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Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

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Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby TactAdv » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:15 am

With all due respect, a few small photographs clears nothing up.......one of the things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB is that what you are doing does not have to be a restoration, or even a re-creation, of any specific original receiver to draw a determination of either "firearm" or "machine gun" receiver. In other words, just because something you have created looks exactly for all the world just like a real MG-42 receiver does not mean that it will, or COULD, be determined to be one upon official examination.....for instance a solid cast metal MG-42 receiver, which would look good in a photograph.

Opposing that reference is that opposite case where something you create bears absolutely no technical resemblance to a MG-42 receiver may indeed draw an FTB determination of being a "machine gun receiver" (or "firearm")....the SOLE determining factor is does the constructed device accede to one or more of the legally standing definitions of either "firearm" or "machine gun" (which is not always the same as "functionality"). I bring this up because what the pictures on the FaceBook account linked to clearly show an item that should have been submitted to ATFE-FTB for an determination examination before anyone goes pronouncing it "approved" or otherwise. The key here is that this pictured item has two salient characteristics that bring into question its (likely)potentially qualifying legal status as a "firearm" (frame or receiver), and possibly a "machine gun".

Characteristic one is that it CLEARLY conforms to a constructed "frame" or "receiver" of the legally defined MG42 type, under GCA definition as pictured, the fact what appears to be (and is claimed to be) a bolt welded in place bears no technically legal bar to the external pieces themselves forming such a frame or receiver, as defined, because the presence or absence of the "bolt" is not a legally defining construction.

Characteristic two is that, CLEARLY, this pictured assembly forms the physical basis of joining and/or assembly to what is the remnants of a (now presumably destroyed) machine gun, now restored. This is not to be viewed lightly as legal determination of "restoration", or "re-activation", does not always follow what we would like to call common sense approaches. It is the little annoying nuances in the actual Law that will get you in trouble, not whether in common sense terms it appears to be a machine gun or not. European DEACTs are good examples if considered under applicable laws here.

The legal issues here are confined to the area of what is legally defined by ATF as the receiver of an MG-42 type weapon, and I hate to rain on anybody's parade here but with more than two decades of professional interaction with FTB on this topic, what is shown there clearly transcends the muddy waters of an MG-42 type receiver. It does not take much to draw yourself into a corner with that particular receiver, legally speaking as defined, and the (welded) presence of a bolt isn't enough so long as you have what amounts to a functional shell of ANY configuration or appearance that is intact and COULD accept unmodified original full auto parts, like what is shown there, welded or not.

FTB will not take into account the presence of any welded-in parts, trust me. The first thing they will do is REMOVE those welded in parts and see if the remaining pieces can be made to duplicate the -DEFINITION- of a "firearm" or "machine gun"....note I did NOT say "duplicate the FUNCTIONALITY" of a firearm receiver or machine gun, but only the legal DEFINITION.....and there is a whole long list of legally defining definitions that something like what is pictured here could potentially run afoul of. Again, having spent over two decades interacting with FTB determination examinations, I have the important lessons on that well and truly accumulated. You don't need to even get close to the stage where they try to shoot real ammo, before you may have fun afoul.

Sorry folks, you CANNOT assure yourselves of ANYTHING from a legal protection perspective by viewing ANY photographs of any such device or construction ONLY; and the ONLY legally safe, sound, and remotely defensible position to operate from when playing with such things is to follow PRECISELY the legal and technical steps ATF requests by submitting a constructed device for a formal determination examination.

And you need to do it each time, every time, with every single such unique design you construct, if you want to be sure. That is what FTB is there for, to protect people from getting into trouble, and by assisting them with the needed technical and legal guidance to make their projects successful.

And remember, there is NO SUCH THING as an "80%" receiver, or any such similar nonsense...there are ONLY FTB uniquely approved designs, or not.

Not trying to step on toes or piss in anyone's Wheaties......just being straight up with 26 years of experience dealing and working with ATF. Lawyers are expensive, but good lawyers are priceless.

-TomH

Orginal thread http://mg42.us/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9521
Last edited by salt6 on Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Good to know info

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby timdp » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:02 pm

Have not seen the Facebook page, buy am assuming that the builder is trying to build a dummy gun?

Doesn't the BATFE have receiver specific requirements for rebuilding parts kits into dummy guns?

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby Blanksguy » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:16 pm

TactAdv,
I believe that you are correct (withing limits) on most of your points.

