Polymer80 is a Nevada-located company that has become one of the most popular manufacturers of firearm parts and kits in the world. Specifically, they sell pistols, pistol frames and assemblies, parts and accessories, and “80 Percent Lower Kits” for pistols and ARs.
And it’s that last bit that has made them a new target for the ATF. In fact, tax-paid agents of the ATF entered their property on Thursday, December 10, served them with a search warrant, and might claim they’ve engaged in illegal activity. Forrest Cooper, of Recoilweb.com gives us the opening salvo:
Thursday, December 10th, 2020, the ATF entered the property of Polymer80 in Nevada, seizing both documents and what we expect to be part of their inventory as evidence. If the raid doesn't raise hairs, the warrant affiliated with it does, as the build kits were to be suddenly reconsidered as serial-number-requiring firearms. By this determination, Polymer80 could face ramifications for failing to pay taxes affiliated with firearms sales, and be considered an illegal weapons manufacturer.
So far, so bad. But, even though the minute “legal” detail is irrelevant when it comes to gun rights, what, exactly, are “build kits” or “80 Percent Lower Kits?”
When it comes to firearms when people say the phrase ‘lower’ it generally means a ‘lower receiver’. A lower receiver, in general, is the part of the firearms (sic) that houses the bolt, firing mechanism and generally the action of a firearm. Generally lower receivers refer to AR 15 lower receivers. An AR 15 lower receiver houses the fire control group, the magazine well, and connects the buffer assembly to the weapon.
And there are a few other salient points to note when thinking about the byzantine rules and regulations the feds impose on “Lowers Kit” makers and sellers. Recoilweb, 80-Lower and other sources note that Lower 80 kits are not legally considered to be firearms (or, they weren’t until this raid indicated that the ATF appears eager to further degrade the right to keep and bear arms), and that no federal firearms license (FFL) is supposed to be required to sell them.
Of course this is the federal government. The ATF breaches the Second Amendment through its very existence, so the idea that it will not find new ways to attack the right to keep and bear arms is a pipe-dream.
But that expansion of ATF tyranny seems to be precisely what CNN admires. In a piece published December 11, the network’s Scott Glover explained a bit more about these kits, and why they’re called “ghost guns”, but he did it within a larger context: a kind of dissociative alarmist propaganda about the kits, as if they, themselves, were committing acts of evil.
Guns produced from such kits are known as ‘ghost guns’ because they do not contain serial numbers and are considered untraceable.
And Glover made sure to rattle off a list of crimes in which the perpetrators used untraceable “ghost guns,” as if to justify the ATF move, summing things up with this:
ATF officials, based on data from the agency's National Tracing Center, estimate that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered in the US last year, including about 2,700 in California. Polymer80 guns were used in ‘hundreds of crimes throughout the United States,’ and about 15 of the company's weapons were recovered during homicide investigations in California, the document states.
Of course, “recovered” guns and “guns used in crimes” are two different things, and the closest Glover gets to mentioning crimes committed with Polymer80 products comes in his last statement about the 15 recovered “during” homicide investigations -- no indication as to whether those were recovered as possible murder weapons, or just on the scene.
But none of that is relevant anyway. Trying to link a product to the evil of its user is unfair, negligent, unscrupulous, illogical, and dangerous. How many people use automobiles to commit homicides? Should the sellers of auto parts be considered as culpable in the evil committed by those who use the cars?
Will the FBI go after gun-oil sellers and pipe-cleaner makers because those are used for maintenance of guns? How about holster-makers, if a criminal draws a gun from a holster? How about the makers of safes, or home-builders, in general, both of which allow gun owners to keep their metal weapons inside, away from the elements that could rust them or gum them up with dirt? Will the FBI arrest farmers for supplying the food eaten by some perpetrator of physical assault, because that criminal used the food to maintain his physical strength? What about the teachers who might have taught a person to read? After all, people typically READ the instructions on how to build the "ghost gun" kits, so that process of reading, too, is a component to be stopped.
Then there’s the very terminology of “ghost gun”.
These are not "guns." They are gun parts, period. Yet the AFT and FBI claimed the company was "manufacturing illegal firearms". Perhaps someone could challenge an FBI agent to pick up any one of those PARTS and make it shoot a bullet. After all, as Glover writes:
On Thursday, federal agents armed with a search warrant raided the company — Polymer80 — based on suspicion that it was illegally manufacturing and distributing firearms
The Wall Street Journal’s Zusha Elinson also seemed blithely unconcerned with the change in the ATF position about the PARTS that, until Thursday, the “agency” beneficently “allowed” companies to sell without calling them “firearms.”
Here’s a quote, and, while you read it, consider the word “determined”:
The probe focuses on Polymer80’s ‘Buy Build Shoot Kit,’ which includes the parts to build a ‘ghost’ handgun. The kit, which Polymer80 sells online, meets the definition of a firearm, ATF investigators determined according to the warrant application.
Now, some might look at that word, “determined,” and give it a lot of merit, feel a lot of weight behind it. But, in this case, “determined” means “made it up, contrary to what the agency had told manufacturers for years.”
And that, itself, ought to send shivers through the spines of folks who acknowledge the primacy of individual rights.
Not only is the existence of the ATF specifically forbidden by the Second Amendment’s prohibition against any level of government infringing on the individual right to keep and bear arms, within its already unconstitutional existence, its bureaucrats and lawyers seem to feel free to change their own rules and definitions to further put peaceful gun makers and sellers in legal jeopardy. All while writers for CNN and The Wall Street Journal report on it as if the ATF move is normal procedure and beneficial to American safety.
Well, as we and others have reported many times, and as FBI Uniform Crime Statistics reveal, when more people have firearms, they deter criminals from engaging in violent crime. Two years ago, Paul Hsieh, of Forbes, reported on a 2013 study ordered by the (also unconstitutional) Centers for Disease Control that added even more evidence indicating how important firearms ownership was to stopping violent crime. Quoting from the study, he offered:
Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.
And the more impediments the ATF puts in the way of people obtaining firearms, the more in danger they will be, because criminally-minded people do not abide by gun restricting statutes.
Which brings us to our final observations. First, on the principled side, consider the profoundly misguided subhead of the WSJ piece, which reads:
ATF suspects Polymer80 of breaking firearms laws, a sign that law enforcement is looking closer at makers of DIY gun kits
In the United States, and any nation-state that respected the natural right to self-defense, there are to be no such things as “firearms laws” -- period.
That’s forbidden by the Second Amendment.
But in thinking about what the ATF has done to Polymer80, we can consider this, as well.
We can consider that as Christmas approaches, as that time when Christians take stock of the Creator and get together with friends and family to celebrate… many of the Polymer80 workers and owners are in legal and employment limbo. They are without any semblance of confidence that they will not be shut down by government. And many of those who received the gun parts are worried that the ATF will persecute THEM, as well.
That’s a powerful message. It’s a human and spiritual message.
And it’s something that the bureaucrats at the ATF appear to disregard.