ATF gone wild! (Custom gunsmiths beware!)

Discussion in 'Legal' started by only1asterisk, Mar 31, 2006.

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  1. UnintendedConsequences

    UnintendedConsequences Member

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    I think I'm going to be sick

    Just when I thought I was following all the rules I have to follow as a gunsmith/gun shop owner, now I feel like the character Henry Bowman as a Class 3 FFL being made an example of by the F-troopers.

    I wonder if making repairs to a customer's firearm will fall under this "manufacturing" definition? If it does, we are out of luck if a firearm ever ceases to function.

    If I have a visit from the unfriendly F-troopers I will let you all know about it. I just recieved my Class 1 FFL renewal in the mail today.

    For some reason there is this image of guns sleeping with the fishes and paperwork burning up from a lightning strike ignited fire or being destroyed in a natural disaster running around in my head. Might make for a nice short story perhaps.

    :banghead:
     
  2. psychophipps

    psychophipps Member

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    It's just strong-arm tactics. If he challenges the charges then they'll drop it. If he rolls over like a b***h then they have one less gunsmith to worry about.
    They did the same kind of thing when the Brady Bill first came through. They stood back for six months saying nothing and then ran down the list to see who had violations of the new laws (which was just about anyone but an actual retail gun store). then they told the violators, "We can put the screws to you or you can drop your license. You pick."

    Got lots of iffy dealers out of the way like that,
    Mark(psycho)Phipps( HAHAHA! )
     
  3. raz-0

    raz-0 Member

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    Why the stork brings it, of course.

    At least I think that's how the ATF interprets it.
     
  4. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    Got an e-mail today from Larry Pratt. It seems Mr. Crow has found excellent council and is preparing for the fight.

    David
     
  5. madmike

    madmike Member

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    "Our initial demand is that the agent in question be reprimanded, demoted, scourged, tarred, feathered, ridden out of state on a rail and jailed. Then we intend to sue."

    :neener:
     
  6. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Was at the hospital with the girlfriend type last week, and ran into Larry... They're still at it. 6 felony counts.

    Essentially, he says that they're claiming that anything that increases the value of a firearm is manufacturing.

    Now, I'm gonna have a little time on my hands for a couple of weeks, so I think I'm gonna visit the St. Louis office, and try to get a manufacturing license. I need to change the barrel out on one of my rifles.

    Maybe I'll be able to get a letter saying that I don't need a license...

    Be _real_ funny if everyone here did that...

    "I want to put new sights on my .357."

    "I want to put my 10/22 in a target stock."

    "I want a scope on my .30-30."
     
  7. strambo

    strambo Member

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    Like a set of cocobolo grips? I don't get why the definition is so nebulous (except someone wants it that way). It should be simple; if your business made or imported the serial numbered part, then you "manufactured" a firearm.
     
  8. Can'thavenuthingood

    Can'thavenuthingood Member

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    They'll take your money and give you a license.
    Then take your money for the business license at your residence. Then take your money for inspecting your place of business.
    Then take your money for zoning violations.

    They have a plan for you.

    Vick
     
  9. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    This means no one can upgrade their guns.

    :(
     
  10. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    There are a number of gunsmiths that don't have a manufacturing license that are all hoping this is dropped by the BATFE, or that the gent wins the case.

    I for one would love the BATFE to be stomped in court.
     
  11. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    Mr. Swartz

    You must have some additional information for us. When you get a chance, would you mind giving us an update or directing us someone with the legal facts of the case?

    I know the NRA is assisting Mr. Crow, but why hasn't the NRA used its mass communication power to tell its membership and the public at large about this incident and others like it. I'm not talking about “a send money now!” letter, or a 4 short paragraph on buried on a website. What about a 30 second sport on a television hunting show? No begging for donations, no sensationalism, just Mr. Crow getting his story out in a well produced, professional way.