Another point that I picked up on (through many years of dealing with BATF Tech.Branch) is that even though a "builder" receives a written determiniation from BATF.......that determination is only good for him/her........it is not a "blanket" thing that keeps everyone from having problems.
For a "blanket" type determination to be good for all.........I believe that it has to be published by BATF in their "up-dates"/"determinations-made" to current LAW.....such as they did with 922 information. Is this correct (?).

****************************************************
The next area is not submitted to scare builders/owners of semi-only firearms that look like MGs or were built from DEMILed MG-Receivers........just as an exercise in information exchange.
****************************************************

Last would be simple questions that I do not believe anyone will get a straight answer from BATF (or be able to quote US Law/information by page from current Firearms-Law or BATF Guidelines(**):
1: What is the definition of a DEMILed Receiver (?).......as this keeps changing........and what most of these SA42s/semi-only M53s are being built with.....and when we look at these, newly made receiver-halves really are looked at in the same "light".

2: If the current definition of what the "receiver" is on the MG42 being the rear-half..........Why is the barrel-jacket being cut at the front (?)......and at what point in the "build" is "bent sheet-metal" considered a "firearm" (?).

3: When people quote BATF/the courts saying that "if" BATF can make the ________fire full-auto within _______hours using what is normally found in a home work-shop.............What is the time-limit (?)......and What is the list of tools "normally-found in a home work-shop" (?).............because brother, if BATF can tack-weld back in a short "shelf" into that area you just just machined out for your semi-only trigger-group........."and" drill out that bolt-block-pin "or" machine-out that bolt-block from the bottom of your SA42/M53 semi-only receiver............"then" BATF could drop in standard parts and a lot of people have potiential "problems" running around out their with these SA42s/semi-only M53s.

Other questions would be what is "Intent" (?).....and what is "Constructive-Posession" (?)....and these should be clearly researched by builders and owners of SA42s/semi-only M53s.

(**) Note: If you can locate any of the above information in any current "US" "Firearms-LAW", or a BATF Guideline.....please quote LAW/BATF-Guideline Title and number.........date of publication/inactment........and then page and/or line-item number.
Please.....no "I heards".....or "someone said..."..........we would like to clear up some issues here.

Regards, RichardS in MI.

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby Bil » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:04 pm

This is in regard to another thread involving a builder of replicas for re-enactors.Both threads should be read to understand the conversation,which has gone beyond the original intent.Not that its a bad thing,more info never hurts,especially if it is real info,as Blanksguy specified. ---bil
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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby TactAdv » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:17 pm

Blanksguy wrote:Another point that I picked up on (through many years of dealing with BATF Tech.Branch) is that even though a "builder" receives a written determiniation from BATF.......that determination is only good for him/her........it is not a "blanket" thing that keeps everyone from having problems.
For a "blanket" type determination to be good for all.........I believe that it has to be published by BATF in their "up-dates"/"determinations-made" to current LAW.....such as they did with 922 information. Is this correct (?).


Yes, you are absolutely correct, with one minor added point. In general, a submitted example is considered to be given a "blanket approval" only so long as your serial production of the item in question remains (technically, and thus legally)identical to the submitted example.....this is really not ATF screwing with you, it is common sense. You need to keep picking apples from the apple tree and not start picking oranges and claim it is the same thing. The first basic step in this process is getting a Determination Letter IN YOUR NAME, now YOU are good to go with your design, the next step comes when you petition ATF to have your sample become a RULING,and this is where you are thinking of above.....this is exact same procedure you use to have a firearm(s) added/deleted to the C&R List, removed from purview of the NFA, change status of a particular part (like the RE-determination of what constitutes the FNC receiver, as recently enacted), etc., anything where the ATF needs to say, "we looked at this, and here is what we decided for everybody", then it will get its Notice(s) published in the Register (after a comment period, if warranted or desired), then it becomes "enacted" as part of the applicable CFR's.

Understand though, this is only used for things that -ATF- deems to warrant such attention, not just because somebody wants their OWN special clarification to rise to that level.....for that ATF gives you the Determination Letter. It's simple, it is a matter of cost and Agency resources involved to go through all the steps (and costs) needed to arrive at an official Ruling. The fact that they are willing to do it still for things like additions to the C&R List on a singular personal request is pretty generous, and even there you will note that the ACTUAL changes are recorded and published (AND BECOME EFFECTIVE) only quarterly, or sometimes semi-annually. Same goes with NFA determinations, EXCEPT where they make a determination that is to THEIR benefit, then it becomes effective immediately with whatever official decision accompanies the determination (say, a request for a formal determination on a device in the furtherance of a criminal prosecution in proceedings).

