ATF Final Ruling 2021r-05f, some thoughts.
The ATF, under the Biden administration, has dictated that being a law abiding gun owner is now in violation of the new rule and that only those willing to break the new rule will be in possession of a vast majority of firearms already in circulation. Please note that the ATF can’t actually write laws, but under a corrupt administration the ATF can basically operate however they please, with impunity.
Awesome, right? ‘Merica!
My initial statement may be a little uncouth, but as it stands, based on ATF Final Ruling 2021r-05f, which goes into effect August 24th, 2022, a vast majority of firearms already in circulation will, at the very least, now require excessive markings in order to be compliant with these new rules. There is a lot to unpack with this ruling so I will be plagiarizing a bunch of information gleaned from a variety of online resources.
I am not going to elaborate on what an 80% receiver is defined as, but basically it is a piece of material in the shape of a frame or receiver which has not been completely machined to the point of being readily assembled into a firearm. An 80% frame or receiver is basically a paperweight, until it’s not.
Prior to this new rule taking effect and according to current ATF rulings, here is the definition of a firearm:
“Any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; The frame or receiver of any such weapon; Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or Any destructive device.”
Taken directly from the ATF website, this definition clearly states that in order for a receiver to be considered a firearm, it must be able to be readily converted to expel a projectile. Since the 80% lower build process requires power tools to mill out the fire control group, it has not been considered a firearm, until the recent ATF ruling, 2021r-05f.
Traditionally 80% lowers have been almost exclusively based on the AR platform, but in recent years 80% polymer frames have proliferated to the point of being noticed by uninformed and willfully misleading lawmakers who now blanket every non-serialized firearm as a “ghost gun”. Conveniently the same lawmakers conflate legal homemade DIY firearms with defaced firearms. Defaced firearms are serialized firearms that have had their serial numbers scratched off or removed entirely, which is a felony and has been for a long time. So when your run-of-the-mill lying lawmaker makes a statement to the effect of “Ghost Guns are used in a large majority of gun crimes” what they are really saying is “defaced firearms are often recovered at crime scenes where a firearm was involved”. Imagine that, a crime within a crime, law abiding citizens be damned.
So what is ATF Final Ruling 2021r-05f?
Biden stated in a press conference on April 11th, 2022 that the proposed rule was finalized. The ruling’s main purpose was to ban 80% lowers and limit the private manufacture of firearms for personal use. The ruling takes effect on August 24th, 2022.
The ruling amends the existing definitions of frames and receivers, the new definitions are as follows:
“the part of a handgun or “variants” (also a defined term) using a handgun design, that provides housing or a structure for the sear or equivalent—that part that holds back the hammer, striker, bolt, or similar component prior to firing.”
“the part of a rifle, shotgun, or projectile weapon other than a handgun, or variants, that provides housing or a structure for the bolt, breechblock or other primary component designed to block or seal the breach prior to firing.”
“A weapon utilizing a similar frame or receiver design irrespective of new or different model designations or configurations, characteristics, features, components, accessories, or attachments”.
The ruling adds a new definition in order to differentiate between federally licensed manufacturers and private manufacturers. “Privately Made Firearm” (PMF) is the new term for a homemade firearm. The ruling requires that any and all PMFs must be serialized or accompanied in the serialization by a licensed individual with the authority to mark guns.
The new ruling doesn’t necessarily outright ban 80% frames or receivers but requires them to be serialized, even in their 80% state, and serialized frames or receivers all require a federal background check in order to obtain such a thing from a licensed dealer.
However, this ruling does affect the upper receiver of an AR style firearm because both receivers (upper and lower) are mated together to make up the whole receiver. See “multi-part” receivers.
Speaking of “multi-part” receivers: “[T]he final rule explains that similar modular subparts of a “multi-piece frame or receiver” (e.g., two similar left and right halves of a frame or receiver) must be marked with the same serial number and associated licensee information. If one of those parts is removed and replaced with an unserialized part, then the possessor would violate section 922(k) for possessing a firearm with a removed serial number. However, the final rule sets forth a process by which a marked modular subpart of a non-NFA multi-piece frame or receiver may be removed and replaced without violating section 922(k). The replacement modular subpart must be marked by its manufacturer with the same original serial number and associated licensee information, and the original part must be destroyed prior to such placement.”
So now your upper and lower AR receivers must have matching serial numbers, because both parts make up a whole receiver. So adding a part with a different serial number, or no serial number at all, is akin to defacing a firearm. So now in order to change your own upper receiver you would have to have the existing upper receiver destroyed and the new receiver marked with a corresponding serial number.
Well then who can serialize a firearm you ask? Great question; “[T]he final rule allows licensed or unlicensed engravers to mark firearms on licensees’ behalf (with the requesting licensee’s information) provided: (1) The identification takes place under the direct supervision of the requesting licensee without the engraver taking the firearm into inventory; and (2) the markings otherwise meet the identification requirements.” Effectively, gunsmiths are permitted to mark firearms while licensed manufacturers will not be permitted to mark a firearm built from an 80% lower if it has already been given a serial number by its original owner and has not been sold to anyone else.
Clear as mud, right?
Much of the new ruling is unclear or just doesn’t make sense. Naturally there will be a mountain of lawsuits brought against the federal government as this shit show unfolds. But assume that the ATF and the Fed are going to go full rampage under the guise of this new ruling and penalize anyone knowingly and/ or unknowingly violating this new rule. The government has a knack for imposing or enacting new rules or laws while vaguely informing the general public of such changes, but will offer zero considerations for anyone who finds themselves in the claws of tyrannical authority.
There are other aspects to this new ruling that will likely impact the way FFLs can conduct business, specifically regarding the manner in which transfer records are kept and disposed of. At the surface level these particular changes would seem harmless, but below surface level these types of changes are ripe with nefarious intent. Please note that while it is illegal for the federal government to maintain a federal gun registry it is quite apparent that the Fed has zero intention of abiding by their own laws.
To say that the federal government and its agency cohorts actually care about upholding the constitution, or not impeding a citizen’s abilities to exercise their rights, would be a lie. As we all struggle under the ineptitude of the current administration it has become alarmingly obvious that the rights of a free people are of grave concern to the current occupant in chief and his cronies, as the new rules and laws they strive to enact and impose do very little in the way of ensuring the safety of the people. If laws are being written under the guise of public safety, but don’t actually do anything in the way of keeping people safe then one would have to ponder what is the actual intent of such laws?
Question things while questioning things is still permissible.
Understand that this post is the authors interpretation of the information presented by the ATF and other online resources. If you would like to read the ruling in its entirety you can click here to visit the Federal Registers posting or you can download the ruling in its entirety here.
If you feel that the interpretation of the information being presented is misleading then please comment below with your thoughts.
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