Tag Archives: NFA

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

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The SHARE Act could have a very positive effect on gun-owning sportsmen as well as all gun enthusiasts. Here are some details…

SHARE Act.

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On Tuesday, September 12, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which had been introduced on September 1 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC). Following the subcommittee hearing, the full Committee on Natural Resources marked up and passed the SHARE Act by a vote of 22-13. All amendments offered in an attempt to weaken the bill were soundly defeated. The bill now awaits floor action in the U.S. House.

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting, and broadening access to federal lands for these purposes, this year’s SHARE Act contains reforms that would widely benefit sportsmen and the gun-owning public at large.

These reforms would protect Americans traveling interstate with lawfully-owned firearms, amend provisions of federal law that have been abused by antigun administrations to impose gun control by executive fiat, and make the health-promoting benefits of firearm sound suppressors more accessible.

Attorney and constitutional scholar Steven Halbrook, who has litigated firearms issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified at Tuesday’s hearing that the Act would “enhance protection of Second Amendment guarantees” without “adversely affect[ing] law enforcement interests.”

Halbrook provided background on several key provisions of the act. He noted that under current law, for example, certain federal courts have denied plaintiffs remedies for violation of their federally-protected right to transport unloaded firearms interstate between jurisdictions where they may be lawfully carried. This has emboldened certain states, like New York and New Jersey, to ignore these protections and arrest law-abiding Americans for exercising their rights under federal law. “Title XI of the bill will rectify this affront to the right to travel and the Second Amendment by explicitly immunizing law-abiding travelers from arrest and recognizing a civil action for violation,” he stated.

Halbrook also testified about the benefits of suppressors and how they were rarely implicated in violent crime. “That is why suppressors are freely available,” he noted, “even over the counter or by mail order, in many European countries.” In this regard, the bill would eliminate the current $200 transfer tax and a federal approval process that can take as long as a year to complete.

Others testifying focused on Title IV of the bill, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, which will reduce the regulatory burdens for federal agencies to promote hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal public lands across the nation.

Testifying against the bill was David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Gabby Giffords/Mark Kelly gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Chipman claimed to draw on his experience as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in arguing that the Act “assaults the interests of our nation’s law enforcement officials and threatens our public safety and security.” In particular, his comments focused on the Act’s removal of impediments to the lawful purchase of suppressors. He also criticized the Act’s reforms to the “sporting purposes” standard for firearm importation.

Ironically, Ronald Turk, ATF’s current second-highest ranking official — who has spent over two decades working up the ranks of the agency from his initial assignments as a street agent — offered far different takes on these same issues in an interagency white paper that became public in February. Turk cited both of these issues as ripe for “regulatory changes or modifications … that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATF’s mission or adversely affecting public safety.”

Turk characterized the import restrictions cited by Chipman as serving “questionable public safety interests,” because they often affect firearms “already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States.” He also suggested a broader understanding of firearm “sports” was appropriate, to include activities and competitions that use “AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles.” Regarding suppressors, the white paper opined, “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”

The SHARE Act now heads to the House Floor, where it could receive consideration as early as September 25.

Please contact your U.S. Representative NOW and ask him or her to vote YES on H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

There has never been a better opportunity to pass this important and far-reaching legislation, but your help is urgently needed to ensure it goes the distance.

ATF Goes Through Major NFA Branch Reorganization

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BATFE organizational changes might mean greater processing efficiency and shorter wait time. Here’s the scoop…

Source: Recoilweb.com

If you own or have been thinking about owning an NFA item like a short-barreled rifle (SBR) or silencer, no doubt you know that processing times have been going up. The reason is ATF Rule 41F, which became active in July of 2016. The increase of required paperwork under the new rules combined with the front-loading of many submissions by those attempting to make it before the deadline have led to a larger workload for the NFA Branch. It hasn’t helped the silencer industry either.

SBR

But on April 3, 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) made some major changes that amounted to a complete reorganization of the National Firearms Act (NFA) Branch.

In an attempt to better provide oversight, cut down wait times, and increase efficiency, two distinct new branches have been formed: The Industry Processing Branch (NFA IPB) and the Government Support Branch (NFA GSB).

The NFA IPB is responsible for industry forms processing and working towards refining current operations.

The duties of the NFA GSB include processing SOT applications, government transfers, exemptions, and expediting LEO/Gov requests.

Furthermore, a new NFA Division Staff Program Office has been formed to manage publications, FOIA requests, respond to data calls, and oversee the vetting of statistical data.

suppressor

These new changes just might mean greatly reduced wait times — keep your fingers crossed!

Legality of the Cellphone Gun: Answer or Hang Up?

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Shooters may have seen media coverage regarding the “cellphone gun,” which is a cellphone look-a-like that transforms into a firearm. The maker, IdealConceal.com, says, “The ground breaking Ideal Conceal is a carefully engineered double barreled .380 caliber people can safely carry in their purse or clipped to their side. Ingeniously designed to resemble a smartphone, yet with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire.”

IdealConceal.com's cellphone look-a-like transforms into a double-barreled .380 caliber firearm.
IdealConceal.com’s cellphone look-a-like transforms into a double-barreled .380 caliber firearm.

As it begins to enter production, many are asking, “Is it a legal handgun?”

To get these questions answered, we picked up the phone and shot some questions to Michele Byington, an attorney at the law firm of Walker & Byington in Houston.

“The main concern for this firearm is essentially whether or not it is a NFA regulated item,” Byington said. She elaborated that under the NFA (National Firearms Act), there are certain weapons that are felonies to possess without properly registering it with the ATF, and receiving a tax stamp.

A tax stamp is, according to Byington, “a special piece of paper the ATF gives you to prove you suffered through their registration process.”

One such item that must be registered is an “AOW,” or “Any Other Weapon.”

“But don’t freak out,” Byington says, “‘Any other weapon’ is not what it sounds like.” She went on to explain that the phrase AOW was sort of a catch-all category; the definition states that an AOW is “any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive.”

This term includes quite a few things, but the most important for this discussion includes the classification of cane guns, umbrella guns, and pen guns as AOWs. In other words, the term AOW includes items that seem like they come straight from a James Bond movie.

Byington said that, at first glance, this gun disguised as a cellphone could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with items such as umbrella guns, pen guns, and the like. “The only problem is that, when asked for clarification, the ATF stated that they waiting until the gun was actually manufactured before determining its classification.”

This means that if you bought the gun, and later the ATF ruled it was an AOW, you would be violating federal (and most likely, state) law until you registered the gun. “This isn’t a quick process either; the ATF’s turnaround time right now is between six and nine months, which is a long time to hope no one finds out you’re committing a federal felony,” Byington said.

Byington pointed out that it was equally possible the ATF could declare the cellphone gun not to be an AOW; but at the moment, no one can say with any certainty how this specific weapon will be viewed under the law, so it may be worth putting the purchase of a cellphone gun on hold until the gun’s status has been decided by ATF.

How do you think ATF will rule: Is the cellphone gun a regular old handgun, or the much-heavier-regulated AOW? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.