Biden's ATF To Label - and Regulate - Gun PARTS As Fully Useable Firearms

P. Gardner Goldsmith | January 4, 2023
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Thanks to former President Donald Trump opting to not only disregard the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers but also to stab the Second Amendment when he unilaterally “banned” so-called “bump stocks,” the Biden administration on December 27 had the unconstitutional “Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms” (BATF or ATF, choose your poison) issue new specifics on a set of 2022 “regulations” that redefined gun parts as fully useable guns.

If you’re as perplexed about how a gun part can be a full firearm as you are about how ANY firearm – be it a real gun, or an imaginary “gun-part-gun” – can be “regulated” (i.e. placed under the whim and control of government), you’re not alone.

Tom Ozimek writes for The Epoch Times:

“The Biden administration has dialed up its crackdown on so-called ‘ghost guns’ by issuing guidance that basically expands the definition of what ‘readily converted’ means in a new federal rule and making more do-it-yourself pistol parts subject to restrictions.

In an open letter to firearms dealers (pdf) dated Dec. 27, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) told firearm vendors that nearly-complete handgun frames or receivers—basically the pistol grip and firing mechanism— will be treated the same as fully completed firearms.”

And don’t go thinking you can get around it by going to the firearms dealer once for one part, then returning to get another part a few days later. As I recently noted for MRCTV, the data-collectors at credit card companies recently adopted codes for purchases at gun shops, and “law enforcement” is eager to get that information.

Adds Ozimek:

“Firearm vendors who sell near-complete pistol frames and receivers—often as kits that can be relatively easily turned into untraceable homemade guns—were hit with the new rule in August, which required that frames and receivers that could be ‘readily converted’ into fully operational guns are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms.”

So, this is old news, right? Not really. At the time, many of us in the pro-liberty camp recognized the absurdity of affixing the label “gun” to individual gun kit parts (frames and receivers), simply because jigs and other tools existed to help people put the parts together. As my friend and YouTube commentator Liberty Doll reported December 31, the original ATF “rule change” in August stipulated that component parts for what are called “80 Percent Kits” all had to be serialized, and that ATF rule kicked off mayhem among shipping companies as FedEx and UPS changed their policies to, as she notes, “essentially ban shipments of gun parts, thanks, in part, to a letter sent out by the gun control gang (a group of senators gathered around Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal (the guy who falsely claimed he saw military action in Vietnam).”

Related: (Not So) Shocking Study: Gun Ownership Leads to Lower Burglary Rates | MRCTV

And in that October 18 letter, one can see that the Blumenthal Bunch (including Liz Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Corey Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D- RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)) “encouraged” the ATF “clarify” its “rules” on gun parts. In other words, they wanted the ATF to be more expansive. Here’s how they opened their “letter” to the Attorney General and ATF:

“We write to encourage the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to issue enforcement guidance to clarify the Definition of ‘Frame or Receiver’ Final Rule—better known as the Ghost Gun Rule—to ensure that it meets the goal of enforcing the law and stopping the proliferation of these deadly and untraceable firearms that can be acquired without a background check. This rule is intended to regulate nearly-complete frames and receivers that are the core components used to construct ghost guns. Under the final rule—effective August 24, 2022—readily completed frames and receivers are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms: licensing, background check, and serialization requirements.”
Practically, of course, this will do nothing to stop black-market firearms, and, in fact, will encourage more items – gun parts – to be sold on the black market.

Ethically, morally, and constitutionally, not only do the feds have no power to mandate that parts of ANYTHING carry serial numbers – or else the sellers and buyers will be attacked by the feds – but the ironic reality is that by trying to define the parts as “firearms” the gun-grabbers make it doubly insulting, because now, they push the parts under the absurd umbrella of “guns” and give them the extra protection of the Second Amendment.

Which, of course, they disregard.

The Senators claimed in their letter that they were driven to write to the AG and AFT because those evil “Ghost Gun” parts sellers, GOSH-DARNIT, kept engaging in free trade, selling the parts!

“Notwithstanding the Ghost Gun Rule, ghost gun companies have continued to sell the parts and tools to make these dangerous firearms—contending that the final rule fails to cover them and their products. These companies have adopted the position that selling nearly-complete frames and receivers without the tools (commonly known as jigs) or instructions to complete them means that their products are not firearms under federal law. Of the 100 companies previously known to sell unserialized and nearly-complete frames and receivers, dozens remain engaged in that business…”


And so, as Ozimek reports:

“ATF agreed and by issuing the new guidance, the agency is making clear that it will now be requiring relevant firearm frames to have serial numbers and to be sold by licensed dealers who carry out background checks just like with fully completed guns.”

None of which is constitutional, or moral, lest we be reiterative.

And as Ozimek notes, we at MRCTV, and good folks like Liberty Doll are not the only people speaking up. Ozimek was kind enough to offer the thoughts of two people working hard to defend individual rights:

“‘The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm. This is a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years,’ Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), one of the critics, said in a post on Twitter.

Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, also concluded that the action runs afoul of Americans’ rights.

The Biden administration ‘is making up unconstitutional gun control rules he can’t get through Congress,’ Brown said in a statement.”

That latter is definitely true, but requires the amplification that even if Congress passed legislation allowing for this, it would be a towering breach of that oft-broken oath to “protect and defend” the U.S. Constitution.

What we have at the moment is a byzantine set of gun statutes and “regulations” including unconstitutional licensing for gun shops, unconstitutional “regulations” on the state level, and absurd, reality-bending ideas that, first, gun parts are now GUNS, and, second, that imposing additional government threats on law-abiding people will encourage the criminally minded to abide by the government threats.

Haven’t the feds learned enough by looking at gun-control centers like Chicago, where violent crime is astounding, and from drug prohibition – which has not worked? Can’t they see that their fantasies, including labeling as “firearms” the parts of guns sold separately, are unrealistic and immoral?

It seems likely that they can see it all quite well. Which ought to worry anyone who believes in the right of his neighbor to be free and to protect himself or herself.

Related: Biden, Pelosi Peddle False Info Promoting the 1994 'Assault Weapons Ban' | MRCTV