    This is too important to be left on the back page. The focus of the ATF has become shutting down as many dealers and gunsmiths as possible while harassing, intimidating, and generally making life impossible for the rest into quitting the business. This has been building for some time and seems now to be priority after congress has refused to take more direct action against gun owners. Dealing in and repairing guns is already a low profit, high risk business that people undertake out of passion and dedication, it shouldn’t come with the treat of having your life destroyed because of blatant, unchecked ATF abuses.

    In addition, ATF policies have a tendency to change and expand without any warning, explanation or limits. This case could be a perfect example of this phenomenon, demonstrating the need for congress to place some long overdue restrictions on this BS.

    David
     
  12. Brett Bellmore

    Brett Bellmore Member

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    At a guess, I'd say they think there's still some chance the BATF will back down, and hope to give them the opportunity to do so without loss of face.
     
  13. publius

    publius Member

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    More "interstate commerce" I guess, if I decide to modify one of my own guns (not for sale). :rolleyes:

    You know, like 922(q).
     
  14. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Campers, shall we return to the case at hand?

    Crow works on ALREADY existing and serial-numbered weapons. He doesn't build frames.

    He adds value through his services.

    F-Troop is saying that if one adds value to an existing firearm, one is manufacturing. For instance, if you get a home parkerizing kit, and redo your old 1911, and it ends up looking really nice, you just "manufactured."

    This could put a LOT of gunsmiths out of business. For instance, you take your granddaddy's old .30-30 that's been broken since his last deer hunt in... If the gunsmith fixes the thing, he's "adding value." And "manufacturing."

    If you have your BBQ gun engraved, the engraver "manufactured."

    If you have an action trued, the gunsmith "manufactured."
     
  15. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Optical Serenity - it's not unfounded; there are many gunsmiths who are worried, at least that I've spoken with. Many are simply not accepting work at this point, until things are figured out.
     
  16. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    So if I clean my shotgun after duck season I've added value. It's worth more clean, right? Where will they draw the line? Adding a Briley choke tube, adding a recoil pad, adding a fiber optic sight, adding a mag tube? Will it only be a problem if it's done for money or will D-I-Y count?

    Fixing ain't manufacturing. Ask any auto repair shop or watch repairman. Why do you think he's called the Maytag repairman and not the Maytag manufacturer. Duh. I'm hot over this insanity. Or is it simpleminded inanity.

    These people are idiots and it doesn't depend on how you define idiots either.

    John
     
  17. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I wonder how this might theoretically impact home gunsmiths, as well as parts suppliers like Brownells, Midway, etc.?

    I mean, what serious gunny HASN'T tinkered with some of his guns?

    * Ever add a 'scope to a rifle or pistol?

    * Ever replace a stock, or refinish a milsurp?

    * Swap out your 10/22 barrel for a target-grade heavy tube?

    * Add a recoil pad to a hard-kicking shotgun?

    * Watch the Miculek DVD Trigger Job and then work over your own revolver?

    I wish the name, phone number, and email of the government functionaries pushing this were made public . . . very public.

    Shining the light of day on the individuals in government responsible for these abuses is a great way to correct the actions of those individuals who prefer to work in the shadows . . .
     
  18. redranger1

    redranger1 Member

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    Seems to me that a national sales tax on goods and services and a deletion of the 19th amendment would clear this mess up. Come to think of it it would make life easier from a financial standpoint.
     
  19. confed sailor

    confed sailor Member

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    If it was worth 39 cents, my god could you imagine the chaos! Millions of gun owners requesting permission for every bit of minutiae. I wonder what would happen, arent they required to deal with all correspondence?

    The real dumb part is if we did that, they would get a bigger budget to hire more agents.
     
  20. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Not as far as I can tell.... I've sent eight letters, and only one got a response in 6 months now.
     
  21. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    My thoughs exactly. Let us put it out there in a big way.

    David
     
  22. Jingolaw

    Jingolaw Member

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    Dear Forum Members:

    Please regard this as an unofficial notice, but, as David has suggested, an update is in order.

