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.