Richard, what you're looking at here is really on going to rise to the level where ATF moves to make such a Ruling (which is really either an amendment to an existing legal codicil, or an addition to a Statute) in cases where they want to need to the Public to be clearly notified of such an action, and this usually comes about if hey determine such an action will effect their ability prosecute the law, a good example is the Published Ruling determining devices colloquially known as "AR-15 drop in Auto sears" are, in fact, "machine guns" as determined. This gives effective notice to the Public that such devices are registrable, taxable, and controlled by the auspices of the NFA....which also gives ATF what it sought when confronting people in possession of such devices devoid of the applicable unique NFA requirements, i.e., clear motivation to prosecute.

You are also not likely to see a particular Ruling arise, and become codified through the full process, on specific items like a specific receiver design, unless it comes from a situation where ATF agrees their is such clarification needed to the benefit of all concerned.....the recent RE_ determination Ruling clarifying the legal status of what constituted the FNC receiver arose because it became clear to all concerned (Government and Petitioners) that the Government had in fact, largely created the problem because of lax and inconsistent determinations and enforcement by numerous controlling Branches over many decades to include, FTB, Imports Branch, and finally NFA Branch, where the situation became intolerable when NFA Branch all of a sudden decided to enforce their end of the game against previous determinations from other tentacles of the Government producing a legally conflicting scenario.....the resolution, the re-determination, occurred again largely because of the Governments wish to NOT proceed against their longstanding positions regarding their conduct of the NFA. The 'comfortable solution" was an easy way out for those current owners of FNC's with (installed) NFA registered conversion sears, but the Government got something out of it too that many missed and that was their requirement to stifle for all time the usage of conversion parts in other than SPECIFIC named hosts. "FNC conversion sears" were forever now only legal in ACTUAL FN-FNC's and that (lawfully) meant guns produced ONLY by FN- Herstal, AND that were originally named AND labled 'FNC' by FN, and forever killed the notion that an "FNC conversion sear" could lawfully be applied into a firearm of any other name of model description that matched in all physical specifications the FN-FNC, in other words, a "clone". Specifically, the two FNC ,clone projects that were known to be in work at the time, although this also was put in force to prevent FN-H from re-starting the "FNC" production over here as US-made weapon as there was ample discussion of that happening for awhile too....that wasn't what ATF wanted, a whole new batch of new-made guns that could then be used to 'soak up' all the Pre-5/19/86 NFA registered "FNC conversion sears" still uninstalled as of yet, so to kill off that possibility they promulgated the official Ruling.

Rulings are not ALWAYS a "good thing" to pursue, as you can see by the above FNC example, because the Government can ALWAYS add their own point of view to any such eventuality. Be careful what you ask them to rule on as there are myriad potential pitfalls.

Blanksguy wrote:Last would be simple questions that I do not believe anyone will get a straight answer from BATF (or be able to quote US Law/information by page from current Firearms-Law or BATF Guidelines(**):
1: What is the definition of a DEMILed Receiver (?).......as this keeps changing........and what most of these SA42s/semi-only M53s are being built with.....and when we look at these, newly made receiver-halves really are looked at in the same "light".


No, there are easily accessible guides and standards for DEMIL of machine gun receivers promulgated by ATF:

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/impo ... ction.html

...also look at the downloadable .PDF version showing exact cutlocations for almost every conceivable MG you can think of.

Blanksguy wrote:2: If the current definition of what the "receiver" is on the MG42 being the rear-half..........Why is the barrel-jacket being cut at the front (?)......and at what point in the "build" is "bent sheet-metal" considered a "firearm" (?).


You are mixing up different legal issues. The legally defined "receiver" of the MG-42 type machine gun is determined by itself. The required destruction of the front barrel nozzle trunnion comes from the Import/DEMIL standards and exists because of the requirement to destroy it according to the DEMIL stds if ti was EVER a live machine gun legally. You could certainly build, as some are doing commercially, or even import virgin front ends intact, so long as they were never part of (attached to) a functional "machine gun receiver" at the rear.....which won't ever occur from an importation standpoint because ALL 'MG-42' type gun were always manufactured from a single stamping, front to rear, such stamping to include the full length of both the defined "receiver" and the front end.