    The National Rifle Association’s Civil Rights Defense Fund (CRDF) has provided Mr. Larry Crow with appropriate funding and an extremely competent attorney who is well-versed in federal agency litigation. As Mr. Crow’s case is active at this time, I am unable to comment on its specifics. I will note that I expect a very favorable outcome for Mr. Crow and other similarly-situated gunsmiths.

    We are, as always, vigilant in addressing wrongs visited upon gunsmiths and FFLs in general, and have assisted one other individual as well. When we were first made aware of the conflicts and potential conflicts between gunsmiths and the ATF, we contacted numerous gunsmithing guilds and their leadership, fully explaining the problem and asking for their perspective and guidance. To date, I have been extremely impressed by the candor and responsiveness of the gunsmithing community. We asked that guilds broadcast alerts to their membership advising them not to panic, but to report actual incidents whereby the member may have been unfairly treated by the ATF. Though the responses have been enthusiastic, we have yet to identify more than one or two other cases where there may be evidence of unfair treatment (even these cases are far less egregious than that of Mr. Crow).

    Had we discovered evidence that there was some widespread or systematic abuse on the part of the ATF, certainly there would have been reason to broadcast that discovery to our membership and the general public. It appears, however, that any improper actions on behalf of ATF have been isolated, and likely the actions of misinformed or mistaken agents. Broadcasting such incidents may be counterproductive, as several of our solutions are being formulated now with the full cooperation of ATF.

    The National Rifle Association has made considerable effort in the past alerting our membership to potential difficulties with licensure and ATF compliance; though I do not directly make policy decisions regarding publications, I imagine that there is risk of losing the poignancy of a message through over-saturation.

    In finding a solution to the problem of gunsmiths, manufacturers, and non-licensees lacking clear guidance from the ATF as to what, exactly, constitutes “manufacture,” “gunsmithing,” “dealer,” etc., we have examined many options. At present, the most favorable to all parties is regulatory addition to, or amendment of, 18 USC 921(11)(B), which defines those terms, but does so inadequately for guidance purposes. Such a change would not seek to redefine any of those terms, but rather define them with greater specificity. That is to say, we’re not seeking to change the law, we just want it clarified so that everyone is on the same page and people can go about their business without wondering whether or not they’re in compliance with federal law.

    This legislative solution is not without flaw, however. Most notably, such legislative action could be (legitimately) construed as altering or affecting the way FAET is collected. That means tax money. Tax money means House Ways and Means Committee hearings. Things could get ugly. This is not to say that the legislative action is not a good idea, but it is more complicated than it looks. The right bill sponsor at the right time, and with minimal fanfare, could accomplish our collective goals, but drafting, timing, and support are crucial issues. This is another example of a situation that is very important, but where increased public awareness and advertising can be counterproductive.

    As always, I promise you that the National Rifle Association considers very carefully how we expend our resources in order to get the greatest benefit to our members, and all Americans, alike. As I often say, it is unfortunate that responsible gun owners are often still discriminated against in the United States. The Institute for Legislative Action at the National Rifle Association remains committed to informing and educating both the public and government alike regarding the Second Amendment, firearms, and firearms ownership.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    -Eric Swartz
    Office of Legislative Counsel
    National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action
     
  23. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    Eric,

    Thank you for taking the time to share what you can with us. I realize now that I put you on the spot. I apologize, that wasn't my intent.

    I'm happy to hear that this is was more of a single isolated incident, although one of a hundred different righteous court cases the NRA is fighting. Is there a way that a person could contribute to the legal fund directly?


    David
     
  24. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Well, guys, when I talked to him last week, he was pretty much equal parts worried and hacked off... And they were pretty big parts.
     
  25. Jingolaw

    Jingolaw Member

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    Dear Forum Members:

    The National Rifle Association's Civil Rights Defense Fund can be accessed at www.nradefensefund.org. There you can view all the activities of the CRDF (updated as information is available for release), and donate directly to the fund.

    [David - no trouble at all, you were correct that we were due for an update]


    Thank you for your continued support.

    -Eric Swartz
    Office of Legislative Counsel
    National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action
     
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