ATF open bolt ruling, where?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by TRX, Oct 29, 2012.

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  1. TRX

    TRX Member

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    While making a point in a discussion elsewhere I looked for a link into atf.gov to to show that open bolt firearms were no longer allowed by the ATF.

    Though this is (at least to me) "everyone knows" information, I have failed to find the actual ruling using Google and various search terms. Perhaps my Google-fu is weak today.

    The original ATF ruling on open bolt firearms, here: http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulings/rulings/atf-rulings/atf-ruling-82-8.pdf&sa=U&ei=_n2OUN2oHKiCyQHvqIGoAQ&ved=0CBQQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNHHueG8I0L8XX8M9VA09lrguFAL4Q, specific to the Ingram MAC platform. A further rule here, http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5320-8/atf-p-5320-8-appendix-b.pdf&sa=U&ei=_n2OUN2oHKiCyQHvqIGoAQ&ved=0CBYQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNFeL8RMngOhz4Dv1eeX38TmWsn_Wg specific to the KG-9 and Sten. These are reproduced in the "NFA Handbook" http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5320-8/atf-p-5320-8.pdf&sa=U&ei=U3-OUNCVKcT7ygH7g4C4Dw&ved=0CBQQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNH3O7fgJfKX70fI65p-H2IXnZHHBQ Searching "open bolt" in that document returns only the MAC, Sten, and KG-9 from the earlier documents. Hmm, I need to do some more investigating on this. The ATF says it banned open bolt on those specific platforms because they were "easily convertible" to full-auto operation. Same with the "ATF Rulings and Articles" link, http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5320-8/atf-p-5320-8-appendix-b.pdf&sa=U&ei=U3-OUNCVKcT7ygH7g4C4Dw&ved=0CBcQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNGT9YVmhBCWPBkJtlWX-FJOcD67BA

    I'd always thought the open bolt ban was absolute, possibly because I'd just bought a MAC when the first one went through. Can anyone point me to a .gov link saying open bolt guns are categorically banned, as opposed to those three specific platforms?
     
  2. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

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    According to the ATF only certain open bolt firearms are banned under the NFA as you pointed out. There is not categorical ban that I can find. The only thing the ATF publishes on open bolt weapons are exactly what you have linked.
     
  3. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    This... this is interesting. Anyone feel like being a test case?

    It may, however, fall under the 'readily convertible to F/A' part of the NFA.
     
  4. TRX

    TRX Member

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    I'm still not coming up with anything other than the ATF rulings on those specific firearms.

    The ATF's justification seems to hinge around a "readily convertible to a machine gun" clause from GCA-68, which they interpret in their usual somewhat random fashion.

    Not all of the ATF's rulings are available through atf.gov, but I still haven't found a reference elsewhere to a law or document number for a blanket ban. The document usually referenced as a ban is 82-3, which is specific to the TEC-9.
     
  5. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    The internet has spoken.
    Go forth and build your open-bolt semiautos!
     
  6. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Of course you are not going to find a complete ban in law, this is a regulatory agency interpreting existing law to determine what is and is not covered by their interpretation.

    They have interpreted that open bolt guns are too readily converted.
    They often do this on an individual basis, so they may not tell you no beforehand unless you ask, but if you were a manufacturer are likely to clasify your new open bolt as too readily converted after you have tooled up and invested heavily to manufacture that design. You may then need to redesign your entire firearm, and it may no longer work as well having been altered from its original tested and developed state. The Tec-9 open bolt firearm for example was a lot more reliable than the closed bolt.


    If you were to ignore prior examples and start producing new ones they could make your production difficult and cause you new legal hassle.
    If it went to court it may or may not be decided in thier favor depending on whether the court agrees with thier interpretation, but it would certainly cause a major problem for the manufacturer.
    So when they make it relatively obvious they are going to determine you are creating machineguns in violation of the law if you make an open bolt firearm, most people just choose not to make open bolt guns.


    Now if there was a market with a lot of money to be made using open bolt vs closed bolt designs then someone might challenge it. However absent that incentive the big manufacturers with the money and resources to challenge are unlikely to challenge.
    In fact it may be beneficial to them, as open-bolt firearms are the easiest semi-auto firearm you can possibly build, much easier than closed bolt designs. A ban on them makes it more difficult for people to build guns in thier garage and more dependent on commercial manufacturers. Why would commercial manufacturers want to challenge that?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  7. PBR Streetgang

    PBR Streetgang Member

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    I have a bit of information on this regarding the original KG-9. BATFE put out a letter to dealers that had these guns in their possession asking that they not sell them due to a ruling that was forthcoming shortly. ( they can be converted to full-auto by breaking off a tab in the receiver)BATFE did not say you couldn't sell them but asked you didn't. Within two weeks a offical ruling came out about the KG-9s and other open bolt firearms classifying any new open bolt firearms as machineguns.

    The ones sold before the ruling were grandfathered as semiautos.

    As far as the KG-9s are concerned about 1,100 to 1,200 were sold legally and about 700 to 800 were converted to full-auto before the 1986 ban. about 400 to 500 are still out there floating around. Most people think they are just Tec-9s. But they aren't. If you do find one ,they go for $2,500+ if the seller knows what they have.

    They are still legal to own as long as you don't live in a state that bans them.....
     
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