Blanksguy wrote:3: When people quote BATF/the courts saying that "if" BATF can make the ________fire full-auto within _______hours using what is normally found in a home work-shop.............What is the time-limit (?)......and What is the list of tools "normally-found in a home work-shop" (?).............because brother, if BATF can tack-weld back in a short "shelf" into that area you just just machined out for your semi-only trigger-group........."and" drill out that bolt-block-pin "or" machine-out that bolt-block from the bottom of your SA42/M53 semi-only receiver............"then" BATF could drop in standard parts and a lot of people have potiential "problems" running around out their with these SA42s/semi-only M53s.


Yes, this has long been a painful issue, as FTB will not willingly define what -PRECISELY- constitutes from a legal perspective the term "readily restorable". The now famous verbal acquiescence that resulted in them saying a figure of "eight hours" is NOT set in stone (The Law), merely what they will testify to in court appears to THEM as sufficient grounds for prosecution.

As you point out, one could do a LOT in eight hours, and this is what is motivating the current effort at establishing a lawfully codified set of testing and evaluation standards currently, and naturally, ATF is resisting because any such pigeon-holing would tend to take away, ultimately, from their ability get successful prosecutions. It is not so much within the actual FTB realm that this resistance is coming from; Rick Vasquez, Assistant Chief of FTB is a really, really professional guy and can generally be agreed to be one of the "good guys", yet he must also take his own set of marching orders, and one needs to be VERY, VERY cognizant of the HUGE multi-level changes that occurred within ATF when they moved from treasury to Justice. it is NOT about collecting taxes anymore as a prime directive there now, it is all about prosecutions.

The one relief to all this when dealing with FTB is that they still have work within the bounds of common legal sense and the jury trial system, and while many such cases seem to be overtly flawed by the testimony and "evidence" offered up by ATF at times, that all still has to pass muster with a jury. That's what are system is based on, and for now at least, we have to live within it, but the recent efforts at reform within the Agency are gaining political ground, and the specific reform efforts at requiring uniform testing stds within FTB are probably almost a reality.

-TomH

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby TactAdv » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:24 pm

Bil wrote:This is in regard to another thread involving a builder of replicas for re-enactors.Both threads should be read to understand the conversation,which has gone beyond the original intent.Not that its a bad thing,more info never hurts,especially if it is real info,as Blanksguy specified. ---bil



Any such specific information is entirely available directly from either ATF or State Dept, as appropriate. A simple phone call will get you all the directions to that information you need. At the very least, one should be consulting their respective Governmental websites.

As a more general thing, the information I have attempted to convey in recent postings is as far as I am willing to go, because one should NEVER rely on free internet advice to stay on the happy side of legal issues, rather my hope is to instill a sense of interest in anyone concerned such that they seek out the requisite official sources of relevant information.

It's all good , Bil. ;-)

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby 12thWaffenSS » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:26 pm

And don't forget, they'll shoot your dog. Just ask Randy Weaver. Maybe that was the FBI though...
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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby Bil » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:37 am

The fact that they are considered 'generous' in taking their time to respond to a request,or the fact that they can make or change the laws by using 'rules' ,and change them according to whim,is why this whole outfit needs some serious oversight.They can and will do whatever they want.That includes shooting your dog.Or wife,kid,or you. --bil
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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby amafrank » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:40 am

Bil wrote:The fact that they are considered 'generous' in taking their time to respond to a request,or the fact that they can make or change the laws by using 'rules' ,and change them according to whim,is why this whole outfit needs some serious oversight.They can and will do whatever they want.That includes shooting your dog.Or wife,kid,or you. --bil



One small detail here: The kinder/gentler ATF no longer has the manpower or money to go around stomping kitties and shooting dogs/children and folks indiscriminately like they did in the heyday of janet reno and the clinton thugs. While I won't defend them and the odd way they have of making decisions based on spurious and flawed information I will say that they aren't going after every oddball who builds a gun of some sort. They aren't out to get us and lurking behind every fencepost. The current phase seems to be having some problems hiring people who work at all and instead is hiring more lawyers to obfuscate and muddy the waters of the regs even more. TactAdv has a lot of very good and true info in his posts which should help guide those who wish to comply and remain legal.....read and pay attention. He spent a goodly bit of time writing all that to help out....


