
August 19, 2014, 10:05 PM
I'd like the opportunity to write more later
It's a free public forum. You can post whenever you like.

Perhaps you are new to online forums so let me share something with you. Typically, the original poster (OP) starts a thread with a specific discussion topic and other forum members post replies to discuss the topic but will usually "stay on topic". Posting off-topic and irrelevant issues is consider "thread-jacking" and kinda impolite thing to do. We are all human and guilty of occasional drifting and ranting on threads off topic but will usually catch ourselves and return back to thread discussion or the moderators will kindly remind us or close the thread with a piece of their mind. ;) (Just look at all the closed threads in this category ... I feel for moderators Frank Ettin and Art Eatman).

I tried to read through your post #145 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=9585445#post9585445) and your previous posts, but those issues are not "on-topic" to this discussion thread. The OP premise of this thread was the legalities of polymer 80% AR blanks. The focus of this thread should be about whether polymer 80% AR blanks are legal or not.

If you want to discuss known felons or criminals breaking the law assembling and selling firearms illegally, then you are free to start a new thread to discuss those issues.

And as others posted, unless you work for BATFE and have authorization to speak on their behalf, I don't think you should be making definitive statements like you have made.

Frank Ettin
August 19, 2014, 10:25 PM
The thread does seem to be wandering, and it's getting a lot hard to figure out the subject. We seem to be going all over the place.

As to EP Amory's and Ares Armor's legal problems, those will take a while; and speculation won't help. We need to wait for those to be resolved to have any meaningful discussion.

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