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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby 42rocker » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:56 am

Very interesting posts

Thanks
Later 42rocker

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby Bil » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:19 pm

Oh,I didn't mean to take away from TactAdv posts-he knows what he is talking about and I thank him for all of the info.The more up-to-date info and experiances we get on here,the better off we all are.As far as the agents go,I would say the last bit of confusion I had with one made me realise that the hiring process left a bit to be desired.Again,thanks for the updates.! :D ---bil
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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby howiebearse » Mon May 30, 2011 4:00 pm

one thing not mentioned here in this discussion is the fact. The ATF and other agency's are always trying to justify their existence. In doing so they create this problem with gun owners of looking through their books for any sort of mistake in order to prove how good they are and how bad the dealers are and that they are needed to keep everyone in line. I once had a ATF visit to check my books (this was many years ago when the average guy could have a basement business buy and sell guns to his friends and collect at the same time.) The agent turned out to be an alcohol agent not versed in firearms at all. It took me many hours to get him through the task and he was in fear of me misleading him. I never wanted another time like that. The ATF is un professional they are untrained in what they do and are more likely to be swat trained then firearms trained. They bully the dealers and are in many cases looking down on dealers as low life's that are most likely breaking the law. Almost everyone I have known over the years has been on the up and up and has tried to help them out and make the whole thing work smoother. It is a shame that they run rough shod over dealers and collectors with no one being able to afford to go head to head in court with them. If you look at the problem with guns in this country one thing would stop much of it. That is to make anyone who steals a gun from a home or business legally and mandatory sentenced to 25 years in jail for each item stolen. Stolen guns are more likely to be evolved in crimes than illegally purchased ones. Also look at the losses that cannot be explained by ATF for their own guns that cannot be accounted for. There have been many confiscated firearms that never were turned in and destroyed. And most recently the botched dealer authorized sales across the border that resulted in several deaths. As to welding up guns I make my own dummy guns and destroy all the major pieces as I assemble the guns just to be on the safe side. I would also caution you fellows that shop on line at gunbroker and other sites to be ware of guns that are for sale with saw cut receivers or receivers that were not cut as described. If you buy them when they show up at the door you may get a visit soon after for confiscation. You loose all the way around. I think the ATF has a need in society but it sure needs to have quality men in it that know the job inside and out and can answer a question when asked that will be the same as whats been set as law. As it is now no one in the world could ask anyone from ATF a technical question and have any two sources say the same answer.

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby Taurus454 » Mon May 30, 2011 9:05 pm

I find it interesting that in many, possibly most, third world countries you can go to an open air market and buy an MG, RPG, crew-served weapon, et al! Not to mention the fact that they have all kinds of ammunition available. No waiting period, no background check, no fingerprints! You got the money, you got the weapon. Wow, imagine that, we can actually see what weapons are in demand where a free market is in operation. Strange, I don;t see those folks wanting semi's or bolt actions which our government thinks we should be limited to. I am also constantly reminded how the same people with such "liberal" gun laws, hate freedom and how our military needs to be there to prop up their government so their people can be free.

On the other hand, we in the USA live in the "freest democracy" (cough, ahhhh, it is really a Constitutional Republic) in the world. We have an ATF and gun laws that strangle dealers and prohibit sales of firearms that someone in a third world country without a kindergarten education can buy! Go ahead, make your arguments about how it is better here and how we need an ATF. I would suggest that you walk through select areas of this country unarmed before you make any such a statement and risk being killed, robbed, mugged, raped, and the litany of other FBI uniform crimes that are tracked annually. Of course, in the end you will only serve to make my point about infringement.

Lincoln once stated, "just because it is legal doesn't make it moral". When it takes a thousand words to try and explain the gun control laws and you have to end your statement with words to the effect that every situation could be different you are trully living in a world of infringement and in a realm of morality that is probably questionable at best. It is sad that the most reasonable and simplest gun laws are now found in backward countries, that being, "you got the money, you got the gun"! What is even sadder to me is how the sheep clammer for wolves, or the gun rights community clammer for the ATF :oops:

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Re: Things to remember when dealing with ATF-FTB

Postby tallec01 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:11 pm

So machining out the grip stick area and welding in a bolt block stud for a reweld project isn't good enough anymore? Was it ever? Im confused. Can someone provide some clarity and translate here? Thanks


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